Especially in circles of entrepreneurs and high-performers, microdosing has recently gained a lot of attention for improving productivity, creativity, and leadership. At first glance, the routine use of psychedelics as a productivity technique seems odd. This article sheds some light on what microdosing is, how it is done accurately, as well as what benefits and risks to expect.
What Is Microdosing?
Microdosing is the practice of taking small doses of psychedelics, often with the intention of self-improvement or personal development. Doses are generally 1/20th to 1/10th of a full dose, aiming for subperceptual effects, not a “high”. If dosed accordingly, users will feel a subtle, but noticeable change in awareness and perception, but are completely able to follow everyday activities as usual.
Microdosing can in theory be practiced with several psychedelics, including LSD, psilocybin, DMT, and mescaline. This article focuses on microdosing LSD, but most of the effects and instructions also apply to microdosing other psychedelic substances.
Why Microdose? Effects & Potential Benefits of Microdosing LSD
Microdosing is often approached from a motivation of self-improvement and personal development, and for good reason, according to a growing of personal accounts on the internet. It can feel like stepping into a truer, rawer, but soothingly natural feeling state of yourself, without going into the fully altered state of consciousness of a full psychedelic experience. To some, it feels like someone turned on the colors in your emotions after years of black and white.
Reported benefits include:
- Increased awareness
- Improved social skills
- Being more extroverted
- Increased confidence
- Increased sense of authenticity
- Increased creativity
- Increased productivity
- Increased sense of presence
- Easier and more frequent access to flow states
While the effects themselves only last for 1-2 days, microdosers will likely feel changes for several days after microdosing or even permanently, including improved self-awareness, social skills, and the ability to observe your thoughts as separate from yourself. You will be able, more than usual, to spot and break habits and patterns that are not serving you. Microdosing is an opportunity to learn about yourself and permanently benefit from these learnings.
Some microdosers have even seen short-term and long-term results in improving the symptoms and intensity of mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, mood disorders, and addiction. Clinical studies have already shown that larger doses of psychedelics are effective to treat some of these conditions, although there is no systematic evidence yet that the same applies to microdosing.
Others have reported improved sleep quality and a drive for healthier lifestyle choices.
The experience of microdosing significantly differs from “tripping” though – you will be fully capable of all your normal activities, and completely mentally present. There should be no changes to your visual or auditory perception, and no visuals as in full psychedelic experiences. If you feel high, the dose was too much.
Side Effects, Safety & Risks of Microdosing LSD
LSD in general has been shown to be a comparably safe substance, much safer than alcohol, and fractional doses every few days have shown no indication of damaging or dangerous effects neither physically, psychologically or socially.
Micro dosing can bring up some emotional turbulence though and increase anxiety. You might feel a little nausea or light-headedness, which will usually pass after an hour or so.
If you are new to microdosing with any substance, it is a good idea to schedule the first time on a day without work or other obligations. That way you will have a chance to adjust to the experience and choose your activities according to how you feel. The first day is often the strongest, and effects will likely normalize with subsequent dosage days (see microdosing schedule below for info on when and how often to microdose).
Besides these potential side effects, there is a substantial legal risk involved in microdosing LSD, as it is illegal in most countries. However, there are legal alternatives such as using the research analogue 1P-LSD (which is legal in many places) or psilocybin mushrooms or truffles where legal. The correct micro dosage depends on the substance.
How to microdose LSD: Measurement & Dosage
Note: These instructions are provided based on the assumption that the used substances or context are legal where you are.
A microdose of LSD is between 5 and 20 mcg. It is generally recommended to start with 10 mcg and then adjust from there if necessary.
In order to achieve a precise dosage, refrain from trying to cut your 100 mcg tab into 10 equal pieces. Even if you could do that, there’s no way of knowing whether the liquid is evenly distributed on the paper.
The volumetric approach to measuring your micro doses is much better, and fairly easy.
You will need:
- LSD testing kit (available on Amazon and at some pharmacies) – test part of your acquired batch to make sure you’ve actually got LSD, unless you are absolutely certain
- One 100 mcg tab of LSD
- A 1 ml syringe – this can be bought at pharmacies, usually as an insulin syringe for about $1. You can remove and dispose of the needle.
- A small, sealable container, at least 10ml, ideally tinted glass
- 10 ml of highly concentrated drinking alcohol such as gin or vodka, or distilled water (do not use tap water or other drinking water)
To prepare your microdosing solution:
- Measure 10 ml of liquid (vodka/gin/water) with the syringe and into the container
- Add the LSD tab to the container and close it
- Store the container in the dark or in the fridge, for at least one day
- You can then optionally remove the paper from the container (e.g. with tweezers, avoid touching the liquid with your skin to avoid contamination and potential quality loss)
For one micro dose, measure 1 ml of the prepared liquid with the syringe. This is exactly one tenth of the full dose. If you follow the 3-day protocol, the prepared solution will last you 30 days or 10 micro doses.
Adjust the daily or total volume of liquid according to the tab dose and desired microdose.
The Microdosing Schedule: When & How Often
There are different protocols that you can experiment with. Dr. James Fadiman and many other researchers and experienced microdosers generally recommend a 3-day schedule. With this protocol, you take a microdose every third day, leaving two days in between to feel the after effects and reset your system.
Even small amounts of LSD and some other psychedelics have been shown to quickly build a tolerance, so leaving two days or more in between doses makes it more sustainable and actually lets you enjoy the benefits longer. There may also be potential risks to your cardio-vascular health when taking psychedelics daily for extended periods of time. You could however decide to microdose every day for 14 or 30 days as an experiment, and then take an extended break.
Micro doses should generally be administered in the morning, as they might keep you awake or not be as beneficial if taken too late in the day.
Setting an Intention & Tracking Your Experience
As with psychedelic experiences in general, it is a good idea to set an intention before you start. What do you want to achieve by microdosing? What are the changes and answers you seek? Write them down and review them during your microdosing experience.
Keeping a journal of your experience, insights, and subjective effects on the dosage and off days can also be helpful to get the most out of microdosing. At the end of a – say 30-day protocol – you will likely see patterns and improvements to your self-awareness and lifestyle. Taking a few notes each day will also help you determine whether any changes were likely due to microdosing or other factors in your life.
Microdosing Other Psychedelics
In theory, it is possible to microdose almost any psychedelic, though the benefits and practicality may vary. As a rule of thumb, a micro dose is about 1/20th to 1/10th of a regular dose for each psychedelic, but this may vary according to quality, source and form of the substance. If you feel high or experience visuals or other “trippy” symptoms, you have taken too much and should adjust the dose accordingly for next time. Also keep in mind the potential side effects of other psychedelics, as they might occur when microdosing also.
Besides LSD, popular psychedelics for microdosing include psilocybin, DMT, MDMA, and ayahuasca.
Microdosing LSD or other psychedelics can be an interesting and powerful tool to gain long-lasting insights from psychedelics while following your day-to-day activities. And while it should not become a staple as regular as your daily cup of coffee, microdosing experiments or “self-therapy” of a month or two can be transformational.
Do you have experience with microdosing? I would love to hear about your experience at firstname.lastname@example.org.