Outside, the cold air tingles pleasantly on my face. I see quite sharply, as if I had put in fresh contact lenses that morning. On my bike, I let the morning rush hour carry me along – a pleasant sensation. Later, the sense that I have ingested something fades into the background and an ordinary day unfolds. A good, productive day, though.
I increase my dose to 0.6 grams. That day I get the giggles at work, rush through three deadlines and end up tired and with a headache on the couch.
Lsd, truffles and mushrooms are the best known substances for microdosing. But also the San Pedro cactus, the African root bark iboga and the “Indian drink” ayahuasca are used. Each substance has a different dose, which you can adjust until you find your personal sweet spot. This is the level at which the substance taken gives the best result, in such a way that it does not interfere with your daily functioning, but rather optimizes it.
Ict’er David (42) has been microdosing with ALDDL-52, a legal variant of lsd, for two years. Finding his sweet spot took some doing, he says. If I went too high, the colors would get brighter and it would start sparkling in my field of vision. Now that I take the right dosage, on average twice a week, I no longer have those visual disturbances. I notice that I can focus better, which was the reason for starting microdosing. My procrastination has improved a lot, I don’t get distracted as easily and I don’t get stuck in emails or Facebook at work anymore.” He also notices a difference in his personal life. Negativity slips away from me more easily and I am more mindful. And then there are a few unexpected bonuses: my alcohol and coffee consumption have dropped tremendously, I eat more consciously and my nervous tic has disappeared.”
In the weeks that follow, I diligently search for my sweet spot. Do I notice something, or is it suggestion? Is it the truffles, or would I have been working energetically until late anyway? Am I under the influence, or am I just cheerful and communicative today? Sometimes music gives me unexpected goose bumps, at the train station I hear the all-encompassing sound of the crowd echoing against the roof and I feel extra excited to declare my love to my nearest and dearest. Pleasant, but nothing spectacular, it could all still be imagination. I gradually increase my dose to 0.6 grams. That day I get the giggles at work, I rush through three deadlines and in the evening I end up on the couch, very tired and with a headache.
That also seems a bit on the high side”, says Jakobien van der Weijden (35), with whom I am doing a Skype session of microdose coaching. She is one of the people behind the community microdosing.nl, which has almost 1200 members a year and a half after it was founded. On the closed Facebook group people exchange experiences, post pictures of their own cultivated mushrooms and give each other tips on the solubility of lsd in vodka or distilled water.
In her consults Van der Weijden answers practical questions. She herself finds it a valuable addition to her life. In the beginning I became productive and creative, I stayed in the flow better, came up with ideas easily and was still writing entire plans in the evening. In the long run, I notice that I reflect more, have a more sober outlook and am more in the moment.”
She advises me to lower the dosage and take a break after eight to ten weeks. To see how you’re doing, but also because the effect can diminish over time. We don’t yet know exactly how this build-up of tolerance works. Maybe the receptors in your brain get used to it.
Do it yourself
Several scientific studies on microdosing are underway worldwide, but hard evidence of the effect has not yet been produced. However, researchers from Leiden University did find tentative indications last year that a little bit of lsd or truffles does indeed make one more creative. The results need to be substantiated by more thorough and larger-scale research. For example by the University of Maastricht, which will soon publish the results of a large-scale study into the effect of lsd microdosing on cognition and mood. This study will also examine whether the placebo effect plays a role. It could be,’ says Van der Weijden, ‘but a placebo effect is also an effect. David agrees. ,,Your expectations always influence how you feel. As far as I’m concerned, I benefit from both the psychedelics and the placebo effect.” Seth: ,,I perceive that I am sharper and stay in the flow easily, but that could indeed be suggestion. Still, I cling to the initial positive research results. Although I also wonder how science will look at it in ten years’ time. Because even though we’re talking about microdoses, something is still gnawing. Taking a bit of lsd twice a week without knowing the long-term effects is something I still have a lot of questions about.”
After ten weeks I still can’t say what microdosing does for me. Maybe I expected too much from it because of all the jubilant stories. Because of Ayelet Waldman’s book about the sensational impact of lsd microdosing on her bipolar disorder, work, marriage and motherhood. By the YouTube talks of young entrepreneur Paul Austin, who changed from an introverted and rational person to an open person who makes “connections at the heart level. And by the friend with cluster headaches who, thanks to magic mushrooms, hasn’t had an attack in over three years.
Or maybe I let curiosity get the better of me and was too focused on the immediate effects. But microdosing is not a quick fix, not an instant solution, according to the experts by experience. You have to have your intention clear. In fact, according to Paul Austin, who wrote a guide for the novice microdoser, consciously formulating a goal – such as more energy, quitting smoking, better relationships – is essential. Then it’s a tool to help you achieve what you want to achieve. David also experiences this. ,,You have to know what you want with microdosing. It’s not a matter of sitting back and waiting for the benefits to be handed to you. It’s a powerful tool, but ultimately you have to do it yourself. It’s like the pedal assistance of an electric bike; it only becomes active when you start riding.”
I am still waiting for the outcome of the Maastricht research. Then I will enter the next microdose cycle with a clear intention. And then let those creative explosions come.
Article by: Pam van der Veen