We start with a warning that we do not condone breaking the law. We intend this to be an explanation as to what micro-dosing is rather than an instruction to go ahead and do it yourself. We urge you to follow local laws regarding all substances.
However, there is a growing interest in this phenomenon, and it’s come a long way from the days when it was a minority interest in Silicon Valley.
What Do We Mean By Micro-Dosing?
The term “micro-dosing” applies to the concept of taking hallucinogenic or psychedelic substances in super small doses.
That is a dose that is about 1/10th to 1/20th of a “normal” dose.
The idea is to take all the positive aspects of the substance but without encountering any of the downsides.
So, for example, you might end up with more energy and better focus but without the hallucinations and sensory shifts of a full dose.
What Sort Of Drugs Are Micro-Dosed?
Many different drugs can be and are micro-dosed, some of the most common are:
- Ayahuasca – this is a South American and Central American plant which has similar effects to DMT
- Caffeine – yes even the active ingredient in coffee (which is a form of amphetamine) can be micro-dosed
- Cannabis – users say this makes them more productive and less anxious while working
- CBD – the part of cannabis that doesn’t make you high is cannabidiol (CBD) and it is commonly used to relieve anxiety and help with sleep disorders
- DMT – dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a very powerful, naturally occurring hallucinogen
- Ibogaine – often used to treat withdrawal, it’s also said to boost creativity
- LSD – Lysergic acid diethylamide “acid” is the best known hallucinogen
- Nicotine – yes, nicotine, users say it helps boost your memory and focus
- Psilocybin – derived from “magic mushrooms” this chemical is said to have powerful effects on depression
How Is Micro-Dosing Done?
There is a 5-step process to micro-dosing which most users follow:
- Find the substance you want to micro-dose. Be aware that if the substance is not legal, this can land you in hot water.
- Prepare and then consume the dose. That is about 10-20mg of the substance or 1/10th or 1/20th of a “normal dose”.
- Observe the experience. You should examine whether it’s meeting your objectives for taking the substance and you may want to try it a few times to determine whether it meets your needs or not. Try to keep notes on the exact experiences that you have.
- Adjust the dose. You may want to increase the dose if you’re not getting the results that you hope for or decrease it if you’re getting more than you bargained for.
- Repeat as needed. Some substances work best with a “one day on, two days off” approach, some, like LSD, require a longer cycle “one day on, six days off”. Whichever way, you should follow this pattern for about 10 weeks or so to get the best benefit. Don’t go longer than 10 weeks our you start to build up tolerance and resistance to the substance.
Let’s Talk Micro-Dosing And Legality
We don’t want to sound like your mom but we need to return to this – with the exceptions of caffeine and nicotine many of these substances are illegal and their possession or use may incur severe penalties (up to and including the death penalty) in some jurisdictions.
You should be aware that many of the substances will remain in your blood and urine for 2-3 days afterwards and that cannabis, in particular, can be detected in drug tests up to 30 days after consumption.
The Big Potential Downsides Of Micro-Dosing
People do micro-doses because they hope for benefits from the compounds, they take but there are serious potential downsides including:
- Accidental tripping – you may miscalculate a dose or just be super-sensitive to the substance. If you find yourself tripping, things have gone too far. It is essential, because of this, that you avoid micro-dosing if you are caring for children, have a mental health condition, are on the autism spectrum, are colorblind, are experiencing trauma or are unwell. However, most trips are reasonably pleasant.
- Accidental bad trips – a bad trip can be extremely distressing and ideally, whenever you use a psychedelic you will have “a watcher” with you who can comfort and help in this situation. If this happens move to a safe space, tell your watcher what is happening, listen to them as they try to help.
- You lose your job or go to jail – we’ve said it several times, these substances are illegal. These outcomes are all too real.
- Increased anxiety – some people find micro-dosing makes anxiety worse and not better. If that’s you, don’t keep doing it.
We hope that our guide to micro-dosing has been useful to you. If used responsibly certain substances in micro-doses can be beneficial.
Have a safe trip!