🍄 Tripping without the trip
Imagine experiencing the therapeutic benefits of mushrooms without the hallucinations and overwhelming sensations typically associated with a full-blown psychedelic trip. This is precisely what microdosing mushrooms promises, offering a new approach to using psilocybin for healing and wellbeing.
While microdosing mushrooms is not a new concept, it has rapidly gained popularity in recent years, with advocates claiming that it can improve everything from mental health to creativity. But what does the science say, and how can you safely and responsibly incorporate microdosing mushrooms into your life?
In this article, we’ll dive deep into the world of microdosing mushrooms, exploring its benefits and risks, as well as how to get started. Whether you’re looking for an alternative way to manage your mental health or simply curious about the potential of psychedelics, read on to discover everything you need to know about microdosing mushrooms.
What is microdosing mushrooms?
Microdosing refers to the practice of taking small amounts of a substance to achieve a therapeutic effect without the full-blown experience. In the context of mushrooms, microdosing involves taking a sub-perceptual dose of psilocybin, the primary psychoactive compound in mushrooms.
This amount is typically 1/10th to 1/20th of a typical recreational dose and is usually consumed every few days or weekly.
How to microdose mushrooms
If you’re interested in microdosing but don’t know where to start, then here is some advice on how to microdose shrooms:
- Start with a low dose – It’s absolutely crucial that you start with a low dose (more information on dosage below) and gradually increase it over time, monitoring how you feel and adjusting the dose accordingly.
- Use a reliable scale – It’s also essential to use a reliable scale to measure the amount accurately. You’ll need to measure out very small (micro) doses so a milligram scale is recommended for accuracy.
- Take the microdose – It’s best to take the microdose in the morning on an empty stomach. You can mix dried mushrooms with honey, tea, or any other beverage to mask the tastes and make it more palatable.
- Observe the effects – After taking the microdose, it’s important to observe the effects it has on your body and mind. Keep a journal of the effects, such as changes in mood, energy, and focus, as well as any changes in symptoms (if applicable).
- Follow a schedule – The microdosing schedule can vary depending on individual needs and preferences, but you should set a schedule early and then stick to it while you monitor effects (see more below).
Microdosing mushrooms dose
The dose for microdosing mushrooms can vary depending on individual sensitivity and the desired effects. However, a typical microdose of psilocybin ranges from 0.1g to 0.3g of dried mushrooms.
Microdosing mushrooms schedule
Microdoses of psilocybin are sometimes taken as often as every other day, while some people prefer to wait a week between doses. However, many experience microdosers believe that the best way to microdose mushrooms is to take a dose every three to four days, allowing the body to reset and avoid building a tolerance to the psilocybin.
It’s crucial to keep a journal of the effects of your microdosing regime to track your progress and adjust the dose and/or schedule if necessary.
The benefits of microdosing mushrooms
The psilocybin compound is proving to be an extremely exciting area of research as it appears to be able to help and heal your brain by growing new neurons and connections.
In January, Oregon became the first state (of many, we hope) to legalize the use of psilocybin in the treatment of severe depression and end-of-life anxiety, as well as a number of other mental health issues.
While some of the research presented here involved the use of larger doses of psilocybin, the popularity of microdosing mushrooms has been increasing steadily over the years as more people hope that microdosing may achieve some of the same results without such an overwhelming experience.
1. Microdosing mushrooms for depression
Psilocybin is believed to help forge new connections and activate serotonin receptors in the brain, which can help improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.
In a 2013 study, scientists showed that low doses of psilocybin stimulated neurogenesis (the development of new neurons) in the hippocampal area of the brain, which is in charge of emotion and learning.
This area of the brain is easily damaged by various stimuli and patients with depression and chronic stress usually have a reduced number of these neural connections. It’s thought that the neuronal growth triggered by psilocybin could have a hugely positive impact on mood and cognitive function.
In another study, Yale researchers also showed that low doses of psilocybin increased the growth of neurons in the brain. On average, the researchers found a 10% increase in neuronal connections, which were also 10% larger (meaning stronger connections). The mice in the study showed behavioral improvement and increased neurotransmitter activity and these new connections were still present a month later.
In one study on humans, researchers for John Hopkins Medicine found that psilocybin treatment improved depression and anxiety symptoms in participants over a four-week period. A subsequent follow-up study then found that these antidepressant effects were still effective one year later.
There was also a case study published in 2022 that documented a patient, suffering from major depressive disorder, experienced a significant improvement in symptoms after microdosing psilocybin.
Did you know that CBD may also be able to alleviate symptoms of depression? Read more about how CBD might be able to help depression here.
2. Microdosing mushrooms for anxiety
Microdosing mushrooms has also been suggested as a potential treatment for anxiety. Research has shown that psilocybin can reduce anxiety by enhancing the connectivity between different regions of the brain that play a role in regulating emotions.
Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that a single dose of psilocybin, in conjunction with psychotherapy, reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients with terminal cancer.
A 2021 study then found that over 4,000 people who put themselves on a microdosing (psilocybin or LSD) regime, reported reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.
3. Microdosing mushrooms for PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops in some people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Studies have shown that psilocybin may be able to help to reduce symptoms of PTSD by promoting emotional regulation and reducing anxious and negative thoughts.
By forging new connections in the brain, scientists hope that fear response in patients with PTSD will be diminished, as researchers showed in this study on mice. Psilocybin has also been shown to decrease blood flow to the amygdala , which indicates a decreased fear response.
Another 2022 study also supports the use of psilocybin in the treatment of trauma-related disorders.
Interestingly, other psychedelics, such as MDMA and ketamine, have also showed great promise in the treatment of PTSD.
4. Microdosing mushrooms for bipolar
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings. While there is limited scientific research on the effects of microdosing mushrooms for bipolar disorder specifically, anecdotal evidence suggests that it may have some potential therapeutic benefits.
Some individuals with bipolar disorder have reported that microdosing mushrooms helps to stabilize their mood, reduce symptoms of depression, and promote creativity. However, it’s important to note that there is also anecdotal evidence suggesting that microdosing mushrooms could potentially trigger manic episodes in individuals with bipolar disorder.
5. Microdosing mushrooms for headaches
Cluster headaches are severe, recurring headaches that are often referred to as “suicide headaches” due to their intensity. A number of studies have shown that small doses of psilocybin could reduce the frequency and intensity of cluster headaches, which has proven to be life-changing for the people in question.
Psilocybin is believed to activate serotonin receptors in the brain, which can help to alleviate pain. Additionally, psilocybin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which could potentially help to reduce headaches caused by inflammation.
Many individuals who suffer from cluster headaches or migraines have reported that microdosing mushrooms helps to alleviate their symptoms.
There is a really interesting lecture you can watch (below) to learn more about how microdosing psilocybin can all but eliminate cluster headaches. The speaker starts talking about psilocybin around 10 minutes into the presentation.
6. Microdosing mushrooms for pain
Chronic pain can be debilitating and difficult to manage with conventional treatments. While the research on psilocybin and pain management is still in its early stages, some research suggests that psilocybin could help to reduce some types of pain by altering the way the brain processes pain signals.
The potential benefits of psilocybin for pain management include reducing pain severity and interference, as well as improving mood, quality of life, and overall well-being.
There is some anecdotal evidence from individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia or arthritis, who have reported that microdosing mushrooms helps to alleviate their symptoms.
Several clinical trials, including one for fibromyalgia, are planned for 2023, so we eagerly await their results (expected in 2024) to learn more.
7. Microdosing Mushrooms for ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects concentration and impulse control. While there is limited research on the effects of microdosing mushrooms on ADHD, some anecdotal evidence suggests that microdosing can help to improve focus and reduce hyperactivity.
There have also been a small number of surveys that supported the use of microdosing for ADHD. One in particular collected data from over 230 participants who had chosen to put themselves on a microdosing regime to try to help manage their ADHD symptoms. Overall, it was considered to be more effective than conventional ADHD medications.
What does ASAP Science say?
Is microdosing safe?
A recent review of all research looking into using psilocybin as a treatment for mental-illness concluded that microdosing psilocybin has been shown to be both safe and effective. There is no indication of long-term side effects and the abuse potential is very low.
However, while microdosing mushrooms is generally considered safe, it’s essential to approach it with caution and respect for the substance.
Psilocybin can cause adverse effects such as nausea, anxiety, and paranoia, especially when consumed in higher doses. It’s crucial to start with a low dose, in a comfortable environment, and with a trusted companion.
The magic of microdosing
As you can see from evidence presented here, psilocybin holds promise as a therapeutic tool for various conditions that affect both mental and physical health. While more research is needed to fully understand the effects of microdosing mushrooms, anecdotal evidence suggests that microdosing can result in effective symptom relief, offering a less overwhelming alternative to full-dose psychedelic therapy.
It’s important to remember that microdosing mushrooms are not a substitute for professional medical advice and treatment. It’s also essential to approach microdosing mushrooms with caution, starting with a low dose, monitoring the effects, and keeping a journal. If you’re considering microdosing mushrooms for any health condition, I recommend that you seek professional medical advice and support for your journey.