A Dose A Day

ARTWORK BY BRI KOLE

Microdosing is the practice of consuming fairly low doses of a chosen psychedelic or hallucinogenic substance. These substances include, but not limited to: LSD, psilocybin, cannabis, and DMT. Although there isn’t much research on microdosing, many people claim that the practice benefits the mind and body. Microdosing is said to alleviate anxiety, ease depression, promote a positive emotional state, and reduce the brain’s response to negativity. I started my microdosing journey to obtain all of those benefits. For the purpose of my research, I chose to work with psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and cannabis (Delta-8 THC). My doses were 200mg of magic mushrooms (2 weeks) and 25mg of Delta-8 (3 weeks) both of which were taken every other day.

As someone who is neurodivergent, I am constantly struggling with focus, anxiety, energy and depression. Dealing with this for 21 years, I was in need of something that would not only boost my mood, but also allow me to perform daily tasks without resistance. Like some people, I didn’t want to fill my body with man-made chemicals. During the pandemic, I really became interested in plant medicine and how the Earth provides us with natural remedies. So, I figured why not use nature to heal my body and most importantly my mind.

DOCUMENTING THE JOURNEY

One of the most important things for me during this time was journaling. It helped me track my observations and progress. I started my first day of microdosing by writing my intentions for my experience with magic mushrooms. My intentions were:

  • Mental relief, joy
  • Motivation to complete daily tasks
  • Overall positive perspective

Journaling helps reduce the risk of having a bad trip. Along with journaling, the setting that I was in while microdosing was also important and helpful. I stayed at home for my first time. Better safe than sorry, especially if something unexpected happens. Luckily things went according to plan; some of the things I felt almost immediately were giddiness, muscle relaxation, and comfortability within my true self. I noticed that these feelings came in waves, but the “lows” never made me feel anything less than fulfilled.

Over the two weeks of consistent microdosing, other things that I recorded were: 

  • I didn’t focus on negativity and past traumas
  • I had a more positive response to triggering events
  • My social anxiety decreased tremendously
  • My mood was elevated continuously

At the end of my shroom journey, the last thing I wrote was, “This can change my life!”

MICRODOSING DELTA-8

The next substance I consumed was Delta-8. Since I was familiar with the effects of Delta-9 THC, I took a higher dose than recommended for beginners. Within the first few days, I felt similar to how I feel when using the weed that everyone knows of — heightened senses and euphoria. In contrast, I didn’t feel paranoid and/or “stuck.”

The long-term effects were: 

  • A clear head, flowing ideas
  • Upbeat, appreciative mood
  • Better sleep schedule
  • Sense of healing

From experience, cannabis is a plant I enjoy using, but being a “lightweight” makes it hard for me to do anything except be super high. The positive mood was there. However, the productivity was lacking. It’s important to note that this isn’t the case for everyone so experimentation is key to see what works for your needs. In this case, Delta-8 works better for me in regards to my mental health and career.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

I have to say both substances inspired me in different ways, but overall I observed that I was experiencing life and creating art with an open mind and heart. I think microdosing truly brought back the best parts of the old me. When it came to everyday life, I wasn’t focused on any negativity. I often react too quickly instead of reflecting and then responding. I found patience and realized everything didn’t need a reaction honestly. I also saw how my art reflected the same thing. I focused less on cohesive color palettes and structure. The lack of those things actually left me more than satisfied with my creations. I believe the rigidness of my college art courses altered and hindered my artistic expression and creativity. As a graphic designer, my job is to visually communicate messages by captivating the viewers. I felt as though I couldn’t effectively do so if I was constantly playing by the rules. These journeys that I shared are what brought back the 17 year old me who had no limitations. For those reasons, I will continue to microdose and try different strains, schedules, and substances. With that being said, I want others to have the ability and knowledge to explore such substances in hopes of them safely treating their mental health needs.

Here are some tips I learned for safe microdosing as a beginner: 

  • Find a trusted source
  • Choose a schedule:
    • Dr. Fadiman (every 3 days)
    • Workaholic (week days on, weekends off) 
    • Balanced (every other day)
  • Set realistic intentions before starting
  • Choose a safe setting
  • Start with very small dose and work your way up or down if needed — I suggest starting with 50mg psilocybin or 15mg of ∆8
  • Do not mix your chosen substance with alcohol or any other substance including mental disorder medication
  • Journal/take notes during the experience to reflect on when you’re not microdosing

Bri Kole is an artist, designer and plant medicine enthusiast based in Atlanta. Follow her on Instagram, along with her art page.

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