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Psychedelic Dosages: Micro-dose or Macro-dose?

microdose macrodose
in this article
  • Introduction
  • What are Psychedelics?
  • What is Micro-dosing?
  • What is Macro-dosing?
  • In Review: Micro-dosing vs. Macro-dosing

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Chemical Collective or any associated parties.


Let’s dive into the mind-bending world of micro-dosing and macro-dosing with Psilocybin  and LSD. For those who may not know, micro-dosing involves taking a small dose of a psychedelic substance, whereas macro-dosing involves taking a much larger dose. In this article, we’ll explore the history behind these psychedelic practices  and their observed  benefits and potential risks. 

You may be surprised by how different these benefits and risks can be, depending on the dosage that one takes. The differences between a pinch and a palmful of mushrooms is drastic, so it’s important to distinguish the two. By the time you finish this article, you’ll have a great understanding of each concept

What are Psychedelics?

micro-dose macro-dose lsd psilocybin

First, a quick history lesson. Two of the most widely-used psychedelic substances are: Psilocybin mushrooms and Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). 

Psilocybin mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in various cultures for their psychoactive effects. The chemical compound psilocybin was isolated from these mushrooms in the 1950s, leading to the creation of synthetic versions for medical and research purposes. 

LSD on the other hand, was first synthesized in 1938 by a Swiss chemist named Albert Hofmann. It gained popularity in the 1960s as a recreational drug due to its powerful psychedelic effects.

So, how do these substances actually work to create the profound experiences reported across cultures?

Psilocybin and LSD both work by binding to serotonin receptors in the brain. Specifically, they bind to the 5-HT2A receptor, which is involved in regulating mood, perception, and cognition. The increase in serotonin levels alters the communication between various regions of the brain, resulting in altered sensory experiences, synesthesia (mixing of senses), and changes in the sense of time and self. 

It should be noted that unfortunately, both psilocybin mushrooms and LSD are illegal to possess, use, and distribute in most countries. In the United States, for example, both substances have been pried away from the population under the guise of various laws. However, there are some exceptions for medical and research purposes in certain states.

On the other hand, many countries such as the Netherlands and Portugal have decriminalized the use of psilocybin mushrooms and other psychedelics for personal use. It’s important to research the legality of these substances in your own country and state before using them.

What is Micro-dosing?

micro-dose macro-dose pill

You may have heard reports of wild, impactful trips that many people experience under the influence of psychedelics. While these are certainly incredible experiences, mystical trips are not the only experiences which psychedelics can facilitate. Micro-dosing is a great way to minimize some of the more intense aspects of substances like psilocybin or LSD while still benefitting from their wider effects.

Micro-dosing involves taking a small dose of a psychedelic substance, typically one-tenth to one-twentieth of a recreational dose. Of course, there are no universal agreements on how much really constitutes a “recreational dose,” so what a micro-dose is may be more subjective than you assume.

The Benefits of Micro-dosing Psilocybin and LSD

One of the most beloved side effects of psychedelics is the boost in creativity. Microsdosing both psilocybin mushrooms and LSD has been reported to increase creativity and open up new ways of thinking. Less is often more. Creative endeavors often require us to tap into our creative side for inspiration, and our logical, rational mind for bringing ideas into existence effectively.

A more practical benefit of micro-dosing psilocybin and LSD is reduced anxiety and depression. Micro-dosing with psilocybin mushrooms in particular has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in some individuals. While large doses can certainly still have this effect, many people find themselves anxious to undergo a trip that may be intense. Small amounts allow you to dodge this and still have a day free from your regular worrisome brain.

Many people describe being able to think in new, effective ways that bring them novel perspectives and ideas. Of course, being under the influence of a large dose can make it difficult to retain these thoughts, or keep your mind on track. 

Both substances have been reported to enhance cognitive function, including memory, focus, and problem-solving abilities. This is easier to get a handle on when you bring the dosage lower, keeping you grounded while your thoughts are elevated. 

One last benefit is one that may not be relevant to everyone but is useful knowledge to spread to those who may need it. Micro-dosing LSD has been shown to provide relief for cluster headaches, a painful neurological condition. It’s amazing to see how these substances can provide solutions to such specific ailments that people suffer from.

The Potential Risks of Micro-dosing Psilocybin and LSD

As with any substance, it’s responsible to have an understanding of the risks that come along with the mentioned benefits . Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • Lack of regulation: The dosing of psilocybin mushrooms and LSD can vary greatly depending on the source, which can lead to inconsistent effects and potential overdose.
  • Negative side effects: Both substances can cause negative side effects, including nausea, anxiety, and paranoia. It’s just plain smart to start with a low dose and gradually increase it as needed to minimize these effects.
  • Habituation potential: While micro-dosing is generally considered safe, there is a risk of psychological dependence on the substance, especially if it is used frequently over a long period of time. Creating a good “schedule” for yourself is a rational way to go about micro-dosing regularly if that is what you’re aiming for.

Micro-dosing Psilocybin vs. LSD

When it comes to micro-dosing psilocybin mushrooms versus LSD, there are some differences to consider. One is that psilocybin mushrooms are a natural substance, while LSD is synthetic. Additionally, psilocybin mushrooms have a shorter duration of effects than LSD, typically lasting 6-8 hours compared to 8-12 hours for LSD. 

Ultimately, the choice between micro-dosing Psilocybin and LSD comes down to personal preference and availability.

It’s important to research the risks and benefits of each substance before deciding to try micro-dosing.

What is Macro-dosing?

micro-dose macro-dose bag of shrooms

If micro-dosing is like a pinch of seasoning to add a little flavor, macro-dosing is like pouring the entire bottle on your dish — it’s a lot more intense! Macro-dosing involves taking a much larger dose of a psychedelic substance, with the intention of experiencing profound effects. This doesn’t always mean that the trip will be difficult to navigate, it just means that you will have more of your perception altered and colored by your chosen psychedelic. 

What a “full dose” means is yet again a very subjective claim. What one person may be able to handle may be leagues above someone else. This is why it’s necessary to experiment gradually-increasing amounts. Such large doses are typically taken in a safe and controlled setting with a sober trip-sitter present. With less of a grip on reality, it’s responsible to ensure that you are in a pleasant environment with someone that you feel comfortable around.

The Benefits of Macro-dosing Psilocybin and LSD

Just as the effects of psychedelics are exponentially more intense with larger doses, so are the benefits! My preface is not meant to scare you away from taking a “macro-dose,” it is simply to let you know what you would be getting yourself into. Let’s take a look at some of the great positives that come with sending it a little further into the great unknown.

Spiritual and personal growth is one of the most universally agreed upon benefits of taking psychedelics. Both psilocybin mushrooms and LSD have been used in spiritual and religious ceremonies for centuries due to their ability to induce mystical experiences and profound insights into the nature of existence.

It is a shame that many governments have put roadblocks up in front of psychedelics exploration, because if there’s one thing that our society could use, it’s increased empathy and connection with others. Macro-dosing with both substances can also lead to increased feelings of empathy and connection with others, as well as a greater sense of oneness with and appreciation for the universe.

Not only can we gain beneficial insights such as mentioned above, but psychedelics can be powerful tools as well. Profound trips can completely change the way you look at your inner and outer world. Both substances have shown promise in the treatment of mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

When it comes to macro-dosing psilocybin mushrooms versus LSD, there are some differences to consider. These are different substances, after all. The more you take, the more distinct the differences between the two may appear. 

Take this disclaimer before you read onward: The psychedelic experience is highly subjective, and the descriptions of the effects of psilocybin as compared to LSD on an experiential level can vary widely depending on who you ask. In fact, the following descriptions could be the opposite for some users!

One difference is that psilocybin mushrooms tend to have a more gentle and introspective effect on the mind, while LSD can be more intense and potentially overwhelming. Additionally, psilocybin mushrooms tend to induce more of a dream-like state, while LSD can lead to more visual and auditory hallucinations. 

Words like “intense,” “overwhelming,” “hallucinations,” and such can come with negative connotations. It’s necessary to note that (assuming your setting is pleasing) you are more likely to have intense, overwhelming feelings of love and appreciation than the opposite. Furthermore, hallucinations often come in the form of beautiful visual effects that leave you in awe.

The Potential Risks of Macro-dosing Psilocybin and LSD

All things considered, you need to be realistic when considering a macro-dose. It’s important to know that large doses of either substance can also come with potential risks, such as psychological distress, paranoia, and even psychosis in rare cases. It’s important to approach macro-dosing with caution and in a safe and controlled setting.

When micro-dosing, it is much like sitting with just your legs in the pool. Even if you aren’t a confident swimmer, this is easy to handle. You still get a feel of the refreshing water without working to keep your head above it. Taking a large dose is more akin to a entering via running-cannonball. If you aren’t comfortable in the water, or take proper precautions, the deep end might not be the smartest idea.

Macro-dosing Psilocybin vs. LSD

Taking larger amounts of these substances will certainly open your mind to states of consciousnes that you didn’t know were possible. Just like sober life, there is a wide spectrum of experiences from incredibly positive to intensely negative. Practicing a rational approach to both psilocybin and LSD will allow you to gain insights through experience that you might otherwise never receive.

Keep in mind the difference in how long the effects of each substance persist. Macro-dosing will only make you more aware of the lingering feelings that both bring towards the end of the trip, often called the “afterglow.” Psilocybin can be expected to last anywhere from 6-8 hours, while LSD will hang around for 8-12. It’s not uncommon for either to last significantly longer as well.

In conclusion, whether you choose to micro-dose or macro-dose with psilocybin mushrooms or LSD depends on your personal goals and preferences. Both have their unique benefits and potential risks. It’s important to do your research, start with a low dose, and always prioritize safety and harm reduction.

In Review: Micro-dosing vs. Macro-dosing

By now you likely have a solid idea of why you might opt for a micro-dose over a macro-dose, or vise versa. Let’s wrap this up by compiling what we’ve learned and making some definitive statements.

Micro-dosing is safe, effective, and easy to integrate into your life. The effects are substantial, but not intense.

This is why many people across the globe prefer to take a pinch of mushrooms, or a quarter of a tab — less can be more. Micro-dosing psilocybin or LSD is great for steering your thoughts in a more positive, affirming direction while still approaching your day the way you normally would.

Macro-dosing is a wild foray into the complexity of the world around you and your own mind.

This can be a lot to handle, but the payoff is equal to the effort. Humans have been taking large amounts of psilocybin or LSD for longer than recorded history, and for good reason. These experiences can completely transform our perspective and unveil new ways of seeing ourselves and our environments. 

Both methods of dabbling in psychedelics may seem attractive. It might seem hard to decide which is right for you. Well, guess what? No one said you had to pick only one. Life is long, and you have plenty of time to spend dipping your toes in the water, sitting on the pool’s edge, and practicing swan dives. The water isn’t going anywhere.

Landon Mickelson | Community Blogger at Chemical Collective

Landon is one of our community bloggers here at Chemical Collective. If you’re interested in joining our blogging team and getting paid to write about subjects you’re passionate about, please reach out to David via email at blog@chemical-collective.com

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1 month ago

It depends of the intention, two of them are good options for research!

3 months ago

Micro dosing❤️❤️

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