Microdosing mushrooms is an increasingly popular way to use psilocybin. You take a very small amount of mushrooms—about 10-20% of a full dose—and then go about your day normally.
A microdose isn’t enough to cause psychedelic effects, but proponents claim it enhances your creativity, mood, focus, and mental health. However, research on microdosing is mixed.
Here’s a look at how to microdose mushrooms, including dosage, potential benefits, and risks.
What Are Psilocybin Mushrooms?
Psilocybin mushrooms—sometimes called “magic mushrooms” or just “shrooms”—are a class of mind-altering mushrooms. Their active ingredient, psilocybin, causes a variety of psychedelic effects, including: 1
- Visual hallucinations
- Openness to new ideas
- Introspective thinking
- Time distortion (feeling like time is standing still or moving slowly)
- Ego death (a sense of oneness with the world; losing your concept of individual self)
- Depersonalization (feeling like you’re floating outside your body)
Mushrooms are the most common way people take psilocybin. They usually come dried and have golden-brown caps with off-white stems. The stems sometimes have blue bruising—a sign that psilocybin is present.
In recent years, psilocybin extract has become more common, although it’s still somewhat rare. Psilocybin extract is usually a clear or tannish-yellow liquid.
What Is Microdosing?
Microdosing is when you take a small amount of a psychedelic—the rule of thumb is about 10-20% of a full dose—and then go about your day normally.
At such a low dose you’re unlikely to experience any hallucinations or major changes in your perception. However, people claim that microdosing can enhance your mental health, mood, creativity, focus, and more.
Potential Benefits of a Mushroom Microdose
A 2020 survey found that people microdose for three main reasons: 2
- Mental health (40% of people)
- Personal development (31%)
- Mental focus (18%)
The people surveyed also said they felt significant mental benefits from microdosing.
However, formal research on microdosing psychedelics is more mixed.
- A 2022 study found that people who microdosed psilocybin showed mild improvements in anxiety and depression but that the changes were the same in people who took a placebo pill. 3
- A 2020 study found that people who microdosed either psilocybin or LSD showed subtle improvements in cognitive flexibility and creativity. They also felt increased anxiety and cycled between mild depression and mild euphoria. 4
- A 2021 study found that microdosing LSD measurably changes brainwaves and enhances mood, although there was no correlation between the change in brain function and the improved mood and the trial had no placebo control. 5
- Another 2021 study found no difference in behavior or mental function between people who took psychedelic microdoses and those who took placebo. 6
Potential Risks and Side Effects of Microdosing Mushrooms
Research suggests that microdosing carries minimal risk of negative physiological effects.
One 2020 study found that microdosing caused a mild increase in anxiety and depressive mood in some participants. 4 However, several other studies have found no such effect. 3,5, 6
Keep in mind that research on microdosing is still in its early stages. There’s still a lot we don’t know about microdosing, or about psychedelics in general. That said, from a physiological perspective, microdosing psychedelics appears to come with fairly low risk.
There is legal risk to microdosing. At the time of this article’s publication, it’s federally illegal in the United States to possess or consume psychedelics. If you decide you want to try microdosing, keep in mind that the legal ramifications of getting caught could be life-altering.
How to Microdose Mushrooms
When microdosing mushrooms, most people take 10-20% of a standard dose. In theory, this range is meant to give you subtle mental benefits without causing any notable psychedelic effects, like hallucinations or changes in consciousness.
There’s no scientifically validated standard dose for psilocybin mushrooms (because they’re illegal), but most people take an eighth of an ounce (3.5 grams) at a time.
At 10-20%, a microdose would be 0.35 to 0.70 grams of dried mushrooms.
Mushrooms are a natural product and their psilocybin content varies. If you decide to microdose and you’re worried about feeling the effects too strongly, you may want to start at the lower end of the range (around 0.35 grams).
Psilocybin mushrooms don’t have an equal distribution of psilocybin. Most of it is in the stems, with a lighter concentration in the caps. The above dosage assumes you’re taking whole, dried mushrooms (caps and stems). If you’re only taking stems, you may want to lower your dosage slightly.
You also build tolerance to psychedelics over time, which means you have to take more of them to get the same effect. 7 Many people only microdose once every 3-4 days, to prevent tolerance.
Frequently Asked Questions About Microdosing Mushrooms
How Much is a Microdose of Mushrooms?
A psilocybin microdose is 0.35 to 0.70 grams of dried mushrooms, which is 10-20% of a full dose. This range is designed to provide you with subtle benefits to mood, cognition, etc. without causing hallucinations or other major psychedelic effects.
Are There Side Effects to Microdosing Mushrooms?
Based on current research, there don’t seem to be any major side effects to microdosing. One 2020 study found that microdosing caused minor anxiety and mild, alternating cycles of depression and euphoria. However, several other studies have found no side effects.
Is Microdosing Mushrooms Legal in the United States?
No. At the time of this article’s publication, it is illegal to possess or consume psilocybin mushrooms in the United States. Several states have decriminalized psilocybin and there has been increased lobbying for legalization over the last few years. Nonetheless, psilocybin mushrooms are currently federally illegal.
Things to Know About Microdosing Mushrooms
What Are Psilocybin Mushrooms?
Psilocybin mushrooms (sometimes called “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms”) are a class of mushrooms with psychoactive effects. They contain psilocybin, a powerful psychedelic compound that causes hallucinations, euphoria, altered sense of self, distorted perception of reality, and a variety of other effects.
What Is Microdosing?
- Microdosing is when you take 10-20% of a full dose of a psychedelic—enough that you may get subtle benefits, but not so much that you experience hallucinogenic effects.
- Proponents of microdosing claim that it can enhance your mood, creativity, focus, and mental health.
- However, research on microdosing is mixed.
- Some studies have found that microdosing doesn’t change your brain or behavior any more than placebo.
- Other studies show subtle improvements in cognitive flexibility and mildly elevated mood.
- It’s not yet clear whether microdosing has benefits or if its changes are due to placebo effect.
Microdosing Psilocybin Mushrooms
- For a psilocybin microdose, most people take 0.35-0.70 grams of dried mushrooms.
- The above dosage range assumes that you’re taking whole mushrooms (both caps and stems).
- Stems contain more psilocybin than caps, so if you’re taking mostly stems, you may want to stay on the lower end of the dosage range (toward 0.35 grams).
- Similarly, you may want to start with a smaller dose if you’re new to microdosing or you’re worried about experiencing psychedelic effects.
- You build tolerance to psilocybin over time, so most people only microdose once every 3-4 days.
- Keep in mind that it’s illegal to possess or consume psilocybin mushrooms.
Risks and Side Effects of Microdosing Mushrooms
Current research suggests that, from a physiological perspective, there are few to no risks to microdosing psilocybin. One study found that psilocybin may cause mild anxiety and brief, mildly depressed mood, but other studies have found no side effects. Keep in mind that taking mushrooms does come with legal risk.
Research is mixed on whether there are benefits to microdosing mushrooms. That said, a growing number of people are experimenting with psilocybin microdoses and reporting benefits to mental health and creativity.
Microdosing psilocybin seems to carry little risk, particularly because microdoses aren’t typically high enough to cause any psychedelic effects. However, keep in mind that it’s currently federally illegal to possess or consume psilocybin mushrooms in the United States.
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