The term “microdosing” is buzzing lately. So we thought we’d ask: When do drugs stop being recreational and start being medicine? How small is “micro”? How does it help? What substances function positively when it comes to our mental health?
There are many substances, formerly known as party drugs, that we now know have medicinal uses. From depression and anxiety and OCD, to boosting creativity and productivity, to helping overcome alcohol and tobacco addiction, many drugs, naturally derived or contrived, can be very beneficial in small amounts and at the correct, regulated times. This means small doses, only every few days, and not any more than that.
Today, we’re diving into psilocybin, aka the substance known to cause psychedelic effects from special, ehem, “magic” mushrooms. These fun little earthly gifts are small, delicate brown mushrooms, but sometimes the stems appear blue or purple, making them look as otherworldly as they can make you feel.
Affectionately deemed blue meanies, shrooms, golden tops, mushies, liberty caps, philosopher’s stones, liberties, amani, and agaric, the formal name for them is Psilocybe cubensis. The blue color we sometimes see on these mushrooms is not a warning — it’s a reaction to being picked. Most often, the stems turn immediately blue when plucked from the ground as if to share with you the beauty they encompass.
Psilocybin is a hallucinogen in regular doses, meaning that it works to alter the way the brain works. It does this by activating serotonin receptors in the prefrontal cortex and thalamus. These areas affect mood, cognition, and perception — so how we feel, how we understand, and how we see the world. It essentially suppresses parts of the brain that filter out information from our senses, and lets us see the world without our regular, every day filters.
Serotonin is one of our major happiness hormones, which makes perfect sense in terms of alleviating anxiety and depression — but taken in larger doses, psilocybin can also affect other regions of the brain that regulate arousal and panic responses. This is why some people have a “bad trip.” Especially if we aren’t in the best place mentally, taking a macro-dose of psilocybin may not be a pleasant or healthy experience.
A medium dose of psilocybin — which can be taken in powdered mushroom capsule form, chocolates, tinctures, tea, simply consuming the whole mushroom, and not-yet-available-to-the-public gummies — is about 17.5mg of the pure compound. This would be about 1.75g of dried mushrooms. One may experience distorted perceptions and a feeling of euphoria. Think: unstoppable giggling, and the flowers outside looking extra bright and welcoming.
A high dose looks like 3.5g of dried mushrooms, or about 35mg of the pure compound. This may bring about heavier distortions and a detachment from ego, which can be a very beautiful and awakening experience.
Cue: microdosing. This is about 1 gram of dried mushrooms, or 10mg of pure psilocybin, and can give muted euphoric feelings, relaxation, and slightly enhanced senses like sight, smell, touch, and even taste. The gummy brand Psilo claims that microdoses of psilocybin can target the brain’s pathways to increase cognitive function, enhance focus, and heighten levels of creativity.
When we think of biohacking, microdising fits into this category. It doesn’t disrupt our personality or function, but enhances what we already bring to the table. Perfect times to explore microdosing would be before a big deadline or meeting, while searching for a creative streak, or trying to find a powerful “flow state.”
Flow states don’t always have to be work-related. While microdosing psilocybin is touted for efficiency and productivity, flow states can be intrapersonal — meaning you can find solace with a partner during tough times. They can also be physical, helping to find a meditative place in the mind or body, like during yoga.
Overall, microdosing is safe. We don’t recommend doing it every day; after all, psilocybin is a foreign substance in the body, and therefore the body needs time to detox so it doesn’t accumulate or build tolerance. But it can be done safely and effectively every 3 days to support mood, fight depression, ease anxiety, and welcome a productive flow state for creative work or relationships.
Here at Amé, we majorly support experimenting with natural ingredients to support our optimal well-being — but like anything else we put in our bodies, we do so with caution. Always start small, and always do your research. While meditation and breathing exercises can be incredibly effective and we always prefer to start within ourselves, we sometimes need a little extra support — and if that means shrooms … well then, groovy, baby.