The world is full of beautiful and awe-inspiring experiences. However, the complexities of daily life can sometimes cloud our perception and challenge our innate connection with the world around us.
Many people who practice microdosing report increased creativity, productivity, presence, and a sense of well-being, inner peace, and happiness.
However, while taking large doses of psychedelics can lead to profound and spontaneous healing, microdosing is the act of taking sub-perceptual, small doses of a psychedelic substance to receive a subtle shift in consciousness.
Microdosing done correctly will not impair your ability to function in your daily life because of how faint the effects are. If you are nervous to take a full dose, microdosing can be a reliable starting point. In this article, we will explore tips and tricks for optimizing your microdosing practice as well as how to integrate microdosing into the rest of your daily life.
What is Microdosing & Why is it Popular?
The practice of taking intentional, small doses of psychedelics provides a way to experience the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic substances without the intensity of the hallucinogenic effects.
Purported benefits include improved mood, decreased anxiety, increased creativity, enhanced cognitive function, increased focus, and a greater capacity for present awareness in life.
It is believed that microdosing increases neuroplasticity in the brain, which refers to the brain’s ability to adapt and change over time. Neuroplasticity is essentially the brain’s innate resilience and adaptability in the face of trauma or stress.
It’s important to note that, according to the vast majority of anecdotal reports, microdosing as a therapeutic tool offers profound benefits, but when it comes to clinical research, it is still relatively new with conflicting results.
In a 2022 study, participants who took .5 grams of psilocybin cubensis showed “acute effects [which] were significantly more intense for the active dose compared to the placebo” (Cavanna et al.).
The study also found “reduced EEG power in the theta band,” which is interesting given that theta brain wave activity is associated with meditative states, light sleep, and deep focus.
While the study concluded that no significant benefits were found regarding participants’ outputs for categories like creative thinking, well-being, and cognitive function, it did acknowledge “noticeable subjective effects.”
A 2019 study, contrastingly, found “a general increase in reported psychological functioning across all measures on dosing days” in categories of “mood, attention, wellbeing, mystical experiences, personality, creativity, and sense of agency” (Polito & Stevenson).
The study later analyzed expectancy bias and found that the pre-held beliefs of participants regarding the effects of microdosing had little to no impact on the observed outcomes.
There is a need for more rigorous research which screens for expectation bias, placebo effect, and studies the safety for long term use. Most recent research has instead focused on the effects of larger doses where the effect is evident.
Preparation: How to Get The Most Out of Your Microdose
Pick Your Psychedelic Medicine
In a past article, we explored how to choose the right psychedelic substance, however, most clients that we work with choose psilocybin mushrooms for microdosing. Some clients choose to microdose with other substances besides mushrooms—most commonly LSD—and we have created a comprehensive guide for how to microdose LSD.
Setting intentions before microdosing can help you focus your attention and get the most out of the experience. Consider what you want to achieve— whether it’s increased creativity, reduced anxiety, or something else entirely.
In a previous article, we covered how to set intentions for a psychedelic experience, but the same tips can apply to a microdosing session as well.
Overall, setting intentions isn’t about creating the perfect antidote to whatever problem you are trying to solve, but rather to hone in on one positive desire that can anchor you and establish a feeling of reverence for the medicine.
Download Our Free Psilocybin Sourcing Guide
For harm-reduction purposes, we provide links to online psilocybin vendors, local stores, delivery services, and spore vendors for growing your own medicine at home.
Set The Scene
It is no surprise that a supportive environment can help you feel comfortable and relaxed during a psychedelic experience. When it comes to microdosing, you can likely tolerate greater variation in your environment and setting in comparison with a macrodose.
However, deciding ahead of time what general space, atmosphere, and level of stimulation will be surrounding you can be an extension of intention-setting. Factors like lighting, music, activity, available tools, comfortability, and location can all contribute to an ultimate intentional experience.
Start With a Small Dose
When first starting to microdose, it’s best to begin with a low dose and gradually increase as needed. A good starting point is 1/10th to 1/20th of a standard dose. Starting with a low dose and gradually increasing as needed is recommended. You can hone in on the right dose by keeping a log of the effects you experience and tailoring your dose to the desired degree of effect.
Create a Schedule
To make microdosing a part of your daily routine, it’s essential to have a clear schedule and understand how long you should microdose. Consider the days when you have a lighter workload or more free time as an opportunity to first experiment.
Keeping a log of the effects you experience can be helpful when trying to create an intentional schedule. It’s essential to note the time, dose, and effects experienced during the day. This can help you fine-tune your practice.
Also, when it comes to certain psychedelics, a schedule can be crucial for not building tolerance. You can find more information on how to create a regimen for microdosing in our article about how to microdose psilocybin.
Be Consistent & Patient
Consistency is key when it comes to microdosing. Taking sporadic doses and failing to document any noticeable changes in the quality of your mood, emotions, and focus may lead to confusion over results.
Because microdosing works with subtle shifts in consciousness, paying close attention and sticking to a routine can really help you identify real results without distractions.
Practices to Enhance The Microdosing Experience
These transformative practices can encourage additional insights, absorption, and effect during your microdosing experience.
Journal For Self-Reflection
Journaling is an excellent way to enhance the microdosing experience. It can help you reflect on your intentions and note changes in your mood and perception. Try writing down your thoughts before, during, and after microdosing to track the qualitative changes in your mood, emotions, and thoughts.
Engage in Creative & Embodied Activities
In a previous article, we explored how psychedelics enhance creativity according to recent clinical trials, but the relationship between the two have been known for as long as human history has been recorded.
Engaging in creative activities such as drawing, painting, dancing, singing, and any other expressive practice can really help get you into a flow state. Psychedelics work in the brain by deactivating the Default Mode Network, which is associated with thought patterns regarding the past, future, other people, rumination, and self-construct.
Essentially, the DMN has been shown to be overactive in people with particular mental health disorders like depression, but decreased activity have been studied during psychedelic usage and during task absorption. Allowing yourself to enter an entranced, creative flow state could potentially boost the subtle shifts in the brain that were brought about via the microdose.
Spend Time in Nature
Spending time in nature can be incredibly grounding and help you connect with the world around you. It is no secret that feeling boundless connection with nature is a typical byproduct of psychedelic use.
Going for a walk (especially barefoot), or even just connecting with a single plant can add an additional element to the quality of consciousness invoked through the microdose. Nature is always calling, but sometimes we hear her louder than usual!
Meditate For Deeper Awareness
Psychedelics have been shown to enhance mindfulness practices, help us tap into feelings of gratitude, and fall into meditative states more readily. Breathwork in addition can be both grounding and calming for the nervous system as well as help get stagnant emotions moving that need cathartic release.
Combining the heightened awareness from microdosing with meditation practices can have a reciprocal relationship of boosting the effects of each.
Engulf The Senses—Or Deprive Them
Lastly, playing with perception can invoke interesting dynamics and even catalyze deep inner work. Both feeling enraptured by sensory stimulation and putting on a blindfold and headphones can add an additional element to your experience.
An example of engulfing the senses would be listening to music while watching the clouds pass by and feeling the earth beneath you. The opposite would be sitting in silence with your eyes closed or covered.
Both can offer opportunities for profound shifts in awareness, insights, and clarity of mind. One approach takes you inward while the other can invoke feelings of unity with one’s surroundings, but both paths ultimately lead to the same destination.
Speak With a Psychedelic Professional
Psychedelic Passage is a concierge service which connects clients to a network of pre-vetted, professional psychedelic guides and facilitators. Our services include preparation and integration support, ceremonial space-holding, harm reduction, optimization of the psychedelic experience, and microdosing consulting.
If you’re interested in exploring the therapeutic benefits of microdosing or a guided psychedelic journey, contact us for a consultation today, and our concierges will help begin the process of supporting you and your journey.
We also provide articles and resources on all things psychedelics—from the latest scientific research to tips and tricks to legal developments in the US—which you can find on our resources page.