Microdosing is the practice of taking a small — or “micro” — dose of a psychedelic compound for subtle mental health benefits instead of the distorted perception that comes with a macrodose.
Increased creativity. Heightened senses. Ability to think more logically. No, we are not discussing Limitless, the movie where Bradley Cooper takes a pill to improve all aspects of his life. Rather, these are but a few of the alleged benefits of microdosing LSD.
Long a secret trend of engineers in Silicon Valley, in recent years the practice has spread like wildfire, aided by online communities like r/microdosing, where 194,000 people discuss best practices and personal experiences. And while scientific data is conflicting on whether the benefits are real or due solely to the placebo effect, with each passing day more people want to try the brain hack but don't know where to start.
With this in mind, Psychedelic Spotlight has decided to create a simple, beginner's guide on how to microdose LSD in 5 easy steps.
***Disclaimer: this article is for entertainment, harm reduction, and educational purposes only. Psychedelic Spotlight does not condone the use, purchase, or sale of drugs in jurisdictions where they are illegal.***
What is Microdosing?
Before getting to the 5 steps, let's take a moment to define what microdosing is.
As the name implies, it is the practice of taking a small — or “micro” — dose of a psychedelic compound, in this case LSD. And while a large dose of LSD is classically associated with intense hallucinations, distortions in your perception of time and changes in your consciousness, at a small — or sub perceptual — dose level, you experience none of this.
Rather, if done correctly, you continue to feel sober and shouldn’t notice any visual changes (other than perhaps the feeling that colors look nicer). Some of the purported benefits, beyond those that led this article, include: thinking more clearly; ability to get into states of flow; and increased attention span.
Step 1: Set Your Intentions
If you are planning on microdosing LSD, it should be for a purpose. For example, wanting to be more attentive in your work, social, or love life. Another option is improving your concentration, creativity or social skills. It can also be for a mental health reason, say, decreasing your depression.
When it comes to using psychedelics in general, intention matters. Psychedelics like LSD, including when you are using a microdosing format, can help you achieve your goals. But in order for that to work, you actually have to set goals. If you just start microdosing with no framework for why you are microdosing, then it’s possible that the only benefit you will receive is that colors look nice.
So before you even start your microdosing journey, take the time to reflect on what it is that you want to improve in your life.
Step 2: Journaling
Journaling is one of the most essential parts of the microdosing process. You should start at least a week before you take your first dose, in conjunction with Step 1.
In your first journal entry, think deeply about your life, and what it is that you wish to change. Once you have your goals, ponder why you have not been able to make these changes yet. Chances are, you already know the answer, but have avoided thinking deeply on it. The process of writing about this will help crystalize your thoughts.
Once you have your goals written down, you can refer back to your initial journal entry throughout your microdosing journey. This will help keep your intentions in mind, and make it more likely that you will succeed.
After the first journal entry, make sure that you continue to write in your journal daily. You do not need to spend crazy amounts of time doing this, as little as 10 minutes a night will suffice. Before bed, reflect on your day. Specifically, jot some notes about:
- Your progress/ success during the day in meeting your set goals
- Your mood throughout the day
- Your concentration and energy levels
- Any difficulties you had
Do this for a week before you start taking LSD microdoses, and throughout the entire time that you are microdosing. Journaling is actually extremely good for your mental health even without microdosing, and is a life hack for improving your existence.
Throughout your journey you will be able to go through your past journal entries and see the progress you have made, and where you are falling short. Writing about why you are failing to meet certain goals will help you change tact, and eventually conquer them. The LSD microdoses will help you distill your thoughts, and see the situation clearly.
With journaling, microdosing can change your life. Without journaling, you are grasping blindly for improvements.
Step 3: Measure
When it comes to microdosing LSD, the “micro” part is essential. Remember, you are not taking them to get high. And if you are noticing strong perceptual changes, you are doing it wrong.
The ideal dose level for an LSD microdose is between 10-20 micrograms, which translates to roughly 1/8th of a “tab”. Tabs, also known as blotting papers, are by far the most popular way that LSD is consumed. You simply let the piece of paper dissolve on your tongue
Unfortunately, as LSD is illegal, it can be very difficult to know how strong a tab is, even if the person you bought it from says it has x amount of micrograms within. Nevertheless, your standard tab has about 100 micrograms of LSD. So, again, if you take about ⅛ of a tab, you should be fine.
Make sure that the first day you take your dose, you don’t have to go to work or drive. Judge for yourself if you feel that the dose level was too strong. If so, the next dosing day, you can take a smaller amount. Remember, you should not be noticing any perceptual changes beyond perhaps an elevated emotion.
Once you get the right dose, make sure you stick with that amount for at least a month. Consistency is key with microdosing. Many of the benefits are said to accrue over time, so don’t expect to be a changed person after taking your first microdose.
Step 4: Scheduling
Since the science of microdosing is still relatively new, we do not yet know the best schedule. We do, however, know that even when taking a small amount, you can build up a tolerance. Therefore, tolerance breaks are a must.
The most famous schedule is the “Fadimen Approach.” In its simplest form, this is one day on, two days off. The thesis behind this schedule is that on the first day, you feel the full effects of the microdose. On the second day, you feel about half of the effects. Finally, the third day is a tolerance break.
Despite the Fadimen Approach being the most popular, there are many other acceptable schedules. For example, many people take an LSD microdose every other day. Some do weekdays on, weekends off. And some microdose one week on, one week off.
Whichever schedule you choose, stick with it. Again, consistency is key here.
Step 5: Listen to Your Body and Improve Your Life
After about a month of your regimen, and you haven given time for the accumulative benefits to show themselves, you can tweak the regimen in a fashion that you believe to be best for you. Perhaps this means taking a larger or smaller dose, or taking them more or less frequently.
Everyone is different, which means that a different regimen will be most effective for them. To help figure out if and how you should modify your schedule, go back and read through your journal on days where you took the microdose, and days when you were on a tolerance break. See how you were feeling. Listen to your body.
Eventually, you will feel like you don’t need to microdose anymore. Maybe this will be after one month, perhaps after six. Once this happens, it is okay to stop. Perhaps you will take a month off, or maybe you will never need to microdose again, already having gained the benefits. Again, listen to your body.
Once this happens, make sure you continue journaling. This practice will still bring much benefit to your mental health, and help you organize your thoughts and goals.
Remember, you are embarking on a microdosing journey as a method of self-improvement. Throughout this adventure, as you accomplish your stated goals, or at least make progress towards them, you may feel the need to improve other aspects of your life. Perhaps you will realize that you need to eat healthier, or improve your sleep schedule.
As always, write about this in your journal, and then get to work. The continuous process of microdosing LSD, and reflecting upon your progress in life will create a positive feedback loop that will help make you a better person.
Interested in microdosing psilocybin/ magic mushrooms instead? Check out Microdosing Psilocybin for Beginners in 5 Easy Steps.
And for those that want to take a deeper dive into psychedelics education and explore entering the ever-expanding professional field, consider signing up for Dr. Erica Zelfand's Science of Psychedelics course through our affiliate link for a 10% discount.