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In the psychedelic space, microdosing has been under the spotlight for some time now. Microdosing involves the regular consumption of a small quantity of psychedelic substances like Psilocybin or LSD, with the aim of harnessing the therapeutic effects of these compounds without inducing perceptual changes. Keep in mind that "regular consumption" doesn't mean that you should take the dose each and every day. There are many microdosing protocols, each offering a unique set of benefits.
Microdosing is not just a fad. In fact, a 2021 scientific study proves that it may increase motivation and lower levels of anxiety and depression. On the other hand, a 2022 double-blind study found that microdosing did not lead to significant changes in most of the measured parameters, with some minor effects observed in specific conditions.
There is a high chance that the different outcomes can be attributed to the microdosing protocol used in each study. Let's discuss some of the best-known microdosing protocols.
Before we dive deeper into the exact protocols, we need to cover this fundamental question. A microdosing protocol is a specific regiment or set of guidelines for taking a low dose of psychedelics (microdose). These protocols outline the frequency, time, and duration of the microdosing regimen, with the goal of maximizing the therapeutic benefits.
Below, you will find six different microdosing protocols. All of these protocols incorporate a two- to four-week resting period after completing a cycle. Depending on the protocol itself, the cycle may last from four to eight weeks.
Psychedelic substances like magic mushrooms have a quick tolerance build-up; therefore, rest periods after each cycle are highly recommended in order to yield the best results. In order to determine whether or not a microdosing protocol suits your needs, we suggest that you stick to it for at least four weeks.
The Fadiman Protocol, created by Dr. James Fadiman, was the first standardized protocol for microdosing. Carefully crafted, this regiment is considered to be safe and low-risk, offering patients a convenient way to experiment. People often reported an increase in creativity, focus, and concentration while also feeling less anxious and depressed than before. Some also reported better emotional regulation and enhanced social functioning.
This particular protocol can be done with either psilocybin mushrooms or LSD. Usually, doses range between 5% and 10% of a recreational dose, with slight adjustments based on an individual's tolerance and sensitivity to the substance. In general, a microdose ranges from .05 to .2 grams of dried mushrooms.
The Fadiman Protocol involves taking a single dose every three days, with a two-day rest period, for a total of four to eight weeks. This structure allows for complete metabolic processing of the substance and helps avoid potential accumulation in the body, which may lead to tolerance development. Administration should be done in the morning, and people are encouraged to go about their day as usual, paying attention to any shifts in mood, energy, creativity, or other aspects of functioning.
In the mushroom community, Paul Stamets stands as a prominent figure. His microdosing protocol, also called "Stamet's Stack" combines low doses of psilocybin, niacin (vitamin B3) and Lion's mane (a medicinal mushroom). The goal of this microdosing blend is to improve cognitive function, develop new neural pathways, and promote reparation of existing neurological damage.
The idea behind this microdosing protocol is that these compounds complement each other. For instance, niacin is shown to increase blood flow and reduce anxiety while Lion's mane has the ability to improve cognitive function and regenerate nerves. All these effects, in theory, improve how psilocybin is absorbed and processed, increasing its health benefits.
Stamets coined the term "stacking" to delineate the process of amalgamating these elements. This regiment involves taking the stack for four days, followed by three days of rest.
As everybody’s biochemistry is different, some people obtain better results when microdosing every other day. According to the Microdosing Institute, this approach enhances microdosing effectiveness, especially when used for therapeutic purposes for treating psychological ailments. This protocol may alleviate depression and social anxiety, help people suffering from ADHD/ADD, and even reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines or cluster headaches.
This protocol could be likened to Fadiman's, albeit featuring a higher frequency of microdosing. When it comes to safety, this protocol is also considered safe and well-tolerated. However, for best results with this protocol, you may consider consulting with one of their qualified microdosing coaches.
This is an interesting protocol of microdosing that entails dosing psilocybin two times a week, as the name says. Rest periods between the dose are not defined although they should be at least 1 day apart. It's a great regiment for beginners who want to take it slow and observe how microdosing affects their everyday life, before committing to a more rigorous protocol. It's also good for those who want to align their weekly work or social commitments and microdosing.
To implement the "Two-Days-A-Week Protocol," you select two fixed days that best accommodate your schedule, ensuring there is at least one day between each microdosing session. On the initial microdosing day, simply take a small fraction of a large dose, the same as with any other protocol. The following day should be designated for observing any lingering effects from the microdose. Similar to other microdosing protocols, the "Two-Days-A-Week Protocol" incorporates a rest period to prevent the development of tolerance.
Usually, people take their doses in the morning and observe the effects throughout the day. The Nightcap Protocol is the complete opposite; it's tailored for people who are seeking to improve quality of sleep. There are reports of users saying they feel "drowsy" and "tried" after microdosing, and the idea behind this protocol is to harness this mild fatigue to enhance sleep.
With the Nightcap Protocol, users should ingest their microdose every second night prior to bedtime. The dose should be taken at least an hour before retiring for the night. This allows the effects to manifest during the sleep cycle, potentially facilitating deeper and more rejuvenating sleep.
There are two variations of the Nightcap Protocol.
The first aligns with the Microdosing Institute Protocol, involving microdosing on the first night, taking a break on the second, microdosing on the third, and resting on the fourth night. This cycle repeats for four to eight weeks, followed by a period of abstention to prevent tolerance.
The second option adheres to the Fadiman Protocol, wherein microdosing occurs on the first and fourth nights of the cycle, with a two-day interlude. This pattern also spans four to eight weeks, followed by a tolerance-preventing rest period.
Keep in mind that high doses of psilocybin can make it hard to go to bed. Measuring the doses correctly is important with every microdosing regiment, especially with the Nightcap.
Microdosing Institute Nightcap Option
Fadiman Protocol Nightcap Option
Microdosing is a highly adaptable practice that can be personalized based on a person's needs and intuition. Custom microdosing allows users to engage in microdosing practice in whatever way aligns with their preferences. Contrary to conventional microdosing protocols, there is no need to follow a rigid timetable of specific dosing routines. Instead, users can choose the best time to microdose based on their bodily signals and take their dose when they believe it is appropriate.
It is important to note that even with the flexibility of this protocol, taking days off is crucial in order to avoid a tolerance build-up. Also, it can be helpful to maintain a record of their experiences and adjust the dosage accordingly.
Custom microdosing is well-suited for those who have already completed a couple of "conventional cycles" and have some experience in microdosing space. The best part of this protocol is that it gives users the freedom to fine-tune their dosage in accordance with their specific requirements. It also gives the opportunity to stack psilocybin with other compounds like medicinal mushrooms, cacao, vitamins, and herbs. It's important to note that microdosing stacks should never be done with plants containing MAOIs since they can intensify the effects. For example, when microdosing you should stay clear of Syrian rue, Banisteriopsis caapi (Ayahuasca vine), Passionflower, Nutmeg, Licorice, and Fragrant ginger (galangal).
The most effective way to determine the ideal microdosing protocol for your needs is to experiment. For beginners we suggest sticking with Fadiman's Protocol, or if you want something more flexible, the Two-Days-A-Week Protocol. Remember that it's not only about taking the dose—you are also encouraged to keep a journal or use a tracking app to record your observations. Only by noticing these changes in your daily life, will you be able to harness the power of microdosing and improve your overall well-being.