Beginners Guide to Microdosing Psychedelics

This is a guest post by Mansal Denton. He is unaffiliated with Pure Nootropics and his thoughts and experiences are his own. Pure Nootropics does not condone or encourage the use of illicit or illegal substances. 

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Psychedelics are a big part of my personal growth and success.

The experiences with psychedelics have:

  • Offered me different perspectives on many of my weaknesses and strengths.
  • Provided an additional sense of awareness of my habits and patterns that I must catch and reverse.
  • Provided a feeling of connectedness with other people and things that I never before experienced.

And I’m not the only one…

Popular writer, Michael Pollan, described “The Trip Treatment” of psilocybin and the potential use for treating anxiety, addiction, and depression.

Famed author and personality, Tim Ferriss, has had numerous discussions about psychedelics, such as LSD, mushrooms, and even ayahuasca. It was Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) host and comedian, Joe Rogan, who got me interested in the subject.

But beyond using psychedelics as a mystical experience, there is a subset who are finding ways to use them for a different purpose.

Through microdosing of psychedelic drugs, many people are finding cognitive advantages to improve the execution of their work and achieve more.

guide to microdosing

Less than a month before writing this piece Rolling Stone published an article about “how LSD microdosing became the hot new business trip…” Of course, Forbes, GQ, the Telegraph, and dozens of other outlets re-published the same popular piece (Nov 2015).

I have been saying that nootropics are used by Silicon Valley execs, Wall Street traders, and just about every other high performance individual in between, but this is the next level…

Let’s get started, shall we?

A New Age of Tripping

Austin, Texas is becoming a hub for a new kind of entrepreneur, hippie, and hipster breed. As gross as that might be to visually imagine, it actually creates an amazing environment for testing personal practices, such as microdosing.

While I have sifted through scientific research, particularly from Dr. James Fadiman in the 1970s, much of this is based on anecdotes, experiences, and interviews.

Names have been changed to protect those who shared their experiences.

What is Microdosing and What are Proposed Benefits?

Microdosing is using small doses of powerful psychedelic drugs in order to improve working conditions. In contrast, full psychedelic experiences are often mystical and not conducive to completing work-related tasks.

There are several purported advantages including:

Problem-solving

Imagine you have been working on a problem for weeks without finding an adequate solution. You wake up every morning, put in your time, but still don’t feel satisfied with your results.

That was the basis for a 1966 experiment organized by Dr. James Fadiman among others. This experiment took 27 male subjects (16 engineers, 2 mathematicians, 2 architects, 1 engineer-physicist, and others) and required them to bring a professional problem they had been working on for at least 3 months with a desire to solve it.

After providing these subjects with 200 mg of mescaline sulphate, the subjects had 4 hours to work on their professional problem. Almost all of them reported greater problem-solving ability and at least 12 had breakthrough solutions.

Creativity

Eric Clough was an architect in 1966 during the same era of research who wrote “The consensus among the architects interviewed…seems to be that LSD, when administered under carefully controlled conditions, does enhance creativity… aids in visualizing three-dimensionally, and generally heightens perceptivity.” (Fadiman, 170)

Numerous microdosing practitioners report having more creativity, which often ties into problem-solving. However, for musicians and artists, the creativity may help produce exceptional work in the absence of a definitive ‘problem’ that needs solving.

trippic2

Mood

Many psychedelics drastically enhance mood and happiness because of their interaction with serotonin receptors. Psilocybin decreases depressive and anxiety-related symptoms. The same is true for most other psychedelic drugs through small microdoses.

Physical

In a book Tryptamine Palace, author James Oroc asserts “Virtually all athletes who learn to use LSD… believe that the use of these compounds improves both their stamina and their abilities. According to the combined reports of 40 years of use by the extreme sports underground, LSD can increase your re-flex time to lightning speed, improve your balance to the point of perfection, increase your concentration…”

It sounds nice, but I spoke with my friend Larry to get his experiences and confirmed the same phenomenon. Both LSD and o-acetylpsilocin (prodrug for psilocin) offered strong physical energy and endurance beyond the norm.

These are just a few of the benefits of microdosing specifically. Note that the ‘heroic’ dose, which provides mystical and self-reflective experiences, does not provide the same problem-solving or physical endurance effects. In fact, it might be the opposite in some circumstances so be careful when microdosing.

Anecdotal Experiences with Microdosing and N = 1

In scientific studies, the letter “n” is used to refer to the sample size. If you test something in a group of 5 friends, the sample size is 5 (n=5). The term “n=1” is used to describe a sample size of 1, which is you. Therefore, the popularized term in biohacking circles is meant to encourage self-testing as opposed to listening to what everyone else believes.

There are at least 3 acquaintances with whom I spoke about microdosing. Larry is an entrepreneur creating a health-food company and had the most extensive experiences with microdosing. He felt LSD had a more complete microdosing experience even though mushrooms improved his physical energy and endurance profoundly.

Both Larry and another named Josh reported cycling LSD microdoses once every 3 – 4 days because of tolerance and ability to connect with others. Larry concluded that 10 – 12 mcg is better for physical endurance and concentration, while 12 – 15 mcg is better for creative thinking and problem-solving.

In contrast to these generally positive experiences, there is a individual self-experiment by Gwern that showed “No beneficial effects reached…LSD microdosing did not help me.” He continues to show how he tested and calculated things.

Another trained pianist and composer on Reddit took 30 – 40 mcg microdoses and reported “The experience could be described as slightly withdrawn and I felt like I had worse coordination and consequently lower accuracy in playing.”

Given the mixed nature of these anecdotal experiences, I recommend taking an N=1 approach. Understand that each individual is different and the dosage and microdosing that works for one person may not work for you.

The evidence from Fadiman’s research in the 1960’s along with other testimony leads me to be cautiously optimistic about microdosing benefits, but don’t expect it to solve all your professional or personal problems.

How-To: Microdosing and Mistakes

Again, neither I nor Pure Nootropics condone or recommend using illegal or illicit drugs. This is the process for microdosing that is reported through the experiments of Dr. James Fadiman and the experiences of others.

Given that microdosing with LSD is most common. Here is a brief guide for most accurately dosing. This is called volumetric dosing and it offers the most superior and accurate result.

(Tools needed: Scale, Pipette bottle, distilled water, tab of LSD)

  • Step #1 – Weigh out 10 grams of distilled water on the scale
  • Step #2 – Mix the water in the pipette bottle with 100 mcg of LSD
  • Step #3 – With these calculations (10 g water + 100 mcg LSD), every gram (or ML) of water is now a 10 mcg dose
  • Step #4 – Shake up pipette bottle a few minutes before administering (no need to wait all day)

Here are some of the common mistakes people make when trying to microdose:

Mistake #1 – Do not cut the tab of LSD into strips in order to divide the dosage. For one, this is incredibly difficult to do accurately (given the small size of most LSD tabs). It also does not account for “hotspots”, which are heightened concentrations and uneven distribution on the tab itself. Instead, use the volumetric dosing with distilled water method explained above.

Mistake #2 – Taking the “incorrect” dose. While each dose will have different effects for different people, some guidance can be helpful. 20 mcg of LSD is usually considered the high end of the microdose range, but some people go as high as 50 mcg. For LSD the lower doses tend to have concentration and slight mood benefits (5 – 12 mcg) while 12 – 20 mcg is a dose for problem-solving and creativity with more felt effects.

If you are using o-acetylpsilocin for a mushroom microdose (easier than trying to weigh actual mushrooms precisely), dosage recommendations are around 3 – 4 mg for microdosing.

Mistake #3 – Taking doses too often. Most accounts recommended once every 3 – 4 days maximum, but longer is also good. LSD is particularly subject to tolerance and doing it every other day can create uncomfortable relationships with reality.

Mistake #4 – Obviously sourcing makes a big difference with microdosing. A poor quality product with a big dose is less impactful, but when you rely on a tiny dose to provide effects, opt for quality.

This is a guest post by Mansal Denton. He is unaffiliated with Pure Nootropics and his thoughts and experiences are his own. Pure Nootropics does not condone or encourage the use of illicit or illegal substances. 

If you have something you’d like to add, we’d love to hear from you, please comment below.

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5 Responses to “Beginners Guide to Microdosing Psychedelics”

  1. Jake L March 1, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

    It’s not often you actually hear an honest appraisal of microdosing… It’s been too long that psychedelics have been demonized when they can be so, so very therapeutic. I can’t wait for the inevitable sweeping legislation in the future that’ll change all of this.

  2. Apis Garrulus September 5, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    “LSD is particularly subject to tolerance and doing it every other day can create uncomfortable relationships with reality.” This must be a mistake; it sounds like he’s saying that taking it frequently can have a cumulative effect. Tolerance builds up very quickly when LSD is taken frequently. This means that the effectiveness of the same dose quickly lessens if there’s not enough time between each ingestion—the exact opposite of a cumulative effect. (Once, as a teenager, I took acid three times during a single week. By the third time, six or seven doses had about the same effect as a single dose!)

    • PureNootropics September 30, 2016 at 8:57 am #

      Thanks for your comment. What I was trying to say, is similar to what you posted, tolerance increases with use, but too frequent use can cause one to question what’s real vs. what isn’t. I don’t personal think there is a cumulative effect, however I do feel that the spiritual (which I hesitate to even use that word) growth associated with such psychedelics can be useful. For example, one source suggests that doing mushrooms even once can change a person’s personality.

  3. TheophilusThistle December 19, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

    any recommendation for an affordable microgram scale, for dry ingredients?

  4. A sonnier February 1, 2017 at 3:40 am #

    “Mox the water with 100 mcg LSD”
    Do you mean weigh out crystal lsd and drop it in water? Or do you mean 100 mcg of LSD diluted with alcohol or whatever?

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