Can I Work While Microdosing Psychedelics?
Updated: Jan 9
You've been hearing the buzz; microdosing is the fast-growing health and optimization practice from Silicon valley boardrooms to pro-athletes and now "microdosing moms"! But is it really possible to microdose and go about your day as usual?
Here we dive into everything you need to know to avoid ending up high in a boardroom or PTA meeting while microdosing!
Perhaps the most common question I get as a microdosing consultant is "Can I really work/drive/focus on a microdose?". The answer is: absolutely, yes! BUT only on a true microdose!
Microdosing by definition refers to taking a very low sub-hallucinogenic dose of a psychedelic substance. The general consensus is that a true microdose is anywhere from 3% to 10% of a full dose.
When it comes to microdosing, the magic is in the low dose!
Microdosing, above all, is about the subtlety of experience. If you experience visual distortions at any capacity or a surge of emotions, you've taken too much! Besides dosage, there are also other important factors to consider. So before you dive into the world of microdosing, here are 6 important things to consider to safely microdose at work:
1) Take your first dose on a day off work and major responsibilities
The best way to choose your dose is to start with the smallest effective dose (often ~ 3% of a full dose) and take your initial dose on a day when you don't have many responsibilities in order to gauge how the dose affects your ability to focus and function.
A true microdose should not interfere with your ability to go about your day as usual or hinder your capacity to function in complex tasks. If you notice any impairment, reduce your dose the next time and repeat this process on low commitment days until you find an optimal dose for your specific body chemistry.
2 ) Keep a journal of your experience to better understand your body chemistry and dosage control
The effects of microdosing vary from person to person and even across multiple days for a single individual. There are days that I really notice my microdose effects and days that I can barely tell whether I took a dose or not. This is likely related to the body chemistry and also whether you are taking a pure microdose or a stack (formula containing other ingredients).
Microdosing is an invitation to mindfulness and intimacy with oneself and the practice. One of the medicines of a microdosing practice is that the individual gets to cultivate and fine-tune their own experience with the practice over time. In order to accomplish that, we are invited to be present and mindful of our experience, carefully tracking how we feel each day; curiously mapping out the possible influences.
This is why I recommend keeping a journal of your experience from sleep patterns to diet and overall physical, mental, and emotional changes. Over time, you'll develop a deep understanding of how your different lifestyle choices affect your experience of your dose giving you the freedom to choose and curate your experience as you see fit.
3) Increase dosage incrementally
While you are encouraged to experiment to find your optimal microdose, it is important that you do so incrementally. While a dosage increase from 100mg of magic mushrooms to 200mg might not sound significant, these two doses produce vastly different results for different individuals. My recommendation is to increase the dosage by no more than 20% at a time: in this case, going from 100mg to 120mg is a safe transition.
Furthermore, it is best to give each dosage a few days to notice the true effects of the dose. As stated above, body chemistry plays a significant role and the effects of a dose should not be measured based on a single day's experience.
4) Taking pharmaceuticals? Seek expert advice before microdosing!
Pharmaceutical drugs, especially if they are mood-altering, can wildly impact the effects of a microdose anywhere from exacerbating the effects to nullifying them!
While microdosing has so far proven to be a safe practice, combining them with certain pharmaceutical drugs can pose risks and should only be done with the approval of your doctor and under the guidance of a microdosing expert with integrative mental health training.
Please do not stop taking prescribed medications without consulting your doctor.
5) Do not microdose without support if you struggle with anxiety
While microdosing has been shown to reduce anxiety, in my practice, I have found that for about 30% of individuals with anxiety, microdosing in fact increases the symptoms.
The good news is that in most cases, simple dietary and lifestyle changes paired with additional supplementation help mitigate the initial uptake in anxiety and appears to deliver improvements in anxiety symptoms within weeks of adjustment.
If you are experiencing anxiety, it is recommended that you consult a professional before starting to microdose to avoid any adverse reactions and interruptions to your usual daily activities while microdosing.
6) Do not microdose shortly after a large entheogenic dose
If you are a weathered psychonaut and occasionally work with large doses of entheogenic substances, take great care and caution to ensure you allow a significant time buffer between a large psychedelic experience and your microdosing practice.
While you can often safely go from microdosing to taking a larger dose, the opposite is not true! An entheogenic experience like ayahuasca, 5-MeO-DMT, or a heroic dose of mushrooms has a lingering effect on the brain chemistry for many weeks following the experience. A microdose taken within a short timeframe after these experiences can trigger an intense and incapacitating psychedelic state.
Depending on the dosage and type of entheogen consumed, I recommend 4-6 weeks of integrative reset before consuming any psychedelic substances including small microdoses.
Once you've taken into account all the above precautions, you are ready to begin exploring microdosing without the fear of impairment! As always, keep in mind that psychedelic medicines, even in tiny doses, are unfortunately still Schedule I substances in much of the United States. Take the time to study your local and state laws and consider all risks and discretions to make an informed decision that fits your specific needs.