An Introduction to Microdosing Psychedelics
Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Ana’s mission is to guide anyone on their journey to successfully incorporate microdosing psychedelics into their lives if they choose to do so. Based on her own microdosing experience, she has developed a couple of tools that can empower you to use microdosing practices to design the life you’ve always desired.
Let’s dive deep with Ana, in this first article of our WOOP series on Microdosing!
Psychedelics Saved My Life
It was a hot summer day, and the ice-coffee I was sipping was more delicious than ever. It had nothing to do with the beans, nor the brewing, nor the coffee shop - but rather, this ball of energy sitting across from me, laughing and telling me about his little adventures around the city. I could tell he loved every second of it, and I was fascinated by how someone could exude so much joy. It was as if life itself was radiating from him, brightening the whole room. I had never seen anything like that!
Before that ice-coffee date, I had not even realized that I had been a passive passenger in my own life. For me, every day was just another day. I rarely felt excited about anything, and the saddest part was that I didn't even know it. But he exuded life itself, the very life force I seemed to be missing. At that moment, I knew that this random stranger was going to change my life and introduce me to joyful moments I'd never experienced before. And I was up for the ride. Our beautiful journey began until one day, very abruptly, life stopped running through him.
I was in shock, in pain, and everything went dark again. For the next ten years, I was a numb passenger, with nothing to care about and nothing to lose. I felt confused. I couldn’t feel passionate about anything long enough to stick with it. Travelling, meeting new people, moving to different countries, falling in love again, changing jobs, learning new skills, or partying harder - nothing worked. SOMETHING WAS MISSING! What was it that I was looking for? The constant pursuit was exhausting.
And then, I stumbled upon psychedelics.
On an LSD trip, I had a vision. I was floating up in the air at the edge of the Earth. Above me was the divine energy and its creative spirit; beneath me was this world, with our human creations. As I floated between the two energetic fields, my chest opened up and the divine energy started pouring through me, manifesting in this physical plane. I became a portal. I knew right there and then, that if all I did in this life was allowing life and creativity to run through me, I was already fulfilling my purpose.
And that was how psychedelics saved my life.
The Start of My Microdosing Journey
While researching psychedelics in general, I came across microdosing. As I read more about the experiences of others, I was impressed by how microdosing could impact one’s life in such positive ways. Some spoke of gloomy days being brightened or feeling more energized and productive, while others described a new sense of ease in their lives. After months of researching, learning, and preparing, I started my microdosing journey.
My first attempt was not so great. Throughout the day, I felt fatigued, on the edge, and emotionally reactive. I was discouraged, but didn’t give up, and tried different ways of microdosing. If you have tried microdosing, but did not experience its benefits, chances are you might have missed one of the essential steps in this journey like I did.
Through trial and error and close observation, I noticed several phases of the microdosing process that are important for optimal benefits. I’d like to share these three phases with you now.
1. The Research Phase
To set yourself up for success, build a strong foundation for your upcoming microdosing journey. The building blocks consist of accurate information, trusted sources, and success stories of others who have done microdosing before. Find answers to the following questions: What is microdosing? How do I prepare myself before taking small amounts of psychedelics? How often should I take these small amounts?
The term “microdosing” comes from the pharmaceutical field. It is a technique used to study the effect of drugs in humans through the administration of doses so low (“sub-therapeutic”) they are unlikely to produce whole-body effects, but high enough to allow the cellular response to be studied.
Microdosing psychedelics was first adopted amongst Silicon Valley moguls who wanted to improve their performance and enhance their creativity. This practice quickly caught on as more and more people realized the benefits. The practice of microdosing LSD has expanded to psilocybin mushrooms and many other psychedelic substances. What started as a relatively niche section of the population has quickly grown and become more accepted.
Trailblazers like Paul Stamets and James Fadiman developed intake protocols that are widely adopted by the microdosing community. However, while the weekly schedule is well defined, the daily intake and/or frequency of a microdose remains ambiguous. I’ve had people tell me that they would microdose 2-3 times a day, but also report mild perceptual changes or troubles sleeping at night.
A microdose should always be unnoticeable. Start by taking your microdose just once a day, early in the morning. There shouldn’t be any hints of a psychedelic trip. Instead, you might feel a bit more alive and invigorated. It’s like an extra cup of magic coffee that also helps you feel more connected to yourself and everything around you.
2. Finding Your Threshold Phase
The second and most important phase of your microdosing journey is finding your threshold. When James Fadiman released his guide to microdosing, his recommendation was to intake one-tenth of a regular psychedelic dose. However, people soon realized that there is no “standard amount” for a microdose; everyone’s threshold was a bit different.
My first microdose of 100mg psilocybin mushrooms was too high for me, and I felt fatigued, famished, and irritated. After that, I dedicated the next few weeks to adjust my dose. Trying various amounts of psychedelic mushrooms, I found my threshold to be at 50mg of psilocybin mushrooms. Anything above that would either bring me back to that fatigued stated or change my perception.
This is one of the crucial steps in the microdosing process, and having someone experienced to address your questions, concerns, and curiosities can really help you discover whether microdosing is for you or not.
3. The Microdosing Phase
With all your tools ready (the knowledge, schedule, and dose), you are set to explore new realms on your microdosing journey! As with anything, there will be highlights and lowlights, but nonetheless, it will be an enriching experience. However, bear in mind that microdosing psychedelics is not a numbing technique. It could actually bring up some things we try to sweep under the rug. The beauty lies in the fact that it unlocks doors, and the best way to navigate this is to allow and not resist.
An excellent way to do that is to start your day with a check-in. Ask yourself: How am I feeling today? What would allow me to stay grounded? Find that grounding practice that works for you. You could focus on your breath or a comforting memory; or perhaps you could hold onto something of significance.
Setting an intention for your microdosing journey is an essential part of this phase. Whether your intention is to allow, observe, feel more connected, creative or present in your life; setting one will help you ride through whatever comes up. It can help assuage any fears you might have.
At the end of the day, take the time to contemplate your experience. I encourage everyone to make notes of their daily journeys, regardless of whether you are microdosing that day or not. This will allow you to see what changed and what stayed the same. It can also inform on how to continue, should you decide to do so.
If you have the desire to expand outside of your comfort zone and grow into the best version of yourself, then microdosing is a great tool that can facilitate your growth. In addition to all the reported anecdotal benefits, microdosing can motivate you to pick up and incorporate other beneficial habits into your life such as a healthier diet, more physical movement, and self-reflection practices. You can find more resources on microdosing on Ana's website or WOOP's resources page.
Ana Maria Badila's professional background and education are in Special Education and Psychology.
Her love for human psychology and personal development allowed her to dive deeper into exploring her core wounds, healing, and tapping into her creativity. She found a lot of answers in the plant medicine practices.
She put her skills and passion to good use, and a couple of educational tools manifested: the Microdosing Guru website and Odin, the journal dedicated to anyone who's microdosing psychedelics. You can also learn more about her work on Instagram.
Do you have any questions for WOOP and Ana about Microdosing? Reach out to us by e-mail!