Can Microdosing Make My Anxiety Worse?
Updated: Dec 23, 2022
The world is more anxious than ever before. There are few people in the modern world who have not experienced bouts of anxiety… For some it is so debilitating that they are unable to live a normal life, while for others it is a low grade anxiety that can significantly reduce the quality of their lives on a day-to-day basis.
Often pharmaceuticals are ineffective - either making the problem worse, or causing unpleasant mental/emotional/physical side effects. Naturally, many people suffering from anxiety are turning to natural methods, such as microdosing… And some are experiencing profound shifts! Others may be anxious (pun intended…) to try microdosing, in fear that it could worsen their anxiety symptoms.
Look no farther! In this article we will be reviewing ways that microdosing can help your anxiety, and how in certain situations it could make it worse, and how you can work with your microdosing protocol to ensure your anxiety improves (and ideally vanishes).
Well First Things First, What is a Microdose?
A microdose is when you consume a sub perceptual or imperceptible dose of a psychedelic substance such as mushrooms, LSD or MDMA. In this article, we are focusing on psilocybin mushrooms.
A sub perceptual or imperceptible dose means you should feel little to no effects. Generally speaking, a microdose will be anywhere from 0.05g to 0.3g of whole mushrooms. A full on journey dose (or “psychedelic dose”) will be anywhere from 2.5g to 7.5g or more of whole mushrooms. So a microdose is about 1/10 to 1/100 of a full on trip.
How Much Should I Take, & How Much Is Too Much?
How do you know if you are taking too high of a dose? This will be different for everyone. Read our more definitive guide on How To Microdose Mushrooms here.
Generally speaking though, Some people do well with taking a microdose twice a day, others do better with a daily dose. Generally we recommend taking one dose daily for 5 days in a row, and then taking 2 days without any dose to integrate and prevent building a tolerance to the mushrooms.
In terms of gram per dosage, this is very individual. A good starting place is 0.1g. Not strong enough? Double your dose. Too strong? Open the capsule, and cut it in half.
Just a reminder on how to track if you have taken too much, or if you have not taken enough…
A Microdose Should NOT…
Cause you to be unable to fulfill your regular daily tasks
Make you anxious
Make you unable to operate a vehicle or drive
Unground you, or cause an “out of body” experience
If you have taken a microdose and any of the above occurs, you should decrease your dosage.
A Microdose MAY…
Enhance your mood
Increase the vividness of colors
Increase self awareness
Enhance Creativity and focus
Create a sense of euphoria or bliss
How Microdosing Helps Your Anxiety
So now to the juicy details. Why and how does microdosing help so many people with a variety of mental health challenges? There are several factors to consider. There is something happening physiologically, and there is something happening energetically and spiritually.
We firmly believe that you can not separate the spirit from your healing approach. When you heal your spirit, your body and mind will heal, and vice versa. Anxiety is your spirit knocking loudly, asking you to wake up and listen. When you transform your perspective like this, you will find yourself moving from a place of victim to a place of empowerment.
Anxiety is a powerful opportunity to transform and grow into a stronger and more empowered version of yourself..
How Microdosing Spiritually Helps Anxiety…
Mushrooms are magical. There’s no doubting this. That is why they are called magic mushrooms. If you have ever had a full on mushroom trip, then you understand what we are talking about.
You may not know this, but mushrooms are literally the web and roots of the entire forest. Through their mycelium, the fungal world connects all of the plants of the forest. They are the web of life. Trees and plants communicate and share information with one another through the underground mycelial network.
So naturally, mushrooms have an amazing way to remind us of our interconnectedness to all of creation - to the Earth, to Spirit and to ourselves. Often mental health challenges are rooted in a sense of disconnection - a hole within oneself that is seemingly unfillable. Mushrooms do not fill this hole, however they do remind us that Spirit lives even within our darkest voids. When the spirit within the void awakens, light can fill the hole inside of you - from the inside out.
That’s true healing.
Microdosing mushrooms offers a similar yet more subtle effect than the full blown experience of a “Macro” dose. When used with intention, mindfulness and prayer, microdosing brings us an awareness of the light within all things - an awareness of our place and connection to all of creation. This experience shines light on the root of your mental health challenge: A feeling of disconnection; the ignorance that you are a separate entity from creation. You are not separate, you are a vastly important part of this world.
From this knowing of connection… Worry, fear and anxiety dissolve.
How Microdosing Physiologically Helps Your Anxiety…
Of course, microdosing also has a very real physiological effect. Psilocybin mushrooms offers neuro-generative effects. What does this mean? Mushrooms can literally help your brain and nervous system regrow and heal.
Psilocybin, the active constituent in mushrooms, shares similarities with serotonin - a chemical messenger that is crucial for mood regulation. Low serotonin leads to anxiety and depression. Mushrooms act on your body’s serotonin system and appear to help restore the serotonin balance in your body.
In a 2019 study, researchers reviewed online questionnaire responses from 410 people. Participants suffered from a mental or physical health diagnosis and had past experiences with psychedelics, primarily mushrooms. In general, those suffering from anxiety found microdosing more effective than prescription medications. People suffering from ADHD reported similar beneficial effects.
In a similar survey style study conducted in 2021, researchers found that microdosing led to significant and marked improvements in depression and anxiety. This study did however focus on comparing positive expectations regarding microdosing with actual outcomes. This means participants went into their microdosing experience with an expectation of a positive outcome. Thus, the placebo effect is something to consider.
That being said, a positive placebo effect is still a positive effect nonetheless.
There is also extensive anecdotal evidence regarding the benefits of microdosing. Although anecdotal evidence is not necessarily soundly “scientific”, it is worth taking into account. Many people are reporting significant or complete reduction in anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD and other mental health challenges with little to no side effects. Furthermore, people are finding microdosing to be as effective and often more effective, than pharmaceuticals for these conditions.
Microdosing psilocybin is extremely safe. In fact, psilocybin is considered to be one of the least toxic drugs according to Drug Policy Alliance. As long as you are not suffering from extreme PTSD, suicidal tendencies or serious diagnosis such as schizophrenia, then there is little to no harm in giving microdosing a try. If you experience any negative effects, you can simply stop or reduce your dosage and the side effects should stop after 4-8 hours from initial dose.
Can Microdosing Make My Anxiety Worse?
For some people, microdosing can actually make their anxiety worse, or it can bring on anxiety that was not previously present. Naturally when this happens, people think they must be doing something wrong, or that microdosing is not for them. This is not always the case! There can be different reasons that your anxiety gets worse from microdosing… so please, read on!
The first reason is the simplest one… Dosage! The first thing you should do if this happens, especially if it occurs when you first begin your microdose journey, is to cut your dose in half. So for example, if you are taking a 0.1g dose, try taking half that, 0.05grams. Other factors to consider are time of day, what your activities are after dosing, and if you took your capsule on an empty stomach.
We find the best time to take a dose is in the morning, however play around with the time of day. Perhaps you do better taking your micro as an afternoon pick me up, or in the evening to unwind. Some people find microdosing helps them sleep, others find it keeps them awake as it can be energizing. Play around with it. Also try taking your microdose on an empty stomach, and try taking it with a light meal. Usually the effects are more noticeable on an empty stomach, and could be too much if you have a sensitive system.
If you are expecting a significantly stressful day, due to emotional reasons, work, etc., and you find microdosing can “lift” you up to the point of anxiety, consider only dosing on weekends or when you have a lighter and more stress free day.
2. The Mushrooms Are Trying To Speak To You
Although microdosing can take the edge off your anxiety, ultimately they are here to teach you and guide you to a place of deeper embodiment, awakening and empowerment. They are amazing teachers, and like any great teacher they may push your edges so you can grow beyond your comfort zone. This is where mushrooms differ greatly from pharmaceuticals. When you are ready, they will guide you towards solving your problems at their root, rather than acting as a band-aid or a reliever of symptoms.
So noticing your anxiety is getting worse (or any other unpleasant side effects)? Take some time to meditate, ideally with a microdose. Ask the spirit of the mushroom to help you. Invite it’s energy into your meditation - even speak to it, in your mind, heart or outloud! Don’t worry no one is watching…
Do your best to explore and “dig into” your anxiety symptoms - racing thoughts, body discomfort, or whatever thought or emotion is arising for you. Where in your body are you feeling anxious or uncomfortable? Do your best to explore it from a neutral place. Ask your body and mind what it is trying to convey to you. Have a journal and take notes so you can track your anxiety triggers over time.
The mushrooms are amazing at bringing dormant and unconscious beliefs, thoughts, memories, and emotions to the surface. They are like a flashlight shining into the darkness of your unconscious, revealing what is hidden. Perhaps a memory from your childhood arises and it does not seem to make sense. Go deeper into this with non-judgemental inquiries. You may be surprised at what the mushrooms show you, and also be patient. It may take many times before you have a breakthrough.
You may consider working with a trained professional to support you in this process, as sometimes simply sitting alone with ourselves is not enough to get to the root of our emotional / mental / spiritual issues. Consider finding a healer, therapist, or other practitioner who can guide you in your healing journey. It is a worthwhile investment.
3. The Strain of Mushrooms / Ingredients
Another important factor when it comes to microdosing and anxiety, is the strain of psilocybin mushrooms. Similar to cannabis, there are a wide variety of mushroom strains on the market. Their effects will differ. There is much research, beyond anecdotal evidence, to show what strains may be more effective for anxiety. However, if you having been taking your microdoses with a certain strain, such as Golden Teachers, consider switching to another such as Mexicanas or Blue meanies. Play around and find what works best for you. You may be surprised at the difference when you switch strains!
4. Microdoses may not be for you
If you’ve tried the above 3 options, you’re working with a healer or trained professional, and you still find that microdosing is making your anxiety worse, than the reality may be that microdosing is not for you. There is never a one size fits all approach, and it’s possible mushrooms do not agree with your system (at this time). If this is the case, we suggest taking some time off and come back to microdosing in a few weeks or a few months.