Psilocybin microdosing: a practice that is gaining ground
The consumption of small amounts of hallucinogenic substances, in particular based on mushrooms, is becoming more and more common and is now very widespread in the United States. For those who indulge in it, it's not about getting a drug-like effect, but about feeling more focused, more creative and more grounded in the present moment.
Among the substances consumed is psilocybin, a substance derived from hallucinogenic mushrooms. This substance is more particularly used at low doses. In this article, we invite you to find out what psilocybin is, how microdosing works, and what positive effects you can expect from it.
Why a microdose of mushrooms for your health?
Microdosing, a beneficial practice for the brain
Let's start by examining the practice of microdosing or consuming a microdose, that is, a small amount of substance taken from hallucinogenic mushrooms. Microdosing usually involves taking tiny amounts of psychedelics (one-twentieth to one-tenth of the dose causing noticeable effects).
The practice has spread from San Francisco to New York and throughout the United States. People say they use it not to escape their daily life but to improve it. So, if you are using the microdosing, the amounts are said to be sub-perceptual, without the side effects of a drug.
Users say that they are still themselves, only better, as if they were increased or if their health had improved.
Microdosing Mushrooms Rather Than Drugs: Lessons From A Recent Study
A recent study shows that drug use tends to decrease in America, at least when it comes to hard drugs like cocaine. Instead, consumers are interested in LSD or mushrooms.
Commonly reported health benefits are improved mood, better eating and sleeping habits, and reduced need for caffeine.
But what exactly is a microdose? A microdose is generally considered to be one 20th or one tenth of a normal dose. In the event of hallucinations, it is because you have consumed too much hallucinogenic mushrooms.
The goal of consumption in small amounts is precisely to provide health benefits, for example against depression, but without having side effects or psychedelics.
Hallucinogenic mushrooms and psilocybin
Psilocybin: what is it?
Psilocybin is a substance found in "magic" mushrooms or hallucinogenic mushrooms. The substance called psilocybin is said to be psychoactive and that is more of what it is, instead of a hallucinogenic substance, in any case when practicing the microdosing. "Magic mushrooms" contain a psychoactive compound, psilocybin. They can be eaten, steeped in tea, or coated in chocolate.
Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine) and psilocin are chemicals obtained from certain types of dried or fresh hallucinogenic mushrooms that are found in Mexico, South America and the southern and southern regions. Northwestern United States.
Psilocybin is classified as an indole-alkylamine (tryptamine). These compounds have a structure similar to that of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and are consumed for their hallucinogenic and euphoric effects which induce a "trip". The hallucinogenic (psychedelic) effects are probably due to the action on the serotonin (5-HT) receptors of the central nervous system.
There are over 180 species of mushrooms that contain the chemicals psilocybin or psilocin. Like peyote (mescaline), magic mushrooms have been used in indigenous or religious rites for centuries.
Psilocybin and psilocin can also be produced synthetically in the laboratory. According to some reports, street-bought psilocybin may actually be another species of fungus mixed with LSD.
What are magic truffles?
Psilocybin or magic mushrooms are naturally occurring and are consumed for their hallucinogenic effects. They belong to a group of drugs known as psychedelics, which trigger changes in perception, mood and thinking.
The key ingredient in magic mushrooms is psilocybin. When psilocybin is consumed, it is transformed in the body into psilocin, which itself is the chemical with psychoactive properties.
What do these so-called magic mushrooms look like? Well, these are actually quite classic looking mushrooms, they look like other, ordinary mushrooms that you can commonly find in the fall.
There are many kinds. Psychedelic mushrooms, sometimes called magic truffles, are suppliers of psilocybin and are similar to poisonous mushrooms.
How to consume magic truffles rich in psilocybin?
Magic truffles have long, slender stems that can appear white or grayish, topped with caps with dark gills on the underside. Dried mushrooms are usually rusty brown in color with isolated areas of off-white.
Mushrooms are ingested orally and can be made into tea or mixed with other foods. Mushrooms can be used as a fresh or dried product. Psilocybin tastes bitter and a bit unpleasant.
Most often, consumers resort to mushroom powder, sometimes packaged in plant capsules. There is also synthetic psilocybin, which comes in the form of a white crystalline powder. This is another way to take advantage of this substance.
Psilocybin extracted from mushrooms, however you consume this substance, is very active on the brain, and that is why it is interesting to microdose, to reduce the amount and better control the effects.
The effects of psilocybin and psychedelic mushroom extract
Effects of magic truffles
Researchers in the United States and the Netherlands believe that there is no real safe level of drug use. Regarding the effects of psilocybin on the brain and on health, it is important to be careful and it is in this context that microdosing is recommended. Indeed, consuming a drug always involves risks.
With mushrooms, depending on the method of preparation, it is difficult to dose, or to judge the dose in the product, because not all magic truffles contain the same amount of active substances on the brain.
So, magic truffles can affect each person differently, depending on the height, weight and state of health. Taking it regularly will also vary the effects, as will the dose. The substances also have more or less effect depending on whether other products are taken simultaneously, for example against depression.
These other substances, which interact with truffles, can be drugs or medication. The dose consumed is important, as is the content of the truffle in active substances. Like any drug, a substance like psilocybin can be addictive, which is why microdosing is recommended, as we will discuss below.
You should know that the effects on the brain of truffles and psilocybin are generally manifested in 30 minutes when consumed directly, or in 5 to 10 minutes when prepared in the form of soup or tea. The duration of events depends on the dose, but in general it is a range of 4 to 6 hours, sometimes much longer, and up to three days.
Results of taking psilocybin at normal dose
Consuming psilocybin in a normal dose, that is, by making an infusion or making a soup, causes euphoria and well-being. The intake reduces anxiety. The substance induces a change in states of consciousness, affects mood, thinking and perception. With a strong dosage, we speak of a trip.
Using magic truffles rarely results in life-threatening symptoms. If a large amount or a strong batch of mushrooms is consumed, the person may experience the following symptoms.
There may then be dilation of the pupils, or even danger to health, changes in perception, such as visual and auditory hallucinations, stomach discomfort and nausea. Overdose leads to an increase in body temperature, a change in heart rate, vomiting and other disorders, such as headaches.
But then ? How to enjoy psilocybin without the side effects? And without sinking into a psychedelic delirium? You guessed it: this is where microdosing comes in!
Long term disadvantages
High dose psilocybin can cause persistent headaches, which can last for several hours to a day, usually. We are talking about delayed headaches. Additionally, once the effects are over, the person may experience exhaustion, depression, anxiety, an altered state of consciousness that persists in the form of flashbacks.
There are also emotional and perception disorders. A dependency effect can also appear in some cases. Again, nothing like this with microdosing and psilocybin microdosing.
Key Benefits of Microdosing Psilocybin
The effects of microdosing: much milder
About an hour or two after taking the microdose, people notice an increase in focus and energy. Many people find that the treatment helps them to quit antidepressants - and not to take them. It can help ease the side effects of withdrawal and even help with depression. Many also talk about the ability of psychedelic therapy like psilocybin to increase empathy.
Consumer studies show, however, that most seek more creativity or appeasement of a number of health conditions. To achieve these effects low doses, such as in microdosing, are obviously recommended. They make it possible in particular to fight against anxiety.
Microdosing according to Fadiman
One of the undisputed specialists in microdosing is Fadiman. Originally, it was about microdosing LSD and several studies have been carried out in this direction in the United States. For example, researcher Albert Hoffman suggested that taking 10 to 20 micrograms of LSD could have a positive effect on mental health and physical functioning.
Preliminary reports indicate that this is often the case. Robert Forte spoke to James Fadiman about Hoffman's suggestions and his own consumption. Fadiman then began asking other people about their experiences using psychedelics at these extremely low doses.
Based on a series of individual reports, Fadiman then developed a first self-learning protocol for microdosing LSD from 400 participants. Many truffle consumers today follow its protocol and the results of this study, even if it remains disputed in terms of health benefits.
Still, the study in question can also serve as a basis for the microdosing of magic truffles and psilocybin, for all those who wish in particular to improve their state of health. One thing is certain, in any case: to boost creativity, as many young creatives want today, it is better to microdose products like psilocybin, which allows some precautions to be taken.
Microdosing psilocybin: details on this treatment
Almost ten years after psychologist and researcher James Fadiman introduced the concept of microdosing and devised a widely followed protocol for it, and three years after psychedelic microdosing became Silicon Valley's latest "productivity hack", all evidence of its effects has remained anecdotal.
Since psilocybin is illegal almost everywhere, it has been virtually impossible to study it scientifically. This situation is changing, however, as the Netherlands and other countries notably decriminalize it and scientists in countries where it remains illegal obtain government permission to submit it for study.
Microdosing involves taking about a tenth of the dose of a psychedelic, a dose too low to trigger hallucinations but enough, according to its supporters, to sharpen the mind and creativity. Psilocybin microdosing proponents report that products like psilocybin can increase creativity, calm anxiety, decrease cravings for caffeine, and reduce depression.
At this time, however, there are too few studies on microdosing. It's a shame, because the track is interesting in terms of health and improved well-being.
The Netherlands looks at microdosing
As we have seen, the Dutch are in the process of liberalizing the use of certain psychedelic-type products and that is undoubtedly why it is on this side that we must look to find interesting studies on the subject. The magic truffle extracts inspired the psychologist Bernhard Hommel of the University of Leiden who led a study on the issue.
The specialist thus noted in this study that "the performances were markedly higher" in the tests of convergent and divergent thinking. Convergent thinking is the ability to focus on abstract concepts to identify a single solution to a well-defined problem. Divergent thinking requires winding mental forays and mental flexibility. Psychologists consider both to be ingredients of creativity. This explains the effects of magic truffles.
Binding with serotonin receptors and neurotransmitters
Regardless of the dose, psilocybin (O-phosphoryl-4-hydroxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine) binds to receptors for the neurotransmitter serotonin. The cortex is teeming with these 5-HT2A receptors, especially in the areas that control thinking, imagination and introspection, but "the question of whether there is a minimum dose is an empirical question that we are trying to answer. "said Mr. Homme. This therefore remains to be demonstrated and a lot of research may still be needed on this type of treatment.
The Dutch study protocol
Before receiving their microdose, volunteers took three standard psychological tests, two related to creative problem solving and one to the assessment of fluid intelligence. Scientists performed chemical analyzes of the mushroom samples to determine how much psilocybin they contained.
Since one dose of trip is about 3 grams of dried mushrooms, one microdose is about 0.33 grams. Participants consumed an average of 0.37 grams of the dried preparation, which can be taken with food or packaged in capsules for easy swallowing. About 90 minutes after the microdose, participants repeated all three tests.
Today, the legal restrictions governing the consumption of products with notable effects on the brain, such as magic truffles, are gradually being loosened. The researchers are interested in the question, while integrating health issues and not just the immediate benefits on creativity or reduced anxiety, as reported by consumers. In this context, microdosing seems to be a practice destined to be imposed in many contexts, especially if this study, which we quote below, manages to show the absence of side effects thanks to the microdosing.