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How to Microdose After a High-Dose Psychedelic Experience

Considering a microdose after a macrodose experience requires careful reflection on the profound changes to one’s perception and emotional state. It’s essential to establish a new baseline and assess whether microdosing can support the integration of these transformative insights.

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Today, we delve into a nuanced and deeply personal topic that intrigues many within the psychedelic community: the considerations and implications of microdosing after experiencing a high-dose psychedelic journey. 

While discussing the potential benefits and challenges of microdosing as an integration tool, we also highlight how microdosing can enhance one’s sensitivity and awareness, potentially aiding in the integration process. 

However, we’ll also caution listeners, sharing insightful reflections on how individuals navigate the delicate balance between seeking transformation through psychedelics and engaging with these substances in a way that respects both their power and the individual’s journey. 

Touching on the importance of intention setting and the need for establishing a new baseline post-experience, we explore the thoughtful approach to integration and the relationship one has with psychedelic substances. 

This article serves as both a guide and a reflective space for those interested in understanding the complexities of psychedelic integration, offering insights into the thoughtful consideration required when deciding to microdose after a high-dose experience.

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Key Takeaways

      • The Afterglow: Following a high-dose psychedelic journey, embracing the “afterglow” period—marked by subtle yet significant shifts in consciousness and perspective—is crucial for processing and integrating the experience. 

      • Intentionality: Choosing to microdose after a macrodose experience should be a decision made with clear intentions, acknowledging the importance of self-reflection and using psychedelics as a tool for growth.

      • Non-Specific Amplifier Effect: Serotonergic psychedelics can amplify latent psychological aspects post macrodose journey, manifesting in varied experiences such as heightened fear or amplified feelings of safety.

      • Psychedelic Passage: Your Psychedelic Concierge — The easy, legal way to find trustworthy psilocybin guides, facilitators and psychedelic-assisted therapy near you in the United States.

    Understanding the After-Effects of A High Dose Journey

    Post a high-dose journey, individuals often experience what is referred to as an “afterglow,” the unfolding of altered consciousness and perspective shifts, leaving an individual in a variably modified state, where the immediate effects have subsided yet subtle alterations in perception linger.

    This is typically reported to last 24 hours to a few days and involves a continuation of the themes that unfolded during the psychedelic experience, underlining the sustained impact on one’s worldview and perspective. 

    While there’s a large range of what the after-effects may look like, there’s a general consensus that after a psychedelic trip it’s important to rest and recover, especially in the 2-3 days after but in the following weeks for some as well.

    At Psychedelic Passage we recommend waiting at least 30 days post-macrodose before making any big decisions in life because of this altered state that arises after a powerful psychedelic experience. 

    Recommended Reading: What Is the Afterglow Period?

    Determining If Microdosing After a High Dose Psychedelic Trip Is Right For You

    Self-reflection is of the utmost importance when deciding on whether to microdose post-macrodose, including life factors outside of the psychedelic realm. How are your energy levels? Do you feel grounded and stable or more vulnerable? 

    Are your emotions difficult and hard to navigate or do they feel more beneficial to your life right now? What about external factors like how busy you are, or how much personal time your job allows for?

    Intentionality and Microdosing

    At the heart of deciding to microdose after a high-dose experience lies the core principle of intentionality

    Determining your goal for microdosing, whether it serves as a means to prolong the afterglow, aid in integration, or as a tool for further psychological exploration, can help you decide how to navigate your post-journey experience. 

    Don’t hesitate to consider your relationship with the psychedelic substance. Some may find they are seeking out a microdose because they believe the medicine will do the work for them, instead of using it as a tool. 

    “If you’re a person who is leaning into a large dose experience or even microdosing with this thought of like, man, if I can just do enough of this medicine, it’s gonna show me or the things I need to see, or it’s gonna do the work for me. I really invite you to pause for a second and just really think about what your intentions are around psychedelic work.”

    The Western approach to psychedelics can be characterized as extractive in nature, reducing the psychedelic experience almost to a means to an end. 

    In stark contrast, holistic viewpoints, often embodied by shamanic and traditional cultures, embrace a more relational and respectful engagement with psychedelics. 

    Here, the substances are not mere means to an end but are approached with reverence, acknowledging their finite nature and the privilege of their use. 

    This perspective advocates for a symbiotic relationship with psychedelics, one that respects the wisdom these substances hold and recognizes the importance of intentionality in their use.

    Anecdotal Evidence on Tolerance

    Jimmy has learned through clients’ experiences that dosage tolerance often varies after a large dose experience, especially for those who microdosed prior to the large dose experience. 

    He finds that his clients often report a heightened sensitivity and awareness post-high dose experience, and in turn need a smaller dose than usual to achieve the desired effects.

    The Importance of Establishing a New Baseline After Your High Dose Experience

    As William James and Michael Pollan have artfully said, one feature of a transcendental or psychedelic experience is ineffability, or the quality of something that surpasses the capacity of language to express it. 

    In order to establish a baseline, you first must get some distance from the macrodose experience. This ensures you have time to explore the things that seem intangible about your experience, and to build a comparison between pre- and post-trip you.

    During this time, observing any shifts in emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being post the high-dose experience can lead you to finding your new baseline.

    You can ask yourself questions like, am I still generally feeling the same emotions in the same volume? Or, what effects from the macrodose journey have stuck with me, and which have faded away?

    “Some people live in the emotional home of anger. Some people live in the emotional home of anxiety. Some people live in the emotional home of grief and sadness. Some people live in the emotional home of joy or connectedness to others. 

    It’s like when all the variables in life hit you, what’s the default emotional state that you go through or go to? This might be an interesting discovery to see—has that shifted?”

    There can be changes in physical and mental baselines as well. Some clients report reconnecting with their physical body and noticing pain in certain places they hadn’t recognized before. Some report feeling more mental clarity or brainpower post-macrodose. 

    Collecting data on yourself and your experience can bring an element of tangibility to the differences pre and post-trip, especially sub perceptual changes. Keeping track of these changes can help you determine how long to wait before microdosing.

    Establishing this new baseline helps in distinguishing between the effects attributed to the psychedelic experience from those derived from microdosing, facilitating a clearer understanding of the ongoing integration process as well.

    Integrating a High Dose Experience Before Microdosing

    “Neuroplasticity is not an event, it’s a process” — Andrew Huberman, PS 2023

    The integration of a high-dose psychedelic experience is a critical phase, wherein an individual processes and makes sense of the insights and shifts encountered. 

    Nguyen advises waiting at least two weeks before starting microdosing to allow for the commencement of this integration process as well as the establishment of your new baseline.

    Such a window can provide clarity on the effects of the high-dose experience, enabling a more informed approach to microdosing that aligns with one’s needs for healing or growth.

    Microdosing as a Tool For Integration

    Microdosing can indeed be a powerful tool for integration, subtly enhancing the process of weaving psychedelic insights into the fabric of one’s daily life

    However, Nguyen cautions against using it prematurely or as a crutch, rather than as a complementary process to natural integration. The aim is to support, not overshadow, the profound work initiated by the high-dose experience.

    “No amount of psychedelic work is a replacement for your own internal work, for your own internal discovery, for your own internal inquiry, for your own internal suffering and processing through that. 

    I think certainly they could be an accompaniment and an aid, but also, I urge folks to keep things in balance as it relates to your principles and integrity around how you are approaching psychedelics.”

    The Non-specific Amplifier Effect of Microdoses

    The non-specific amplifier effect of psychedelics, particularly serotonergic substances, represents a mechanism where these compounds magnify latent or subdued aspects of an individual’s psyche, making them more apparent, and sometimes overwhelmingly so.

    This effect can manifest in many different ways, for example, those who are addressing fear and anxiety may find those feelings heighten themselves during and after the experience as a way of connecting and engaging with that content. 

    Another example of non-specific amplification shows a completely different outcome. Those with fear and anxiety may experience an amplification of the feeling of safety, feeling safe in the body and with the people around them. 

    Regardless of the outcome, non-specific amplification brings more content to your therapeutic process. If a macrodose has left you with a bundle of content that you need to integrate and process, then it is important to explore that content before adding anything new by microdosing. 

    From The Best Microdosing Practices to Sourcing — Everything You Need to Know 

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    1. What is the significance of the “afterglow period” post a high-dose journey?

                    The afterglow period signifies a phase characterized by subtle alterations in perception and sustained impact on one’s worldview, lasting typically 24 hours to a few days, inviting reflection and integration of the psychedelic experience.

                    2. How can one determine if microdosing after a high-dose experience is suitable for them?

                    Conduct a thorough self-reflection, considering factors like emotional stability, energy levels, and external stresses before engaging in microdosing post-macrodose to ensure alignment with personal well-being and integration goals.

                    It’s also important to consider your intentions to ensure you are working towards your goals instead of just trying to prolong the “trip”.

                    3. Why is it recommended to establish a new baseline before considering microdosing after a high-dose experience?

                    Establishing a new baseline in between macro and microdoses allows for a clearer understanding of the changes post-macrodose experience, facilitating the distinction between effects attributed to the psychedelic journey and those from microdosing, essential for effective integration and informed decision-making.

                    4. How long should I wait before considering microdosing after a high-dose psychedelic experience?

                    To ensure adequate integration and establishment of a new baseline, it is recommended to wait at least two weeks post-macrodose journey before initiating microdosing. This is the least amount of time recommended, 3-4 weeks being a suitable time to wait as well.

                    5. How does the non-specific amplifier effect of psychedelics influence one’s therapeutic journey post a high-dose experience?

                    The non-specific amplifier effect can be unpredictable and very dependent on your internal landscape. Prioritizing exploration and integration of existing content post-macrodose is essential before delving into microdosing to avoid becoming overwhelmed with content and ensure meaningful progress.

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