What is Microdosing?

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Microdosing refers to a new disturbing trend wherein CEOs, creative professionals, and regular laymen are taking a small dose of drugs every day. The intended result is to boost their mood, encourage creative thinking, and promote physical and mental stimulation. The quantity is just a fraction of the recreational amount and is reportedly very effective. This trend is especially prevalent in Silicon Valley, where many people are psychedelic microdosing on lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), MDMA (Ecstasy), and other hallucinogenic drugs. Besides being illegal, microdosing may have extremely harmful long-term effects on users.

Avenues Recovery, leaders in addiction rehabilitation, have seen firsthand how microdosing can lead to addiction. In this article we’ll answer questions such as what is microdosing, are there benefits to microdosing, and is it safe.

What is a Microdosing Measurement?

So how much is a microdose? A microdose is a fraction of the dose taken by recreational drug users. This is sometimes classified as 10 micrograms every third or fourth day. Other sources suggest [1] 1/5 to 1/20 of a recreational dose. It’s impossible to state a set amount because outside of clinical trials, these drugs are not regulated and it’s difficult to know the potency of every ounce.

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Benefits of Microdosing

There are no scientific microdosing benefits documented. Studies on LSD and other psychedelic drugs show that once the effects of the drugs wear off, there is a decrease in activity in areas of the brain that promote creativity. This would suggest that when consuming the drug, there is likely an increase in stimulation and creativity. The reason why microdosing has become so popular is that users promote it online as a magical wonder pill without adverse effects, but they have no real scientific backing.

Microdosing for Mental Illness

Microdosing has also become a popular treatment for people struggling with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and addiction. Taking microdoses for anxiety and depression, otherwise known as psychedelic therapy, is also controversial. Although it has been proven effective, we need more studies on this phenomenon to determine the long-term effects these drugs can have.

It’s important to note that microdosing to treat these mental disorders should never be done without clinical supervision. Of course, consuming any drugs is dangerous without medical direction, but psychedelic microdosing may involve a mixture of drugs like LSD or Psilocybin with antidepressants, which can be lethal as a combination. Particularly, lithium- prescribed for depression when nothing else works- combined with LSD can put people in a state of comatose or cause seizures.  Many people argue that the risks of prolonged microdosing to treat mental illness may invalidate its benefits.

Microdosing Schedule

It is recommended not to microdose every day in order to slow down the process of tolerance. In other words, the more often you take a microdose, the quicker your body gets used to that amount, and then an increased dose is needed to achieve the same effect as previously.

A typical microdosing schedule would be:

·         Day One- Microdose

·         Day Two- After Effects, no microdose

·         Day Three- No dose

·         Day Four- Microdose


People who start microdosing should take note of the effects they feel so they can assess how much they must take. This is because every person reacts differently to the same quantity of drugs.

How Long Does Microdosing Last?

A microdose lasts anywhere between 8 hours to 72 hours, depending on which psychedelic substance are taken. Typically, the after-effects are felt strongly throughout the day that the microdose is ingested and more subtly on the second day. It’s interesting that the second-day effects only occur when taking a microdose. When consuming the total recreational dose of a drug, the effects are felt more strongly, but they last for a shorter period of time.

Risks of Microdosing

The problem with those who microdose is that they are usually doing it without medical supervision or direction. They will often guess what the microdose amount is or take a substance without knowing its exact ingredients. This is because these drugs are not monitored, so it’s not always stated what it consists of.

Additionally, the human body develops tolerance to these drugs over time, causing people to increase their dose gradually every time it happens. This leads to people taking the full recreational amount every day to reach the same physical and mental boost as the original microdose! Of course, once a person is taking such a large dose every day, they have developed a substance abuse disorder that can cause various physical, mental, and emotional issues.

It is widely believed that since hallucinogenic drugs are not as physically addictive as other drugs, they are safer to ingest. Although, indeed, hallucinogenic drugs don’t cause symptoms as severe as other drugs, they can still lead to addiction.

Possibly the largest risk of microdosing is the unknown. Insufficient research means we do not know what effects microdosing can have in the long term. It could lead to anything from addiction and other mental disorders to irreversible physical illnesses and even premature death.

Legalizing Psychedelics

As mentioned, psychedelics are illegal in almost every state of the US. Therefore, microdosing psychedelics to treat mental illness or boost work performance is unlawful. Some people argue that if they became fully legalized, they may become safer since the production of these drugs would be monitored and properly regulated. Specifically, psilocybin and MDMA (Ecstasy) may be approved in a few years for medical reasons in certain states, starting with Oregon [2]. Additionally, some people would like to decriminalize psychedelics. They want to ensure that there is wider access to these drugs so that a prescription would not be needed to consume them.

The reality is that once these drugs are legalized and regulated to make them safer, allowing for broader access may not be a good idea. The fact is that every drug could be abused, the more readily available it is and the more people who are convinced that it’s safe- the more potential for misuse of the drug. As many risky drugs as possible must remain under medical supervision and only be prescribed as needed.

Microdosing is Not Safe


Microdosing can easily lead to a drug addiction disorder. It is strongly suggested that those considering microdosing should consider the risks versus the benefits. Understand that taking any drugs, even in such a small dose, is dangerous! If you currently microdose consistently and are unable to stop, Avenues Recovery is here to support you in your journey toward recovery. We’re ready to hear you out, answer your questions, and provide full support - there is a better life! Contact us 24/7 to hear more about our detox and treatment programs.

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