The microdosing genie has escaped the bottle, and it’s not just for granting productivity wishes to its devotees in Silicon Valley anymore. Anyone from CEOs to stay-at-home moms are microdosing now, and the trend is getting closer to becoming mainstream. As the practice of taking tiny doses of psychedelics grows, so too do the questions that surround doing it. Chief among these questions is, how long does a microdose last? The following guide will clue you in on how long you can expect the effects to last when it comes to microdosing classic hallucinogens such as LSD, psilocybin and ayahuasca.
How Microdosing Works
A microdose is a dosage of a psychedelic that is too low to produce an intoxicating effect, but still high enough to feel purported benefits such as better mood and productivity. A typical microdose is about one-tenth or twentieth of a recreational dose, although this varies from individual to individual. Just enough of it lingers to where any of the psychedelic effects experienced are sub-perceptual.
Whether it’s a microdose or a full-blown recreational hit, all of these substances work by activating the serotonin 5HT-2A receptor in your brain. Receptor 5HT-2A causes the release of serotonin, also known as the feel-good brain chemical. This activation creates a domino effect that causes several other changes to occur in your brain. The results are the highly prized benefits microdosers discuss on online forums.
Results Will Vary
When it comes to ingesting recreational substances, whether it be magic mushrooms, marijuana, pharmaceuticals or alcohol, results will vary from person to person because everyone has individual variability and learned sensitivity. Individual differences in liver metabolism, genetics of receptors and previous usage can all substantially mitigate the effects and duration of a drug as well.
Meanwhile, the different psychedelic you take is going to factor in how long a drug will stay in your system, thereby influencing your perceived duration of its effect.
Any reporting on microdosing’s purported benefits has been speculative up until this point, but the practice of dosing crumb-sized amounts of psychedelics really took off in Silicon Valley after people picked up James Fadiman’s 2011 book, “The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide” and discovered within its pages that there might be something to dropping tiny hits of acid, including being more productive.
Fast forward to 2020, and now tiny bits of acid are reportedly the breakfast of champions who say it makes them a better worker. These psychonaut white-collar workers tout productivity traits such as more energy, creativity, better focus and sharpness, all traits needed to stay ahead in the competitive tech workplace culture.
How Long Do its Effects Last?
With recreational doses of LSD, the effects range from 8–10 hours. Microdoses last for a shorter time so expect the effects to last around 5 hours.
Psilocybin, if you are unaware, is a hallucinogenic chemical obtained from fresh and dried magic mushrooms. Although some self-described microdosers say they experiment with taking psilocybin for creativity and productivity, it also alleviates anxiety and depression.
In a NAD review, one member of the microdosing community explained how psilocybin helped his every day functioning, saying,
“I have had very positive results from infrequent psilocybin microdosing. I have found fast and relatively long-lasting relief from depression and social anxiety doing this, as compared to other pharmaceutical options I’ve been offered.”
How Long Do its Effects Last?
A recreational dose of psilocybin lasts from 6–8 hours, but microdoses typically last around 4 hours.
Before harvesting the sub-threshold benefits ayahuasca offers, know that it is one of the most powerful entheogens (a substance that gives you a spiritual experience) in existence. DMT is the principal psychoactive component in it, and psychedelic biohackers that microdose it claim it produces beneficial effects on their mood, cognition, social interaction and more. Relatedly, a clinical in vivo study supports their claims.
Although it’s reportedly tricky to microdose with DMT, the internet is rife with people’s accounts who regularly experiment with it. In fact, you have to mix DMT with an MAOI for it to be very effective, and some sites describe how to smoke and vape the combination. A strong word of caution here: MAOIs can be dangerous or fatal when combined with foods and other drugs, including cannabis! Here is a list of things to avoid when using MAOIs provided by Azarius.net, but don’t substitute that for medical advice.
The Third Wave says that for most, the threshold at which psychedelic effects start to happen is between 5-10 mg, but some psychonauts have reported that it may be as low as 2 mg. The psychedelic site went on to say that they would “therefore expect a microdose to be less than 10 mg.”
A Note of Caution about Ayahuasca
Different plants beside the ayahuasca plant contain DMT, and the plants themselves can contain varying levels of it in different parts of their structure. If you make an error on the dosage of your Ayahuasca concoction, the trip can turn you inside out. In fact, there is a good reason it is illegal to sell or make it in the Netherlands and elsewhere.
Although concoctions of ayahuasca may be bought, cultivated and consumed, it’s probably a good idea to leave all that up to experienced shamans. After all, your physical build, psychological background or your reason for making this brew can all influence the experience (and not always in a good way). In light of that, there is not much room for error when you are talking about consuming this potent hallucinogenic tea.
Instead of microdosing ayahuasca, psychonauts suggest magic truffles (magic mushrooms that are legal in NL) might be the better choice because they typically produce the same results ayahuasca does without all the risks, expense and sightings of fractals and magical elves.
How Long Do its Effects Last?
If you drink brewed ayahuasca, it generally lasts for approximately 4 hours. That fact should be taken as a rough guide, though, due to the unpredictable nature of the components that make up ayahuasca brew.
Other common substances that are microdosed include cannabis, iboga, and ketamine. They also have different durations, benefits and effects as the ones discussed previously.
Psychonauts swear that the practice of microdosing enhances their lives, but for now, there’s currently no hard scientific proof at the moment that suggests it works as they claim it does. Albert Hofmann, the inventor of LSD famously told a friend, “Sub-perceptual doses are the most under-researched area of psychedelics.”
Presently, there is a follow-up study in the Netherlands that will be conducted on the potential of microdosing LSD as a therapy for improving cognition, mood and pain resilience. Moreover, MAPS is leading the way for psychedelic studies in the U.S. so stay tuned to future news to find out what science officially says microdosing has to offer.