How much shrooms should a beginner take depends on several factors, such as intent of consumption, potency of psilocybin strain, medications taken, and more. However, the general rule is to start low and increase the dose slowly.
Recent advancements in psychedelic research, changing policies, and statements from high-profile figures about the benefits of these substances may have sparked your interest in them. However, embarking on a psychedelic journey unprepared is not the greatest idea. There are several factors that need to be considered prior choosing your first psilocybin mushroom dose which may affect your journey through altered states of consciousness and the benefits derived from the experience. Luckily, you can set yourself up for success in many ways, starting with the correct beginner dose.
What Is the Optimal Psilocybin Dose for a Beginner?
The general rule for psilonaut beginners is to start with a low dose and gradually increase it as you get more comfortable with the psychedelic effects. Starting off with a 5g+ is generally not recommended for those with zero experience with psychedelics because they may be unprepared for the mystical experience and the intense emotions accompanying it. The key to a pleasant psychedelic immersion is to take the correct dose to match your expectations and intentions for the trip. From then on, you should gradually dip your toes into the five levels of the psychedelic experience.
It’s hard to get accurate potency data for magic mushrooms due to their illegal status in most places. Doses are measured according to the weight of dried shrooms, but psilocybin contents may vary across different strains. Storage conditions and overall freshness also alter the potency of mushrooms.
What Can Influence the Intensity of a Psilocybin Dose?
There is a plethora of factors that can influence the effects of a psilocybin dose. These include:
- Psilocybin tolerance: Psilocybin tolerance builds fast in humans, which means that people may require a much higher dose after only a few days of repeated use. This is why to obtain the desired microdosing benefits, it is critical to follow a microdosing protocol. The same applies for higher doses of psilocybin as it becomes increasingly difficult for people to obtain the desired altered states effects after a few days of repeated use.
- Interactions with Antidepressants: Traditional tryptamines such as LSD and psilocybin present low risk of serotonin toxicity when taken in tandem with SSRIs or alone. However, recent research indicated the SSRIs and SNRIs weaken the effects of psilocybin.
- Diet & Nutrition: Taking psilocybin on a fasted/empty stomach will speed up absorption and on-set time, while a poor diet can have an impact on your current serotonin levels. Eating before taking psilocybin mushrooms will slow down absorption time and possibly the trip's intensity and duration.
- Method of Ingestion: Lemon Tekking your psilocybin mushrooms will increase potency, speed up absorption and onset time and is not recommended for beginners with no experience with mushrooms.
- Individual Differences: Not everyone is made the same. Some people are more sensitive to psilocybin than others. This is why the general rule of thumb is to start low dose and then increase it gradually.
- Psilocybin strain & Potency: Not all mushrooms contain the same amount of psilocybin. Some strains are a lot more potent than others. In this situation knowledge of the different psilocybin strains is power.
- Psilocybin Freshness: Improperly store shrooms which were exposed to heat, light and moisture can reduce potency and if spoiled, they can become unsafe for consumption.
- Not measuring your dose properly: If you're planning on simply ingesting dried mushrooms, eyeballing it is not recommended as unintentionally consuming more than what you're prepared for may result in an unsettling experience. That is why acquiring a scale is a must if you do not already have one. If you want to avoid the hassle, you can obtain your mushrooms in capsules or gummies from a safe, quality supplier. However, you should pay attention to the ingredients and dosage displayed on the package.
Tips for Dosing Psilocybin Mushrooms for Beginners
- Know why you want to explore psilocybin mushrooms: Is it for daily optimization, is it for therapeutic reasons, or is it simply to experience altered states of consciousness?
- Know your mushroom strain: Each strain contains different amount of psilocybin, meaning their potency differs, which could influence the intensity of the psychedelic effects.
- Are you taking any other medications such as SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, or other antidepressants? Are you planning on combining them with psilocybin mushrooms, or are you thinking of weaning off the medication beforehand? Antidepressants have different half-lives, meaning the length of time they stay in your system differs. If you're planning on cutting antidepressants cold-turkey, it is highly recommended to talk to your physician first as this may lead to suicidal ideation for some individuals.
- Do you suffer from psychosis or is there anyone in your family who has psychotic episodes or suffers from schizophrenia?
- Avoid mixing shrooms with alcohol or opiates.
- Avoid taking shrooms with people you don't know.
- See if psilocybin mushrooms are decriminalized legalized for therapeutic use in your state or province. Some states like Oregon have legal psilocybin centers.
- Ensure that your supplier provides quality and pure psilocybin products. You can also test your psilocybin product for contaminants using Dancesafe.org.
- Get a trip sitter if you're planning on experiencing high doses and immerse yourself in the psychedelic experience.
- Don't disregard the importance of set and setting.
- Don't disregard the importance of integration post-psychedelic journey.
The following recommendations are general statements, and you should adjust the amount you take if you suspect your mushrooms are too potent or have become stale due to poor storage.
A microdose should range between 0.1g to 0.5g. of dried shrooms. The dose should be 5-10% of the amount of shrooms necessary before you begin feeling any perceptual psychedelic effects. Any amount below 0.5 grams of mushrooms is considered a microdose. While microdosing, individuals should not experience any hallucinations because the effects should be sub-perceptual.
As we previously stated above, since psilocybin produces tolerance, following a microdosing protocol is critical. There are several popular protocols out there, such as the Stamets protocol, the Fadiman protocol, the Fixed Schedule, and more. Microdosing psilocybin mushrooms works differently for everyone; you must find the dose and microdosing protocol that is most suitable for you. Novices with no experience with psilocybin mushrooms should begin with the lower range of the recommended dose as not everyone responds to mushrooms similarly. Neurodivergent individuals or individuals who are more sensitive to psilocybin may realize that a 0.1g feels to them like a 0.3g feels to others.
Microdosing has proven benefits for reducing depression symptoms and stress and boosting motivation, but it provides a mellow experience that isn’t as noticeable as higher doses.
While it could be a stepping stone if you’re completely inexperienced with psychedelics, it might be subtle enough to go unnoticed. If this is the case, you may slightly increase your dose slightly to get a clearer view of psilocybin’s potential.
Ways to microdose shrooms include:
- dried shrooms
Psilocybin Low dose/ Museum dose
Low doses range from 0.5g to 1.5g of psilocybin mushrooms. Doses in this ballpark provide noticeable psychedelic effects, including euphoria, warmth, and light visuals. You may see the walls around you “breathe,” and patterns undulate and warp. Colors will pop more and look brighter, and you may feel that your vision has improved since everything looks sharper around the edges. However, on this dose, you will still be able to participate in activities with other people, such as taking a walk in the forest or going to a museum and looking at art without attracting attention. This however does not mean that you should be driving or attempting to perform cognitive tasks. The same recommendation applies for museum doses and anything above this range.
If you have doubts about the potential psychedelic effects and have had previous bad experiences with other psychedelics, take a dose on the lower end of this range. You’ll get an overview of what ppsilocybin mushrooms can offer without losing control of the situation.
If you have an enjoyable first time, slowly working your way up to a higher dose will be a fun experience, discovering more about yourself and psychedelics in every trip.
Low dose effects include:
- Euphoria or excitement
- Mild to moderate visuals ( “breathing” walls, ground, plants, etc)
- Enhanced senses
- Enhanced perception of sound
- Increased empathy
- Conversational fluidity
- Enhanced appreciation for music and art
- Increased creativity
- Amplification of mood
- Time dilation or contraction
- Increased sensitivity to light
Psilocybin Moderate dose
Any amount from 2 to 3.5 grams is considered a moderate dose. From this point forward, the psychedelic effects become much more pronounced, and the experience could be overwhelming for first-timers. Visuals are more intense and you will begin seeing fractals and geometric figures, with some users reporting reality-altering hallucinations. Excessive yawning and nausea are also common experiences during the come-up of the psychedelic effects.
While you may feel warm and euphoric, the reflective state that these amounts can put you in could lead to a bad trip. This is especially true if you’ve dealt with issues before taking mushrooms or struggle with anxiety or other mental health conditions.
Unless you’re familiar with psychedelics and have an appropriate set and setting, ignore any psychonaut who suggests taking 3.5 grams, also known as an eighth. This is standard advice in psychedelic forums but can result in a bad trip for the unprepared.
Individuals who are taking prescribed SSRIs or SNRIs and who are planning on dosing psilocybin for the first time should read SNRIs and SSRIs Appear to Weaken Psilocybin's Effects, Study Finds.
Moderate dose effects include:
- Dizziness, Nausea
- Excessive yawning
- Sensitivity to light
- Clear come-up, peak, and come-down
- Introspective or philosophical insights
- Amplified positive or negative emotions
- Open- and closed-eye visuals (geometric figures, fractals, etc)
- Amplified auditory capabilities
- Difficulty with cognitive tasks
- Enhanced appreciation of your environment and the arts
High and Heroic Doses of Psilocybin
High doses range from 3.5 to 5 grams; heroic doses are any amounts over that threshold. These doses produce intense psychedelic trips that can induce mystical and spiritual experiences and ego dissolution with the power to change your outlook on life. Clinical trials investigating psilocybin's capacity to treat severe cases of depression attempt to achieve these mystical states.
While these experiences may sound enticing, you must be ready to face the dark corners of your mind or come to terms with hard truths about your life or the world if you embark on them. For this reason, it’s best to build up to high doses and take them under the supervision of an experienced guide.
Experienced psychonauts often go exploring their psyche with a full psychedelic immersion of 5g+ of psilocybin mushrooms.
Heroic doses will produce:
- Dizziness & Nausea
- Mystical experiences, meetings with otherworldly beings
- Intense feelings of wonder
- Ego dissolution
- Life-changing introspective or philosophical insights
- Intense strong open- and closed-eye visions
- Time dissociation
- Compromised motor functions *sitter or facilitator recommended
- Strong fear and anxiety (extreme “bad trip” experiences)
- Extreme difficulty with cognitive tasks
Why Preparing Your Set and Setting Is Critical
The best way to ensure that your first time trying mushrooms is a success is to control the internal and external variables that can interfere with your experience, known as your set and setting.
What is your “Set”?
Your set refers to your mindset before the trip, including your mood, mind frame, expectations, and intentions. The best advice is to stay open to whatever may happen and engage with your thoughts, whether good or bad.
In case your trip goes off the rails, try centering yourself with breathing exercises or guided meditation since these activities will help you focus on the here and now instead of ruminating on negative thoughts.
If you’re scared of exploring certain corners of your mind, had a bad week, or a traumatic event happened to you recently, put off taking mushrooms until your mindset is at the right place.
While shrooms may help manage depression and anxiety, they aren’t a magic switch that puts things into place instantly. You’ll be more likely to have a bad trip, and while some users look back on these experiences with gratitude, they aren’t easy to get through.
What is a “Setting”?
Your setting is the physical location where you’ll have your psychedelic experience. The best advice for first-timers is to trip at home or someplace where you feel safe.
Many people have their first trips at music festivals or outdoors, away from home, but these settings can be overwhelming, increasing the risk of getting lost and having an emergency.
If you feel the urge to go outside, it’s best to stay in your backyard if available. If not, choose a familiar park where you can quickly leave if you have to.
Once you’ve decided on the optimal spot to trip at, fill it with stimulating items such as art supplies, headphones, musical instruments, or anything you find fun and engaging.
Consider turning your phone off or putting it in airplane mode to disconnect from your daily life and responsibilities. You won’t be in the right mind to respond to an emergency, and your trip will be ruined.
Many first timers seeking to explore altered states of consciousness or to treat debilitating cases of depression and anxiety will opt for legal psilocybin retreats or therapeutic centers. Psilocybin retreats may provide the perfect setting for novices and a full range of preparatory activities to optimize the experience and prevent a “bad trip”. However, the costs of these services present a barrier for the average citizen. For individuals unable to pay the current prices, we still recommend to explore what these retreats offer in order to take example of what represents best practices before embarking on a psychedelic journey.
Importance of a Trip Sitter
These substances can be unpredictable even if you have the optimal set and setting for a psychedelic experience. You should consider getting a close friend, relative, or significant other to guide you through the process and ground you if things go bad.
Tips for picking the right trip sitter:
- Pick a person, a friend, or a professional facilitator who you feel comfortable being vulnerable with
- The facilitator is supposed to be there to hold space for your optimal experience – not interfere
- Beware of scammers
- If you opt for a psychedelic therapist, be aware of the red flags, such as downplaying safety and mental health risks, giving insufficient preparatory advice, or having the messiah complex
Never ask a stranger or someone you don’t trust to trip-sit you, as you’ll be vulnerable and could be taken advantage of or coaxed into a bad trip.
Best Ways to Consume Psilocybin Mushrooms
One of the most off-putting things about mushrooms is their unpleasant taste and chewy, gritty texture. They can also give you an upset stomach as your body works hard to digest the chitin and convert the psilocybin into psilocin, the compound that provides the psychedelic effects.
Luckily, there are ways to go around issues such as taste, nausea and dizziness and make your first time more enjoyable.
Psilocybin Mushroom Chocolate
Mushroom chocolate is a delight that combines one of the most beloved foods on the planet with the power of psychedelics. You can find a variety of mushroom chocolate bars in head shops. Still, you need to be careful about purchasing authentic products that are correctly labeled and transparent about their ingredients.
Alternatively, you can make your own bonbons or hot chocolate at home, having the ability to control the dosage and know the source of your ingredients. One of the challenges with mushroom chocolates is exercising self-control to avoid consuming too many. Otherwise, you could get blindsided by an overwhelming trip.
To learn how to make mushroom chocolates, read 3 Surprisingly Easy and Tasty Magic Mushroom Chocolate Recipes.
Another way of making mushrooms more palatable is to brew them into tea. It’s a straightforward process that will yield a warm, comforting, and psychedelic drink.
Start by finely grinding your mushrooms or chopping them into small pieces with a knife. Then, heat a kettle of water until it boils. Add lemon, ginger, and herbs to the boiling water to make your drink more flavorful and aromatic. However, don’t add the mushrooms yet, as the water’s heat could degrade the psilocybin and lower their potency.
Add the mushrooms once the water cools down slightly and let them steep for about 15 minutes. Strain the tea and serve it in teapots or cups. If you find the taste unappealing, consider adding honey or sugar.
Get a more in-depth guide at From Caps to Cup: A Beginner’s Guide to Magic Mushrooms Tea.
Lemon Tek – Only for Experienced Psilonauts
The lemon tek method consists of grinding your mushrooms into fine pieces, mixing them with lemon juice, and letting the mixture sit for around 20 minutes.
This acid medium will convert some psilocybin into psilocin so your stomach doesn’t have to work as hard. You will feel less nauseous, and the come-up will shorten significantly (10-45min), relieving you of other side effects associated with this period, such as excessive yawning.
Lemon tekking has its pros and its cons. While it’s more palatable than eating the shrooms straight, it’s still somewhat harsh. The shorter come-up it provides can improve your trip, but it can also intensify its effects slightly. Therefore, we believe reserving this method for future sessions is better.
For more information: How to Make Lemon Tek for a More Potent Magic Mushroom Experience.
How Long Does a Mushroom Trip Last?
Psilocybin trips typically last around 6 hours, but this can vary from person to person. After ingesting the mushrooms, expect the come up to last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, or much less if you use the lemon tek method. You may feel a short rush of anxiety, yawn frequently, or have nausea. These feelings will pass once your body metabolizes the psilocybin, and warmth, euphoria, and trippy visuals will replace them.
The peak typically happens around the three-hour mark, and the intensity of the effects will slowly decrease from this point.
Obstacles You May Encounter
Psychedelic trips can be difficult and exhausting, especially if you go into them with lots of emotional baggage. On the upside, they can give you a space to work through internal issues and come to terms with them. Users generally report feelings of deeper self-compassion and connectedness, even after bad trips.
We can’t stress the importance of your set and setting enough, as these factors will determine the quality of your experience before it even begins. Take a low dose, get comfortable, and be ready for whatever the psychedelics bring your way. You’ll learn valuable lessons no matter what happens if you keep an open mind.
Have a nice trip!
Disclaimer: Psychedelic Spotlight does not condone the use of illegal substances. The purpose of this article is for educational and harm reduction purposes only. If you suffer from a medical or mental condition, please consult with your doctor before taking any substance.