Microdosing Mushrooms Guide & Effects

FEATURED
October 13, 2022

Nue Life

Nue Life
10 MIN READ

Microdosing Mushrooms: What To Expect

Growing up, you probably watched an educational school program about the negative effects of drugs on your brain. Since 1968, the general consensus has been that psychedelic drugs are nothing but trouble. But what if the most recent scientific studies showed a different perspective?

Taking psychedelic substances to experience their mind-altering effects has already been a trend for recreational drug users. However, the idea of taking these drugs in low doses is a reasonably new concept. Could microdosing substances like magic mushrooms benefit mental health? 

Learning more about this process can help you understand how emerging psychedelic treatments could help alleviate symptoms of mood disorders and guide you toward mental wellness.

What Are Mushrooms?

‘Magic mushrooms’ and ‘shrooms’ are both street names for a chemical compound called psilocybin that occurs naturally in some varieties of mushrooms. Psilocybin has psychedelic properties, which is one reason why people have used this substance for thousands of years.

Typically, people ingest mushrooms for a couple of reasons. First, they do so purely for recreational purposes. Taking shrooms induces a mind-altering trip that lasts for hours, and many people enjoy experiencing the hallucinogenic visions, mystical revelations, and altered perception of time. A good trip on mushrooms can cause someone to feel inspired for days afterward. Many people claim that their experiences under the influence of psychedelics hold a monumental significance in their lives.

Another reason people have historically ingested mushrooms is for religious and ceremonial reasons. Indigenous people have used several varieties of mushrooms for thousands of years in ceremonies and spiritual contexts. 

Additionally, people have been looking to microdosing mushrooms for relief. They might take them for pain, depression, trauma, or other mental health reasons.

Essentially, mushrooms are a well-known psychedelic that has held a position in recreational and ceremonial contexts throughout history. They induce powerful hallucinations and a euphoric state of mind for many people in standard doses.

What Is Microdosing?

Microdosing is precisely what it sounds like: taking a small amount of a substance. People often choose to microdose psychedelic substances at sub-hallucinogenic levels to avoid getting high. 

Microdosing psychedelics is a trend that has grown in popularity, especially in silicon valley, where many claim it has beneficial effects on creativity and productivity. Though the historical stance on psychedelic drugs has been to prohibit their use in all forms, some research suggests microdosing psychedelics may have positive effects. 

There are a few drugs that people typically microdose. Here’s a quick look at how each substance’s perceived effects differ:

  • Psychedelics: Although a typical experience with psychedelics may result in a trip full of mystical feelings and hallucinations, some claim that microdosing drugs like LSD, MDMA, ayahuasca, and cannabis can induce a heightened spiritual awareness and more creative energy.
  • Smart Drugs: This type of substance microdosing involves taking small amounts of prescription drugs (like Adderall) to improve cognitive functioning and focus.
  • Nootropics: Nootropic substances are common synthetic and natural substances that can help improve cognition and have minor side effects. Some examples of nootropic substances are caffeine, nicotine, L-Theanine, and creatine.

How Does Microdosing Mushrooms Work?

When it comes to mushrooms, a microdose is around one-tenth of a standard recreational dose. When taking a recreational amount of this substance, a few things happen chemically in the brain.

What does microdosing mushrooms do? First, the psilocybin compound in mushrooms binds itself to your 2A serotonin receptors. Psilocybin can then induce an altered state of mind where you experience visual hallucinations, heightened senses, and a warped sense of time.

With psilocybin microdosing, the idea is to take such a small amount that you don’t experience the high and extreme effects that accompany the drug. Ideally, this dosage would offer mental and emotional benefits that gently elevate your mood and functioning.

Are There Benefits of Microdosing Mushrooms?

If you were to run a quick online search to find the effects of microdosing mushrooms, you’d find many anecdotal claims about its life-changing properties. One of the main obstacles to understanding the possible benefits of this drug lies in the fact that it’s an illegal substance with no approved recreational or medical uses. Because of that, there have been relatively few clinical trials for the efficacy of psilocybin at standard doses. It may be several years before we see concrete studies covering the effects of microdosing this substance. 

Still, it’s worth taking a look at what people have to say about microdosing mushrooms. Here’s a quick list of the positive effects people connect to their microdosing experiences with mushrooms:

If true, the effects of microdosing mushrooms may become an alternative aid for relaxation, productivity, and improved well-being. However, these effects are self-reported in surveys, so it’s challenging to control dosage and eliminate the placebo effect. 

What Does Microdosing Mushrooms Feel Like?

No two people’s bodies are the same. One person could drink a shot of espresso and fall asleep afterward, while another feels wired for hours. The same principle is true for controlled substances and microdosing. One person might feel powerful effects from microdosing, while another feels entirely normal. 

Some of the main experiences people report with microdosing are a feeling of alertness, a sense of confidence, and a generally improved mood. Other experiences include feeling motivated and productive and feeling reduced anxiety.

One of the reasons people microdose instead of taking a more potent dose is to avoid getting high. In essence, microdosing should ideally feel very subtle, gently enhancing one’s everyday life.

How Long Does a Microdose of Mushrooms Last?

Because few studies have been done on this topic, it’s hard to know for sure whether microdosing mushrooms encourages any confirmed effects or how long these supposed effects may last. 

From anecdotal accounts, it seems that many people ingest a microdose of mushrooms every two to four days. Some people play around with their exact dose before finding a sweet spot where they feel positive effects and don’t feel high or out of sorts. 

Can You Microdose Mushrooms Every Day?

As we’ve mentioned, many people report enhanced productivity and creativity under the influence of a mushroom microdose. Many people drink coffee and tea daily for similar reasons, so it begs the question: “should you microdose mushrooms on a daily basis?” 

Taking doses of psilocybin every day might sound like a habit that wouldn’t hurt, but generally, it’s not advised. Those who microdose mushrooms prefer doing so over a few days. Taking more could accidentally prompt more hallucinogenic effects. 

How Do People Microdose Mushrooms?

So how does microdosing work? If you’re trying to get a mental picture of how people take mushrooms in tiny doses, it may look different than you think. You might picture someone taking their microdose in an environment similar to where people would take recreational doses of psychedelic drugs, but that’s usually not the case. 

Because it’s an illegal substance, there’s no way to buy pre-packaged microdoses or easily measure things out. You need an extremely precise scale to measure the amount of psilocybin needed for a microdose. If you take too little, you won’t notice any effects, and if you take too much, you might be unexpectedly preoccupied for several hours.

Before weighing shrooms, you’d typically dry them and grind them into a fine powder. After its ground, you’d measure out a tenth of a standard 3-gram dose (0.3 grams), but it’s safer to start with 0.1 grams. After you get comfortable with the initial 0.1-gram amount, you might start increasing your dosage.

The Fadiman System

James Fadiman came up with a now-popular protocol for microdosing substances. He introduced a three-day model, which allows users to monitor how their bodies respond to substances at differing levels. To follow the Fadiman Protocol, you’d use a three-day cycle for four weeks up to eight weeks.

Here’s his three-day model:

Day 1: Take your first microdose.

Day 2: Use this as a transition day.

Day 3: This is a normal substance-free day.

Day 4: Repeat the cycle by microdosing again.

Stamets Stack

Another model for microdosing follows Paul Stamet’s protocol. His microdosing method involves combining several substances. These substances include psilocybin, vitamin B3 (niacin), and Lion’s Mane. Under Stamet’s stacking method, you’d continue the schedule for four to eight weeks and rest for two weeks.

Here’s Stamet’s Stack method:

Days 1-4: These are stacking days.

Days 5-7: Treat these as transition days.

Days 8-11: Repeat stacking days.

Days 12-14: These are transition days.

What Are the Risks?

Psychedelic drugs are Schedule I drugs, meaning they have no legal medical or recreational use and have a high potential for being misused. Because of this status, there are several risks to consider when considering ingesting a psychedelic substance in any amount. 

Let’s look at a few common side effects of psilocybin:

  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • High blood pressure
  • Paranoia

Though it’s not legal to take psilocybin recreationally, some emerging studies show only small risks accompany single doses of this substance under the control and supervision of a trained clinician.

Is There Anyone Who Shouldn’t Microdose Mushrooms?

We need more research before we can determine who should and shouldn’t microdose mushrooms. Still, some research on the recreational psychedelic use of psilocybin can help you determine whether microdosing is something that would work for you.

In general, psilocybin can be dangerous for people who live with bipolar disorder, as it may increase the likelihood of mania. It’s also best to avoid this substance if you have a history of heart conditions since it carries a risk of cardiac arrest. 

Is There Any Research Related to Microdosing Mushrooms?

The truth is that very few studies have been done on the effects of microdosing, and even fewer have been centered on microdosing mushrooms specifically. Still, we can consider the findings of one study on the effects of microdosing on 98 participants over six weeks.

This 2019 study conducted an observational instigation to determine what effects, if any, psilocybin has in tiny doses. After analyzing the data, these researchers reported a subtle improvement in psychological functioning and decreased levels of stress and distractibility. In general, the positive effects were more evident on dosing days than on the days that followed. 

In the future, we may be able to understand more about microdosing. For now, anecdotal accounts, limited studies, and surveys provide the initial information surrounding psilocybin microdosing.

Are There Safer Alternatives to Microdosing Mushrooms?

Psilocybin’s status as a Schedule I drug precludes it from safe medical use in most states. If you’re interested in alternative substances to treat conditions like anxiety or depression, a safer option is ketamine. This substance is a Schedule III drug, meaning it’s safe and 100% legal to use under the care of a trained clinician.

What Is Ketamine Treatment?

Ketamine treatment is an option for those seeking mental health alternatives for treating depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and anxiety. It can be more effective than some antidepressants and has only a few minor side effects that accompany its use. If you’re interested in finding out whether ketamine treatment could help improve your mental health, you can reach out to Nue Life.

Is Ketamine Treatment Legal?

Since ketamine is a Schedule III drug, it’s completely legal for anesthetic use and off-label use as a therapeutic treatment. The only time ketamine is illegal is when someone attempts to take it recreationally without a prescription or clinical supervision. 

The Bottom Line

Microdosing psilocybin mushrooms is a phenomenon that many people enjoy, despite its legal status. If you don’t want to wait for more research to confirm the efficacy of mushrooms in benefiting mental health, you might consider ketamine’s evidence-based effects. Taking ketamine in a controlled setting could help reduce symptoms of anxiety and create healthier thought patterns.

Treatment at Nue Life

Nue Life believes in holistic treatment, which means that what happens before and after your ketamine experience is equally as important as the experience itself. We want to ensure you have meaningful takeaways from your experiences and help you establish positive new neural pathways.

That’s why we provide one-on-one health coaching and integration group sessions with each of our programs. We’re here to help map out the mind and body connections in your brain and help you discover the insights that lead to true healing.

Sources:

A systematic study of microdosing psychedelics | PLOS ONE

Adults who microdose psychedelics report health related motivations and lower levels of anxiety and depression compared to non-microdosers | Scientific Reports

Magic Mushrooms Might Be the Next Frontier in Mental Health Care – 5280

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