Microdosing for anxiety and depression

Truffles, shrooms and more

9 December 2023

Reading Time: 8 mins

In the world of consumers of hallucinogenic mushrooms, there are two schools of thought: those who want to have a revelatory psychic experience by participating in a psychedelic ceremony and those who prefer to embark on a calmer and gradual path with magic mushroom microdosing.

What is Microdosing?

For several decades, and especially in recent years, numerous scientific studies have shown that taking a dose of psilocybin mushrooms could play a beneficial role in improving several cognitive functions and alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, even though the effects of a single intake of psychoactive molecules are a real boost to the psyche, it’s understandable that some people may have apprehensions about an unknown and intense phenomenon.

Classic dose and heroic dose

In a classic psilocybin ceremony, a quantity of psilocybin is used that can awaken the central nervous system by suddenly stimulating serotonin and dopamine receptors. This dose contains 2 to 6 grams of magic mushrooms or 15 to 40 grams of truffles and leads to visible and profound effects: hallucinations, euphoria, heightened awareness. Those who have tried it know: it’s mind-blowing but also challenging.

These heroic doses are therefore reserved for people who feel comfortable with the idea of a psychedelic trip and who want to dive headfirst into the secure environment of a legal retreat in the Netherlands.

Day-to-Day Mushroom Microdosing

On the other hand, those who seek a gentle approach to magic-mushroom, who are willing to take their time, or who do not require a radical change, will lean towards microdosing.

A Microdosing protocol use the psychoactive molecule in small amounts without seeking a psychedelic experience: there is no sensory journey or hallucinogenic effect. This dosage is sub-perceptible, without visible effects or tripping, and therefore does not interfere with one’s daily life.

Nevertheless, the recurrent ingestion of small doses of psychedelic substances (psilocybin or LSD) also targets the emergence of subtle effects in the medium term: enhanced creativity, improved performance, an alternative to depression treatment, or a more frequent sense of well-being.

The Effects of Psilocybin Microdosing

Most of the time, microdosing practitioners do not suffer from treatment-resistant depression, as is sometimes the case with macrodosing.

Instead, these are individuals who have a background of anxiety or stress, recurrent episodes of depression, or a lack of motivation that hinders them from leading a fully fulfilling life. In all cases, those who experiment with microdosing are seeking two types of effects:

  • Greater personal harmony by reducing negative thoughts and anxieties.
  • Enhanced intellectual efficiency by boosting their creativity.

How is microdosing done?

Microdosing can be done in two forms: dried psilocybin capsules or pieces of fresh truffles that you prepare and measure yourself. In all cases, the dose used represents between 2% and 10% of the full dose.

Desired DoseFresh TrufflesDried Truffles
Light dose0.25-1 grams0.1-0.3 grams
High dose1-2 grams0.3-0.6 grams

Dried Truffles

The amount of psilocybin present in capsules of dehydrated truffles depends greatly on their age, the drying process, and storage conditions. This makes the dosage somewhat unpredictable, and it’s quite challenging to determine if, when prepared this way, they are still fully effective.

However, they are easier to store and do not require regular replenishment. Therefore, this is a suitable solution for people looking for simplicity above all.

Fresh Truffles

This second option is preferable for those who want to optimize the effectiveness of microdosing. Fresh truffles have a better effect, and it is much easier to accurately measure the dose you are ingesting. However, preparation is more involved as you need to cut and weigh them yourself.

Buy your own microdose

Truffles can be shipped to all EU countries from a reliable and 100% legal truffle provider in the Netherlands.

Beginners

Microdosing starters kit
€ 50.00

  • Twelve microdoses with 1 gram of truffles for each
  • Microdosing weight scale;
  • The microdosing manual;
  • Online workshop with coach.
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Intermediates

Microdose Pro Pack
€ 12.00

  • Six microdoses with 1 gram of truffles for each;
  • Quantity for three to four weeks;
  • Can be kept 2 to 3 months in the fridge.
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Experts

Paul Stamets Stack
€ 85.00

  • 18 microdoses psilocybin truffles of 1 gram each;
  • Full-Spectrum Lion’s Mane Medium Pack: 90 v-caps alcohol;
  • Hot water extract Niacin (Vitamin B3) Flush.
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How to Microdose Mushrooms Effectively ?

To successfully microdose magic truffles, it is essential to pay close attention to how you feel. If you experience nausea or lethargy, it’s advisable to space out your doses. A good microdosing regimen should not induce negative effects and, most importantly, should not lead to suicidal thoughts.

There are primarily three microdosing protocols, one initiated by James Fadiman, another by Paul Stamets, and a third one favored to minimize any side effects. All three recommend taking days off from dosing.

In a microdosing protocol, abstinence plays a key role: it prevents both the potential build-up of fatigue over time and, most importantly, safeguards against the development of tolerance, which could diminish the effects of psilocybin.

DayFadiman MicrodosingStamets MicrodosingWeekly Microdosing
1MicrodoseMicrodoseMicrodose
2Enhancing the effectsMicrodoseRest
3RestMicrodoseRest
4MicrodoseMicrodoseRest
5Enhancing the effectsRestRest
6RestRestRest
7RestRestRest
Duration4 to 6 weeks4 weeks, then 2 weeks off7 weeks, with 1 week off


Microdosing and Psychotherapy

American author James Fadiman is one of the advocates of microdosing. In his book “The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide,” he distinguishes the effects of psychedelics based on dosage:

“The heightened awareness offered by psychedelics comes in different forms.

At higher doses […], they facilitate the recognition of an intimate relationship with all living beings. At moderate doses, they facilitate awareness of the complex psychodynamic structures of individual consciousness. At low doses, they facilitate awareness of solutions to technical and artistic problems.”

Paul Stamets and Microdosing

Those of you who have seen the Netflix documentary “Fantastic Fungi” have already gained insight into Paul Stamets‘ extensive knowledge of mycology.

Recently, he has been proposing his own approach to microdosing, known as the Stamets Stack. It involves the combination of three substances with complementary neurochemical properties.

Psilocybin, Lion’s Mane, and Niacin

The combination includes psilocybin, valued for its potential effects on mood and emotional openness. It combines with a non-psychedelic mushroom called Lion’s Mane or Yamabushitake. Lion’s Mane is a legal dietary supplement that several studies have recognized for its neuroprotective and neuroregenerative capabilities.

The microdosing of the Stamets Stack contains one final ingredient, niacin, which is more commonly known as vitamin B3. It helps the two previous compounds penetrate the nervous system to maximize their effects.

The Effects of the Stamets Stack

According to Paul Stamets, the combination of these three compounds has an overall improvement effect on the cognitive system. The author and mycologist mentions a decrease in anxiety and symptoms of depression or PTSD. The Stamets Stack is believed to help the brain process emotions better while aiding in the recovery of faculties impaired by emotional shocks.

The dosing schedule for the Stamets Stack is slightly different, as Stamets suggests taking it daily for four days and then abstaining for the following three days, and so on.

While reliable experimental feedback on the Stamets Stack is still lacking, it is generally considered relatively safe unless there is a specific contraindication to psilocybin.

Psychedelic Mushrooms and Depression

As a result of innovative research, psychedelic mushrooms are increasingly gaining interest as a potential alternative to antidepressant treatment.

Experiments with High Doses

Initial experiments conducted with high doses of psilocybin have been associated with long-lasting effects on mood improvement and motivation. They explain that psilocybin could have beneficial effects on depression symptoms by regulating neurotransmitter levels. Psilocybin acts on serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with emotion regulation, similar to antidepressant medications.

On the other hand, individuals who microdose also report mood improvements, reduced anxiety, increased creativity, and enhanced concentration.

Research on Microdosing psilocybin

Microdosing mushrooms for treating depression and anxiety is increasingly gaining interest within the scientific community. Participants in several studies have often reported improvements in their emotional well-being and a reduction in anxiety symptoms.

However, the majority of these experiences are based on testimonials without direct evaluation, relying solely on the participants’ accounts.

Placebo Effect or Real Hope?

Thus far, the conclusions have been rather mixed, attributing the positive results to a placebo effect among a population already enthusiastic about consuming psychedelics.

For instance, a randomized study published in Nature evaluated 34 patients. Half of them received a microdose of psilocybin, while the other half received a placebo. While acknowledging slight changes in brain waves, scientists concluded that psilocybin did not demonstrate a definitive effect at these sub-perceptual doses and that only a higher dose could potentially offer therapeutic benefits. The observed effects in microdosing would then be primarily due to placebo expectations.

Nevertheless, scientists need to conduct more rigorous research. A comprehensive assessment will serve to either confirm or refute the effectiveness and mechanisms of action of mushroom microdosing for depression, anxiety, or as support for intellectual performance. This does not deter many enthusiasts from continuing their own research in hopes of future discoveries.

A creativity booster?

In Silicon Valley, a handful of technology professionals use microdosing to enhance their performance and better cope with pressure. In a challenging environment where managers expect flawless productivity, these men and women hope to unlock their potential and gain industry recognition through the use of LSD or psilocybin.

Steve Jobs’ autobiography also shares how LSD enabled him to unleash his creativity and generate revolutionary ideas such as the Macintosh and iPod.

Potential Risks and Safety of microdosing

In general, microdosing psilocybin is considered safe. Thus far, scientific documentation has not reported any cases of dependency, addiction, or adverse effects on memory (unlike cannabis or benzodiazepines). However, caution is still advised. For safety, it is therefore wise to understand the medical implications before consuming psychoactive substances, even in small quantities.

Since microdoses are very low, the risk of overdose is minimal, if not non-existent. However, initial doses may cause headaches, restlessness, nausea, or a slight increase in anxiety. If uncomfortable symptoms or behavioral disturbances occur, it is advisable to discontinue the protocol immediately.

Antidepressants and Psychotic Individuals

Even more importantly, psilocybin is strictly contraindicated for individuals taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

To avoid unpleasant or dangerous interactions during a microdosing protocol, it is necessary to undergo medication withdrawal under the supervision of a general practitioner or psychiatrist.

Similarly, psilocybin in all its forms is strongly discouraged for individuals suffering from psychosis, heart failure, or those taking antipsychotic medications. These contraindications also apply to the Stamets Stack.

Information to Know Before Starting Microdosing

Perhaps the best way to harness the potential of microdoses of magic mushrooms is to work with a professional in psychology or personal development. Psilocybin leads to an increase in brain plasticity, making it easier to implement changes. During psychotherapy, for example, a patient on a microdose will be more receptive and able to delve deeper into self-exploration.

The challenge with microdosing psilocybin lies in the fact that the potency of mushrooms can vary from one specimen or dealer to another. In the absence of precise regulation on the production of psychedelic mushrooms, microdosing is generally less precise than a ceremony with magic truffles but remains a simpler and more cost-effective alternative.

Want to start a microdosing session ?

Order the microdosing starter kit with 3 weeks of psilocybin truffles and a live coaching session.

Try microdosing

The Rules for Safe Microdosing

Before starting a psilocybin microdosing regimen, it is important to adhere to a few rules. For example, never initiate the protocol on a workday, let alone if you need to drive. Similarly, experienced individuals recommend following a regular schedule and keeping a microdosing journal to record sensations, doses, benefits, or difficulties.

In general, the body and mind are good indicators of the potential effects of microdosing. Any positive or negative reactions should be taken into account to adjust the doses or frequency.

LSD: A Complex Microdosing Endeavor

LSD is typically available in liquid form and is clandestinely prepared. It can be challenging to precisely know the dose being consumed unless one has an extremely reliable supplier. Therefore, microdosing LSD is an endeavor that requires a great deal of caution and a genuine understanding of the sourcing process.

Frequently Asked Questions about microdosing mushrooms for depression

Is Microdosing Mushrooms for Depression Safe?

The consumption of psilocybin poses little risk. However, individuals with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder should avoid taking psychedelics. Similarly, its interaction with heart or kidney failure is poorly understood and warrants caution. Finally, there is also a contraindication for microdosing magic mushrooms for those on antidepressant or anti-diabetic treatments.

There is still a legal risk if you consume psilocybe capsules or extracts in a country where it is prohibited. LSD, on the other hand, is prohibited everywhere.

Does Microdosing Mushrooms Work for Depression?

At this stage of research, the answer is rather: it is unsure if microdosing does or not have an effect on depression, unlike higher doses. Studies have shown mixed results.

One study conducted in 2021 nevertheless concludes that “adults who microdose psychedelics report lower levels of anxiety and depression.”

How to Start Microdosing Mushrooms for Depression?

To start a microdosing protocol as an alternative to depression treatment, there are four steps:

  • Educate yourself about the legality of psilocybin and the risks involved.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional (psychiatrist) to determine if you can undertake such an approach and establish a dosing frequency.
  • Research reliable sources for obtaining mushrooms online. There’s a lot of valuable information on Reddit or Erowid.
  • Find a trusted individual or healthcare professional to whom you can regularly report any potential side effects you encounter.

Is Microdosing for Depression Legal?

The legality of microdosing depends on the legality of psilocybe mushrooms in the region of the world where you reside.

In the Netherlands, Colorado, or Oregon, you can practice microdosing legally for personal or psychitherapeutic purposes. Spain and Italy have some tolerance for private use. France, Germany, and Belgium strictly prohibit any use, including microdosing.

How Long Does It Take for Microdosed Mushrooms to Have an Effect on Depression?

The ingestion of magic mushrooms or psychedelic truffles typically produces effects within about 30 minutes. In the case of microdosing psilocybin, you are unlikely to feel any specific changes after a single dose. If effects do occur, they will be subtle and may take a few days to manifest.

Can microdosing cause a bad trip?

Consuming hallucinogens in microdoses does not cause a bad trip. Microdosing does not lead to a deep mind altering and does not influence past emotions. However, it can catalyze certain everyday emotions and make one more relaxed, more tender, or even colder.

Image source : wirestock on Freepik

By Tangerine Retreat's Team.