We could label ourselves as seekers. Everyone seems – to a greater or lesser extent – to be searching for something. Happiness, satisfaction, meaning of life. The searching path can take many directions, one can get completely lost or through all kinds of detours end up on the same road again.
When I look at the seeker in myself, I can sometimes laugh at the tricks she performs. Sometimes I also get anxious or desperate, at times when I feel I have made no progress. In this blog, I discuss microdosing, a way that has helped me and many others along the path.
Anxiety in our modern society
Most likely, you have faced a moment of anxiety many times in your life. This feeling is part of life and also has a good reason: it protects us from danger. When our bodies are subject to fear, we are alert and tense. In fact, we prepare to fight or flee and this has saved us from many dire situations in the past.
Today, however, we live in a chaotic but very “safe” world, where we no longer have to be so afraid of being eaten by a wild animal. Yet our bodies continue to send signals of danger and our primal brain does not make a substantial difference between a crowded city, an important exam for school, or the imminent danger of an aggressive caveman. Anxiety is a response to an unpredictable and chaotic environment. Because of this, many people struggle with anxiety disorders. Especially in the busy city, or in a job or study where a lot is asked of you, an anxiety problem quickly lurks.
The many psychological problems that are emerging do not lie: we generally live in a stressful environment with lots of stimuli. Add to this the fact that many people look for destructive ways to cope and it will come as no surprise that we should thoroughly review our lifestyle.
Do you have an anxiety disorder?
When feelings of anxiety take over your entire life and you can no longer function normally, you may have an anxiety disorder. Young people in particular can suffer greatly from this; older people (over 60) generally suffer significantly less. Anxiety problems under the age of 18 are also common, especially between the ages of 17 and 18.
Some examples of symptoms may include:
- Worrying excessively about (trivial) things and worrying constantly
- Fear of walking down the street
- Fear of contamination
- Being afraid to speak in front of a group and feeling anxious around others
How does your brain work on anxiety?
People with an anxiety disorder have a brain that reacts differently to certain situations. For example, a person may become anxious by suddenly being in a group with other people. Although this is a neutral situation, the brain gives off signals of danger. Research shows that in people with an anxiety disorder, wrong patterns in the brain have developed. Something that was once perceived as scary is now always classified that way by the brain. It can be very difficult to get out of this.
If you imagine your brain as a snowy mountain, from which certain thought patterns create pathways like a sled, you can imagine that it becomes increasingly difficult not to follow the same trail over and over again, leaving a deeper and deeper impression. Hence we also speak of ‘ingrained patterns’.
In fact, the brain is a resilient and flexible instrument, capable of renewing and changing itself. This can be done with the help of various tools. Exercise, changes in eating habits, meditation, dance, art and sex are all ways in which our brain can be reprogrammed. Another way, which is gaining popularity, is microdosing with psilocybin. Several studies show that psychedelics can help our brain find new neurological pathways that are smarter and non-destructive.
Microdosing with psilocybin and breaking destructive patterns
There are countless anecdotal stories about people with various psychological complaints, fixed patterns, who benefit from microdosing. Meanwhile, there are also many scientific studies trying to map out how these entheogenic substances do their work. For now, much remains shrouded in mystery.
Scientist Robin Carhart-Harris, affiliated with Imperial College London as head of the Center for Psychedelic Research, puts it as follows: “the brain has started to follow certain pathways and get into a pattern of destructive behavior that it can’t get out of. Introducing a psychedelic shakes things up a bit, then makes room for new pathways that can create a whole new system that is much more productive for the person.”
Benefits of microdosing with psilocybin: less anxiety and more happiness
Large-scale studies based on experiential stories show that microdosing with psilocybin can cause a strong improvement in mood. There are numerous experience stories where users were able to break through their destructive thought patterns and replace them with a positive outlook, more energy and improvement in contact with themselves and others.
This 2019 study, done at the University of Toronto, investigated and mapped the effects of microdosing with psilocybin. Of the nearly 300 participants, 26.6% reported experiencing more happiness, peace and gratitude. They also had spiritual insights and were better able to process certain feelings, including those of fear.
An even larger-scale international study, done in 2018, surveyed more than 1,000 people who microdosed. In this, 44% reported that their mental health was “much better” thanks to microdosing.
At the University of Maastricht, a study showed that microdosing with psilocybin provided positive change in individuals struggling with anxiety disorder or depression. The results were better than with conventional psychiatric therapy.
Risks and challenges of microdosing with psilocybin
Microdosing is not suitable for everyone. Obviously, not everyone reacts the same to substances and you may react differently to psychedelic substances. For some, the effects of psilocybin can be overwhelming, although this is a small percentage. In this 2019 study, 20% of the more than 1,000 people surveyed reported having side effects from microdosing, including dizziness, nausea, paranoia, and increases in anxiety. However, this is often related to incorrect dosing. Overdosing eliminates microdosing and increases the likelihood of unwanted side effects.
Dosage: it is very important to know exactly how much active ingredient a microdose contains. With truffles or magic mushrooms this can vary quite a bit. This has to do with the fact that it is a natural product, so there can be differences in the amount of moisture and active ingredients. Unfortunately, the majority of people who microdose do not know exactly how much they are taking. You can read more about this in this study. Therefore, always follow the advice and only use microdosing products that are intended for this purpose. This way the chance of adverse reactions is minimal.
How does microdosing with psilocybin work?
Microdosing with psychedelics is interesting for people who want to experience the power of these entheogens in a subtle way, without ending up in a complete trip or mystical experience. The inner work that can be done is done more quietly and in fact almost without noticing it. Still, all kinds of things can happen in the brain and programs that have turned gray can change tone and color in the long run and maybe even disappear.
Microdosing with psilocybin is, along with LSD, the number one most used substance to microdose with. Psilocybin is found in psilocybe mushrooms that you can grow yourself, and Magic Truffles; for sale in our specially designed microdosing kits.
Reprogram your brain with the Paul Stamets protocol
Lion’s Mane, the medicinal mushroom that is gaining popularity in the West, is known for its healing properties for the brain. The active ingredients in the mushroom can help with conditions such as Alzheimer’s because they offer protection and in unique ways. Paul Stamets developed a special Microdose Stack formula for reprogramming the brain, in order to break destructive thought patterns. This in a completely natural way.