A recent reader commented on a post that they tried microdosing but it didn’t work for them. My first question was, how much did they experiment with the dose?

Finding the right personalised dose can take a lot of trial and error. We are all different and effects can vary substantially between individuals. This is true not just with microdosing but also higher doses and I think that finding the correct dose is an oft underestimated key to using psychedelics.

Consider this:

A medicine can be a poison depending on the dose.

The exact same substance, the same chemical compound, one that could heal you, could also kill you, depending on the dose. Suffice to say that dose can completely change a drug’s effects.

Though the psychedelics psilocybin and LSD are non-toxic, meaning that a fatal overdose is impossible, one could still consider an experience to be ‘poisonous’ in so much that it has negative effects on a persons psyche or wellbeing.

Dosage is, I venture to say, the no.1 reason why people have bad trips. Set and setting has been mentioned, say, people at festivals or parties around large groups of people, loud music, a lot of stimulation. But what about if they had taken a much lower dose? Would it have been overwhelming? Mightn’t they have gotten the enhanced party experience or mind opening adventure they were after?

I have had my own too-much experience at a festival, and whilst it was big flashing lights and lack of a quiet space to lie down that could seem to be the problem, I could have had a more pleasant experience by simply being careful with the amount I was taking. Not everyone wants to have a peak mystical experience or deep inner journey, sometimes people just want to enhance their experience of something else they already enjoy. Much in the way coffee would enhance a workday, a mini or museum dose might enhance a party, concert or brainstorming session.

Dosage is More Important than Set and Setting

As has been said by the late, great Boston psychonaut Kilindi Iyi, at very very high doses of magic mushrooms, set and setting doesn’t make any difference whatsoever. So that would mean that dosage is the most important factor in a session.

Though this is on the extreme end, I think it illustrates a good point. Dose is, in my opinion, too often and too easily overlooked when it comes to taking drugs.

Consider for a moment the difference between:

  • a bump of ketamine vs. a big line
  • one tiny puff of weed vs. one huge bong rip
  • a shot of vodka vs. bottle of vodka

Very different experiences.

So how to get it right? Here’s some practical tips when it comes to exploring substances.

Practical Tips on Dosing

Use scales

Invest in a good set of scales and use them carefully. Especially important when using potent psychedelics that are active in very small doses like 2C-B, or those with higher toxicity like MDMA. Eyeballing can be horrendously inaccurate.

Know the dose for specific route of administration

Don’t confuse the intranasal dose with the oral dose, for example. Those can be very different things.

Start out small, increase the next time

Research is good but I’d generally say that it always good to start lower than you’d like and work your way up.

“Those who received a small taster before a higher dose were observed as being even more likely to reap the benefits than those who were only given the higher dose.”

About study participants from John Hopkins’ psilocybin study – Link

The great Czech psychedelic pioneer Stanislav Grof used a step up approach in his psycholytic psychedelic therapy work. After some sessions to build trust between the therapist and patient, he would start patients on 100 micrograms of LSD, and gradually work them up on consecutive sessions until an optimum dose was reached. 

Make use of boosters

You can use a booster, this means adding a second dose on top of the first to boost the effect. The key to getting the booster right is the timing. If you add too early, before the first dose has reached its peak, you risk taking too much. If you time it too late, you miss the chance of adding to the peak of the first dose and just extending the session, or having a second peak that is similar to the first. To counter this, take note of the time when you take your dose, and consider setting an alarm as a reminder to check in with how you feel and to then make a decision on whether or not to take the booster.

Use volumetric dosing for microdosing LSD

Volumetric dosing enables you to be very accurate and precise with dosage when you have paper tabs of LSD. You can find a guide on how to here.

Keep a drug journal

Logging and tracking has become quite a thing in the self improvement field and for good reason. By tracking our behaviours we get good solid data which we can assess objectively. Using only a scale and a notebook, you can track and log your ingestions and doses and make notes on the effects, gaining precious personalised data. 

Maybe you’ve heard of a food diary to raise awareness of what you are eating. Or a smoke diary for people trying to quit. Logging and tracking raises awareness of our behaviours, feelings, triggers and patterns.

Keeping a drug diary has to have been one of the most useful things I’ve ever done in regards to learning about my relationship with different substances and what doses work for me. The data has been invaluable for deciding doses and finding my sweet spot for different applications and activities. I know my optimum kratom dose to enhance focus on a work day, for example, my LSD minidose for a day out, and my MDMA dose for a session with friends, including booster and timing.

If you wanna know more about drug journaling, take a look at taking drugs like a nerd.

Don’t underestimate the dose. If you’re new, better yet, overestimate the dose!

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