Psychedelics like psilocybin, LSD, and DMT are having a renaissance. Once stigmatized as dangerous or just for recreational use, today a growing body of research is revealing the therapeutic potential of these substances.
Psychedelics can be taken in different dosages for different purposes. Microdoses on one end of the spectrum are small, sub-perceptual amounts like 0.1-0.5 grams of dried psilocybin mushrooms. On the other end are full ceremonial or “heroic” doses of 3-5 grams or more of mushrooms.
Microdosing involves regularly taking a low dose every few days. The effects are subtle – you don’t trip or hallucinate. However, anecdotal reports suggest benefits like improved mood, focus, creativity, and social connection.
Full doses mean taking a large amount in a controlled setting. This leads to a complete psychedelic experience involving visuals, spiritual insights, and an “ego dissolution” or sense of merging with something larger than oneself. High doses can help treat conditions like anxiety, depression, and addiction.
While these dosage extremes are well-studied, less is known about strategically combining high and low doses. Anecdotal stories suggest people use micro and macro doses together to enhance well-being.
This blog will explore the unique benefits of low vs high dosing. We’ll also look at thoughtfully integrating both into an optimal psychedelic practice. I aim to share principles that can guide your journey, whether you’re just psychedelic-curious or already on the path.
As your guide, I draw on research (I lean heavily on this article from March 2022) and my experience of over 100 psychedelic trips and microdosing experiences. Let’s dive in!
The “Yin” of Low Doses
Microdosing has become popular as a way to enhance well-being and performance. Silicon Valley technologists praise it for boosting productivity. Creatives microdose for inspiration. Others use it to lift their mood or reduce anxiety in daily life.
In a microdosing protocol, you take a small dose of a psychedelic like LSD or psilocybin mushrooms every 3-4 days. A microdose is typically one-tenth to one-twentieth of a full psychedelic dose. The effects are meant to be sub-perceptual – you shouldn’t feel high or trip (though some people now argue that a slight change in perception is wanted – so take ‘sub-perceptual’ with a grain of salt).
Starting low and going slow is important. Many people start with 0.1g of dried mushrooms or 5-10ug of LSD and increase slightly from there. Dialing in the optimal dose takes some trial and error. If you feel impaired or are tripping, lower the amount.
When you find the sweet spot, benefits may include experiences of:
- Greater focus and concentration
- Heightened creativity – more ideas flow
- Increased motivation and drive
- More present-moment awareness
- Enhanced social connection and emotional intelligence
- Uplifted mood, decreased anxiety/depression
- Greater energy and flow states
Potential downsides include irritation, insomnia, or headaches from too high a dose. There are also open questions about long-term impacts. But used conscientiously at sub-perceptual levels, microdosing appears to be relatively low risk.
By subtly enhancing mood, cognition, and social relating, microdosing can lubricate the gears of everyday life. Think of it as waking up your brain and social circuits. This “lubrication” can help you be more effective at work, creative projects, and relationships.
Note: Psychedelic research is still on the fence about the objective (or measurable) effects of microdosing, but the subjective effects as described above have been repeatedly mentioned by thousands who microdose.
The “Yang” of High Doses
At the other end of the spectrum are full ceremonial doses of psychedelics. We’re talking 15+ grams of psilocybin-containing truffles, for example. High doses fully immerse your consciousness, drastically altering perception, cognition, and emotion.
Tripping in nature or meditative settings is common. You may experience vivid visuals, cosmic unity, and dissolving ego boundaries. These non-ordinary states can provide psychological insight and spiritual awakening.
High doses allow you to transcend everyday consciousness. By disrupting rigid mental patterns, psychedelics can be healing. Research shows they help treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction.
Subjectively, benefits include:
- A profound sense of connection to nature or “the all”
- Dissolving ego and fresh perspective
- Emotional catharsis and release
- Relief from existential distress
- Inspiration and creative divergent thinking
- Increased openness to new ideas
Of course, psychedelics alter consciousness in unpredictable ways. Having an experienced guide in a safe, structured setting is essential. Starting low and building up your comfort over time is wise. With care and intention, high doses can occasion dramatic breakthroughs.
Integrating the Yin and Yang
Rather than being mutually exclusive, micro and macrodosing can complement each other. Each has strengths that address different needs. Used wisely in combination, they can optimize well-being.
Here are some ways to skillfully integrate low and high-dose experiences:
- Use microdosing to open up before high dose work gently. Subtle but helpful shifts in mood, creativity, and social connection can pave the way for deeper healing.
- Microdose during integration periods after intensive psychedelic work. This helps digest and implement insights in daily life.
- Rotate micro and macrodosing. For example, a high dose experience every 3-4 months supported by weekly microdosing between ceremonies.
- Match doses to changing circumstances. Increase microdosing during stressful life periods. Do intensive high-dose work during retreats or holidays.
- Dose according to your goals that day. Pick micro for a creative task or macro for personal growth.
The key is being intentional about why you use psychedelics and how different doses serve you. Avoid assumptions that higher doses are inherently “better.” With mindful integration, both can accelerate your development.
Concluding Takeaways on Low and High Dose Synergy
In closing, here are some key points we covered:
- Both micro and macrodosing offer distinct benefits that can promote well-being and performance. But they work in different ways.
- Start low and go slow with first micro and macro experiences. Have proper guidance and adjust the dosage carefully over time.
- Consider alternating micro and macro sessions or using micro to assist integration after intensive high-dose work.
- Match doses to your changing intentions – a high dose for a needed breakthrough or micro for daily functioning.
- Bring mindfulness to your use. Stay intentional about how different doses serve your goals and process.
The psychedelic renaissance opens up incredible potential for healing and growth. Yet there is so much still to discover about these powerful tools. Having an experienced guide can help you safely harness their benefits. Feel free to reach out if you would like support on your journey.