Do you have a morning routine?
Maybe a cup of coffee, or a freshly rolled joint, or perhaps a cigarette to take the edge off and start the day? Hell, maybe all three?!
If so, you are certainly not alone. But if you are one of the rapidly growing number of folks who have found that a minimal dose of psychedelics – known as microdosing – right when you roll out of bed can replace all three, you are definitely not alone.
As a sort of grassroots gauge on just how much interest in the subject has grown recently, just look at the /r/microdosing subreddit which had around 40,000 subscribers in July of 2019, but today hosts over 127,000 subscribers.
That may seem like inexact “science”, but as with most things mushroom-related that’s all we’ve got!
Decades of dangerously punitive federal prohibition on the cultivation, sale, or even possession of psilocybin mushrooms led to a Dark Age in scientific analysis of the potential health benefits of consuming them.
This has left the public with only personal experiences, anecdotes from others, or generally shitty media coverage or fearmongering prohibitionists to help form their own opinions on the psychedelic fungi.
If that all sounds somewhat familiar that’s because it is essentially the path that cannabis took toward legitimacy in the public eye. It took all of us, on a grassroots level, telling our stories of healing and “miracles” in order for the cannabis plant to shed its unfairly negative stigma.
There are differences, however.
A macrodose of cannabis is going to put you to sleep, likely well fed.
A macrodose of psilocybin could put you in a seemingly-trillion-year loop of emotions and hallucinations (then to sleep).
A microdose of psilocybin, according to those in the know, can eliminate the chance of a “breakthrough” to that psychedelic, gut-wrenching realm and instead provide just enough of the active ingredient (psilocybin) to induce a hardly-perceptible sense of greater overall wellness and mental acuity.
How do you microdose a mushroom though, and does it even work? Nobody wants to waste a good bag of boomers, right? Here we’ll dive into what we know, point out what we don’t, and take a look at exactly how people are participating in this trippy new trend.
According to the peer-reviewed Harm Reduction Journal, microdosing is defined as “consuming very low, sub-hallucinogenic doses of a psychedelic substance, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or psilocybin-containing mushrooms”.
A trend that NorCal nerds like to say started in Silicon Valley as a natural hack to boost creativity, microdosing was relatively unknown to the scientific community as little as five years ago when you could not find a peer-reviewed study on the subject. Since then there have been at least 400 such studies completed, reviewed, and published.
The definition above uses the term “sub-hallucinogenic”, but that’s not precise enough. We prefer the term “sub-perceptual” instead, as there is a world of balls to be tripped between the two.
A microdose of psilocybin should “feel” like a blast of CBD… nothing, really. You should not only be “functional” mentally and physically but if you notice anything at all it should be that your functionality is slightly enhanced… sharpened.
Take too little and you will not experience those reported benefits (added creativity, boosted empathy, anti-migraine).
Take too much and you flirt with an hours-long journey through your psyche and/or the good ol’ “body fry” of titillating relaxation. Nothing wrong with that, per say, unless you have shit to do and normies to deal with.
So, how much is just enough?
As with cannabis and many other things, that answer will vary from person to person depending on many factors such as their past experience and current tolerance level, their chosen form of consumption, and even the strain (or type) of psychedelic mushroom they’re munching on.
As a general rule of thumb, anything over one gram of psilocybin mushrooms exceeds most folks’ definitions of a “microdose”, but that still leaves a lot of wiggle room with such a powerful substance.
Knowing that, your best bet is to start low and slow, with perhaps a tenth of a gram consumed orally (eaten), typically in the morning. You can slowly increase that dose within your own comfort zone with the goal of “sub-perceptual” effects.
Wallpaper pattern is breathing in and out right before your eyes? Oops, maybe a bit too much if a minimal effective dose is the target. Dial it back a bit next time.
“TAKE IT EASY… BUT TAKE IT!”
Anyone who has taken repeated full doses of psilocybin mushrooms before can tell you that “addiction” is nearly impossible due to the mental and physical drain one feels after a deep trip. While addiction is not necessarily a concern while microdosing the same substance, you could potentially form a “sub-perceptual” dependence on psilocybin, which is why many folks elect to stagger the days that they consume it (1 day on, 2 days off… for example), or cease consumption after 30 days to take a break.
If it is helping you sleep better, or mitigate headaches, or break through your writer’s block, there is a greater-than-zero risk that those problems could resurface in greater force if and when you decide to stop your microdosing cycle, if that cycle is allowed to become a rut.
Taking one look at a properly harvested and dried psilocybin-laced mushroom, however, the curious among us are probably wondering how they are supposed to effectively nibble off a tenth of a gram of that chunky, funky fungus.
The easiest DIY way of preparing an accurate microdose of magic mushies will require just a few items:
- A grinder of some sort. The same one you grind your weed with is just fine. The finer the grind, the better. (PRO-TIP: Flip your grinder upside down while you grind so the shrooms get more thoroughly pulverized before falling through the holes of the top chamber)
- A digital scale
- Empty vitamin-style gel caps (Available at your local pharmacy)
- Psilocybin mushrooms!
By using the grinder, you will homogenize/blend the ground-up material so that you don’t need to spend any brain-pain on whether you should eat a stem or a cap… you’re going to get it all!
Simply weigh an empty gel cap for reference, then fill one up with your ground mushrooms and reweigh it. If your target dose is 100mg, or 1/10th of a gram, your total weight should be 0.1g + the weight of the empty cap. Easy! Plus, you don’t have to gag down what some folks find to be a pretty offensive flavor carried by this type of dried mushroom.
One-eighth of dried psilocybin mushrooms should make around 35 caps at 100mg each. Depending on tolerance level and frequency of consumption, that could be enough for 2-3 months of microdosing. If you are taking time off after each month, that 8th may microdose you for half a year!
Another method of consumption that is riding a rocket ship of popularity these days are psilocybin-infused edibles, namely chocolate bars.
Some mad scientists have created some incredibly professionally packaged and downright delicious psilocybin-infused chocolate bars that make Willy Wonka’s place look like a sock factory. “Get up Grampa Joe, ya lazy fuck, we’re getting socks!” just doesn’t have the same musical ring to it, does it?
These bars not only look legit, and taste legit, but someone who isn’t me can tell you that they ARE legit. Not only that but the brand sections their bars off into twelve rectangular portions for easy dosing.
These particular bars claim to have 4.0 grams of psilocybin in each. Divide that by 12 portions and you wind up with about .33g per portion.
The packaging includes a handy dosing guide that proved to be pretty darn accurate for that incredibly smart guy who is not me who thankfully stopped after just four portions.
A third of a gram too much to start with? A sharp knife and a decent eye for estimating makes divvying up those individual portions easy enough.
Some of the many reported benefits of microdosing include, but are not limited to:
- Help with PTSD
- Help treating alcohol or tobacco dependence
- Help treating anxiety, particularly end-of-life anxiety
- Help treating insomnia
- Help alleviate headaches or migraines
- Heightened mental and even visual acuity
- Boosted creativity/production
It should be noted, though, that microdosing psilocybin is not for everyone, and respondents to recent studies have reported a handful of “challenges” that they faced while trying it.
Currently, three major U.S. cities – Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Ann Arbor – have decriminalized psilocybin, and both Oregon and Washington, D.C. are putting groundbreaking psilocybin-related ballot measures before voters on Election Day.
In Oregon, successful passage of Measure 109 would create state-sanctioned “psilocybin service centers” where licensed professionals would be allowed to sell and administer psilocybin products to consenting adult customers ages 21 and up. Possession, manufacturing, and consumption of psilocybin outside of service centers would still be strictly prohibited, in line with state and federal laws that keep psychedelic mushrooms mistakenly vilified as a Schedule I narcotic.
The bottom line is that while many people think of psychedelic mushrooms as a way to escape reality, when used properly they can potentially enhance reality, making the consumer more consciously present in the world around them.
Want to learn more about psilocybin mushrooms?
This virtual event will be held online on November 11th at 7:30pm pacific time on Zoom and will feature a handful of extremely knowledgeable people including our good friends Ryan Miller of Operation E.V.A.C. and Colin Wells of Veterans Walk and Talk
For further Beard Bros. Pharms coverage on the subject, CLICK HERE