Updated: Jan 28, 2021
Microdosing psychedelics is about taking substances like LSD and psilocybin at sub-perceptual doses on an ongoing basis. But daily dosing may not deliver the best results for mental clarity, productivity, and creativity. Breaks are critical, which is why the idea of microdosing protocols has taken shape.
What is a Microdosing Protocol?
A microdosing protocol is essentially a schedule of dosing days mixed with breaks. Every protocol is designed to give the mind and body short pauses between doses. Some believe the benefits are most profound on the 'off' days, while others find short breaks to boost the effects during the 'on' days.
Although you may read otherwise, technically speaking, there is no perfect microdosing protocol. What works best for you may not feel right for someone else.
Yet, even if there is no perfect schedule, it's helpful to start with a practical and established microdosing protocol. This is why many turn to the leading voices in psychedelics today: Paul Stamets and James Fadiman.
The James Fadiman Protocol
"The rule of thumb is the more profound the experience, the longer you should wait before doing it again."
Dr. James Fadiman, an American psychologist, writer, and leading psychedelic voice, has developed one of today's most popular protocols. According to his protocol, microdosing happens once every three days:
Day 1: Dose
Day 2: No Dose
Day 3: No Dose
Day 4: Dose
Dr. Fadiman recommends starting with 1/20 to 1/10 of a recreational dose, with an ongoing assessment based on the experience. For example, if you experience visual effects, this suggests you've taken too much. He also suggests continuing the microdosing protocol for ten cycles, or 30 days.
The Paul Stamets Protocol
"But having a subthreshold dose, I think, is a really valid approach. And you probably shouldn't take these every day. Because you'd normalize the receptors. So watching the receptors and having them recalibrate themselves is probably a good thing to do. So pulse therapy – three to four days on, three to four days off is probably a better approach than taking them every day. The jury's out on that. There are a lot of different opinions of it."
Paul Stamets, the well-known American mycologist, and advocate for all-things-fungi, proposed another popular microdosing protocol. Under his guidance, microdosing happens for four days straight, followed by three days off.
Day 1: Dose
Day 2: Dose
Day 3: Dose
Day 4: Dose
Day 5: No Dose
Day 6: No Dose
Day 7: No Dose
Stamets also suggests combining psilocybin into a larger 'stack' for improved benefits. His recommended microdosing stack includes:
Lion's Mane: 50 – 200 mg
Niacin: 100 – 200 mg
The recommended amounts have significant variation, so it can take some experimentation to get the right dose for you. There is less information about how long to cycle this protocol than with Fadiman's. However, you'll still want to schedule periodic breaks from dosing altogether.
Choosing the Right Protocol for You
While both the Stamets and the Fadiman protocols are extremely popular among microdosers, they are not the only options. In fact, no scientifically proven protocol works best for everyone.
Either of the above protocols serves as an excellent starting point into the world of microdosing, but your own experiences should dictate how much and how frequently you dose.
Take careful note of daily sensations, experiences, and cognitive shifts — both good and bad. Adjust as needed, take breaks as needed, and develop your own personalized protocol.
In my experience, Stamets' protocol made me tired regardless of the dose. On the other hand, by the third day of Fadiman's protocol, I felt no lingering benefits.
Currently, my microdosing protocol has me dosing every other day (one day on, one day off, repeat). This personal protocol achieves the benefits, a perceptual afterglow, with no noticeable fatigue. I take breaks every three months for at least a few weeks.
As you begin microdosing, stay in tune with what your mind and body tell you. As you experiment, make adjustments as needed. See what works best for you in terms of dosage and frequency. Remember, microdosing is a journey unique to you.