Updated: May 8
From boardrooms to universities, from Wall Street to Hollywood, and from soccer moms to veteran communities, it seems like microdosing psychedelics is the buzz. With reported benefits ranging from focus to productivity, creativity, stress, and mood boost, microdosing seems like the latest magic cure, but how much of this is true and how much hype, and what can you realistically expect if you’re diving in to experiment with your consciousness?
While psychedelic research is in full momentum forward, unfortunately, it is predominantly focused on large dose experiences often in the context of psychotherapy, and while this research can help shed light on the potential benefits of microdosing, it is far from scientific proof. In the absence of research and verified evidence, microdosers are leaning into the knowledge of their peers, their personal experience, microdosing coaches, and plant medicine experts to craft a plan and practice best suited to support their goals.
Microdosing is a practice that invites each individual into a journey of self-exploration, self-knowledge, and self-determination and while having a customized plan and support system is a great starting point, each individual responds differently to different doses, substances, schedules, and stacks. As a result, experimentation, trials, errors, and adjustments are not only common aspects of microdosing but also strongly encouraged as an invitation to take ownership of one's relationship with the substance and the practice.
As you embark on your journey of exploring and experimenting, it is also helpful to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls that can impact your ability to experience powerful and lasting results from your practice.
Here are 6 most common mistakes individuals make while microdosing:
Taking Too Much Or Too Little
When it comes to microdosing, LESS IS MORE! Start with the lowest end of the microdose spectrum and slowly work your way up over the next few days to find the sweet spot for your personal dose.
The microdose spectrum for psilocybin is 50-200 mg of dried mushroom powder and 5 -15 micrograms of LSD.
A true microdose is a sub-perceptual dose which means you are not experiencing any strong sensation, visual distortions, or enhanced sensory input. A proper microdose will result in experiencing a subtle shift in your experience that is not pronounced enough to effectively pinpoint.
One of the most common reasons individuals abandon their practice is because they are seeking a more pronounced shift and end up with too high a dose which interferes with their ability to tend to their daily tasks and routines effectively.
On the other hand, too small a dose can also cause individuals to abandon the practice because they are not experiencing any changes at all. Taking the time to identify the optimal dose for each person is essential to ensure comfort, safety, and efficacy.
The benefits of microdosing are most pronounced when practiced within a regimented schedule referred to as "protocols" which include dosing, transition, and integration days as well as integration weeks and months in between cycles of protocols.
Protocols are also designed to mitigate the quick tolerance building that characterizes most psychedelics and deems them ineffective after a period of time. While there is no research done in this space with regards to microdosing, it seems reasonable to assume that just as consecutive large doses of psychedelics will deliver diminishing results over only a few consecutive dosing days, the same is likely to also apply to microdoses.
Lastly, microdosing isn't the same as taking a pill or vitamins. The practice is best approached as training wheels to help change the brain towards more healthy and desirable patterns and behaviors. Taking days, weeks, and months off dosing is a great way to support long-term sustainable results.
Dosing With Food
Whether microdosing, minidosing, or macrodosing, it is generally best to do so on an empty stomach, especially with psilocybin. Combining psychedelics with food often results in an upset stomach but in the case of microdosing, since the dose is so small, it is more likely that the combination will result in diminishing effects than an upset stomach.
It is ideal to dose in the morning on an empty stomach and wait a minimum of 30 minutes before eating. What you eat also impacts the experience as much as when you eat.
What to eat while microdosing: Eating leafy greens, vegan meals, fruits, nuts, and natural fats is ideal on dosing days.
What to avoid eating while microdosing: It is generally recommended to avoid dairy, red meat, processed sugars, heavy caffeine, and large meals
Combining With Other Substances
Can I smoke weed while microdosing?
Can I drink alcohol while microdosing?
Can I mix LSD & psilocybin while microdosing?
While you surely can, combining other substances with microdosing defeats the purpose altogether! So please just don't! Really! The entire practice of microdosing is about tuning into subtlety to notice the nuances that often go unnoticed under normal circumstances. By adding other substances to the mix, you are effectively muddying the waters and losing perspective.
When there are too many influences to sort through, it becomes impossible to decipher what is native to the individual's body, mind, and consciousness, and what is the byproduct of a substance.
While an occasional glass of wine or smoke of cannabis during microdosing months is tolerable, if you find yourself attached to regular consumption of a substance, then it might be a great opportunity to become curious about where that attachment comes from and work with a professional to explore compulsive and addictive patterns through microdosing.
Treating It As A "Hack"
I must admit that every time I hear the broformance (yes, I made that up!) buzzword "hack", I cringe! The literal meaning of the word is to "cut with rough or heavy blows". That sounds like the polar opposite of what microdosing is about; namely subtlety, nuance, and a mindful approach.
The modern bio-hacking culture is the very epidemy of the extractive philosophies that have drained our resources inside and outside our bodies by denying the voice of the body, the natural rhythm of restoration, and the seemingly endless obsession for "performance" in service to an extractive production and achievement-oriented culture.
Mindful microdosing is the very antidote to a culture that continues to encourage and celebrate "pushing through" to "maximize outcomes" as a lifestyle. An unsustainable culture that lands its population in deep physical, mental, and emotional turmoil, burnout, and illness.
Mindful microdosing is about leaning in, listening, attuning, and responding in a grounded, conscious, and sustainable manner. Done right, this practice has the potential to transform how we show up, work, create, and lead in service to a more regenerative culture.
No Introspective Container
Most of us live fast-paced and full lives and find it difficult to slow down, catch our breath, be with our emotions, and explore our thoughts in moments of introspection. Microdosing as a practice is first and foremost an invitation to subtlety, presence, and mindfulness. Much of the benefits of this practice are revealed in moments of conscious awareness when we are able to witness our patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior in a new light. This enhanced awareness is likely facilitated through reduced activity in the Default Mode Network.
Although we have an enhanced ability to recognize patterns, for the most part, such recognition does not happen spontaneously in the midst of our busy and distracted routines. This is precisely why an introspective practice and container are absolutely essential to experience the benefits of a mindful microdosing practice.
One of the most common mistakes individuals make is "popping a pill" and going about their routines as usual without having an intentional practice to slow down, check in with the self, and create a container for subtle yet potent insights to emerge into conscious awareness. Big changes don't always happen in catharsis, especially in the context of microdosing. A gentle practice requires a mindful container to access its innate wisdom and benefits.
Mindful Microdosing is one of the most timely practices of our time. When approached with care, intention, planning, and presence, this practice can become a lifelong ally and teacher; Microdose Guru is the plant teacher that invites our inner guru to emerge, guide, and support our paths towards greater personal and collective health, well-being, peace, and impact.