There are several well known microdosing protocols, as well as many ways that individuals choose to work with this practice.
The Fadiman Protocol, named for it’s creator James Fadiman, probably the most commonly used, involves microdosing every third day. So you have the microdose day, a transition day, and a rest day. Fadiman recommends repeating this for four to eight weeks before taking a break.
The Stamets Protocol or Stamet’s Stack has also become popular over the last few years, especially with growing interest in non-psychoactive mushroom supplementation. Paul Stamet’s advice is to “stack” microdosing psilocyin truffles with Lion’s Mane mushroom and Niacin (vitamin B3). The schedule is to take this “stack” for four days, and rest for three, and to continue for 4 weeks before resting for another four weeks.
Other protocols include things like : every other day, twice a week, or specifically microdosing on significant days such as days that demand more engagement or social interaction.
The White Rabbit Protocol
My protocol is a little different from the others. It’s designed to be neurodivergent friendly (because I made it for me), to work with the brain’s natural timeline for creating new neural habits, and to fit into the real world scenarios of people looking for a stable plan of action, not a series of short experiments. A main feature of this protocol is a “set it and forget it” approach, rather than daily microscopic evaluation of the practice. This protocol is named, not for the idea that you’ll fall down a hole and have a bewildering, mind-bending experience (given that the story of Alice is inherently psychedelic in it’s theme), but rather for the idea of setting out on a journey of thorough exploration, challenging perspectives, and unexpected discoveries, and which has no concrete conclusion any more than our overall personal development does. This is a better way of framing both a microdosing practice and the integrative approach to macrodosing. The name also pays homage to the context in which I myself discovered microdosing, but that’s a story for another day.
Three Microdose Days on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Unlike “every third day” or “every other day” protocols, this sets up a memorable routine that can be easily adopted by those who struggle with remembering appointments and tasks, or following irregular routines. This way, the microdose is on the same days every week, rather than falling on different days throughout the cycle. One of the most important components of successful microdosing is consistency, and with an easy, memorable routine, that consistency is much more realistic. It’s easy to set your alarm or calendar to this schedule, without having to change it every week or set up doses individually. It eventually becomes second nature to know which day is microdose day even without reminders.
The day after each microdose is not a microdosing day. This is because it’s advisable to not microdose every day as it is possible to build tolerance. We don’t need to observe anything special about non-microdosing days, as all we want to achieve in the bigger picture is an even distribution of microdoses close enough together to have real potential, without forcing tolerance. There is an extra non-microdosing day on Sunday. This is because the days of the week are uneven, so to have microdose days fall on the same day each week, we require this adjustment day. It’s more prudent to have an additional day off than an additional day on, although too many days off should also be considered countereffective.
The microdosing week has been arranged this way to fit in with the traditional work week. This is because the vast majority of us have lives that are indeed structured around The Work Week, and will find microdosing during weekdays when there are likely more demands to be more beneficial than microdosing during weekends when we are more likely to be resting or doing activities we find naturally comfortable.
The Microdose Cycle
The microdosing cycle is six months. In life, in practice, in habit building, and in the brain, we achieve nothing in a month or two, or if we do start to feel change happening in a handful of weeks, it is easily lost when we remove the structure or input. Microdosing is like training wheels for new neural pathways, and if you take them away too early, we will slip easily back into the old, hard worn pathways we have become so comfortable in. Whilst many wonderful new feelings and changes can happen in the early stages of microdosing, which in itself is encouragement to really commit to the practice, the goal is for these changes to become normal to you, and not a “medicated effect”.
When it comes to psychedelics, there’s a lot of variation between people, as well as many external factors that affect our experience too. A microdose is considered to be roughly one-tenth of a standard dose. A standard dose could be defined as a dose that induces a fully psychedelic experience (not to be confused with the practice of taking larger, “ego dissolving doses” which are not used to calculate microdoses). The standard dose for LSD is 100µg (µg = micrograms), so a microdose of LSD is around 10µg. The substance used in this protocol is 1P-LSD (1-propanoyl-lysergic acid diethylamide) which is a derivative and functional analogue of LSD, which is converted to LSD in the body. The standard dose of this analogue is estimated as 120µg, therefore a microdose of 1P-LSD is set as around 12µg.
Since we all differ in how our bodies process and experience psychedelics, we never start at 12µg, but rather we aim to work up to the correct dose for us, which could be higher or lower than 12µg. Exceeding 20µg is not currently recommended in microdosing. Starting at a maximum of 5µg is recommended, especially for those who are psychedelic naïve.
A sensible plan might look like:
Week 1 – 5µg on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – if this is too much, reduce to 1µg and increase by 1µg per week
Week 2 – 7µg on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – if this is too much, reduce back to 5µg and increase by 1µg per week. If this is too much, reduce to 1µg and increase by 1µg per week
Week 3 – 10µg on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
Week 4 – increase by 1µg until you find the right dose.
The right dose, which some call the “sweet spot”, is a dose that “feels like something” and yet “isn’t too much”. Finding this dose is very much a statistical game, and can’t necessarily be derived from any one day’s experience. For example, there are days when you will take the dose that is “your dose”, but it will hit you with a bit more intensity than usual. This may be to do with what you ate, your energy levels, other interactions like caffeine. It is important not to be alarmed, and to find a way to feel more grounded, like eating some carbohydrates, pranayama, avoiding high stimulus environments and stressful activities etc. Some of the initial intensity of microdosing wears off after the first while, and we settle into a more seamless routine with the real work happening in the background.
The decision to use a microdosing journal is entirely personal. If journalling or regularly recording experiences is something you do well or benefit from, then this can certainly be a valuable addition to your practice. If having to take notes about your day to day experience is something that if difficult to keep up with or not enjoyable, then it is not important to your microdosing practice. Being under the impression that this is the “right way” to microdose can lead to feelings of failure or pressure that are not helpful to your practice, it will just end up feeling like a chore you cannot catch up with. In my mind, the real benefits of microdosing are not something you can measure and record in small timeframes. Focusing on the minutae can lead to placebo effects and confirmation bias. Feel free to express your journey in whatever form makes the most sense to you, and if you need to at all.