Alongside other questions about psychedelics, many people commonly wonder which substances to take and what a proper dose looks like. Unlike commercialized drugs that come in uniform sizes like prescription medication, cigarettes, and beer, it’s more difficult to find a ‘standard’ dose of a psychedelic substance.
Psychedelics affect people in different ways and it’s important to realize that even the same dose of the same psychedelic drug at different times can produce entirely different experiences—even for the same person.
Although the variety of experiences do make psychedelic dosages somewhat difficult to quantify, we have experiential, anecdotal and scientific information to help decide proper dosage amounts. While recent research has discovered certain dosages can contribute to positive effects, the responsibility of determining a safe and sufficient dosage for your experience will ultimately fall on you.
What You’ll Need
There are a few things that every psychonaut will need in order to accurately determine dosage:
- A Drug Test Kit: It is absolutely essential that you know what substance you’re ingesting. When it comes to staying safe and supporting your journey with psychedelics, a drug testing kit is your best friend.
- High-quality Scale: Investing in a high-quality scale is crucial. Aside from LSD, all substances can be weighed. When it comes to certain substances (like DMT), even a slight change in weight can have a huge impact, so it’s important that you can ensure you’re taking the correct amount.
Psychedelic Dosages Compared to Other Drugs
While we’ve come a long way in terms of research and regulation, we’ve only just begun to dip our toes into the psychedelic pool. Whereas specific dosages and recommendations can be made for other drugs (tobacco, alcohol, etc.), medical guidance and safety protocols still fall behind when it comes to psychedelics.
Prohibition has ultimately caused the safety and efficacy of psychedelics to fall into the hands of the users themselves. With future legislation and legalization, that may change.
But for now, the best way for users to stay informed and practice harm reduction is with the help of a psychedelic facilitator who provides preparation, trip sitting, and integration services throughout your journey. If you’re interested in this type of support and how to get the most out of your psychedelic experiences, connect with a psychedelic guide today.
In the meantime, we’ve put together this comprehensive psychedelic dosage guide based on each type of substance. This guide will help you determine how much of each substance to take for your desired effect. We’ll state our recommended dose as well as what a light and a heavy dose would look like for reference.
Recommended Dosage: 20 to 30 mg of psilocybin/70 kg of body mass (typically equates to about 3 to 5 grams of dried mushroom)
It’s important to note that much of the research involving psilocybin has involved the active chemical compound itself—not the entire mushroom. Recreational psilocybin use typically involves the mushroom as a whole.
Furthermore, different Psilocybe mushrooms contain different amounts of psilocybin, the ingredient that makes you “trip.” If you’re going to use a recommended dosage, you’ll have to do some math to work the weight of the mushrooms required to contain the amount of recommended psilocybin (mg).
Fortunately, there are a few calculators that can help: this calculator allows you to choose from fresh or dried mushrooms or truffles, and this one breaks it down into different strains of mushroom and considers if you’re taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) or not.
Generally speaking, higher doses of psilocybin are associated with more positive benefits. However, as with most substances, this is a very fine line and higher doses don’t always translate into better experiences. Higher doses will almost always result in a more intense experience, which can result in significant discomfort (what many categorize as a bad trip).
It’s also important to note that even the lowest dosages used in these studies produce long-lasting and positive changes in spiritual beliefs, overall satisfaction, behavior, and attitudes.
This supports the idea that both microdosing (taking a small amount that doesn’t make you hallucinate) and macrodosing (taking an amount that kicks off a full blown psychedelic trip) provide benefits. With that being said, if you’re experimenting with psilocybin for the first time, start small.
Here’s what science says about psilocybin dosages:
- 51 Cancer patients were given either a very low dose (1-3 mg/70 kg) or a high dose (22 or 30 mg/70 kg) to study the effects of potentially decreasing depression associated with life-threatening illnesses. The high dose cases reported decreases in depressed mood and anxiety. They also reported decreased death anxiety, increased quality of life, and improvements in optimism and life meaning. However, with these high doses also came elevated blood pressure, discomfort, nausea, and some psychological discomfort.
- Another study investigated headaches (which are commonly reported with psilocybin use) and reported that the duration, severity, and incidence all increase with the dosage amount (5, 10, 20, and 30 mg/70 kg).
- Mystical-type experiences are generally reported with higher doses of psilocybin. Perceptual effects began at around 20 to 30 mg/70 kg dosages. These higher doses also attributed to longer-lasting benefits in behavior, mood, attitudes. They also contributed to “substantial personal and spiritual significance,” with the highest dose producing the greatest positive effects.
It’s important to realize that sometimes, even “bad trips” produce the most benefits in the long run. In one study, a volunteer was given the highest dose (30 mg/70 kg) and reported that it was the worst experience she had ever encountered.
Although she almost dropped out of the study, she ended up continuing to participate and actually re-evaluated her first experience as one with spiritual significance with life satisfaction and well-being benefits. She then rated her second encounter as the number one most personally meaningful and spiritually significant experience of her life.
While genuinely “bad” trips are possible, especially with higher doses, it’s helpful to know that there are tools that can help mitigate bad trips and transform them into experiences with significant insight and meaning.
Feeling supported in your journey with psychedelics is undoubtedly the best way to prevent truly bad trips, and to turn them into meaningful experiences. Seeking support from a psychedelic trip sitter who also offers integration services is essential to accessing and implementing the insights received in a magic mushroom experience, especially the tough ones. Click here to speak with one of our expert facilitators today.
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
Recommended Dosage: 50 – 150 µg (micrograms) per individual, 200+ µg in highly supportive settings
LSD also has unique characteristics that make it somewhat difficult to dose. Unless you have a direct connection to the illicit source or are able to access LSD in liquid form, you probably won’t know how much you are taking.
That’s because the most common form of LSD comes on blotter paper, which is an absorbent paper soaked in a solution of LSD. An average sheet of blotter paper has about 100 uniform tabs containing about 100 µg per tab.
However, unless you know who’s prepared the blotter sheet, it’s difficult to know how much LSD each tab or hit will contain. In other words, one piece of blotter paper could contain 100 µg and another tab of the exact same size could contain 200 µg. That said, it’s important to exercise caution when it comes to LSD, as even with the most trustworthy sources, you may be consuming an unknown amount.
Here’s what science says about LSD dosages:
- The minimal recognizable dose of LSD is about 25 µg. A moderate dose (75 to 150 µg) will result in a significantly altered state of consciousness and is commonly associated with euphoria, increased introspection, pseudohallucinations, changes in ego-function, and alterations of thinking and time experience. This makes LSD difficult to microdose (we prefer psilocybin for microdosing).
- A full LSD reaction typically occurs at doses of around 100 to 200 µg. At the higher end (200 µg), mystical experiences are typically reported, and this dose is associated with benefits for depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder. Compared to a 100 µg dose, 200 µg produces greater feelings of openness, trust, happiness, and closeness to others. A typical experience will last eight hours on average. Residual effects can last for over 12+ hours after ingestion.
- Doses of more than 100 µg produce psycho-sensory effects like increased sensory perception, synesthesia, and enhanced mental imagery. It is also associated with weakened ego identification. A 200 µg dose is not associated with acute or chronic adverse effects and has been attributed to reductions in anxiety for up to 12 months. Interestingly, the 200 µg dose was associated with less anxiety during the experience than what was reported with the placebo.
Traumatic experiences (“bad trips”) with LSD are possible, and they can contribute to long-lasting effects. These are most commonly reported when LSD use takes place in uncontrolled conditions. If you need support integrating a challenging LSD experience, we encourage you to reach out to one of our psychedelic integration specialists today.
In a safe and supportive environment, even extremely high doses of LSD may produce long-lasting positive effects. In fact, in the case of three accidental LSD overdoses, positive mental and physical health effects were reported.
Recommended Dosage: 3 mg per kg of body mass, or 60 to 150 mg (dependent on weight and sensitivity)
Pure MDMA itself is a very safe drug and presents less danger than other substances like alcohol and tobacco. It’s rarely habit-forming and has a smaller risk of death than horse riding. However, MDMA does present great risk to those who use it when it contains other substances.
Due to a lack of regulation and safety protocols for the illicit substance, the black market has become a place where dangerous variants are sold as MDMA, which is why drug testing kits are vital to risk mitigation and safety. MDMA typically comes in the form of a powder or pressed pill and these testing kits will help you determine whether any additives or harmful chemicals are in your substance.
Regardless of what form MDMA comes in, the responsibility ultimately falls into the hands of the user. Again, it is highly recommended that you purchase a drug testing kit and test any substance you plan on consuming.
Here’s what science says about MDMA dosages:
- Low doses (50 to 75 mg) are physiologically and psychologically safe, with greater efficacy (reductions in anxiety, depression, phobias, damaged self-esteem) reported for the higher dose (75 mg). No adverse side effects were reported at these dosages.
- Regular doses of MDMA (80 to 150 mg) produce euphoria, enhanced sensations, and increased empathy and energy—however, they can also produce adverse physiological effects like tremors, nystagmus, nausea, and elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Effects typically last three to five hours.
- Positive effects are typically reported up to doses of 100 mg, with higher doses associated with more negative effects. Doses of 180 mg or more associated with only negative effects.
- Higher doses are also associated with sleep loss and some effects on psychomotor function.
The safety of MDMA has been demonstrated in recent clinical trials, particularly those who have reported its efficacy at reducing symptoms of PTSD. However, most recreational MDMA use involves other substances and consuming it at much higher doses than recommended.
These have both been associated with the increase of MDMA-related deaths and is something to be wary of if you plan on consuming MDMA (reminder: test your substances and use a scale!).
For many, these numbers, calculations, and recommendations are confusing. It can sometimes be a lot to process, but getting a dosage right is a pretty crucial component of psychedelic safety. A knowledgeable and supportive psychedelic guide can help demystify dosages as you prepare for your experience as well as provide in-person support during the trip itself. Click here to speak with a trip sitter today.
Recommended Dosage: 20 to 40 mg (smoked), or 0.2 to 0.4 mg per kg of body mass (intravenous infusion)*
*Please note that in clinical research, DMT is typically given intravenously, so these numbers should be considered to reflect that route of administration.
DMT is one of the most powerful psychedelic compounds in the world producing a short, but extremely intense experience. DMT can come in the form of crystalline powder, suspended in a liquid, or infused with herbs (Changa). When used recreationally, DMT is typically smoked or vaporized. It is consumed at a single time (the whole dose in one hit).
DMT is also the main psychoactive ingredient in Ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic herbal brew that has been used in sacred religious ceremonies of indigenous peoples of South America for generations. However, odds are if you live in the United States, these religious ceremonies will be illegal and not readily available.
This is not a psychedelic substance to be taken lightly. Despite its short duration, the experience often results in overwhelming visual phenomena, ego-dissolution, and impaired motor function. As with other substances, start small and gauge your tolerance before you try a larger dose.
Here’s what science says about DMT dosages:
- Higher intravenous doses (0.2 to 0.4 mg/kg) were associated with brightly colored visuals, a brief loss of control, and an overwhelming rush before a dissociated state (where both anxiety and euphoria were reported). Lower doses (0.05 to 0.1 mg/kg) were ironically associated with less desirable effects.
- Recreational doses of smoked DMT are usually around 40 to 50 mg but can reach upwards of 100 mg. Higher doses are associated with sensory alterations. Lethality hasn’t been reported, even with extremely high doses.
- Near-death experiences have been associated with positive and long-term changes in psychological health and well-being and have been reported with various doses of DMT (7, 14, 18, 20 mg intravenous solutions).
Recommended Dosage: 25 to 100 mg (dependent on route of administration and your intention/goals)
Ketamine has historically been used as an anesthetic for medical procedures and surgery. However, recent alternative applications have produced positive results in addressing symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, and treatment-resistant depression.
However, it is important to note that ketamine is typically administered via intravenous infusion, intramuscular injection, or oral lozenge in legal clinical settings; whereas illicit forms of ketamine typically come in a powder that is insufflated (snorted).
The difference in administration methods change the recommended dosage. And as always, use a drug testing kit and scale to reduce the chance of adverse reactions.
Here’s what science says about ketamine dosages:
- A typical recreational dose is 50 to 100 mg (intravenously), 75 to 125 mg (intramuscularly), 200 to 300 mg (orally), or 60 to 250 mg (nasally).
- At lower doses, “heart opening” effects are experienced, like euphoria, compassion, peace, and pain relief. Medium doses produce out-of-body experiences and large doses can simulate a near-death experience or a complete loss of self.
- The average lethal dose is 600 mg per kg of body mass, or 4.2 g for a 70 kg (154 lbs) human. At lower amounts, overdose can cause symptoms like hypertension, abdominal pain, vomiting, impaired consciousness, excessive salivation, and chest pain.
- Long-term use of ketamine has been associated with severe urinary tract problems and episodic and semantic memory impairments.
Unlike other psychedelics, ketamine has been associated with the development of tolerance and psychological dependence. However, it’s important to note that emergencies and death are extremely rare with ketamine and when these do happen, it’s typically because ketamine is used in conjunction with another substance.
Recommended Dosage: 66 to 800 mg (smoked), 5-25mg starting dose (ingested)
A standard recommended dosage for cannabis is extremely difficult to gauge. Different strains contain different combinations of cannabinoids (particularly THC and CBD) and terpenes (that control the effect of the high) which makes it difficult to quantify the proper dose.
In addition, an individual’s tolerance will impact how they feel when using cannabis, and the various methods of use impact the human body differently. Smoking produces a quicker, shorter high, while edibles produce a long-lasting high that can take a few hours to feel.
Even different inhalation methods, whether it be a joint, pipe, or vaporizer cartridge, will burn the THC in different ways, meaning that different amounts will make it into your body. Some scientists are pushing for a ‘standard’ dose of 5 mg THC.
If you have access to testing results such as cannabinoid percentage, a calculator can help determine how much cannabis (THC) you’ll consume, but you’ll obviously have to experiment to determine what dosage is best for you.
Here’s what science says about cannabis dosages:
- Different doses are used for different medicinal goals (i.e. 5 mg for glaucoma, 5 to 7.5 mg for HIV/AIDS symptoms, 2 to 5 mg for seizures).
- The route of administration matters: 1 mg of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in an edible product is roughly the equivalent of 5.71 mg of THC in smokable cannabis.
- The “entourage effect” (i.e. the effect of tens, if not hundreds, of cannabinoids and other constituents present in the plant that increase in strength when combined, think of it as synergy) can produce different effects and modulate the “high” produced by THC.
- For cancer patients, pain relief is reported at doses of 400 mg of smoked dried cannabis.
- Subjective ratings of marijuana (a particular study used terms such as “strength,” “good effect,” “take again,” “high”) are not dose-dependent.
- Even within one type of route of administration, such as smoking, the dosage will be influenced by a variety of factors (number, spacing, and duration of puffs, inhalation volume, hold time, etc.)
Knowing the THC and CBD content is vital information for users. Yet cannabis is more complex than that and we still have a long way to go. The cannabis plant hasn’t been recognized by the FDA, and labeling is not yet consistent across legalized states.
Recommended Dosage is Not One Size Fits All
Because of the social and political stigma of psychedelics in the United States, there isn’t much actionable guidance on what the correct dosage is for your unique body and intended outcome. This means that when it comes down to it, your experience with psychedelics will be exactly that, yours.
While anecdotal and scientific evidence can help you make decisions when it comes to dosage amounts, what works best for you will ultimately require some experimentation on your end. In order to find the optimal amount of any substance, you should always start small.
While sometimes, higher doses result in “more enlightening” experiences, this isn’t always the case. In the same vein, overconsumption can be extremely uncomfortable. Just remember: you can always take more, but you can’t take less.
You’ll want to find a dose that works best for you and your desired outcome. While you can read every scientific journal article and forum response out there, you’ll have to determine your own guidelines for your psychedelic use. Your tolerance and response to each substance will be unique, and psychedelic safety will ultimately be up to you.
If you think you would benefit from tips on proper dosage and other preparation techniques, trip sitting, or integration services, get in touch with one of our experienced psychedelic facilitators today.