CategoriesBeginner Microdosing

Microdosing Risk Benefit Analysis

Let me introduce myself, my name is Dr. Michael Cillanueva and I am a clinical psychologist at the Alpha Theta Center.

First this article is for people that are considering micro dosing, are interested in it but are having a hard time wrapping their minds around the whole concept. So to that audience I say stick around. What I’m going to share with you are my clinical and clinical experiences so to speak over the course of the last six years and what I’ve observed in people who have microdosed, and how that might be relevant to your decision process.

Everybody has different sensitivities. Some people can microdose at a tiny bit and they feel it, some people have to have a little bit more, but everybody has different sensitivity so when you kind of chart your course you need to you need to take this into account. And yes I hear this all the time in clinical practice – oh i’m so sensitive to medications i take a little bit of this and i absolutely feel it – plant medicines are in different just a completely different realm of of their own.

The only way to get a sense actually of how you’re going to respond is to start with a tiny amount probably on a Saturday morning when you don’t have anything to do and you have a partner or somebody there to help you navigate through this period of time. In my clinical experience in different countries watching people microdose. I have never ever heard of anybody having a negative reaction to microdosing.

The next area I think that’s important on your risk benefit analysis is to look at what it is you want to accomplish. I would make it into three categories: whether it’s an emotional need that you’re doing this for, whether it’s thought or for example whether it’s something to do with the body.

Is it focus? is it concentration? is it ruminative obsessive behavior? if it’s emotional, are you looking to alleviate anxiety? are you looking to alleviate depression? kind of two sides of the same coin so the question becomes when you’re thinking about yourself, what human domains do you want to alter to keep you straight.

By all means you need to keep a journal (and i don’t mean the journal is “oh today or yesterday i microdosed and i felt motivated“) it’s better if you when you initially start to record the time you ingested, how you ingested the amount you ingested, and then kind of keep track even if it’s with a tape recorder what you might feel. One of the things that people report when they microdose – like oh my god you know i’m feeling my heart – yeah they think it’s a panic attack. I’ve actually heard this when I’ve watched people microdose and then when you put a pulse ox meter or you test their pulse, their pulse is like 55-56. How is that possible? You’re much more aware of your body. So keeping a journal on the specifics will help you go forward in microdosing, whether to kind of up it a bit or bring it down a bit.

One of the things about microdoses is they are subperceptual. In other words you should not be able to really notice it that much. There might be a tiny uptick in mood, but you really should not notice it that much.

In other words, if you micro dose and within 20 or 30 minutes you’re staring at your hand or notice that the color on a plant is extraordinarily green, you’ve gone too far. It should be sub perceptual, you should be able to do your work, go about your business, and you yourself would not know (neither would anybody else)


What is it that you can expect from micro dosing?

So here is where I just share my direct kind of observations of people. First and foremost, I would say you can expect mood stabilization. No that does not mean mood happiness, that just simply means mood stabilization. Which, if you happen to be at one extreme, you are going to kind of come back to a medium. So if you’re chronically depressed, your mood ought to increase just a little bit. Just enough to be a little bit better. There’s going to be less self rumination, and this is a difficult concept to convey because so many of us (myself included) spent so much time in our brain looping. That’s self-rumination and self-rumination is highly correlated with addictive behaviors, highly correlated with depression.

What we’ve also seen has been a very odd increase in motivation. You want to do things, and inversely you want to avoid less. So, for example people have reported that it’s easier to pay bills. It’s a little bit easier to return phone calls. It’s a little bit easier to engage in social interaction. There simply is less avoidance and there seems to be a little bit more motivation.

The next section is choices. What substances should you start with? that’s a trick question because that’s absolutely a wrong question to ask yourself. Don’t ask that, but I’m asking you to kind of examine what you put into your body. You put coffee in there? Do you put sugar-filled soda in there? do you tend to put alcohol in there? Marijuana? what do you do for fun? do you read or do you go bungee jumping?

The point being is that anything that you are doing right now is an indicator of your basic neurophysiological infrastructure. We use substances to self-correct our neurophysiology and that is the first thing if you’re going to micro dose. You need to have an honest self-assessment with the other things that impact your choices. The point here is when you’re looking at your choices you’re going to have to kind of look at what’s practical what is impractical.

My suggestion is that you get enough to carry through a 30-day excursion into microdosing

I can sum it up this way – you cannot make up a life of mental and physical sloth by microdosing. It doesn’t work that way. There’s no instant gratification, there’s no “omg I’m now awesome” at work. The only metaphor I can come up with is “I don’t go to the gym once for 30 minutes and then expect to run a marathon.

What I can share with you, what I’ve seen with clients I’ve sent to clinics in other countries that have dealt with things, is that what you’re going to get you’re going to get a boost. It’s as if you’re scaffolding yourself into a newer realm and then it’s up to you to maintain those behavioral changes. We don’t see quite a return to baseline, but generally after 30 to 40 days of micro dosing what we’ve consistently seen has been six to eight months a window in which a person can really work to maintain those goals that they’ve gotten and to scaffold themselves into new behavioral habits.

So my final caveat warning is to have realistic expectations and to not to confuse micro dosing with a full-blown psychedelic journey.

Thank You.

Leave a Reply