Jerry has been wanting to microdose for a while, he finally acquired some magic mushroom powder capsules and is excited to get started, he trusts the person who told him how many capsules to dose with so he takes his dose in the morning and goes about his day. An hour later, he is at an important client meeting when everything starts to feel a bit distorted; the lights seem really bright, he can't stop yawning, and can't quite concentrate on what is being said! A strong sense of panic and anxiety takes over him! Eek! Jerry is high in the boardroom!
This sounds like an SNL skit but it's actually quite common for newbie microdosers! They are eager to get started, trust someone with dose recommendations, or increase their dose too much and too fast, and voila! They find themselves high in the PTA meeting or the boardroom. So does this mean that getting high is an inevitable part of microdosing? Of course not! So what is the perfect microdose without getting high? Well, it depends...
The short answer is that there is no standard one-size-fits-all approach to dosing. We each have different levels of tolerance, metabolism, and sensitivities. These variations are predominantly rooted in our genes and lifestyle. What might be the perfect dose for one person might be too overwhelming for another and produce no effects for a third individual.
Microdosing is therefore a spectrum vs a set dose. Below are the spectrums of microdosing for the two most commonly microdoses substances. Each individual's optimal dose falls somewhere in this spectrum:
Dried Psilocybin Mushrooms (or powder): 0.05 - 0.2 grams
LSD: 5-15 micrograms
A true microdose is a sub-perceptual dose that produces very subtle effects below the level of perception and does not impair the ability of the individual to perform their daily routines. What this means is that the individual can notice a shift in their experience but isn't quite able to point to what the shift is exactly. Some common descriptions of the experience provided by microdosers include feeling more present in their body, a subtle enhancement of their senses, a sense of softening or "taking the edge off", a softness in their gaze, or a buzzing sensation in their body.
Interestingly, the same dose under the same conditions can provide different sensations for the same individual on different days. This is why finding your "sweet spot" takes time, experimentation, and patience. Keeping track of variables like sleep, diet, exercise, stress, and external influences can help each individual to gain a deeper understanding of their unique body chemistry and optimal conditions for enhanced results.
The "sweet spot" doesn't just refer to the dose but also the conditions of the body, mind, and environment that reliably produce the desired outcome. When we become attuned to the potency of even the most subtle influences, we design a more mindful, supportive, and beneficial lifestyle to support our body, mind, and spirit. This is the true medicine of microdosing. This practice of attunement is a rite of passage into mindful microdosing and a wonderful way to set up a strong foundation for a profound and fruitful practice.
Follow these tested and true steps to support you in finding your perfect dose for microdosing:
1. Start During a Period of Standard Routine
The more steady the day-to-day conditions, the simpler it will be to understand the impact of different internal and external influences on the dose experience. Furthermore, in order for the sweet spot to be reliable across different daily routines like work, driving, creativity, and fitness, it would require experimentation under these conditions. Our sweet spot during a relaxing beach vacation will be different than in a board room.
2. Follow a Regimented Protocol
Microdosing, especially for those new to the practice, works best when following a regimented protocol. Having a protocol with set dosing, transition, and integration days is the ideal template for exploring your perfect dose. The ideal beginner protocol is The Fadiman Protocol which involves 4-8 weeks of one day of dosing followed by two non-dosing days (a transition day and an integration day), followed by another dosing day and two non-dosing days, and so on. You can learn everything you need to know about microdosing protocols here.
3. Begin Low and Go Slow
Start your dose exploration practice on the lower end of the microdosing spectrum (as outlined earlier) and slowly work your way up in small increments to identify your optimal dose. Allow each dose a few days to settle before increasing your dose. Aim to increase your dose on days when you can safely manage the potential of impairment.
4. Keep Track of Influences
As mentioned earlier, factors like diet, lifestyle, substances, and environment influence the dose experience. Keeping track of these influences and variables will support you in designing a more reliable regimen and routine to receive more from your practice. A microdosing journal is an ideal way to stay on track and be aware of how different factors affect your experience while deepening your understanding and connection with the practice.
5. Practice Patience and Grace
The most common mistake individuals make during the dose experimentation process is moving too fast and approaching the practice with a sense of entitlement which inevitably leads to frustration. Practicing patience and grace is essential to cultivating an authentic, mindful, and profound practice.
Psychedelics are known as teachers and the dose exploration period is undoubtedly an important part of the rite of passage into the wisdom of psychedelics. Very often the reason someone isn't feeling the dose is that they need to increase their presence, patience, grace, and mindfulness, not their dose. With that said, there are other reasons someone might not be feeling their dose.
As individuals explore and settle into their sweet spot for a couple of months, they can choose to experiment with different dosing protocols by dose higher or lower on some of the days depending on their intention and intuition and also choosing to follow a more intuitive schedule for dosing. This is especially a suitable option for anyone microdosing for creativity, flow, and spiritual connection. Individuals who are microdosing for mental health are best supported with regimented protocols and steady doses.
If you're new to microdosing, looking to expand your knowledge and practice, or microdosing for a specific goal, a professionally-crafted Personalized Microdosing Protocol is a great way to set a strong foundation for a potent and supportive practice.