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microdosing magic mushrooms article cover image depicting psychedelically colored capsule and question mark

Microdosing: All About This New Mental Wellness Trend

Microdosing shrooms—it’s become a hot topic of late. That’s, at least in part, because Silicon Valley execs have popularized the practice of microdosing psychadelics. This killer “productivity hack” roughly follows the protocols laid out by psychadelices researcher James Fadiman, but most evidence about the benefits people experience is anecdotal. For scientists, conducting research on the effects of microdosing magic mushrooms is difficult, as shrooms are illegal almost everywhere. But in some countries, like the Netherlands, where psychadelics have been decriminalized, scientists are beginning to be able to study it.

What is microdosing exactly?

A microdose is pretty much what it sounds like: a “micro” dose. Usually the amount suggested is around one tenth the amount you would usually take to get high. According to scientists, such as Rick Doblin, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a microdose can create a “subperceptual” effect. The right quantity “to feel a bit of energy lift, a little bit of insight, but not so much that you are tripping.”

Many people claim that microdosing has the effect of inducing a sense of calmness, clear-mindedness, substantial increases in creativity, fewer depressing thoughts and much less anxiety. Many have found microdosing shrooms so effective for them that they sing its praises as a healthier, more effective alternative to caffeine, focus drugs or antidepressant medications. It’s all anecdotal of course, the science has yet to prove that this is the case, but research is ramping up.

closeup of psilocybin being weighed on scale, false color image
Image source: Getty Images

Effects of Microdosing

Some effects commonly experienced by people who have tried microdosing include:

  • increased concentration
  • improved mindfulness and focus
  • better energy levels
  • heightened awareness and stimulation
  • improved cognitive function
  • improved problem solving skills
  • increased interest in social activities and better social skills
  • reduced anxiety
  • enhanced creativity
  • stress relief
  • a more pleasant and optimistic mood
  • increase in ambitiousness 
  • increase in productivity

A good number of people who microdose psychedelic mushrooms do so with the intention of improving their mental health. People who deal with anxiety, depression, and chronic stress have claimed that microdosing psilocybin helps to reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of their condition. 

A study by ‘Psychopharmacology’ revealed that:

  •  21% of people who practice microdosing use it as a form of antidepressant therapy
  •  7% use microdosing to alleviate symptoms of anxiety
  • 9% used microdosing to treat other mental health disorders.

Around 44% of the people involved in the research were convinced that microdosing had significantly improved their conditions.

A study conducted by Frontiers in Psychiatry revealed that people who enjoy the positive benefits of microdosing believe it to be more effective than most forms of treatment.

Another major reason people get into microdosing shrooms is to help quit bad habits. People claim microdosing psilocybin mushrooms has helped them quit drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, even habits that aren’t considered all that bad, like drinking coffee.

Although, the empirical evidence that backs this up is still accumulating, you know things are going in the right direction when you see headlines like “Psychedelics May Be Next Breakthrough Treatment” on Healthline, and that the FDA recently fast-tracking approval for new research into psychadelics-based anti-depression treatments. The FDA thought enough of psilocybin’s anti-depression applications that they gave the research  “breakthrough therapy” designation.

image visualizing spark within brain anatomy

Microdosing – A quick How To

“It would have gone on to be used as Ritalin, if it wasn’t so harshly scheduled.” – Albert Hoffman

The key to microdosing successfully is understanding your own tolerance and reaction to shrooms in general. Most companies selling microdose capsules are giving you around 100mg, or one tenth of a gram. This might be too little for the seasoned shroom-taker, but for the average person, is a pretty handy starting point. You can experiment by increasing your dose by about 50mg every three or four days. Within a few weeks, you should be able to find the dose that gives you the effects you like most. Usually, the highest “micro” dose you’ll find is about 500mg. Be aware that, for most, 500mg is enough to start making you feel high, and can be distracting if you’re trying to be productive.

Remember that your tolerance to shrooms builds up quickly, so microdosing on consecutive days is not advised. You’ll get better result if you wait 3 or 4 days before your next microdose. Interestingly, your overall open-mindedness will continue to persist and be higher than normal for several days after you microdose.

Potential side effects

Despite most people reporting positive experiences, a microdose does alter mood and perception slightly and shrooms can provoke reactions in those with sensitive stomachs. Some potential negative side effects could include:

  • End of day sleepiness/lethargy
  • Stomach discomfort/bloating sensations
  • Altered perception of time
  • Emotional over-awareness for both positive and negative feelings.

Should I try microdosing?

Though psilocybin is illegal in most US states, and mostly prohibited in Canada, things are changing quickly. Growing numbers of health professionals are lobbying for the right to research and administer psychadelics for various mental health issues. Oregon recently legalized psilocybin and Health Canada is beginning to allow health care professionals legally use psilocybin.

It’s safe to order shrooms online in Canada, with many online shroom dispensaries appearing as regulations trend towards legalization.

The risk of mild side effects is low, and shrooms are generally safe to consume, especially in microdose quantities. Therefore, the risk is small when weighed against the potential benefits.

Though still mildly taboo, the practice of microdosing shrooms is getting endorsements by so many respected public figures and high-level professionals that 1) You shouldn’t feel any stigma about it, and 2) You should feel pretty confident that the endorsements are authentic and valid.

With so many positive benefits for business, productivity and creativity, you should at least give yourself the chance to evaluate whether it might be of benefit to you.


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Medical disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians.