what is microdosing

What is microdosing?

In 2015, microdosing became known as “the new way of taking drugs”. But what is microdosing exactly? Microdosing entails taking a tiny dose of a psychedelic substance, usually about 1/10 or even 1/20 of a regular dose, to increase wellbeing and health. When microdosing, you don’t experience a classic psychedelic trip including visual disturbances but only perceive subtle effects called “sub-perceptual” effects. 

The subtle effects of microdosing most often mentioned:

  • More energy
  • More creativity
  • Clearer thinking, 
  • Increased problem-solving ability
  • Increased focus
  • Increased awareness
  • Positive mood
  • Emotional connection with people around you
  • Being more present

Microdosing: Tiny amounts of powerful substances

Psychedelic means “that which makes the mind visible”. Psychologists and psychiatrists believed that the drugs they studied in the fifties and sixties (especially LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline) brought the subconscious parts to the conscious. In this way, one could, for example, see and process repressed feelings and memories. What all psychedelic substances have in common is that they induce a classic trip experience at high doses. Although they are not addictive, especially when microdosing psychedelics, they pose hardly any risks in healthy people

Positive experiences with microdosing

To date, there is still a lot of scientific research necessary to understand the working of psychedelics and microdosing specifically. Although some claim, microdosing is nothing more than a placebo effect, a large body of anecdotal evidence clearly shows that microdosing leads to physical, mental, and emotional improvement. Dr. James Fadiman, an American transpersonal psychologist, has been collecting reports from people around the world since 2010. His findings about the numerous positive experiences form the basis of the scientific quest into the world of microdosing. It comes as no surprise that he’s often coined “The Father of Microdosing”.

How does microdosing work?

What we do know is that psychedelic substances act on the serotonin (5-HT) receptors in our brain. Serotonin receptors are found throughout our nervous system and govern many aspects of our being, including our mood, thinking, and bowel movements. Psychedelics bind most effectively to the 5HT-2A receptor, which is one of the receptors involved in learning, memory, and cognition. As a result, by consuming only a small amount of the psychedelic substance and avoiding the “classical trip,” the brain can focus solely on the cognitive boost caused by these receptors.

Psychedelic substances suitable for microdosing

For the psychedelic substances below, we can verify they can be used effectively for microdosing based on our own experience, the stories from our community, and the knowledge of our network of experts

Psychedelic substances likely suitable for microdosing

From the psychedelic substances below, we know people have used them for microdosing, but not much is known yet about the methods and results

  • Cannabis (marijuana)
  • LSA (the active ingredient in morning glory seeds and Hawaiian baby Woodrose seeds)
  • Iboga(ine)
  • Salvia divinorum

If you have experience with microdosing these substances, please let us know, as we would like to map this out further.

What is microdosing not?

Microdosing entails taking a small amount of a psychedelic substance explicitly to increase health and wellbeing. Because non-psychedelic substances are often toxic, they won’t produce any beneficial effects associated with microdosing. Therefore, microdosing cannot be effectively and safely done with these non-psychedelic substances:

  • MDMA
  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol

Go deeper

Know that you know what microdosing is; learn more about the history of microdosingDr. James Fadiman, the benefits and risks, and medical applications of microdosing

Video Course: Learn how to microdose 🧭

Our comprehensive, practical video course guides you step-by-step through your microdosing journey. In just 2-4 hours, you'll go through all the important aspects: from preparation and practicalities, to result tracking, optimization, and integration.

Sources

  • Harvey J. A. (2003). Role of the serotonin 5-HT(2A) receptor in learning. Learning & memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.)10(5), 355–362. https://doi.org/10.1101/lm.60803
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