Psilocybin, the active ingredient in Magic Mushrooms, is one of the two main sources for microdosing.
Nature has given us this medicine, and in recent years, many thousands of people are discovering the power it holds when it is consumed in a way that allows for full range of living normal life, yet also seeing how it enhances the cognitive, emotional and spiritual lives of those partaking in it.
Classic psychedelics such as LSD and Psilocybin share a similar structure to serotonin, and work along a similar pathway…
Many antidepressants (called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs) try to make serotonin more plentiful in the brain to make you feel better.
Psychedelics work more directly, by mimicking serotonin. This means that one of their main effects is to stimulate a serotonin receptor, located in the prefrontal cortex, called “5-HT2A.”
The stimulation of the 5-HT2A receptor leads to two very important results:
- The production of “Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor” (BDNF). BDNF is “like Miracle-Gro for your brain. It stimulates growth, connections, and activity.”
- The increased transmission of “Glutamate.” Glutamate is the neurotransmitter most responsible for brain functions like cognition, learning, and memory.
Glutamate and BDNF work together in ways we’re still understanding, but it’s become clear that having more of each leads to many of the benefits we all seek from microdosing.]
Another thing psychedelics do is to cause parts of the brain that might not usually communicate with one another… to communicate with one another!
Psychedelics allow these unique connections to be formed by dampening the activity of an often over-used part of our brain called the “Default Mode Network” (DMN).
The Default Mode Network is an area of the brain used for an array of different mental activities, including day-dreaming, self-reflection, and thinking about the past or the future. Some studies suggest that depression is linked to an overactive DMN. It’s possible that a highly active DMN causes us to ruminate, over-analyze ourselves, and step out of the present moment to constantly question the past and the future.
This helps explain why these substances could be used to combat depression and anxiety, and also lead to insights and creative perspectives that otherwise remain inaccessible to us.
All of us, at some point in our lives, have experienced a flow state. The surfer effortlessly riding a big wave, the therapist perfectly in-sync with her client, the salesman working the room in an out of body experience… all are examples of people performing at their best while in flow.
Simply put, flow is truly one of the great experiences of being human.
We have no specific, non-anecdotal evidence to suggest that microdoses of psychedelics can induce flow states – but we know that moderate doses can change the function of the brain in a way very similar to that seen in flow states.
Studies show that moderate doses of psychedelics cause brain waves to shift more towards alpha oscillations, which is also seen in the transition to a flow state.
Psychedelics imitate the neurotransmitter serotonin when they enter the brain – and we know that serotonin is found in higher levels in flow states. Similarly, psychedelics increase the levels of dopamine in the brain, another neurotransmitter which is found in higher levels in flow states.
Perhaps most importantly, psychedelics’ ability to dampen down the DMN can allow our brains to make unique connections between areas that don’t usually communicate. This is crucial for allowing flow states to occur.
Since we know that moderate doses of psychedelics can induce similar effects to a flow state in the brain, it seems likely that a regular microdosing regimen will start to shift our awareness in the direction of flow.
HOW DO YOU MICRODOSE?
Microdosing is the act of taking ‘sub-perceptual’ doses of psychedelics, meaning the dose level is not high enough to cause substantial deviations from reality.
Ideally, a microdose will not cause a substantial change in mood, disposition, or mindset. Instead, its effect will be subtle but present.
WHAT SCHEDULE SHOULD I FOLLOW?
There has been a lot of advice that this medicine protocol should be done once every four days, however we believe that there is benefit from listening to your own system and body and taking them as often as you feel the benefit will be most e. Form our experience, they can be taken as often as once every other day, and some people stretch that out to once every number of days, so it really varies on the individual and the intended outcome. Microdosing LSD or Psilocybin every day, however is not recommended. Psychedelics produce a tolerance, even with microdoses, so you might see diminishing returns after a few days.
When you try microdosing for the first time, take a day off from work and social commitments. It will give you a chance to observe and notice any unusual effects before microdosing in a more public situation.TS AND R
While it’s certainly an oversimplification, people generally microdose for two different reasons: to decrease the frequency and intensity of undesirable mental states or to improve the frequency and intensity of desirable mental states.
1: To reduce the frequency and intensity of undesirable states caused by various forms of “mental illness”, including:
- Anxiety (i.e. Generalized or Social)
- Mood disorders
2: To increase the frequency and intensity of desirable states/outcomes:
- Flow states
- Improved relationships/increased empathy
- Athletic coordination
- Leadership development
We’re not fond of the term “Mental Illness” because it pathologizes what is often a part of one’s natural progression towards a more coherent, actualized self.
But for those struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADD/ADHD, mood disorders and/or addiction (to name a few), microdosing can create a number of positive changes.
Clinical research has shown that larger doses of psychedelics are effective at treating depression, anxiety and addictions. Anecdotal evidence backs up the idea that a regular microdosing regimen can also have healing benefits for sufferers of various mental health conditions.