Many of today’s biohackers and self-optimisers refer back to the movie Limitless from 2011.
That film captivated minds, planted a seed, and even cemented the possibility of a whole new way of being and living.
A few years later in 2017 many of us remember the medium.com articles when we learned that executives, founders, and CEOs in Silicon Valley were microdosing in the workplace.
Since then, the term biohacking has become ubiquitous. Personal optimization is an operational baseline.
But it is worth mentioning that some of us don’t necessarily want to become limitless, we just want to stay as sharp as we once did.
The last few years have been bumpy, to say the least, and our attention has been fragmented, frayed, and unreliable. Recently, NPR’s Hidden Brain released a podcast episode called Finding Focus about how hard it can be for us to concentrate, focus, and be productive.
As of late, microdosing is the tool chosen by many as the go-to technique for either becoming limitless or simply maintaining the edge we always had.
What are the Benefits of Microdosing?
This past decade, we’ve consistently heard anecdotal reports that microdosing psilocybin may yield a wealth of subtle, yet potentially significant benefits. There are four main improvements that we hear from our community in terms of how microdosing has helped their productivity overall.
Both cognitive fluidity and improved focus are frequently reported, allowing microdosers to navigate complex tasks with a refreshed perspective.
Then, optimized creative problem-solving also becomes available, providing a fresh perspective to unsolved problems. Topping it all off is an added sense of emotional equilibrium, reduced anxiety levels, and access to more internal resilience.
The scientific industry is hard at work looking into all of these reported benefits, case in point this double-blind placebo-controlled study published in 2002.
How does Microdosing Psilocybin Help You be More Productive?
Since the medium.com articles of 2017, many of us have heard of various professionals in all kinds of industries reporting that microdosing has greatly helped them in the workplace.
For example, Bodhy Buit is a student at the University of Amsterdam he wrote his thesis on Organizational Microdosing Ritual In A Start-Up.
Microdose Pro provided the psilocybin truffles for this study. Bodhy researched a start-up company in the Netherlands where they carried out an experiment where half the team members and one of the founders microdosed for one month. Bodhy’s experiment did include a control group where one of the founders and other employees did not microdose at all.
The observations from this experiment are included in his thesis, they ranged from reports of prolonged ability to focus, ability to access flow states, and reduced levels of stress and anxiety on a Monday morning.
This thesis was partly inspired by the recent scientific studies that microdosing psilocybin can potentially nudge the brain toward a state of heightened neural connectivity in the frontal cortex.
Current assumptions are that sub-perceptual processes are thought to gently stir the serotonergic system, which plays a pivotal role in mood regulation, cognition, and overall brain function.
This potentially results in a subtle yet tangible uplift in mood, sharpened focus, and resilience against the mental fog that often gets in the way of our productivity.
This uplift in mood and reduced mental fog also prompt microdosers to report an increased ability to access a ‘flow state‘; when challenging work becomes immersive, the perception of time is altered and energy levels remain high.
The Science of Psilocybin on the Brain
This NCBI study explains that: “Contrary to prevalent thinking, psilocybin is not the essential pharmacologically dynamic part of enchantment mushrooms; rather, psilocin is. Psilocin gives wizardry mushrooms their psychotomimetic impacts.”
Psilocin is also quite similar to serotonin and this enables an interaction with serotonergic receptors in the brain, particularly the 5-HT2A receptors.
By activating these receptors, psilocybin has been shown to modulate the brain’s default mode network (DMN), the region linked with self-referential thought processes. This modulation of the default mode network may result in increased connectivity across different brain regions.
Increased connectivity potentially leads to enhanced cognitive flexibility, divergent thinking, and even a heightened state of consciousness.
Aside from the potential impact on the Default Mode Network, psilocybin is often associated with neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity means that the brain’s is more able to form new neural connections, potentially rejuvenated by psilocybin’s pharmacological action.
An important study known as “The effects of psilocybin on cognitive and emotional functions in healthy participants” looked at the multitude of impacts psilocybin has on the brain, from the default mode network to increased connectivity across different brain regions, and neuroplasticity makes it a fascinating research subject.
Such impacts on the human brain have not only captivated the imagination of self-optimizers and biohackers globally but also of science at large.
Cognitive Effects of Psilocybin
Significant progress has been made toward understanding how psychedelics affect neuroplasticity, so much so that neuroplasticity is often synonymous with the use of psilocybin.
Studies performed in mice show how psilocybin is a potentially subdued catalyst that primes the brain for enhanced cognitive function.
This low-level optimization of cognitive function potentially improves problem-solving skills, giving rise to innovative solutions and creative breakthroughs.
Small tiny microdoses may polish one’s mental acuity, making thoughts seem more lucid and sharpening concentration.
Enhanced neural plasticity is a scientifically suggested outcome of psilocybin use, implying that learning and adapting to new information could become more efficient. Cognitive flexibility (the ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts or thinking about multiple concepts simultaneously) is also reportedly heightened.
Such alterations can allow for a more nimble and agile thought process, potentially triggering connections between seemingly disparate ideas.
In neuropsychopharmacological terms; psilocybin may induce changes in brain network integrity and segregation.
Having said all of that, we should not expect to turn into a cognitive superpower overnight. Synapses and synaptic connections are made and optimized slowly. So think of it like going to the gym when the results are not immediate but cumulative.
These positive anecdotes are fueling more empirical research so there is much to learn and to be confirmed, yet.
Effects On Creativity, Problem-Solving, and Productivity
Creativity and problem-solving go hand in hand and as it turns out, sub-hallucinogenic doses of psilocybin could potentially unlock a more vivid imagination and fluid thought processes.
For some individuals, it’s not merely about access to more creative ideas. It’s about the ability to approach problems with a unique perspective and find unique solutions.
Finding solutions where they have not been previously seen, thinking outside the box, and making connections that have never been considered before are all very creative acts.
This state, often described as ‘thinking outside the box’, might come more naturally when the mind is under the subtle influence of psilocybin, leading to breakthroughs in challenging projects.
Research into psychedelics and neuroplasticity proposes mechanisms that may trigger and support such a creative spark.
In 2023 the National Library of Medicine published a study called Psilocybin’s effects on cognition and creativity: A scoping review.
This study concluded its findings with this statement: “Interestingly, findings from microdosing studies suggest acute creative enhancement.“
The modulatory effects of psilocybin on the brain’s serotonergic system can also contribute to enhanced creativity.
By subtly altering perception and cognitive boundaries, microdosing may dissolve the filters that constrain conventional thinking.
Understandably, such creative breakthroughs prompt a huge sense of accomplishment, which then in turn can stimulate a further increase in motivation and productivity levels. Resulting in a positive reinforcement loop.
The possibility that microdosing psilocybin can support the above mental states is therefore very intriguing and captivating for many high performers and achievers.
While empirical evidence continues to pour into mainstream knowledge what is clear is that psilocybin’s potential to induce creativity aligns with its ability to reorient cognitive processes.
Such reshaping of thought patterns could pave the way for paradigm-shifting insights and resolutions, a very intriguing potential tool for those in creative and problem-centric professions.
Accessing Your Flow State
Interestingly, microdosing may intertwine with the concept of ‘flow state‘, the optimal psychological condition for productivity and innovation.
When individuals microdose, they often report an amplified ability to enter this zone where the perception of time changes, access to seamless concentration is available and deep engagement with tasks is enjoyed.
Another positively unintended consequence is that flow states happen to be strongly correlated with improved mental well-being.
The predominant markers for a flow state are focus, lack of self-consciousness, enjoyment, and persistence.
This heightened psychological state facilitates the seamless integration of skills and task demands.
In the flow, time distorts, stretching, or compressing. Immersion deepens, the sense of self changes and engagement is taken to a whole new level.
Psychologically, the ‘autopilot’ is upgraded to a ‘captain’s seat’ perspective, enabling a sense of control and mastery that’s both calming and empowering.
In a flow state, ideas and actions intertwine fluidly. There’s a dance between cognitive functions and motor skills, that leads toward peak creativity and high-efficiency problem-solving.
Most notably, our sense of time within the flow state is altered, hours can pass like minutes. In a flow state, the task undertaken is not only completed but accomplished masterfully.
Despite the deep level of focus and concentration, our energy levels don’t feel depleted, but rather we feel invigorated and refreshed.
No matter where you are in your cognitive experience right now, to be fully immersed and then feel energetically invigorated once the task is completed is not only a superpower but just feels amazing!
If You Want To Start Microdosing for Productivity
If you feel that this is a good time to carry out your cognitive experiment, then we recommend you start with the Fadiman Protocol and use psilocybin truffles.
Be sure to track your doses and journal your experience throughout your microdosing journey.
Give it a few weeks before anticipating any observable cognitive improvements…or you can just ask someone that you spend a lot of time with, chances are they might notice before you do.
If you want to turbocharge your experience, consider adding Lion’s Mane to your protocol. There’s lots more information on stacking truffles and Lion’s Mane in our blog, so be sure to have a look there too.
Finally, your homework is to report back here and let me know in the comments what changes you’ve noticed in your productivity since microdosing.
Shine bright. Do good. Flow strong.