Updated: May 8
Microdosing psychedelics has become the go-to wellness and lifestyle practice for many who seek enhanced mood, calmer mind, and creativity boosts to name a few. These days it seems like anywhere we turn, we hear about microdosing. On that note, don't miss the Michael Pollan docuseries "How to Change Your Mind" on Netflix released earlier this month featuring microdosing experts and success stories.
Although microdosing success reports are plentiful, once in a while, I hear from frustrated new practitioners who report that they are not experiencing any effects from their microdose practice while some seasoned practitioners report inconsistent effects with microdosing. If you ever wonder "why don't I feel anything when I microdose?", this is what might be going on.
In my experience, having unrealistic expectations is the #1 reason new practitioners claim that "my microdose isn't working". Microdosing by definition is a sub-perceptual dose so if you're expecting a psychedelic experience, visual distortions, or an altered sensation, you've got unrealistic expectations. For most people, microdosing presents as a subtle buzzing sensation, enhanced presence, uplifted mood, or less mind chatter.
In a world over-saturated with excess and intensity, it takes practice, presence, and mindfulness to attune to the nuance and subtlety of the practice. Chances are, you don't need to increase your dosage but rather your level of presence.
Another place unrealistic expectations cause disappointment is in seeking immediate results; this is especially true for individuals who microdose for mood enhancement. In most cases, it takes time, consistency, the right dosage, and an appropriate personalized protocol to experience noticeable mood enhancements. Individuals who are microdosing for mental health are strongly encouraged to work with a microdosing coach with mental health training to support positive outcomes.
Dosage Needs Adjustment
Although most microdosers experience results with a 10th or less of a full dose, some individuals require a slightly larger dose to experience benefits. Identifying the perfect dose for yourself involves experimentation and patience. For example, while a standard microdose of psilocybin is 100-200mg, some individuals do far better with 90mg while others do with 150mg.
To find your ideal dose, change your dosage by 10mg at a time to avoid surprises at the office or at the teacher-parent meetings! As you begin your new dose experiment, stick with the new dose for one week, observe and record changes, and if by the end of the week, you are not experiencing a change, increase the dose by another 10mg. Repeat this process until you find your ideal dose. Alternatively, you can work with a microdosing coach to optimize your dosing & schedule.
Dosing Every Day
Although microdoses aren't strong enough to result in rapid tolerance building, taking a dose every day without integration days over a period of time will likely render the microdose practice ineffective. This is why experts always recommend following regimented microdosing protocols that observe dosing and integration days as well as integration weeks and months. Check out my blog post on "Why You Should Take Days Off Microdosing" to learn more.
Macro-Dosing Too Frequently
While an occasional macro-dose does not generally interfere with microdosing, taking large doses of psychedelics regularly will interfere with the efficacy of the microdosing practice. Tolerance to most psychedelics develops extremely quickly and within a short couple of days of use, they stop working altogether. This means that even if you follow a microdosing protocol, macrodosing too often will render your practice ineffective.
I generally recommend that if you are microdosing for a specific health goal, avoid macrodosing for the duration of your practice. However, if you still choose to macrodose, here are my guidelines for macrodosing while microdosing.
Taking Dose With Food
Microdosing pros will all tell you that to get the best results, microdose in the morning and on an empty stomach. This is done for two reasons: enhanced absorption, and avoiding potential stomach discomfort. Microdosing is a subtle practice that involves such small doses that taking them with food often produces no effects. So if you've been dosing later in the day and on a full stomach, try changing your schedule and see what you notice.
No Ritual And Powerful Intention
Microdosing is a practice that gives you back as much as you put into it. Mindful microdosing is rooted in reciprocity. In my practice, I often come across individuals who have a casual approach and attitude to working with psychedelic medicines often held sacred by indigenous cultures for centuries. Approaching with respect and reverence and having a clear intention is even more important than the right dosage and protocol in experiencing desired outcomes.
"I want to try it" is not a good reason to microdose. Get clear, get committed, approach with intention, and you will experience the plants open up to you. Show up with a casual and entitled attitude, and you'll find yourself deeply frustrated with the practice. This is how plant medicines often teach us. You must attune yourself to the frequency of the plants to receive their gifts and guidance.
Start by crafting a mindful microdosing ritual; here is your step-by-step guide.
Very limited clinical studies have been conducted to explore pharmaceutical counter-interactions with psychedelics and all in large doses. So we don't know a whole lot about how medications and most psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD interact with one another. However, based on our limited knowledge and the potential interaction of this class of psychedelics with serotonin receptors, there is a possibility that some pharmaceutical medications (especially mood-altering kinds) might impact the efficacy of psychedelics.
If you are currently taking pharmaceutical medication, it is best to consult your prescribing doctor before ingesting psychedelics. If you are cleared for microdosing practice by your physician, it is best to work with a microdosing coach trained in mental health integrative medicine to craft a personalized microdosing protocol to support your journey.
I will share with you here what I advise my clients: when you are not experiencing the effects and benefits of the microdosing practice, it doesn't mean it is not working, it actually means that it IS working; you are being invited to deepen your presence, intention, curiosity, and commitment to the practice.
Microdosing is above all an invitation. Once you begin your practice, regardless of the effects, you are in dialogue with the medicine whether you are aware of it or not. If you silence the mind, slow down, and approach with mindfulness, you will find that the next steps will always reveal themselves.
When you don't feel your dose, instead of getting frustrated, try getting curious. Ask yourself: what needs to shift in my life? Am I really living in alignment and integrity with my stated goals? Where can I make adjustments and improvements? Where can I become more present? Where can I slow down more? Where can I let go of control? Your answer to these questions is the very essence of a mindful microdosing practice.