About a year ago, a friend of mine sent me Ayelet Waldman’s book A Very Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage and My Life. Unfamiliar with her work and having no idea what microdosing was…until I read the back. What the…?
Even though I had given up drugs a long time ago, I’m a big proponent of legalizing marijuana across the board. Sometime around 2016 I began reading more about academic studies around psychedelics, specifically being used for mental health issues like PTSD and depression and for end of life treatment.
The more positive articles I read about the benefits of psychedelics the more I became encouraged…and the more my interest became piqued. I’ve always been more than open to the belief that both marijuana and psychedelics held the possibility for far more help than harm.
It seemed as though Waldman’s book arrived at just the right moment for me. I was surprised at the rapacity at which I ripped through her book.
And thus begun my sojourn into the burgeoning world of microdosing.
First things first, I suppose. I’m speaking specifically about microdosing LSD (not pyscilocibin, mescalin or MDMA or any of the others) and not macrodosing. The difference between the two, as you may imagine, is vast.
Microdosing — a considerably smaller dose that can provide more energy and creativity (among other benefits still being explored).
Macrodosing — a larger dose that can cause visual and auditory hallucinations and an affinity for The Grateful Dead (among other benefits still being explored).
If you’re looking for a comprehensive book, I suggest Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence. Pollan covers many aspects of psychedelics and provides historical background and context, in exhaustive detail, about the drugs.
Dr. James Fadiman’s book, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide is also considered a benchmark text for psychedelics.
Now the more I read the more I realized just how much the psychedelic world had changed since I was a teenager. I was more than interested in this burgeoning microdosing world.
The Silicon Valley tech-bro’s were doing it, creative types were doing it and people, like Waldman, were suggesting it could be used to help treat low-grade depression, addiction, anxiety, etc. Naturally, I wanted to try it.
And since I didn’t have access to any resources for such drugs, that left one option for me.
The Dark Web.
The Preamble — the Dark Web exists and it’s just as crazy as you’ve heard . . . and these drugs are illegal (duh). Now, I don’t encourage OR endorse any kind of illegal behavior and will not recommend any vendor or marketplace on the Dark Web. That said, if you are interested in looking for these things, with the intention to purchase, I suggest doing these two things, in order.
- If you don’t have one already, purchase a VPN. It provides an extra layer of security that you’ll need. I’m not going to provide the technical details around its importance, because I can’t. Basically, the VPN hides your true physical location in the event anyone (namely the government) is watching you (and make no mistake, they are). Nothing provides complete masking, but it helps.
- Download the TOR browser. While a VPN will cost you, the TOR browser is free to download. The reason I say to do it in this order is simply that the NSA monitors the TOR dowloads. So, if you have a VPN masking your IP address, it makes it harder (but probably still not impossible). To be clear, the TOR browser is used to access the Dark Web.
The 7 Things I Learned:
1. Do your research. And you can do this on the regular web.
It goes without saying that the internet is big. It’s not called the World Wide Web for nuthin’. There are a ton of resources and you can find yourself going down a rabbit hole rather quickly or getting sidetracked even quicker. Stay focused.
While doing my research, I found enough information about how microdosing was being used to help people (keyword — help) that it warranted further exploration.
To be fair, I did try to keep the research balanced but I just didn’t find too many negative articles. While I am certain they exist, I didn’t find them (algorithms, maybe).
But if you’re curious about it, read, read, and then READ. You can listen too. There are podcasts and interviews out there. Tim Ferriss interviews the above mentioned Dr. James Fadiman on his podcast. And there are others. I can point you in a direction but if you’re interested, you’ll have to do the research on your own. (I do provide some links at the end of this article.)
2. Be open.
So, if you’re a rather regimented thinker, this is not going to be your cup of tea. No judgment. But you’ve got to be open to the experience. I assure you that microdosing won’t break your brain BUT if you’re not open to the experience, you won’t gain anything from it. And that would be a shame.
Be open to the experience and if you can’t be, that’s okay too. It’s not for everybody.
3. If you choose to share it with people, expect to be met with severe judgment and archaic misconceptions about psychedelics.
Yep. People still think anyone who takes LSD will jump off buildings thinking they can fly or run out into traffic thinking cars will go through them. I’m sure that may have happened (good lord). But, I’ve never ever had an experience like that — either macro or microdosing. Never. Ever.
I’ve also never known anyone who has had an experience like that.
But look, the minute you mention LSD people will freak the hell out. And they will judge you. Maybe out of concern and maybe because they’re judgmental.
I told maybe two people while I was following the protocol (more on that later) and then maybe a dozen people afterward. A couple of them thought it was crazy. I haven’t spoken to them since.
In the past year, I have opened up and shared my experience more. The most often question I was asked was “What was it like?” And my response was, and remains, “It’s different each time, but at its best, I was energized, clear-headed and focused. Things were just clearer…and there was no worst. Some days I didn’t notice too much at all.”
I’m not saying people’s concern around the procurement and ingestion of psychedelics is not warranted, it is.
Do your research and share your story wisely. Considering it’s illegal, it’s probably not a good idea to shout it from the rooftop anyway.
4. It’s not a cure.
Microdosing is an aid like anything else. No one really knows how this stuff works because the brain is a wonky mass of matter. And if anyone is telling you they know how it works, I’d be suspect.
How it worked for me will be different than how, or if, it works for you. If you go into the experience expecting to be cured, maybe you will be, maybe you won’t be. Sorry.
The brain is weird.
- My experience microdosing helped me to quit smoking. By that time I was smoking maybe two or three cigarettes a day, so it wasn’t much of a jump, but I stopped. I’ve smoked since then, but maybe seven cigarettes in 15 months.
- I also all but stopped drinking, but I had long ago given up hard-drinking, so again not much of a jump. Sure, I’ve had drinks since then, but not to excess.
- I also have fewer reservations about social interactions. I’m an introvert, to begin with, but now I am more likely to go out and do something without an overwhelming sense of dread. I’m now more at peace with myself and feel calmer overall.
Now, did all of these results occur as a result of my 30-day microdose experiment with LSD? I don’t know. There is no way I could prove it.
Would those things have happened anyway? I don’t know.
Here is what I DO know. ALL of those things took place during and after my microdosing experience.
Maybe it’s a coincidence…but I don’t think so.
Now there are those that will say that microdosing will cure you of things like smoking and addiction, but I’m more skeptical. I feel microdosing can help clear a path for you, but the rest is up to you.
But you should take that with a grain of salt, I’m not a scientist, doctor or mental health care professional.
5. Know your dose … and it’s still illegal.
So, a couple of big points here. If you decide to microdose, you need to be very careful about what you get.
Yea, I know, duh.
Here’s the deal. LSD is measured in micrograms. A typical street-level dealer will probably have no idea what the microgram dosage of LSD they are selling you is.
An average dose these days can vary from 100 micrograms upwards (usually not exceeding 300/350). To my knowledge, I don’t know how you could test the dosage level (you can test for the chemical accuracy and I can not stress this enough, you MUST — you can purchase a testing kit almost anywhere, and you MUST).
A typical micro-dose is 10 micrograms and can range from 10–20 micrograms. So, the very last thing you’d want is to purchase what you THINK, or are told, is a microdose and then end up macrodosing. That would make for a horrible experience.
But it’s illegal, yea?
Well, that’s where the Dark Web comes into play. Which means you need bitcoin. The Dark Web is driven by digital currency. So, you’ll need to purchase bitcoin. A website like Coinbase can help you. You don’t need 5,000 dollars or whatever it costs at this particular moment, you can purchase fractions of one bitcoin.
On the Dark Web, there are marketplaces where all sorts of stuff are sold. There are loads of articles on how to access these marketplaces out there. When you find a marketplace you like, stick to what you’re looking for. Here again, you can go down a rabbit hole quickly and discover A LOT of unsavory things about life…and people.
You’ll want to avoid that.
Marketplaces come and go and can be quite shady, so do your research here. Find one that’s been around awhile.
On these marketplaces, you’ll find vendors selling psychedelics, like LSD, in the dosages you’re looking for, like 10 micrograms, etc. I must admit that I was extremely skeptical at first. I read a ton of reviews (research) and found a vendor that seemed like they were as reputable as I was going to find. I ordered the LSD and while it took a while to arrive, it eventually made it here. I tested it from a kit I had ordered (YOU MUST GET ONE) and the blotter tested positive for LSD, so my comfort level increased.
I took it and then experienced similar feelings to what I had read about so I was confident that I had purchased 10 microgram LSD. I took it a couple of times following the protocol (see below) to see how I reacted to it and realized I could function normally. I just felt somehow, better. Not euphoric or high or anything. It’s very hard to describe.
About two weeks later, I returned to that same marketplace (since closed) and ordered a sheet of more 10 microgram LSD blotter from the same vendor. Same drill. Very positive experience.
Now. I mention this because I don’t think there is ANY way ANY street-level dealer who deals LSD knows what the dosage is that they’re selling you. I’m not even entirely convinced they know WHAT they’re selling you. I am sorry to say, that in this case, I DO trust the Dark Web over an average street level dealer. Here’s why. Nine times out of ten, the vendors there are professionals (yea, I know, drug dealers). They’re not some jack-ass hack.
And if they’re not professionals (yes, yes, I know), they’re actually people who believe that psychedelics should be legal and care about helping people (yep, those vendors exist on these marketplaces too).
Obviously, there is probably a law enforcement presence. It’s illegal, remember?
I also want to note that it’s a gamble purchasing this stuff on the Dark Web. As such, treat it as gambling. In other words, don’t play with more money than you are willing to lose. Have I lost money using bitcoin trying to purchase LSD? Yes. Around 90 dollars. A result of losing a password to a couple now closed marketplaces. I’ve spent more than that, so I’ve come out ahead.
Be aware, do your research and keep your guard up, it’s illegal!
6. The Dark Web IS bat sh*t crazy.
Yea, it’s all true. But look, if you take basic precautions, you can navigate it well. If you’re paranoid about someone stealing your identity, that’s a fair concern. However, if someone wants your information, they’re going to get it. Period.
Remember 25/30 years ago when you had NO qualms about letting the record store clerk swipe your credit card through that little box and that monolithic carbon copy thing-a-ma-jig? THAT was INFINITELY less secure than the Dark Web.
Having said that, you can make it hard for hackers.
And I really can’t stress this enough, don’t go looking for crazy things on there. Get in and get out. I have spent so very little time on marketplaces and the couple times I have deviated from what I was looking for I was like “Oh no, no, no, I don’t want to be here.”
It’s not what you may be thinking, like porn or anything (although there is that), it’s just some very serious criminal activity.
7. Follow a protocol.
Should you decide to microdose LSD (or any other psychedelic), follow a protocol. The typical one is The Fadiman Protocol, which is:
Dose Day -> Off Day -> Off Day -> Dose Day
In other words, for 30 days, it’s one 10 microgram dosage of LSD (or other) every third day. For the mathematically challenged, like myself, that would call for ten hits of LSD to properly follow The Fadiman Protocol.
Why follow a protocol? It’s just a good idea to gauge how microdosing will impact your day to day life and how it will ultimately impact your overall life.
When microdosing, structure is not your enemy.
You can almost consider microdosing as your own research project with you as the research subject.
The Conclusion — For me, microdosing was a positive experience. It’s also something that I have incorporated into my life. It’s not something that I do with any sort of regularity but, yes, periodically, I still micro-dose.
If you live on either coast in America, microdosing may not be very new to you but rest assured we’ll be hearing more and more of it. And I do firmly believe that we will see psychedelics legalized in a structured setting like they’ve done with Ketamine, for the treatment of some illnesses.
Well, I guess that’s more of a hope than a belief because we all know there is no money to be made in curing people.
Some interesting things to note:
- The FDA recently approved the use of Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression.
- An article from Scientific American about microdosing that concludes “. . . microdoses may activate just the right amount of receptors for us to be our better selves.”
- How and Why Silicon Valley Gets High
- Israel legalized the use of MDMA for the compassionate treatment of PTSD.
- Johns Hopkins University is doing a Phase 2 study on people with major depressive disorder and the behavioral benefits and/or harms from psilocybin (estimated completion 12/20).
- Psilocybin is the lowest for potential lethal overdose as there is no known overdose level.
- Overdose deaths on LSD alone are essentially non-existent since a person would need to take 100 to 200 doses at one time to reach a fatal level of the drug [this would be at a street-level macrogram level and NOT a micro-dose level].
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