A Beginner’s Guide To Microdosing Psychedelic Mushrooms
Written by Sonja Henrikssen.
Could microdosing magic mushrooms help change your life for the better? For some, taking small, imperceptible doses of psychedelic mushrooms opens up a world of healing, self-fulfillment, improved focus and creativity, and heightened well-being. Entirely different from taking psychedelics in pursuit of ego-death or altered consciousness, microdosing works below the surface and can help support a self-aware and joyful life.
Here, in our beginners’ guide to microdosing magic mushrooms, we’ll be detailing all the basics of microdosing protocols and sharing important information for safely taking psychedelics. Learn what clinical research says about the potential of psychedelic and microdosing therapies, and explore how to integrate microdosing into your routine.
What is Microdosing?
Microdosing is the practice of taking low doses of psychedelic medicines for improved mental health, spiritual well-being, and creative stimulation. Microdoses are so low that they are considered sub-hallucinogenic, and produce none of the perceptible psychedelic effects of higher doses. The goal is not intoxication or a “high,” but rather improved daily function and mood.
Although microdosing has been mentioned anecdotally and in passing since at least the 1960s, the earliest organized and documented accounts of people microdosing psychedelics come from a 2011 book entitled The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide. Written by American author and psychedelic researcher Dr. James Fadiman, the book outlines both Fadiman’s recommendations for a microdosing protocol and a collection of questionnaires from individuals who experienced positive effects from microdosing.
While the “origins” of microdosing and psychedelic research within the field of neuroscience may be new, First Nations and indigenous people around the world have been using psychedelic medicines in traditional healing, cultural, and spiritual practices for thousands of years. Because of this, it can reasonably be assumed that microdosing was also being practiced by indigenous people far earlier than the 1960s.
Benefits of Microdosing Mushrooms for Mental Health
To date, the majority of psychedelic microdosing benefits have been anecdotal and self-reported, but increased public interest and recent moves to decriminalize psychedelic drugs have helped to fuel a handful of clinical trials. An especially exciting conclusion from a study conducted by Luisa Prochazkova, et al., (2018) points to microdosing psychedelics as a way to optimize “the balance between cognitive persistence and flexibility.”
As humans, we are constantly faced with the need to be persistent, stick to our goals, and push through hard times. On the other hand, we must also be flexible, and adapt as our circumstances change and new information arises. To balance these instincts is challenging, and can leave some of us frozen in indecision, anxiety, or fear. However, microdosing psychedelic drugs and medicines could help to make this balancing act a little easier and more intuitive, ultimately enhancing decision-making.
A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in Oxford, England concluded that individuals microdosing psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) were less likely to report substance abuse disorders and anxiety.
It may be due to this reduced state of anxiety that psychedelic substance users are often more open and suggestible, a quality studied by R L Carhart-Harris, et al., (2014) in subjects microdosing LSD—though evidence shows that mushrooms elicit a similar response. Increased suggestibility could serve both as a therapeutic aid, and as a means of indoctrination, and has been explored in the world of psychiatry and beyond.
In addition to formal scientific studies, there are thousands of anecdotal reports online from psychedelic users administering their own microdose protocols and self-reporting their findings. For example, the subreddit r/microdosing has more than 200,000 members and has been aggregating anecdotal reports of microdosing experiences since 2013. Even tech executives in Silicon Valley are microdosing mushrooms. Many of the reported positive effects of microdosing from forums like these resemble conclusions from clinical trials:
- Improved mood
- Increased productivity
- Reduced anxiety
- Increased perception of openness and universal interconnectedness
- Enhanced problem-solving and learning
- Increased interest and persuadability
- Fewer cluster headaches and migraines
Perhaps most interestingly, psychedelics—like psilocybin mushrooms—have been shown to enhance neuroplasticity. While neuroplasticity has been linked more commonly to higher doses of psychedelics, a new study suggests that psilocybin microdosing over extended periods could also encourage neurogenesis.
Even studies that do not report improvements in mental health or well-being report that microdoses of magic mushrooms produce noticeable effects and measurable changes in brain activity.
Other Common Psychedelics Used for Microdosing
Magic mushrooms are not the only psychedelic substances commonly used in microdosing protocols. Classical psychedelics like LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), mescaline, and DMT/Ayahuasca (N, N-Dimethyltryptamine) produce similar—though not identical—benefits to psilocybin microdosing including improved mood, enhanced focus, and greater creativity.
Though similar, it’s important to remember that these psychedelic medicines can also produce entirely different side effects than psilocybin. We also do not recommend microdosing ayahuasca or mescaline because of sustainability problems with these plants. Which classical psychedelic an individual chooses to microdose may depend on their aims, but we’ll be focused specifically on psilocybin microdosing.
Microdosing non-classical psychedelics—like MDMA and DOI which are chemically similar to stimulants—is not recommended, and the efficacy of microdosing other psychoactive substances like cannabis lacks adequate research.
How To Microdose Psilocybin Mushrooms
Before we dive into dosing schedules and specific microdosing protocols, let’s discuss some of the logistics of microdosing psilocybin. To enjoy the most positive and beneficial experience, you’ll need to be prepared and have your mushrooms in a row, so to speak.
Precautions & Key Considerations for Microdosing Mushrooms
Microdosing and psychedelics aren’t for everyone. Like any other medicine, drug, or mind-altering substance, magic mushrooms can have varying effects on different people, and for some the risk of taking psychedelics isn’t worth the potential reward. From a psychopharmacology perspective especially, microdosing may present risks for individuals already being treated with psychiatric medications. Some important considerations to make before you choose to begin a microdosing protocol include:
Where To Source Mushrooms for Your Microdosing Practice
Though not yet legal under Canadian or U.S. law, psychedelic mushrooms are relatively easy to obtain. Despite federal regulations, several U.S. states and cities have decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms, eliminating penalties for possession. This means that in some places, you will not be fined or otherwise punished by law enforcement for possession of psychedelic mushrooms.
Here is a complete list (as of this writing) of U.S. cities that have decriminalized psilocin and psilocybin:
- Oakland, California
- Santa Cruz, California
- Northampton, Massachusetts
- Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Somerville, Massachusetts
- Seattle, Washington
- Washington, D.C.
In addition to the U.S. cities that have decriminalized and deprioritized policing of psychedelic medicines, two states—Oregon and Colorado—have passed widespread decriminalization and policies for legalized use under supervision. Thanks to possession protections created by decriminalization laws, it is now far easier for people to share psychedelic medicines with each other without fear.
Like in the U.S., the active ingredients found in psychedelic mushrooms—psilocin and psilocybin—are illegal to possess, produce, and sell in Canada. However, a push for decriminalization and divestment from harsh penalties for drug possessions is steadfastly a Canadian public interest.
A promising sign that Canadians may soon enjoy decriminalized magic mushrooms comes in the form of an exemption granted by Health Canada starting January 31, 2023, through January 31, 2026. Adults in B.C. will not be arrested, charged, or have their drugs confiscated should they be found in possession of up to 2.5 grams of any combination of opioids, crack and powder cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA.
While classical psychedelics are not explicitly named in this exemption, this is positive forward motion and reflects the broader attitude Canadian law enforcement has recently had toward psychedelics. There are simply “bigger fish” for police and law enforcement agencies to focus on, and in some cities like Vancouver, magic mushrooms are being sold in dispensaries operating openly amid other legitimate businesses.
Similarly, online retailers will ship psychedelic mushrooms right to your door, but order at your own risk. Magic mushroom spores—which do not contain either psilocin or psilocybin—are legally sold in Canada and the U.S. for microscopy and research purposes only. Growing mushrooms at home from spores is reportedly quite easy, but is technically not legal in Canada.
Measuring a Microdose
A microdose is exponentially smaller than a standard dose and is designed to be so low that it won’t produce any of the intoxicating effects of psilocybin at higher doses. To ensure your microdose is accurate, we recommend always weighing before you dose. A microdose is normally between 50–200 mg or 0.05–0.2 g of dried magic mushrooms per dose.
Doses of psilocybin should always be measured in dry weight. Fresh magic mushrooms are around 90% water weight and don’t keep well—dry mushrooms can be kept in an airtight container for months without experiencing active ingredient decay.
It is important not only to measure each time but to ensure your dose is always the same. Some people like to make capsules from ground shrooms to ensure their dose is always identical and to make measuring low doses easier.
The practice of setting an intention before taking psychedelic substances can help to focus your journey and shift you into the right mindset for healing. Intentions can be simple and broad like wanting to feel more energetic or wanting to feel more creative, or can be specific like wanting to focus on processing a big life event or examining a trait you either want to eliminate from or introduce to your life.
Your intentions may change during your microdosing journey, or they may evolve as you discover new things about yourself. This is normal—go with the flow.
What Protocol Should I Use To Microdose Mushrooms?
Microdosing schedules typically last 2–8 weeks, and should be non-invasive to your everyday life. Not only should your microdosing protocol not cause perceptible intoxication, but the specific dosing schedule you choose should fit easily with your routine. We’re highlighting six of the most popular microdosing schedules—which you choose will depend on how much time you want to spend on your protocol, how often you’re comfortable dosing, and how much flexibility you have in your personal life.
The goal is to feel that “microdosing integrates beautifully into my life!” Not that you are forcing yourself to follow a schedule that doesn’t align with your lifestyle.
You also don’t have to start your microdosing journey alone! Programs like Flow Formula can help you develop a personalized microdosing protocol while guiding you through the process with holistic tools and a supportive structure. Flow Formula is an 8-week group program designed for newcomers to the world of microdosing magic mushrooms and other plant medicines.
By far the most popular and well-known microdosing protocol comes from Dr. James Fadiman, a well-known psychedelic research pioneer and one of the first to compile reports and assessments of anecdotal psychedelic microdosing. The Fadiman Protocol is a simple one and requires you to dose once every three days for 4–8 weeks.
Microdosing Schedule on the Fadiman Protocol
- Day 2: Rest and reflect
- Day 3: Rest and reflect
…repeat for 4–8 weeks with at least 2–4 weeks between cycles.
Perhaps the only person more well-known than James Fadiman in the world of psychedelic mushrooms is Paul Stamets. A mycologist, author, and myco-entrepreneur, Stamets’ work is credited by many for increasing public access to information on the health benefits of mushrooms and techniques for growing at home. Stamets is also the first mycologist to suggest that the benefits of microdosing shrooms could be enhanced by “stacking” additional active ingredients with the psilocybin mushrooms, namely lion’s mane mushroom and niacin (vitamin B3).
Lion’s mane mushroom helps to support neurogenesis and is said to protect aging brains from memory loss and cognitive decline. Niacin is theorized to help the active ingredients in shrooms and lion’s mane become more bioavailable and help the body to appropriately metabolize the “stack.”
If you follow the Stamets Stack protocol, each dosing day should include 0.050.2g magic mushrooms, 500-1,000 mg lion’s mane powder, and 25–50 mg of niacin* (vitamin B3).
Weekly Microdosing Schedule on Stamets Stack Protocol
- Day 6: Continue taking lion’s mane and niacin
- Day 7: Continue taking lion’s mane and niacin
…repeat for 4 weeks with at least a 2–4 week break between cycles.
*Note: Some niacin products have been reformulated to reduce “flush” or redness resulting from expanding blood vessels. For the Stamets Stack to work, you will need the “flushing” variety of niacin, not the non-flushing variety. Be aware that some people react more to the flushing so it’s a good idea to start on the lower end first!
This microdosing schedule is exactly what it sounds like, and calls for you to take a microdose of psilocybin every other day for 4–8 weeks with 2–4 weeks between cycles. This microdosing protocol was developed as a treatment for depression, PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health conditions at the Microdosing Institute.
A variation of the every-other-day protocol, the 2:1 microdosing schedule calls for two days on, and one day off.
Microdosing Schedule on 2:1 Protocol
- Day 3: Rest and reflect
…repeat for 4 weeks with at least 2 weeks between cycles.
For those of us who like a consistent schedule from week to week, the 2-days-a-week microdosing protocol will be easy to integrate into your life. Simply choose two fixed days a week to consume your microdose with at least one full day in between doses.
Weekly Microdosing Schedule on 2-Days-a-Week Protocol
- Day 2: Rest and reflect
- Day 3: Rest and reflect
- Day 5: Rest and reflect
- Day 6: Rest and reflect
- Day 7: Rest and reflect
…repeat for 4–8 weeks with at least a 2-week break between cycles.
Intuitive microdosing follows no set dosing schedule and allows you to assess day-to-day whether it is a day-to-dose or not. The only rule for intuitive microdosing is to give yourself at least 24 hours between doses.
Microdosing Mushrooms as an Integrated Practice
Psychedelic integration involves actively and intentionally reflecting on and revisiting your experiences while microdosing or using psychedelic substances. In a clinical setting—like at Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research—psychedelic integration can look like talk therapy and collaboration between patient and guide/therapist, whereby the patient gains key insight into their life through a deeper examination of their psychedelic experiences. Psychedelic therapy combined with integration practices provides better outcomes to patients than psychedelic therapy alone.
At home or in addition to a self-administered microdosing protocol, psychedelic integration can include quiet moments of meditation and contemplation, exploring thought patterns, comparing initial intentions to outcomes, and so on.
Some questions you might ask yourself could be:
- How did I feel physically while taking my microdose?
- Did any memories or specific thoughts come up for me?
- Did anything noteworthy happen, or did I find something interesting I want to learn more about?
- Did I have any experiences that showed me areas I want to work on in my life or relationships?
How To Microdose Mushrooms and Cultivate a Journaling Practice
Wakeful's 4 pillars of microdosing include: non-perceptive dosing, over time (3-8 week protocol), with intention, and reflection. Reflection being the most important step. If you think of psychedelic integration as a chance to follow-up with yourself, combining this practice with journaling makes perfect sense. Intention setting and self-reflection are key pillars of successful microdosing protocols, and taking the time to write down and record your process can help you organize your thoughts, keep track of dosing days, and see a concrete progression of your consciousness and self-perception.
Journal in your own style, or use a guided intention journal to keep you focused and encourage deeper self-exploration. No matter how you choose to microdose, Wakeful Travels is here to help and has carefully designed tools to complement your integrative practices.
Journaling on the vision you are cultivating in your life is key to a microdosing protocol. Here are some of our favourite prompts.
- What do I want / am I in alignment with?
- Who do I want to be in the world?
- How do I want to experience my life?
- What energy do I want to live in?
For more support and a personalized microdosing protocol, check out Flow Formula. This 8-week course is led by experienced guides with professional and personal knowledge of microdosing psychedelics and incorporates journaling, awareness techniques, breathwork, and other holistic integration practices. By joining the 8-week microdosing program, you’ll also gain access to exclusive workbooks, a 6-week microdosing journal, a supportive and inclusive community on Discord, and so much more.
*All photography by @blondyphotography.