Microdosing is on everyone’s lips these days. So many are openly raving about its benefits, others are quietly using it as their secret superpower. Some are on the fence and still feel a little nervous and unsure.
For those that are more hesitant, understanding exactly its effects and the exact dosage routine is necessary. Unfortunately, microdosing is a little more subjective than one might think.
I often hear myself say that dosage is everything, and that could not be more true when it comes to psychoactive substances.
Microdosing is a term used for psychedelic compounds such as LSD or psilocybin and at a dosage that does not induce a ‘high’ or buzz of any kind. It’s a fraction of a ceremonial dose or even a recreational dose.
The ideal sub-perceptual dosage quantity depends on each individual and can also vary based on current life circumstances, also more commonly known as the ‘sweet spot’.
There is constant discussion as to what the ‘sweet spot’ actually feels like? Equally important is how often to microdose? The types of microdosing routines are varied in frequency and complexity.
In this article, we unpack 7 different microdosing protocols, some of which you may not have heard of yet.
Ready? Here goes.
What is a Microdosing Protocol?
A microdosing protocol is a predetermined schedule of taking sub-perceptual (or sub-threshold) doses of psychedelic substances for increasing one’s well-being, creativity, or performance.
To qualify as a microdose it must be as low as one-tenth or one-twentieth of a full or even recreational dose.
There are several types of microdosing protocols/routines. Each of these requires a different level of expertise.
- The Fadiman Protocol is ideal for beginners.
- The Stamets Protocol stacks psilocybin with Lion’s Mane and Niacin (for more advanced microdosers).
- The Microdose Pro Protocol involves set days of the week.
- The Intuitive Protocol is for those that are very comfortable with their sweet spot.
- The Nightcap Protocol is for those that prefer to microdose at night before bed.
- The Asha Sultana Protocol stacks saffron with psilocybin for mood-boosting properties.
- Other functional mushroom protocols for added overall wellbeing.
We unpack these all for you here below. So grab yourself a delicious drink, and a nice seat, and get comfortable as we dive in.
1. The Fadiman Protocol
This is the most commonly known microdosing protocol and it was designed by microdosers from all over the world.
James Fadiman is a well-known name and pioneer in the psychedelic industry. The way the story goes is Ram Dass gave him some magic mushrooms in a Paris cafe back in 1961.
Only six years later, Fadiman had become the youngest researcher at the International Foundation for Advanced Study IFAS, a rather neutral name for a privately funded psychedelic drug research facility.
Despite the FDA knocking at his door and serving him with legal papers, Fadiman persevered. He began the task of gathering data from over 400 microdosers in 59 countries. These emailed reports became the single biggest non-clinical study of microdosing available to date.
The hundreds of anecdotal reports from users helped create what we now call the Fadiman Protocol, and it looks something like this.
What is the schedule for the Fadiman Protocol?
The Fadiman Protocol consists of microdosing on the first and fourth day days. This will look as follows:
- Day 1: First microdosing day
- Day 2: Afterglow day
- Day 3: Regular day
- Day 4: Second microdosing day
Repeat for 4 – 8 weeks, then take a break for 2-4 weeks.
The above schedule assumes that you are now comfortable with your ideal ‘sweet spot’ dosage quantity. The right dosage, in addition to sufficient time in between microdosing days, is where the magic happens.
It is equally important to ensure that at least two days are taken between doses.
The first day after microdosing is what some call the ‘afterglow’ day. A time when the residue from the previous dosage of psilocybin still lingers.
The second day after microdosing is what we call a ‘normal’ day. This is when your system is restored to your unique level of homeostasis.
Microdose Pro clients may also recognize our Beginner’s Protocol here. Since the Fadiman Protocol is accessible, measured and an ideal routine for any microdosing novice, we often use the term Beginner’s Protocol to highlight the fact that this is one of the best microdosing protocols to start your journey with.
This protocol ensures that a long enough break happens between doses allowing for the contrast between the normal days and microdosing days to become apparent. This is deeply important in terms of understanding the benefits of microdosing in your life.
2. The Stamets Protocol
The second most known microdosing protocol is the Stamets Protocol.
This protocol is more intense and some experience it as less comfortable than the Fadiman Protocol. It involves the combination of psilocybin truffles, a nootropic functional mushroom, plus an essential vitamin.
Paul Stamets is the famous Netflix mycologist. His appearances on Joe Rogan and the recently released Fantastic Fungi documentary are quickly turning him into a household name.
His personal story with psychedelics is utterly fascinating and likely to have contributed to his particular microdosing protocol. First and foremost, this protocol is for more medium to advanced microdosers and is not ideal for beginners.
The Stamets Protocol protocol involves more than one mushroom and also an essential B vitamin. The combination of multiple compounds is what is commonly known as ‘stacking’.
This protocol involves combining the consumption of psilocybin (through the form of mushrooms or truffles), Lion’s Mane (non-psychoactive), and Niacin (vitamin B3).
Stamets hypothesized that this specific ‘stack” of supplements can have a range of potential positive effects on the brain and our brain health.
The theory is that the potential effects primarily include the creation of new neurons (neurogenesis), new neural pathways, and even the repair of existing neurological damage.
Why is Niacin added to the Stack?
Niacin (vitamin B3) is added to the stack in order to increase the deliverability of the active mushroom compounds throughout our entire body.
Niacin opens up our vasculature and therefore has the ability to stimulate the peripheral nervous system potentially extending the nootropic benefits of the other supplements.
This opening up of the vasculature is called flushing. This is a skin reddening, itching, and/or burning feeling to starts 10 to 20 minutes into the protocol and typically lasts for a maximum of 40 minutes. This is an important part of the practice and not to be avoided.
A Niacin ‘flush’ is not a comfortable experience but does dissipate less than an hour after starting. Again, this is a more advanced protocol, please seek medical advice before proceeding.
Flushing helps to improve blood flow and encourages the small blood vessels to dilate. Niacin is the delivery mechanism that ensures the beneficial properties of the mushrooms are absorbed throughout the brain and body rather than limiting the absorption to the central nervous system.
Because the Stamets Stacking Protocol is more intense than regular microdosing protocols, it should not exceed one month. A two to four-week reset period (no psilocybin, no niacin) after is strongly advised.
What is the schedule for the Stamets Protocol?
The Stamets Protocol consists of four days on and three days off. This will look as follows:
- Day 1: Microdose Truffles + Lion’s Mane + Niacin
- Day 2: Microdose Truffles + Lion’s Mane + Niacin
- Day 3: Microdose Truffles + Lion’s Mane + Niacin
- Day 4: Microdose Truffles + Lion’s Mane + Niacin
- Day 5: Lion’s Mane
- Day 6: Lion’s Mane
- Day 7: Lion’s Mane
Normally the truffles and Lion’s Mane are taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Then, 20 minutes later, take the niacin B3 vitamin. Staggering these ensures that the mushrooms are already part of the digestive process and the niacin can work its magic.
Initially, the Stamets Protocol was scheduled as five days of microdosing and two days of rest. Then in 2019, a couple of years after his second Rogan interview, Paul Stamets revised the protocol to be 4 days of microdosing and 3 days of rest.
Repeat this cycle for a maximum of one month. It is advised to take at least a two to four-week break after completing a one-month cycle.
As can be seen in the table above, Lion’s Mane can also be consumed on the off-days.
Stamets Protocol Dosage guidelines:
According to the Stamets Protocol, Based on a person of 70 kilograms, the following dosages are outlined:
- Psilocybin Truffles: 0.5 – 1 gram
- Lion’s Mane Erinacines/Hericinones: 50 – 200 mg
- Wait 20 minutes, then…
- Niacin: 100 – 200 mg (build-up, see below)
Check out our dual-extracted Lion’s Mane that is perfect for this protocol here:
3. Microdose Pro Protocol
This microdosing protocol was created by our resident neuropsychologist Djai Baaten and introduced during our group coaching calls. The Microdose Pro Protocol is similar to the Fadiman Protocol, however in this case the days of the week are set and pre-defined.
The main downside of the Fadiman Protocol is that one microdose cycle consists of three days (1 day on, 2 days off), which means that if you start the protocol on a Monday, in the following week you will start on a Wednesday. This can make it a bit confusing.
With the Microdose Pro Protocol, you can decide to microdose only on Monday and Thursday. These days are not evenly spaced out due to the odd number of days in the week.
In this case, some prefer to preselect their days of the week for planning and consistency. It’s easier to remember if it’s a microdosing day or not with the Microdose Pro Protocol.
4. The Intuitive Protocol
By definition, this protocol is solely defined by you and therefore specifically tailored to your specific needs. You decide when to microdose and use your intuition as your guide.
There is only one rule to the Intuitive Protocol: you always leave at least one day between the days you take a microdose.
People who have followed any kind of microdosing protocol for one or two cycles tend to naturally switch to a more intuitive way of microdosing.
After a few cycles of the Fadiman Protocol, many microdosers notice that they naturally fall into a more intuitive approach. With time we learn to notice how we are feeling and when it’s a good time to microdose.
An example I often use is if I tend to forget my microdose, I probably don’t need it. If I notice myself reaching for it and seeking it out, then it’s likely a good time to start again. Any microdosing protocol, by definition, means that there are breaks in between.
5. Nightcap Protocol
The Nightcap Protocol is for those that prefer to microdose psilocybin just before bed.
A nightcap microdosing protocol can be applied to the Fadiman Protocol or to any other protocol in theory. The dosage days remain the same with the exception that the time of dosage is right before bed instead of first thing in the morning.
The difference between microdosing at night rather than first thing in the morning is that we experience five different brain waves during the day.
Our brain goes into theta brainwave state just before we fall asleep and just before we wake up and are fully alert again. Theta is also the state of our brains when we almost automatically drive somewhere familiar but can’t exactly remember driving there.
Optimizing this brainwave state via the neuroplastic properties of psilocybin can be deeply beneficial.
So far, the benefits of microdosing just before bed are based on anecdotal reports as there is currently not enough research yet. Microdosers say that the quality of sleep is greatly improved, waking up feeling fresh and bright while avoiding any mild nausea that some can experience when microdosing psilocybin.
6.The Asha Sultana Protocol
The Asha Sultana Protocol is created by me. It is the addition of a cooking spice to your psilocybin microdosing protocol.
Saffron works on the 5HTP receptors and can be a great mood-boosting supplement.
A 2018 medical study found that:
“One of the most established findings regarding the benefits of saffron is its antidepressant activity. There are clinical trials conducted, evaluating the efficacy of saffron in mild-to-moderate depression. The studies reported that saffron was more effective than placebo and at least equivalent to the therapeutic doses of imipramine and fluoxetine.”
Eating a few strands of saffron with your microdose in the morning can potentially lift your mood in rather surprising ways.
How to add saffron to your microdosing protocol? Combine it with the Fadiman Protocol or the Intuitive Protocol.
Whether you microdose every third day, as per the Fadiman Protocol, or perhaps you microdose on specific days of the week; saffron is a great addition to either protocol.
Saffron can be found in any grocery store and only a few strands are needed. It can be chewed but if the flavor is too bitter can be added to drinks/smoothies.
7. Functional Mushroom Stacking Protocols
Next to the Stamets Stack, more and more people are adding other functional mushrooms to their microdosing routine.
Instead of stacking only with Lion’s Mane when doing a Stamets Protocol, here we also combine mushrooms like Chaga, Reishi, and/or Cordyceps with psilocybin.
There is a synergy that becomes available when mushrooms are combined. Our bodies welcome their potentially healing compounds and work together seamlessly.
Chaga, Reishi, Cordyceps, and Lion’s Mane each have such specific yet overlapping potential effects that supplementing with them while taking psilocybin can be a great ally to optimal health.
What do functional mushroom stacking protocols look like?
Functional mushrooms can be taken daily without interruption, 7 days a week, and are applicable to any of the protocols chosen from the list mentioned above.
Based on our confidence in the benefits of combining functional mushrooms with psilocybin, we’ve created our own Mushroom Essentials Complex. A product that blends Chaga, Reishi, Cordyceps, and Lion’s Mane into convenient capsules.
Check out our Mushroom Essential Complex here.
No matter what microdosing protocol you decide to try, remember to be measured, be consistent, and pay close attention. Take small doses, with adequate breaks, and track your progress throughout.
The data you gather on yourself will be your most accurate compass moving forward. It will let you know if you need a break or perhaps it’s time to change the frequency of your microdosing routine altogether.
To help you stay on track, we’ve created a journaling template in Notion. Sign up for free and remember that you can edit this journaling template to match your unique criteria.
Why do we do all of this? Because when one person feels better, we all feel better. Win/Win!