On my second microdosing day I bought Brake-dance lessons I’ll be attending this autumn. This was my teenage years dream.
This happened to be a long read. If you are not listening to anything, may I suggest this mix to accompany you?
What is Microdosing?
Microdosing is a voluntary, usually periodic use of psychedelic substances like LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide a.k.a. acid), Psilocybin (Mushrooms) or DMT (Dimethyltryptamine ) in very small amounts, so the substance does not effect physical condition, but acts on a cellular level.
Basically a person who microdoses – does not experience the usual effects of substance’s “trip”, but rather what people report after regular use:
- reduced anxiety, depression;
- increased levels of gratitude, happiness;
- increased creativity, productivity;
- increased attention span, focus;
- sense of presence;
- increased neuroplasticity;
- breaking or at least getting aware of old behavioral and mental patterns;
My Position on Drugs
Before we proceed, I would like to clarify few things. If you know the basics, you might want to skip to headings that are back to Microdosing track.
Ugly, Bad and the Good Substances
People who have been told what to think consider drugs as drugs in its absolute form with an obvious negative connotation attached to it (social conditioning, media reports, crimes, money laundering, human trafficking, addiction, death, etc). I had an opportunity and willingness to try only a few, talked with people who are far more advanced on the topic and it became clear, that it’s not all that simple.
The Ugly – Hard Drugs
That would be Heroin, Opioids and honestly I won’t even google to name the exotic ones. These cause immediate euphoria, relief of pain; are highly addictive both physically and emotionally and are imminently detrimental. This is the category, that “all drugs are bad” narrative is to blame.
The Bad – Party Drugs
Upscale city youngster’s and business people’s choice. Drugs like MDMA (Ecstasy) & Cocaine. Primarily stimulants, affects serotonin, dopamine circuitry. Depletes organism and causes disbalances, unsustainable, but without long term detrimental effects if used sparsely.
Psychedelics – Eye Openers
Psychedelics like LSD, Magic Mushrooms, DMT are mysterious substances. I don’t want to sound like I’m idolizing this class, because I want to stay pragmatic for this article.
As for the opinion, I will let you connect the dots:
- Most of psychedelic substances are originated from fungi (nature);
- In 1950-1990 USA was a benchmark of successful societal order (a.k.a. American Dream), thus the rest of the western world have been modelling its legislation. Especially during and post world wars.;
- Prior to LSD ban by United Nations in 1971 it was intensively researched by medical centers to facilitate psychotherapy, curing addictions, anxiety and by CIA on … mind control in it’s controversial program MKUltra;
- USA has a long track record of lobbying and bending laws to industries, often at the price of human health (few examples: , , );
- There have been no documented human deaths from LSD overdose [reference study];
- Current research at John Hopkins is promising in depression, anxiety, smoking cessation and is threatening to undermine anti-depressant market share from pharmaceuticals;
- Alcohol and tobacco are (were?) two industries holding monopoly on legal addictions and entertainment of most of humanity worldwide;
- Capitalism is driven by consumption. It’s hard and inconvenient to sell something (idea of war, Budweiser, tax reform, etc.) to conscious, critically thinking individuals.
Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong. – Terence McKenna
Why I started to Microdose?
I have several friends, who have tried and reported positive results. I do trust and admire their thought process. This has led me to make a research of my own. People like Sam Harris, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Feynman have tasted LSD. From what I found, seems there’s a wave in Silicon Valley of rising popularity of microdosing as well.
I enjoy personal experiments. Just like in investing, you evaluate potential risks and place the order. Let the market do it’s job and collect gains afterwards. I wanted to shift my default state to more positive one, overcome some personal barriers that are purely internally built and perhaps get rid of OCD to bite nails.
Technical Details of Microdosing Experiment
- Microdosing duration: 2018.12.17 – 2019.05.27;
- Substance: LSD (99% pure Lysergic Acid Diethylamide);
- Interval: traditional – each 4th day (1st day – take microdose; 2nd day – “aftereffects”; 3rd day – rest day; 4th day – repeat). During half year period, I deviated only several times due to various reasons;
- Form: volumetric. I chose volumetric method, for increased amount control and more predictable effects;
- Dose: After first two weeks of testing, I have settled with 15 μg per intake (dose per usual psychedelic trip is between 100-200 μg).
1 liter volume glass bottle with hermetic cap. Ingredients: 6 x 155μg tabs of LSD, 800 ml distilled water, 100 ml vodka (bacterial prevention). Alcohol concentration was comparable to beer at <4.5%. LSD concentration 1.03, meaning 15 μg was almost identical to gradated 15 ml on side of a shot.
I started microdosing a month after I started working / helping my friend. What I did and sometimes do to this day is highly technical and mentally demanding. I mention it, because (mental as well as physical) work dampens awareness (you have to think what you are doing, even if you love it, awareness however requires to experience life without thought, if you are interested in the process, I recommend a read on Vipassana).
Due to this, my reporting lacks some of the acute details I might have missed throughout the experiment.
In Seach for My Perfect Number
In first few weeks I have tested various amounts in the range from 8 to 20 ml. Eventually I settled with 15 ml or 15 μg as my regular microdose.
First Microdosing Day
Monday, casual workday after weekend with my ex-girlfriend. A little sleep-deprived. Taking 8 μg, or ~8 ml on my gradated shot before the breakfast. During the whole day I did not notice any effects except for one occurrence:
In work I went to bathroom and while washing my hands I looked at the mirror and my face seemed Bright, Alive. I came back to computer with more optimism and proceeded with the day. Might be completely random, but intuition tells me it was the subtle effect of microdose.
Second Day – High Yields
Thursday, free day. I caught up with sleep. In morning I took 15 ml this time. Had plenty of little things to do at home / computer before starting to buy Christmas presents at city, so I started tripping at home. The effect is subtle and hard to put into words. Sense of different perception mechanism at play might be an appropriate way to describe it.
Music experience – through the roof. When I’m well slept, sometimes I dance to my playlist, just because I enjoy it so much. But on microdosing – damn… Another level of feel and connection to familiar vibrations. Vastly impressed and happy.
Coordination – slight impairment. If I kept the same typing speed on the keyboard, I noticed I made more TYPO’s. Handwriting is a bit harder as well.
Thought process – (time bias) it’s Christmas and I’m thinking of giving the best presents I can think of to make people who I care about happy. Naturally I felt happy. However I was surprised about some of the original ideas like a bonus present to a father – hand written envelope saying “journey with son”. Bought my self some brake-dance lessons as well. Because I can.
Driving – no problem, more indulgent, patient for retards on the streets. Amusing (and a little forgotten art) self-talk inspired by radio and events on city traffic.
Vibe – I felt complete, and my whole presence was filled with great, positive vibes. Anyone I talked to I smiled and even attempted to make small friendly chit-chat (what the fuck?). I somehow saw my presence as bringing of the light. How cool.
Social anxiety – Annihilated. At least for that epic day. I would like to remind, that I live in Eastern Europe. Nobody talks to strangers. I asked a ~35 year old woman approaching me at the stoplight whether closest ATM was where I thought it was and where I was headed (again with confidence, positivity). She was surprised, nodded her head and that was the end of it. After walking off, I thought of this socio-cultural stigma.
Blurred Month of Deep Engagement
Right after Christmas for around a month straight I had been deeply engaged with creating a new logical structure and data collection for my upgraded investment screener. I had a break from my work and could work almost everyday for 10-12 hours. I estimate I manually transferred around 16 000 numbers from countless of PDF files to my excel database and thought of ways to manipulate this data to be of best use.
I learned a lot, got into VBA scripting, advanced functions and applications, dynamic: charts, hyperlinks, search arrays, dropdowns, etc…
This whole period today seems quite unreal. I continued with microdosing and today attribute some of uninterrupted dedication and focus to microdosing.
Effects are gone. Tolerance?
During this time, I noticed my casual 15 ml dose was not inducing any effects anymore. This might have been tolerance building up, which meant if I wanted feel / experience the same effects I would have to increase my microdose. That’s a trap, my friend. I did not. To my own surprise after a week same old effects were back at 15 ml.
I met with my friend and his girl for a dinner one evening and told them about my experience with microdosing. After which I decided to prolong the term from initial plan of ~2 months to half year in order to rewire my brain into more positive attitude towards life.
As expected, acid increased conscious visibility of quite a lot of underground subconscious processes on myself as well as other fellow human beings. On the surface, I was more personally hurt by all the trash outside, unclean room.
As for the inside, I would claim I already had a grip on a lot of stuff. But I did encounter several occurrences of data-connections of past-present, a quick enlightenment on a micro level in various spheres: relationships, investment ideas, personality, meaning of dreams.
Me and my self filled-life
I have mentioned previously, I tend to over-think things. Hard so. It’s quite a burden to have. I try to stay productive and improve by embarking myself on all sorts of activities. Like I bought 3D printer to play around and learn the technology, coding, youtube education, new relationships, etc. I always have due things, books to read, unending youtube watch later list. It’s easy to stress yourself, if you fall behind on any of that.
However what I noticed during this “acidic” period was that my mind have created a logical sequence, a schedule of things to do. I knew what things I had to do and what follows next. Surprisingly, other things that were not attended to in the short term did not bother, stress out not in the least. This has freed quite a lot of mental capabilities and I was really happy about this aspect.
You have a problem, I have a solution
While I was out with my parents, friends, work-colleagues – people would share their struggles. I would shoot straight on point suggestions, even I was sometimes taken aback by the sheer simplicity and perceived effectiveness. This did not happen at all times, but when it did, it was laser accuracy.
I can not elaborate with examples, but I did mentally record positive feedback (verbal as well as non-verbal) on the opinion or suggestion on how to deal with immediate problems.
Not a Panacea
Up until now I have been discussing positive ends of my experiment. However microdosing for almost half-year sure did yield some unintended effects.
Microdosing does not change emotions
This was my false expectation going into experiment, that in some magical way you would feel “good” most of the time. From what I lived through, I can firmly say: for shit that life throws, microdosing is no shield. Rather it’s a magnifying glass. It’s a great tool to introspect everything with much more depth and perspective, however ultimately I’m still accountable for the emotions I live through.
Solving the unsolvable relationship, illness of close relative, life auditing conclusions – things that set me back hard throughout the experiment and I can not say microdosing helped much. It did a bit in an indirect way, but it was below my expectations.
Another effect of long-term microdosing was that 2-3 months into the experiment I had noticed it became quite hard to keep attention in one place. Mind seemed as if it was on its toes looking to jump from one thing to another, thinking fast. If I had planned to do research (combining multiple data sources, lots of googling or chatting) – I was perfectly fine and even was glad of the effects, however such instances was not usually the case.
As I became more familiar with the workings of microdosing, I would schedule to do more appropriate stuff (creative, lots of small tasks, catching up with watch-later list, etc.) during the dose day if I had the flexibility to do so.
Loss of IQ
Catchy heading huh? I have a lot of reasonable excuses why I slowed my reading of physical books, hung out less with various friends of mine during the last months of experiment. These are important in building the larger picture.
The claim of IQ loss I proposed in the heading is based on one metric: my chess live (10 min) rating. It became evident I made obvious mistakes, lacked the vision to see opponent’s plans, made blunders. I was really disappointed at my performance for around a month.
As mentioned before I had some setbacks and a lot of my intermingled life aspects have been touched. Indirect play of microdosing here is that, if I were more focused, I might have grabbed a book instead of Bitcoin Q&A youtube video for example.
What I particularly hated was my decreased foreseeing of things in the traffic, as this had a direct effect on time. I’m recovering though.
Can People Know you are on Microdose?
Quick answer: no. Throughout half year long experiment no one pointed out any deviations from the way I usually behave, perform tasks, etc.
However around 4 months into the experiment my friend, who also did microdosing at one point has noted my dilated pupils. And sure it was… After that I more often looked for this disclosing sign in the mirror and sure enough there it was. Despite that nobody else spotted or mentioned it.
As pointed out by reddit LSD causes increased stomach acid production. It also interacts with serotonin in the gut, which causes things to move, so more often that usual I used to go to the bathroom. However it was kind of good knowing my body was operating at accelerated metabolism.
It had a side unexpected effect of turning attention to my body and anything I put into it (healthier foods whenever possible).
Microdosing for half-year unfortunately had diminishing returns and thus proved to be too long period for such experiment. I would’t do it again that long. I would consider taking microdosing again for a month or two, but not anytime soon.
Microdosing LSD did in fact produce a lot of reported and expected outcomes outlined in the beginning of an article. Some unmentioned experiences include increased enjoyment of being outside and absorbing every sensory input of nature and are really hard to pack into sentences.
Throughout the microdosing experiment I have finished python bootcamp, upgraded 8 MB weight excel database full of logic, created business tools I would’t have dreamed of creating on VBA, explored Lithuania, loved and engaged with life the same way you did.
Somewhere I saw one person say:
Microdosing transforms “I could” to “I can”.
I have lived that. It is awesome.