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Mushroom Dosage: From Microdosing to Heroic Doses

By Sam Woolfe

When you are preparing for an experience with magic mushrooms, there are many important things to check, such as your current mindset and the environment or situation in which you will have the experience. You will also likely have an idea of why you want to take magic mushrooms. Based on the kind of experience you are aiming for, you will need to figure out the right magic mushroom dosage to take.

In this article, we investigate the different kinds of mushroom dosage – from microdosing to heroic doses – so that you can find the dose that will best suit your intentions. We also investigate  the ideal conditions in which to take each kind of dose and what each dosage is commonly used for. 

The Different Dosages of Magic Mushrooms
The Ideal Conditions for Each Type of Mushroom Dosage
What Each Mushroom Dosage is Commonly Used For
Always Know Your Mushroom Dosage

The Different Dosages of Magic Mushrooms

Microdosing Mushrooms

Microdosing refers to the practice of taking a very small dose of a psychedelic. In fact, the dose is so small that no psychedelic effects occur. This is also known as a sub-perceptual dose[*]. This means that when you microdose, you don’t experience changes in perception, such as visual or auditory effects. But you may experience some alterations in:

  • Mood
    Thinking
    Concentration
    Energy levels

A microdose shouldn’t affect your day-to-day activities, such as work and socializing with others.

A microdose is usually a 10th to a 20th of a normal dose that would produce psychedelic effects. So, if a common dose of dried magic mushrooms is 1-2.5g, then a microdose would be 0.1-0.25g. 

Low Mushroom Dosage

A low magic mushroom dosage is a dose where you can start to feel some psychedelic effects. There is no exact ‘point’ at which a microdose becomes a low dose, but there are some signs that distinguish the two. If you take a low mushroom dosage, you may experience:

  • Slight changes in visual perception, such as colors appearing enhanced
    A slight body high
    A giddy feeling
    Feeling a bit euphoric or anxious

Doses do vary between mushroom species, based on potency. However, a low dose of magic mushrooms is generally 0.25-1 gram[*]. 

Moderate Mushroom Dosage

When you take a moderate dose of magic mushrooms, there will be more intense psychedelic effects, such as:

  • More noticeable enhancement of colors
    Visual distortions, such as objects morphing or ‘breathing’
    Seeing geometric patterns
    Synesthesia or ‘crossing of the senses’ (e.g. ‘hearing colors’ or ‘seeing sounds’)
    Increased appreciation of music
    Laughter
    Noticeable body high
    Changes to tactile sensations
    Introspection
    Euphoria
    Feelings of gratitude
    Confusion
    Paranoia, fear, or anxiety
    Time dilation (e.g. minutes feeling like hours)
    A moderate magic mushroom dosage is around 1 to 3 grams. 

High Mushroom Dosage

When you take a high dose of magic mushrooms, you can expect intense effects, with major changes to your thoughts, cognition, perception, and mood. You may experience the effects of a moderate dose (at a greater intensity), as well as:

Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Visions – a kind of waking dream state
  • Profound insights
  • A feeling of dissociation from your body
  • The feeling of a ‘divine presence’
  • The possibility of ‘ego death’, where you lose your sense of self-identity

A high dose of magic mushrooms is 3 to 4 grams. 

The ‘Heroic Dose’

A ‘heroic dose’ of magic mushrooms provides a different kind of experience compared to the other mushroom dosages described. It’s at this dose that you can expect to have a mystical experience, which may include:

A sense of interconnectedness or oneness (the feeling of being everything)
  • Strong likelihood of ego dissolution
  • The feeling of gaining hidden knowledge
  • Communication with beings and entities
  • Ineffability (being unable to accurately describe the experience)
  • Timelessness, existing for eternity or an eternal present.
  • The feeling of being in an infinite void

A heroic magic mushroom dose is 4 or more grams. The famous psychonaut and lecturer Terence McKenna described a heroic dose of mushrooms as 5 grams, but people have been known to take higher amounts than this [*]. 

As people have varying sensitivities to psychedelics, the dosages outlined here will affect everyone in a different way.

The Ideal Conditions for Each Type of Mushroom Dosage

As mentioned at the start of this article, the environment in which you take a psychedelic can play an important role in the kind of experience you will have. When it comes to planning your dose, you want to take it in a context best suited to that dose. A low dose may work for you in one environment, whereas a higher dose often calls for a specific type of setting. 

Taking a Microdose

You can take a microdose of magic mushrooms in pretty much many  contexts since it is not meant to affect your ability to function. Many people microdose and can function normally, with no impairment. You can be on a microdose and feel at ease while at work, with friends and family, going out, exercising, and so on. 

Taking a Low Dose

Since this is when psychedelic effects start to occur, this mushroom dosage may not be suitable for all environments. For example, a low dose may be distracting at work and school or make you feel a bit out of place in situations like on dates or when spending time with family. 

You may, however, enjoy these doses on your own, with some friends, walking around your city, hiking, or at a gig or music festival.

At this dose and any higher dose, make sure you have no important commitments, as your functioning can be impaired.

Taking a Moderate Dose

Since you will noticeably be tripping at a moderate mushroom dosage, you may have to limit the kinds of environments in which you have the experience. Walking around the city or being in a club or festival environment at this dosage might be too intense for you. Tripping solo or with close and trusted friends at this dose is common. 

If you take a moderate dose with others, however, don’t expect the conversation to be the same as it would be if you took a microdose or low dose. Conversations can often be deeper than usual.

Taking a High Dose

When you get into high mushroom dosage territory, you want to be more prepared in terms of where you will have the experience. If you take this dose around others, it is ideal if they are also experienced in taking these kinds of doses. Some people who take high doses prefer to have a sober ‘trip sitter’ who is present with them during the experience and can provide help, emotional support, and a chat if needed. 

Many people take high doses in the comfort of their home, making sure they have things like music and food already prepared, as functioning at this dose (e.g. using the internet or making food) can be difficult. When taking a high mushroom dosage, especially during the peak, it is probably best to avoid walking around the city, crowds, or busy roads, as these settings can be overwhelming and hard to safely navigate. Keep in mind that disorientation can be common at this dose. 

If you have the option of being outside somewhere quiet, like in your garden, this can work well when taking a high dose. It’s at a high mushroom dosage, though, that you may feel more comfortable having the experience in a more controlled setting. High mushroom dosages are common at psychedelic retreats for this very reason.

At a psychedelic retreat, you can safely have a deep inner experience (lying down, with blindfolds on and music playing), while a guide supervises over you. The guide is specially trained and experienced in looking after people taking high mushroom dosages.

Taking a Heroic Dose

Some people will take heroic doses of mushrooms on their own or with someone close to them, such as a trusted friend or romantic partner. Nonetheless, because a heroic dose involves such intense and deep experiences, it is recommended that you take such a dose while being supervised (e.g. by a trained therapist, guide, shaman, or facilitator at a retreat).

This supervision is to protect your physical safety and psychological health. If you have an overwhelming or challenging experience during a heroic dose, you ideally want someone present who can center you and help you overcome whatever difficulty you’re facing. 

What Each Mushroom Dosage is Commonly Used For

Each type of mushroom dosage can have its unique common uses, as well as the same kind of uses as other doses (e.g. with low and moderate doses, and with high and heroic doses).

Microdosing is commonly used for:

  • Alleviating the symptoms of mental health conditions, including major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Generally enhancing one’s mood
  • Boosting creativity
  • Enhancing concentration, focus, and productivity
  • Calming the mind
  • Increasing energy levels and stimulation

Low magic mushroom dosages are commonly used for:

  • Enhancing certain situations, such as spending time with friends or seeing a band play live
  • Wanting to feel high and giddy
  • Boosting creativity
  • Increasing energy levels and stimulation
  • Initial experiments with psychedelics, testing the waters

Moderate magic mushroom dosages are commonly used for:

  • Achieving a full psychedelic experience, either for recreational, personal, or spiritual reasons
  • Introspection, self-examination, and self-improvement
  • Improving mental health
  • Boosting creativity
  • Connecting with friends and loved ones
  • Connecting with nature
  • Enhancing experiences at gigs or music festivals

High doses of magic mushrooms are commonly used for:

  • Achieving spiritual experiences
  • Achieving emotional breakthroughs
  • Trying to overcome a personal crisis or issue, such as an existential crisis or major depression
  • Connecting with oneself, others, and the world in a more meaningful way

Heroic doses of magic mushrooms are commonly used for:

  • Personal transformation
  • Achieving spiritual experiences
  • Treating conditions like major depression
  • Exploring the depths and possibilities of the mind

Always Know Your Mushroom Dosage

You can be in an ideal mindset and environment, but if you go into a magic mushroom experience without knowing the dose, then you may be in for a shock (if the experience is more or less  intense than you want it to be). 

Whether you are taking magic mushrooms with close friends or at a retreat, be sure to know what the mushroom dosage is and that it has been accurately weighed. Also, find out exactly what type of mushroom species you will be taking. If it’s particularly potent, then you know you should take the lower end of any dosage range for the experience you want. 

Being knowledgeable about magic mushroom dosages and paying attention to your mindset and environment will give you the best chances of achieving a beneficial psychedelic experience.

 

Tags: Psychedelics

Posted by Sam Woolfe

Sam Woolfe is a freelance writer with a particular interest in psychedelics, psychology, mental health, and drug policy. Since 2013, he has been writing about psychedelics on his blog, as well as anything else that happens to pique his interest. When he's not writing, Sam spends his time hiking, travelling, practising meditation, and playing the cajon.

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