Let’s face it, microdosing doesn’t always work.
When we started asking people about their experiences with microdosing back in 2016, we often heard: “It doesn’t work for me*”, or “I liked it, but [followed by a negative side effect]”.
Backed by data from several well-known research surveys as well as from our experience coaching hundreds of microdosers, we have discovered why some people are not getting the most out of their microdosing experience.
Read on to learn about the five most common microdosing mistakes that can prevent you from getting the most out of your microdose, or worse yet – potentially lead to unpleasant side effects such as anxiety.
*There are situations in which microdosing is not recommended. Learn more about the Risks of Microdosing.
Microdosing Mistake 1: Taking too small of a dose
Some microdosers do not notice any effects as they go through their microdosing routine. They may, as many do, be dosing according to the Fadiman protocol, but they do not observe any difference between dosing days and non-dosing days.
One large misconception with microdosing is that it should be 100% sub-perceptual; that you should not notice anything at all. When microdosing, you should not experience any classical psychedelic side effects such as visual distortions, loss of reality, or trouble focusing; however, you should experience an increase in awareness and ease.
Microdosing is not like prescription medication or an anti-depressant that requires weeks or months until it ‘kicks in’. The direct effects can be observed immediately or within a couple of days – especially when you compare it to your non-microdosing days.
If you have experienced zero effects from your microdosing routine, consider increasing your dose slightly, until you find your sweet spot.
Microdosing Mistake 2: Taking too high of a dose
Many people in our community have tried microdosing, and report back: “I don’t want to do it on work days”. Or: “I feel it’s better not do do it when I’m with my kids”.
If you have found your sweet spot, microdosing should not interfere with your day-to-day activities. If you experience any of the following, its a sign that you are taking a dose that is too high:
- Increased sleepiness
- You are easily distracted
- You have trouble being present
If you consistently experience any of the above when microdosing, ensure that you carefully measure your microdoses and consider decreasing your current dose. (To accurately measure your microdose, we recommend a quality scale that is capable of measuring down to 0.01 grams)
So, let it be clear:
- Microdosing should not be this ‘present’.
- Microdosing should allow you to do all of the things that you normally do.
- Microdosing should enhance your day-to-day activities without any unwanted side-effects.
Microdosing Mistake 3: Your current substance doesn't fully suit you
Some people find, usually through trial and error, that one psychedelic substance just doesn’t do the trick, whereas another substance works very well for them. If your microdosing journey has not felt effective for your needs, it is possible you may want to consider trying a different substance.
Here’s an example from our community: Meet Michelle – although she wasn’t fully conscious of having a psychological “condition”, later Michelle became aware that she had been suffering from obsessive compulsive behaviour for some years. She worked with psilocybin containing truffles – in microdose quantity only, following the Fadiman protocol.
This helped her unlock self-compassion and become milder and more at ease. However, the truffles also made her feel more tired than ever before, exhausted even.
She tried different dosages and experimented with different microdosing protocols. That helped a little, but after completing one cycle she concluded: “If it continues like this, the truffles are not helping me.”
We have seen situations in which some people react better to the LSD-molecule, B. Caapi Vine, or San Pedro Cactus. Michelle decided she wanted to try the latter, and the effects were much more aligned with her needs. This substance had positive lifestyle effects, but without the tiredness and fatigue.
It also allows her to feel on an even deeper level (in her own words) “what it is to live in freedom”. Through today, San Pedro continues to provide her with an overall sense of trust and it teaches her to work with the circumstances in her life, as well as utilize her own unique qualities.
Microdosing Mistake 4: The effects of microdosing are overshadowed by other substances
Alcohol and cannabis are the number one substances in many people’s daily lives, often used for their numbing effects. They are powerful substances, and because of these effects, we enjoy them in the evening to wind down after a long day of work and duties.
We often tap into this relaxation effect to reward ourselves – as if alcohol or weed provide a solace that we deserve. And it is true, we should reward ourselves for our efforts and responsibilities carried out day after day – we deserve to seek relaxation.
Generally though, these substances play a more significant role in our lives than we would like (or are willing!) to admit. After all, they cause habituation and physical tolerance, making them less “effective” over time, and their perceived benefit (relaxation!) is often more of a mental construct than an actual physical benefit.
Microdosing often provides a more subtle effect, both directly and indirectly.
The direct effects of microdosing are best observed when the usage of other powerful substances such as alcohol, cannabis and even coffee are minimized. The indirect effects may include better self-care and self-love, improved habits/lifestyle, and healthier relationships.
These indirect benefits can be placed under an umbrella of increased self-awareness:
- How am I reacting to my environment?
- How do I relate to others and myself?
- Is this the life I want to live?
- Am I showing up as my best self?
Microdosing Mistake 5: Not taking into account your mindset
When we take a substance that works on our psyche, the effect is amplified by our intention. This is true for any substance, not just ‘drugs’: coffee, wine, beer, champagne, chamomile tea, peppermint, spicy food, delicious cake, etc. Many of us consume these food and drinks to unwind, to reward ourselves, or to increase focus.
And it works, doesn’t it? These effects are partially due to the properties of the substance, but they’re heavily influenced by your mindset, as evidenced by the placebo-effect.
Try it the other way around and you may notice that these substances have the opposite effect: take a coffee to relax with a friend, have a glass of wine when reading, have a lavender scented bath to start the day.
This mindset mechanism is particularly present when we work with a psychedelic or plant medicine.
For example, when we are crippled with fear, under the influence of a microdose, we are likely to become more aware of this fear, resulting in anxiety. Microdosing will not make the fear go away, unless you actively bring your attention to how you want to feel instead; while also taking actions that support your chosen state of mind (for example, if you’re seeking to feel joyful, dancing may be a great supportive action to take).
Let’s take a look at one more scenario: When we are grieving or experiencing raw emotional pain, it can be hard or even impossible to control our emotions. When we are wounded or when we experience loss, pain is our reality. This pain is meant to be felt, and under the influence of a microdose, you are likely to feel these emotions even more deeply.
When embarking on a microdosing journey, it is important to adopt a mindset that supports your microdosing practice.