This complete guide is designed to help beginners and veterans alike learn about microdosing psilocybin-containing magic mushrooms.
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People are catching on quickly to modern uses for plant medicine, including psychedelics. As a treatment, microdosing is still relatively young on the holistic and natural health scene. However, in the last few years, more validity has been given to microdosing as a “new” spin on decreasing stress, improving focus and enhancing overall mental health.
Thanks to the rekindling of psychedelic research in the field of mental health by and large at Imperial College London and Johns Hopkins Univiersity, great strides are being made and microdosing may even replace antidepressants. More practitioners are becoming open to incorporating psychedelics into their practices.
Because psilocybin is illegal almost everywhere in the world and human clinical studies are still in their early stages, it isn’t easy to find a lot of information about microdosing. Neuro Growth is passionate about the medicinal properties of mushrooms, not barring Psilocybe cubensis. We believe in the potential of microdosing as a legitimate treatment for mental health. Accordingly, we are contributed to educating about microdosing magic mushrooms.
Let us be clear that, as Paul Stamets says, “Nature provides, [we] do not.” This content on our website regarding magic mushrooms is for educational purposes only. Neurogrowth wants to contribute to the breakdown of stigmas about psychedelic use and help people learn more about microdosing.
We are helping one another one conversation at a time.
Microdosing Magic Mushrooms Won’t Get You High. So Why Would You Do It?
Summarized from an original post in The Guardian:
Rosie has just returned from the school run. She drops off a bag of groceries on her kitchen table, and reaches for a clear plastic cup, covered by a white hanky and sealed with a hairband. Inside is her … magic mushrooms.
“‘I’ll take a very small dose, every four or five days,” she says. … “It gives me alertness, an assurance. I move from a place of anxiety to a normal state of confidence, not overconfidence.”
At parties and even at the school gates, they have told me about a new secret weapon that is boosting their productivity at work, improving their parenting and enhancing relationships.
Not clean-eating or mindfulness but microdosing – taking doses of psychedelic drugs so tiny they are considered to be “subperceptual”.
In other words, says Rosie: “You don’t feel high, just better.”
Rosie has what we all want. We all just want to be better.
Go With the Flow: Strengthening Mental Performance and Focus with Psychedelics
Have you ever been so engulfed by a task or in the zone during physical activity the world around you melted away, leaving just you and the relentless, all-encompassing pursuit of your goal?
Psychological sciences refer to this as the flow state.
When you are in a state of flow, you have a profound sense of purpose.
You are fully present in the task at hand, and are drawn into it immersively.
There is nothing else you would rather be doing and there is no place you would rather be.
All of your abilities, strengths and talents are made manifest and everything about the experience affirms you are achieving your best human potential.
The term “flow state” was defined by psychologist Mihály Csíkzentmihályi in his 1990 book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
He said the flow state is what we experience when we are in an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best” and “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
Flow is achievable in any challenge or endeavor: creativity, athletic performance, spirituality, relationships, anything you can lose yourself in.
Do you ever find it challenging to achieve this level of focus or enjoyment in your day?
When was the last time you truly experienced more than just pleasure in what you were doing and felt confidence and purpose in it?
Microdosing, the Mainstreaming of Psychedelics
If being in the flow state is a vehicle for self-actualization and optimal performance, microdosing is the key to the ignition.
By stimulating neurological receptors and improving the brain’s chemistry naturally, microdosing encourages areas of the brain that are not accustomed to communicating to connect.
This is where you level-up.
This is where you jump on your bike and with effortless focus, have the fastest hill-climb of your entire life.
It is when you are making a presentation to clients and know your energy is meeting theirs in perfect alignment.
It is when you are listening to your child explain her challenges with pure introspectiveness and patience, devoid of judgment or anger.
It is accepting constructive criticism from your employer and being able to implement it as a tool for your growth, rather than internalizing it as a personal injury.
Have you truly entered the flow state if you have done so through a third party medium, in this case, microdosing?
The answer is a resounding YES.
Microdosing is simply a resource that can be utilized by many people to overcome the obstacles standing between the self and its full potential.
History and Science of Microdosing with Psilocybin
Because psychedelic substances are illegal in most countries, experts have faced challenges in conducting studies. However, this is changing.
With the decriminalization of psilocybin becoming an important political issue internationally and having been achieved in a few places, scientists are experiencing increased freedom to pursue research in this area of study.
Microdosing has a long history of use in indigenous cultures (must read: The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic and Sacred Journeys. Dr. James Fadiman, Ph.D, 2011)
For thousands of years, psilocybin mushrooms have been culturally significant to people from all over the world. They have historically been used in religious ceremonies and healing practices to create heighted states of spiritual awareness.
Modern microdosers can receive the same benefits as ancient and indigenous peoples.
Modern Scientific Research & Studies
In 2015, microdosing entered the public consciousness in a big way when Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Workweek interviewed Dr. James Fadiman, Ph.D on his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show (Episode #66: The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide- Risks, Micro-Dosing, Ibogaine, and More).
Dr. Fadiman completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard and his graduate studies at Stanford. He is easily the most respected authority on psychedelics and their use in the United States and has been involved in researching them since the 1960s.
Dr. Fadiman refers to microdosing as a low dose of psychedelics for “problem solving purposes” and outlines the best practices for safety. Ferriss’ podcast has a large, broad audience and as a result, his interview with Dr. Fadiman substantially increased the public’s general understanding of microdosing. We highly recommend listening to it.
Currently, the world’s first double blind placebo-controlled study of microdosing is being conducted at Imperial College London. The aim of the study is to measure the cognitive abilities and well-being of the participants. In fact, on April 26, 2019, the college created the first centre for psychedelic research in the world. (1)
Notably, they are including a clinical trial to develop psilocybin therapy into a licensed treatment for depression as well as for other conditions. (1)
While much of the research specific to microdosing is emergent, there are decades of scientific research supporting how psychedelics increase the receptiveness of the brain to serotonin (the happiness chemical which also modulates “cognition, reward, learning, memory and numerous physiological processes” (2)
Psilocybin shares a similar structure to serotonin and mimicks it, stimulating the 5-HT2A serotonin receptors in the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
When serotonin is in balance it helps reduce the frequency and severity of:
- mood disorders
When serotonin levels are normal, you can expect to feel:
- increased productivity
- more focused
- less anxious
- improved athletic coordination
- balanced energy
- improved relationships
- enhanced ability to empathize
- more emotionally stable
- increased creativity
Many people are turning to microdosing to reduce symptoms of stress, incorporating it into their routine.
Microdosing with psilocybin connects parts of the brain that don’t usually communicate with one another and this dampens a part of our brain that is often running in overdrive: the Default Mode Network (DMN).
The DMN is the part of our brain where day-dreams, self-reflection, conceptualizing the future and reminiscing about the past happen.
While this may seem like a harmless mental space to occupy, over-analyzing ourselves can be detrimental to our ability to be fully present, leading to feelings of fear, regret, sadness, frustration, apathy, and so forth, blocking our ability to open ourselves to self-serving thoughts and ideas.
If you are contemplating getting started with microdosing, consider why you want to do it and what you hope to achieve in trying it.
Microdosing is more purposeful and fulfilling when you set your intention for the practice.
For example, professional athletes in mixed martial arts have been leveraging microdosing to enhance their athletic performance.
During fights, some athletes have reported being more perceptive in their abilities to anticipate their opponent’s next move. Microdosing has a way of doing that. It brings the background into the foreground, heightens the senses, and facilitates a unique interconnectedness between the mind and the body that holds great potential in the world of sport.
What is it that you hope to achieve?
How to Microdose with Psilocybin
The method of microdosing is to use a very small dose of psilocybin, so small that it does not result in an altered state of reality or a substantial change in your mood, disposition or mindset: you will still be you, just better.
Generally, 100 mg or 200 mg of dried powder is the recommended microdose for those getting started. The starter dose is mainly dependent on your previous microdosing experience. The best dose to start with is the lowest possible dose where you experience benefits.
The quantity of psilocybin in mushrooms can be variable depending on the part of the mushroom used, whether it is fresh, or whether it is powdered. Caps are more potent than stems, so it is beneficial for them to be powdered and mixed together.
After your first microdose it is important to be flexible in determining future dosing: the amount may need to be adjusted to receive the desired result.
After your first dose, you can expect to feel subtle enhancements in your state of mind and being. However, just like other new experiences, how you feel after your first dose could be unpredictable.
When you take your first microdose it is important to plan to take it on a day where you do not have to work or have important social engagements. Your physical and emotional safety is paramount and it will be much more comfortable to experience unusual effects, should they occur, in a space you have control over.
Once you establish the right dosage you can proceed with your normal daily routines. Remember, the goal of microdosing is to enhance your life, the way you live it!
Varying opinions exist on the best microdosing schedules but whatever schedule you choose to follow, it is important to follow days of use with days off.
Microdosing once a day, five days in a row, followed by a restorative break of two days gives the brain optimal opportunity to receive the benefits of this powerful plant medicine.
Your restorative break days are a critical component of self-care for the longevity of your brain health.
To date, there are no studies about the efficacy and safety of following a microdosing schedule such as this one in perpetuity, so it is prudent to practice microdosing in intervals, taking a break of a month or more every few months.
It is important to observe and record the effects of microdosing daily, including the days between doses:
- Are you experiencing more creative energy?
- Are you experiencing more flow?
- Do you feel more relaxed?
- Has your mental clarity increased?
- Have you noticed any changes in your coordination or athletic performance?
- Is there a change in how you feel during social interactions?
Microdosing is not recommended as a daily practice as it increases psilocybin tolerance. Do not lose sight of the fact that psilocybin is very potent.
As tolerance increases, the effects of microdosing will feel less noticeable. Microdosing is your secret weapon: it is not intended for daily or prolonged use.
Are Mushrooms Good for Anxiety? How Microdosing Can Reset Your Brain
One in four Canadians will have at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetime and people who are suffering often look for solutions outside of the pharmaceutical industry. Now that microdosing is hitting the mainstream, people are asking if mushrooms are good for anxiety and if they really can reset your brain. (1)
Does that statistic hit close to home? Chances are high you or someone you care about face a real, daily struggle with anxiety or depression.
Maybe you have already achieved some results, but deep down, you know you could be feeling so much happier.
You’ve been pursuing mainstream solutions, but do you ever feel like maybe you aren’t just like everyone else and that your experience is not so conventional?
Do you already know there has to be a better way?
Jeff McKay of Neuro Growth was one of the people who was struggling but looking for a better solution:
“I was super depressed, stressed out, mad, angry and didn’t think going on in life was worth it anymore. I narrowly survived my rock-bottom and knew I deserved so much more than the “results” I was getting in my conventional treatment with antidepressants.
My life changed completely when I learned the science behind why my treatment wasn’t healing my mind. I discovered a natural solution that was EXACTLY what I needed to stop the suffering.
Microdosing magic mushrooms curbed my stress and improved my mood in ways nothing else did.
Before you judge, the thing you need to know is that these are not your parents’ trippy magic mushrooms or the stuff of teenage shenanigans.”
The Shocking Truth: Magic Mushrooms May Become a FDA-Approved Drug for Anxiety and Depression in the Near Future
When people have been taking antidepressants long term, they often report feeling less connected to themselves and their life. When they swap SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) drugs for psychedelic treatment they feel the opposite: reconnected and emotionally in tune.
This shocking observation is just one reason why scientists at Imperial College London’s new psychedelic research centre believe it is possible Big Pharma’s stronghold on the antidepressant market is going to weaken, or even break.
Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris is leading the first trials to test how magic mushrooms stack up against antidepressants when used in treatment. He cannot reveal the results of the study yet but he does have some things he can share about it already:
Most significant is that participants in the study experience a “cathartic emotional release with psilocybin therapy- the polar opposite of antidepressants, which patients complain leave their emotions, whether positive or negative, blunted.”
Magic mushrooms also contain a much lower risk for abuse and overdose than antidepressants. (10)
4 Risks of Taking Magic Mushrooms for Anxiety
For most people, microdosing magic mushrooms reduces feelings of anxiety.
Because we aren’t doctors, we recommend you always consult with your health care professional before undertaking a new treatment or modifying an existing treatment.
Though we aren’t aware of any serious dangers, these are the 4 most significant risks we have identified of taking magic mushrooms to reduce anxious feelings:
- We don’t know what frequent microdosing will do to your body. Because long term studies on microdosing do not yet exist, we don’t know what the long term effects of daily microdosing are. To be cautious, we recommend taking a break from microdosing every three months or so.
- While science has shown magic mushrooms are not physiologically addictive, it is possible to become psychologically addicted to any behavior. Since microdosing magic mushrooms has many desirable benefits, it is possible to feel dependent on the practice of microdosing. The goal of microdosing is not to rely on it daily, fostering an independence that allows us to feel great even at times when we are not microdosing.
- Microdosing can cause increased anxiety for some people. These people may potentially notice negative changes to their sleep patterns and digestion. This risk is rare and more common with “high doses,” though occasionally it happens with microdoses in people who are particularly sensitive to psychedelics. Avoid microdosing completely if you suffer from psychosis, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
- Microdosing magic mushrooms involves the use of an illegal drug (at least in most parts of the world). There is definitely an implied risk whenever you take an illegal substance. This also raises questions about how you safely source psychedelics. If you are going to microdose, be sure to find a trustworthy source.
Superfoods Synergies: Stacking with Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom and Mucuna
Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushrooms
The possibilities for enhancing the microdosing experience with superfoods are endless.
Lion’s mane mushroom, a medicinal, totally legal mushroom native to North America, Europe and Asia, has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine. When extracted, concentrated, and used in conjunction with psilocybin (known as “stacking”), this brain-boosting mushroom can greatly enhance the benefits of a psilocybin-only microdosing regimen.
The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry (2) includes a lengthy list of lion’s mane mushrooms benefits:
- Enhances cognitive function
- Supports the heart and circulatory system
- Reduces inflammation
- May be protective against certain cancers
- May improve digestive health
Other scholarly sources suggests lion’s mane mushroom:
- May be a natural remedy for depression and anxiety (4)
- Improves mental health, particularly for people who are at risk of dementia (5)
- Boosts immune health (6)
- Helps with neuro degenerative conditions like neuropathy, Parkinson’s Disease Alzheimer’s Disease and Muscular Sclerosis: lion’s many appears to be able to improve the health of nerve cells and may be the only substance on earth (and it’s natural!) that can heal nerve damage.
When stacked with psilocybin, we believe lion’s mane and psilocybin mushrooms offer powerful, complementary benefits.
Paul Stamets has been nothing short of a pioneer in epigenetic neurogenesis and has created his own stacking protocol, using lion’s mane mushrooms.
Lion’s mane is a nootropic, a substance that increases mental performance. What is so profound about lion’s mane mushroom is it permanently enhances cognition and encourages the brain to alter itself structurally.
Scientists believe lion’s mane holds the potential to heal nerve damage. Stamets’ objective in creating his own stack, which includes lion’s mane and niacin, is to increase neurogenesis in the brain over time to aid in the preservation of memories.
The incorporation of superfoods with microdosing is revolutionary and is making microdosing an even more transformative medicine.
In addition to lion’s mane mushroom, an herb that also works synergistically with psilocybin is mucuna, sometimes called “velvet bean.”
Native to India, the Carribbean and tropical regions of Africa, mucuna is a creeping vine and adaptogenic herb. The seed pods of the plant contain naturally high concentrations of L-dopa, the precursor to dopamine, a powerful mood regulator.
Mucuna has several important benefits that make it a powerful component of a microdosing stack:
- Mood lifting natural anti-depressent (7)
- Improves sexual behavior, libido and potency, sperm parameters and hormone levels in men (8)
- Improves stress management (9)
Dopamine plays a significant role in motivating behavior. In a physiological way, it rewards us for behaviors that our body and brain consider beneficial to us. Dopamine is released when we take a bite of delicious food, after we exercise, during sex, and when we interact with others socially. It’s why these activities feel so good.
Stacking microdoses with mucuna encourages us to feel more of these rewarding sensations.
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Are you interested in learning about other medicinal herbs and mushrooms that can be used to boost the health of your brain and reduce the symptoms of stress?
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Microdosing Magic Mushrooms for Migraines and Cluster Headaches
Migraines and cluster headaches are more than just headaches. They aren’t even bad headaches. Severe headaches doesn’t come close to describing them.
Existing over-the-counter and pharmaceutical drugs only provide temporary relief at best. This has led people to turn to Cluster Busters and psychedelic researchers at Johns Hopkins University with the question:
Do magic mushrooms help with migraines and cluster headaches?
A study from 2006 from Neurology called “Response of cluster headache to psilocybin and LSD” is the primary resource at the time this guide was written on using magic mushrooms to treat migraines.
The most compelling personal story we have read in support of microdosing mushrooms as an effective way to cope with the pain of migraines was in this article.
The author is at his friend Sean’s house when the tell-tale early warning signs of an oncoming migraine hit him and he receives his first-ever microdose of magic mushrooms in attempt to stop the pain. Here’s what happened:
After Sean gave me the micro-dose of magic mushrooms, my headache began to play out as expected. My liver had to first process the psilocybin, convert it to psilocin, and release a number of metabolites into my bloodstream; a process that usually takes 30 to 45 minutes. But after that time had passed, it felt like I had skipped the worst part of my headache and was coasting through the dull afterglow that marks the latter stage of my migraines. I also felt a little woozy – the feeling I knew the mushrooms were responsible for.
Chronic Sufferers Are Choosing LSD and Psilocybin For Migraines
It seemed Sean’s magic mushroom remedy worked. It didn’t stop the headache dead in its tracks, but it did mitigate the pain significantly and shorten the span of it. Now, had I been working at the time, the subtle psychoactive effects of the psilocybin may have been distracting, but with a full-blown migraine, no work would have been accomplished anyway.
It is clear that microdosing (at least at present) doesn’t offer a cure from the painful symptoms of migraines, but it is working for some people as a way to bypass the worst parts of the condition and reduce the severity, when it strikes.
People who suffer from cluster headaches know there is a special place in Hell for them. Cluster headaches are more common in men than women (women experience more migraines). They occur in cycles (clusters), hence their name, which can last weeks, even months, followed by remission periods.
The pain is excruciating and often begins behind one eye while the sufferer is sleeping. REM sleep can trigger cluster headaches. They are so debilitating, people who frequently endure them sometimes develop a fear of falling asleep! Because if their repetitive nature, people who go through cluster headaches often feel powerless: they know the next day they are probably going to go through it again.
In 2006, a human study in the journal “Neurology” called “Response of cluster headache to psilocybin and LSD” involved 53 people who suffer from cluster headaches.
What they found was fascinating and extremely hopeful.
More than half of the subjects interviewed reported that one dose of psychedelics caused their cluster headaches to stop, permanently. About 25% of the participants said magic mushrooms stopped their headache mid-attack!
While the study group is relatively small, it isn’t small enough that these results don’t catch our attention. It is important to be completely clear that these participants were not microdosing psilocybin: they were taking larger psychedelic doses.
Researchers believe cluster headaches start in the region of the brain called the hypothalamus. They hypothalamus is responsible for our circadian clock, which regulates our cycles of wakefulness and rest. They are debilitating to the extent that some people can’t function normally in society.
One thing that draws us to consider microdosing as a potentially effective treatment for cluster headaches is the way microdosing interacts with specific regions of the brain. We know, for example, that microdosing reduces blood flow to the amygdala, responsible for the default mode network (the region of the brain that causes us to use the same patterns of thought and problem solving methods the same way, repeatedly, resulting in “default” ways of thinking).
Could microdosing slow blood flow to the hypothalamus and help cluster heads break the cycle of this painful condition?
Microdosing psilocybin does in fact reduce blood flow to the hypothalamus. We predict microdosing could be a means to avoid the symptoms of cluster headaches by reducing stimulation of the hypothalamus.
That said, we at Neuro Growth aren’t doctors and we certainly aren’t neurologists.
Any attempts at treatment for cluster headaches by microdosing mushrooms would be completely in the realm of self-experimentation.
Where can I Obtain Psilocybin Mushrooms for Microdosing?
Growing your own psilocybin mushrooms may be an option if it is legal to cultivate them in your locality. In countries where psilocybin is legal you may be able to purchase microdosing capsules, magic mushrooms, microdosing nasal sprays, or a grow kit.
Just make sure you understand it is your responsibility to know the laws of the land you are in.
If you have any questions about microdosing mushrooms you would like to discuss confidentially, please message us via this secure and safe contact form.
*Please note we do not sell microdosing capsules or magic mushrooms, nor do we offer referrals for sources.
Neuro Growth’s goal is to provide resources, information, and engage people in conversations about microdosing. We hope you find this space informative and helpful as you learn more about microdosing with superfood synergies!
(1) https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/190994/imperial-launches-worlds-first-centre-psychedelics/ (2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin (3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26244378 (4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20834180 (5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27544998 (6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28266682 (7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4213977/ (8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20456630 (9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18955292 (10) ttps://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/magic-mushroom-depression-psychedelic-drug-mental-health-antidepressant-big-pharma-imperial-lsd-dmt-a8929796.html