[Transcript] – Microdosing For Sports Performance, Microdosing Stacks With Psychedelics & Plant Medicines, The Best Microdosing Protocols & Much More With James Fadiman.

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Transcripts

From podcast: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/brain-podcasts/microdosing/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:01:13] Podcast Sponsors

[00:03:47] Guest Introduction

[00:07:10] How Jim Defines a Microdose

[00:10:57] Microdosing as a Pre-Workout Strategy

[00:18:56] Lesser-Known Substances People Are Microdosing With

[00:28:14] How Microdosing Affects Neuroplasticity and Brain Function

[00:33:26] Podcast Sponsors

[00:36:35] Gold Standard Microdosing Protocols

[00:43:47] Best Practices for Microdosing

[00:50:04] The Effects of Microdosing On Those Suffering from Depression

[00:52:44] Microdosing Used “In-Between” Larger Doses, Plant Medicine Ceremonies, Etc.

[01:00:03] What “Multiplicity” Is and Whether Microdosing Can Be Used To Assist With “Tapping Into” One's Multiple Selves

[01:07:54] Where to Get the Products Needed for Microdosing

[01:12:13] Final Comments

[01:13:33] End of Podcast

Ben:  On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Jim:  Microdosing allows you to make the life that you have currently leading healthier and in a sense smoother. But a great many people, after they've done 10 cycles of microdosing, this is for very serious issues as well like chronic depression, they take it less often. Let's assume they only give you very small incremental improvements, but in a lot of sports, time sports and weight sports, that's all you need.

Ben:  Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.

Alright, you guys. Got an OG of the psychedelics and plant medicine industry on the show today. This is going to be a fun one, Jim Fadiman, the great Jim Fadiman. He is absolutely brilliant. You ever thought about microdosing with LSD, psilocybin, Huachuma, you name it. This guy knows it all.

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Alright, let's go talk to Jim.

Well, folks, I get plenty of questions about this so-called increasingly common phenomenon and practice of microdosing, specifically microdosing with things like psychedelics or plant medicines. We're talking everything from lithium to psilocybin, to LSD, to San Pedro, DMT, ibogaine, and beyond. And I get so many questions about this, and I've never really done a full-on podcast just purely devoted to microdosing, that I wanted to get one of the world's leading experts on really not just microdosing, but also psychedelics and plant medicine in general, on the show. You might be familiar with his name. He holds degrees from Harvard and Stanford. He wrote his entire dissertation about LSD-assisted psychotherapy. He's taught in psychology and design engineering at San Francisco State, and Brandeis, and Stanford for three decades.

He's published multiple textbooks, many books, which you can find all on Amazon including two relatively recent titles, “The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide,” and also your “Symphony of Selves.” Both of which I read and are excellent. His name, if you hadn't guessed yet, is Jim Fadiman. Jim holds a Ph.D. and has a host of information on microdosing psychedelics in both his books. And also, on a relatively helpful website that I believe it was an email from Jim in which I became aware of this website at microdosingpsychedelics.com, which in and of itself has some pretty good information in it. And so, everything, everything that Jim and I discussed today you can find at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/jimfadiman. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/jimfadiman. F-A-D-I-M-A-N is how you spell his last name.

Jim, welcome to the show, man.

Jim:  Well, it's nice to be [00:05:44] _____ guy you just introduced. I usually recognize him.

Ben:  Yeah. He sounds like an interesting fella. And I guess that the million-dollar question we should start this episode off with is, do you microdose to prepare for a podcast? And if so, do you have a particular protocol you like besides perhaps a cup of coffee?

Jim:  Well, actually, I don't microdose for a podcast, and I probably microdose a lot less than the people that I talk to, but I do get people telling me how they microdose from around the world in situations I can't imagine being in. So, I know a lot more than my own experience.

Ben:  Alright. Well, fair enough. Well, I'm three days into a five-day juice fast that my wife and I are doing. So, I'm being a little bit careful mixing that with many other substances, but I do actually–occasionally, I even said this on podcast before, we'll occasionally microdose with, for example, like a small amount of psilocybin with lion's mane or a little bit of LSD and have found both of those to actually be something that over the years have helped me tremendously in writing and in focus, and particularly, in this elegant blend of creativity and productivity, if you want to call anything that I do elegant.

But I'm curious for people who may not be familiar with this at all, how would you actually define microdosing?

Jim:  Well, a microdose is, as it sounds, a very small dose in this case of a psychedelic, and it's between like a 10th or a 20th of what would be called recreational dose. And just for people in your audience that know the numbers, if we were talking LSD, it would be about 10 micrograms. And if we were talking mushrooms, it would be a tenth of a gram to maybe four-tenths of a gram of mushrooms. So, it's a small amount and it's taken not very often.

Ben:  Now, does that vary a little bit from person to person? And the reason I ask is I've talked to some people and there was even a recent research study on this, on LSD particularly, where it seemed to create in many people at almost like a dose-response effect even better effects closer to, say, 20 micrograms while that amount in others seem to cause or induce a bit more anxiety. I mean, how wide is the variation in terms of things like body weight, or metabolism, or muscle mass, or things like that?

Jim:  Well, the wonderful thing is the variable that you actually use which makes sense is how does it feel, which is irrelevant to your muscle mass, et cetera. And when I say 10 micrograms, that's what we started with suggesting as a realistic dose. And what we've learned from a couple of thousands people who've reported back is that most people stay with 10. Maybe 20% say, “You know, that's a little high. I'm going to go for eight or seven.” And maybe 1 or 2 out of 100 will go as high as 15. What 20 gives you is just the feeling that you might just be maybe a little high, and that's an indicator in microdose world of too much because you're then starting to lose that tight focus and get more into, “Oh, my god, look at that doorknob. I have really not ever noticed that beautiful doorknob before.”

Ben:  Yeah. And I've actually found, because I discovered this with caffeine, there's a substance called L-theanine that occasionally, if I've accidentally overcaffeinated myself about 100 to 200 milligrams of L-theanine, seems to take the edge off. And particularly, when microdosing with the two substances we've just mentioned, psilocybin and LSD, I've found that a small dose of L-theanine, 100 to 200 milligrams of L-theanine, seems to actually help in that type of scenario with the only other thing I've found, too, to have a similar effect to be magnesium threonate, which would be a form of magnesium that seems to calm the brain a little bit.

Jim:  Yeah. Now, there are a lot of things which cool and clarify. And a lot of what people take microdosing for are basically issues with consciousness, and mind, and mental considerations like depression. But as we'll get into it, microdosing seems to have, not surprisingly, effects on the body. There's this kind of fantasy in the research world that you take something like LSD in a research lab and it goes to your brain. Well, obviously, it goes to every cell in your body like anything else in the bloodstream. So, there's a lot of other effects that are not really being looked at in the high dose studies, partly because they're not interested and partly because many of these effects only show up when you're microdosing periodically.

Ben:  Well, that's actually something I wanted to ask you about, and I was going to ask you about it later, but heck, I might as well right now since you brought it up. I've found that it certainly does improve cognition and a lot of creativity and productive simultaneous thinking patterns, as I mentioned earlier, but I've also noticed that it is an amazing pre-workout strategy. Particularly, I found that with LSD and psilocybin. We'll certainly talk about some others. But do you know what's going on there in terms of the exercise or the sporting effect?

Jim:  Well, let's go and say what the effects are because I'm more of an observationalist than I make up theories because I've learned that making up theories is a lot easier than seeing what's going on. What's going on is it looks like in general, when you microdose, your system works better. Very vague, very general, but your system includes your body and your mind. So, if your body is just a little bit more in equilibrium, it will be able to do a little bit more. And the way I've described it very simply is you notice at the gym that you're doing one more set of reps. That's the small sides. I have a wonderful guy who is a half marathoner, and what he started to do was noticing with it on days that he microdosed and he would be running maybe 5, 10 miles a day, just as pleasure, that his times were better. And so, he did a half marathon and he was watching. And I got this lovely note that said, “Oh, my god, I've taken 20 minutes off my best time that I've had in 10 years.” So, he was basically able to run 20 minutes faster in a half marathon, which is a big number.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. I mean, that's significant. That would be considered almost, like in legal sports, ergogenic aid enhancement difference. And I assume that pretty much all of these substances would be banned by WADA, USADA, the NCAA, et cetera, am I correct?

Jim:  No. None of them are banned at all.

Ben:  Are you kidding me? That's very interesting. Well, I mean, I guess they're federally not legal to use, so I suppose that, in a way, would make them problematic for an athlete. And in the same way they could get busted for doping, they could wind up on the front page of the local newspaper for having broken the law. But that surprises me that they're not looking at these things on like a pee test on an athlete, for example.

Jim:  Well, one of the problems they would have is the pee test. We're talking about, let's say you've taken 10 millionths of a gram of LSD and you're tested five hours later. One is there's very little LSD probably left in your system in the first place. And secondly, currently, there aren't any tests in the sports world that look for it.

Ben:  Right. And you're right. I think a lot of people don't understand what a microgram is. I mean, give people an understanding of that compared to, say, what they compare to it.

Jim:  Well, imagine that you take a pin and you put on the tip of the pin, the sharp end, a dot of something. Think of sugar. It might hold a grain. That's way more than 10 micrograms.

Ben:  That's a lot.

Jim:  Now, I'll give you the other side of it because we don't think in terms of the real numbers of the world, because I asked one of my favorite analytic chemists, how many molecules are in 1 millionth of a gram? Okay? Now, this number makes no sense, so get ready. For 1.54 quadrillion molecules in a millionth of a gram.

Ben:  You know, I have, for example, microdosed with LSA. And when I do that, I take about 10 micrograms, and that involves taking one tiny, tiny capsule that I dissolve into 10 ounces of water, and then I drink 1 ounce of that water on a microdosing day in order to get 10. But you got to consider, the entire capsule is dissolved in 10 ounces of water.

Jim:  Yes. So, we're talking very little bits. And one of the problems that the sports world is going to start to deal with is what do you do when these substances are available? They're widely known, and professional athletes are already using them. Now, let's assume they only give you a very small incremental improvement, say, 3% or 4%. But in a lot of sports, time sports and weight sports, that's all you need.

Ben:  Yeah, absolutely. And then, of course, it's the training effect as well. It's like creatine, for example, can allow you to eke out an extra one to two reps of a heavyweight in the gym, thus, theoretically, allowing you to build strength faster than a counterpart who might not be taking creatine. What I found with a microdose of a psychedelic substance is that, whereas for me, it doesn't result in remarkably heavier weights or faster times, it reduces the rating of perceived exertion so I can push myself harder and I feel less pain. Very similar to, and I've done a whole podcast on this about, how ultra-marathoners and ultra-endurance athletes will often use a ratio, typically anywhere from a 5 to 1 to a 2 to 1 ratio of CBD to THC, to put them into a flow state during those longer forms of exercise, and also to act as almost like a mild painkiller. It seems that that increased or that reduced rating of perceived exertion, or RPE as it's called in sports science literature, is something that I've noticed most profoundly.

Jim:  That's quite similar to what people report with a microdose of a psychedelic. And of course, the THC, CBD is illegal also in all kinds of places. But what we're looking at is–so when you work with psychedelics, obviously, you're looking at what happens when people say, “I don't think the government's regulations are sensible because I'm dealing with something safe and beneficial.” Similarly, in the sports world, where do you draw the line between a food, which we know improves your metabolism, and a substance, which improves your metabolism, that is a natural substance, a wild plant?

Ben:  Yeah.

Jim:  And fortunately, not my problem.

Ben:  Well, it's interesting because the FDA says you can safely consume about 400 milligrams or so of caffeine per day, and there can be some problematic, especially in people with heart issues, once you get up to 1,000 milligrams, it can be highly problematic. You get up to about 10,000, which shockingly is a very small amount of what you could consume from a bag that you purchased for pennies on the dollar on Amazon, bulk caffeine powder, enough to kill someone, and yet this is a substance that, at least since 2014, has not even been given a second glance by, say, the World Anti-Doping Association, although I do believe they have listed cannabis.

Jim:  Well, fortunately, the World Doping Association has enough problems. And most of my work, fortunately, is with alleviating suffering and improving capacity. Those are two separate areas in which microdosing is most popular. And what I know is that science eventually catches up with what everyone's doing, and sports does as well.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, we'll see. I'll be interesting to keep an eye on what happens as it becomes increasingly popular. But we may have gotten a little bit ahead of ourselves because when I asked you how you would define a microdose, you brought up LSD and psilocybin as two examples. I'm curious, what other substances are people microdosing with these days and finding similar success with in terms of the cognitive enhancement or some of the other effects one might be looking for from a microdose?

Jim:  There's a lot of other substances, for example, which turn into LSD in the body. ALD, I think, 52, 1P-LSD. There's a number of “research chemicals,” which basically are LSD for people who live in countries other than the U.S. where they can order them. There's of course mescaline and the cactuses that it comes in, peyote and San Pedro. There are a lot of other substances and I hesitate, as you notice, it looked breaking my voice, because I'd say of the couple of thousand reports I have, about 95% are either LSD or psilocybin. So, there are other substances. And basically, one would say, “Well, are they equivalents to LSD and psilocybin?”

Now, I'm not talking about MDMA. That's not a psychedelic, has other uses and it's a different drug entirely, different family, different effects. People are also microdosing with ibogaine usually after they have had a serious ibogaine session often to help them rid of addiction. And I spoke to someone about that a couple of years ago and I said, “Why are you taking ibogaine in tiny doses?” And she said, “I want to keep in touch with a plant.” Now, that's a very different kind of reasoning. So that when you're dealing with plants, there's an extra level of whatever the essential nature of that plant is. One of the things about LSD is it doesn't have any other agenda. It's simply something that the brain and body uses. Once you get into psilocybin, and peyote, and ibogaine, and ayahuasca, complicated, they all seem to have not only an agenda but an identity. You'll hear everywhere people talking about mama ayahuasca or grandmother peyote. Nobody ever says, “Great uncle LSD.” It has no identity outside of its effect.

Ben:  It does seem as though some of these others in a way can almost intelligently, based on this concept probably of the sacred intelligence of plants, and perhaps because LSD is more of a synthetic, although I suppose derived to a certain extent from ergo, which would be a natural fungal extract. Yeah. I've noted that particularly for things like–well, especially for, if you're going to actually journey and take a trip dose, but even at smaller doses, you do seem to see a little bit more of a guiding effect if you are meditating in terms of bringing you into insight or into states of awareness that are a little bit different than what you would experience with LSD. I've certainly experienced that particularly with the microdoses of psilocybin and microdoses of Huachuma, which would be similar to that mescaline cactus extract that you talked about, almost as though the plant is guiding you to a certain extent even when it's not a large dose.

And in fact, those are really the three that I have the most experience with for microdosing. I've found some type of lysergamide to be quite effective for focus and for getting through a highly productive day, small amounts of psilocybin to be more effective for creativity, writing, art, music, et cetera. And then, Huachuma, interestingly, for like social excursions, or date nights, or cocktail parties, or times when I would want to be a little bit more sociable. So, I've found different effects with many of them. Ibogaine is also interesting because that's one that I think perhaps Chris Bell has made popular with his recent documentary that he did on ibogaine for addiction. And although that's quite a hefty and serious protocol to do a–what would you call it? How would you name it, a trip, a heroic, a journey dose? What's the vernacular you use?

Jim:  I describe ibogaine to someone that says, “Imagine you get the opportunity not to review every terrible thing you've done in your life, but to relive them totally vividly.” And then, at the end of that, you're basically given a choice. You want to do more of this or stop. And a lot of people who have stopped being addicted after ibogaine, they don't say, “Oh, boy, that was terrific. Let's go drop some ibo.” Nobody. So, there's no recreational uses of some substances because that isn't the way they work.

Ben:  Yeah. I can tell you that I, upon discovering that ibogaine is used to whip some of these Central African tribes, for example, into a frenzy using ibogaine root bark almost into this berserker like frenzy that someone might use for war, or battle, or hunting. I did order some of the South African bush extract and took a small dose, I think it was about 50 to 100 milligrams or so, and experimented with it pre-workout, and had a similar effect to some of these other medicines in terms of like a pre-workout boost, reduced rating of perceived exertion, enhanced exercise performance, et cetera. And so, it turns out that that could technically be used for microdosing, although that's when you want to be super careful with, particularly due to–

Jim:  It's doing it the hard way, but yes, you can do it.

Ben:  There's a lot of cardiac complications with that one.

Jim:  I once gave a little survey to a bunch of students, undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz, and one of the things I asked is, what psychedelics have you used? And people said, “I've used LSD, I've used peyote.” And then, there was this one young man who had 24 substances. And I looked at that little paper and I thought, “This person gets almost nothing out of his experiences. He's just collecting some boy scouts collect merit badges, or people collect hotel stickers.” So, one thing I want to get clear is one of the best ways to define microdosing is they have no classic high-dose psychedelic effects. No visions, no becoming one with all life, no discovering that you are a direct descendant of somebody who died in a horrible way, no anaconda snakes eating you alive, none of that.

Microdosing allows you to make the life that you have currently leading healthier and in a sense smoother when you use the term flow. One of the uses of creatives who use microdoses is they say, “I'm not necessarily creating at a higher level, but I can stay in flow longer. My focus is better. I'm capable of using whatever I normally have at a higher percentage of valuable.” I've talked to a lot of journalists and said to them, “By the way, you should know that it's particularly good for first drafts.” And I've gotten a number of letters, which said, “You know that article I just wrote about our interview? You were right.”

Ben:  Yeah. And I think that sometimes I have a couple of thoughts on what you were just talking about. I think there are some bloggers, podcasters, even people like myself who are not necessarily, for example, using a host of different substances now and again to necessarily have like a brag sheet of things we've tried, but rather as almost like a form of immersive journalism to then tell people what certain effects have. And I think that's something that I've done some writing about, just trying certain things out, collecting certain things, and then coming back to the world and reporting on what the effects are, very similar to what you might find on one of these psychonaut websites.

Jim:  You are an investigative journalist to the human body. And one of the great gifts you've given to the people who listen to you is you have said of a number of things, I've tried this, don't.

Ben:  Yeah.

Jim:  So, that's really a great gift. I admit most of my work has been finding out things where people have said, “Hey, it's working in this area that nobody would have noticed.” And that of course is a different kind of discovery. Also, now and then, we find people who've taken microdoses and have an experience they didn't like, and that's also very important. This is not a panacea. This is simply something which seems to have helped a lot of different people in a lot of different places. I have reports from 51 countries for a lot of different aspects of their physiology or their mental health.

Ben:  Yeah. I want to ask you about that, a few of the other reasons people might microdose. But you mentioned that one of the effects is–or one of the definitions, I suppose, of a microdose is that you're not getting the same type of psychedelic-like effect you would from a larger dose although, and correct me if I'm wrong, it's still stimulating that a receptor I've talked about in previous podcasts, the 5-2A receptor–so, it's targeting the same receptor. And when that happens, just so people know, to step back here real briefly, you get the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is the miracle growth for your brain that stimulates growth, and connections, and activity, and neuroplasticity, along with, and this is something a lot of people aren't aware of, the production of glutamate, a neurotransmitter very responsible for brain functions like cognition, and learning, and memory. You're not flooding those 5-2A serotonin receptors with the same type of intensity as you would with a larger dose, but you're tickling those receptors instead of full-on flooding them.

Jim:  Well, what you're doing, and you've used the word neuroplasticity, which is that the brain is actually always growing new cells. And there's very, very fine research that shows that cells, which are exposed to microdoses, develop more complexity, more dendrites, more capacity so that the gradual use of microdoses, as we're finding, is helping people with very long-term problems that conventional medicine has not been helpful for to improve. I mean, one that is a tragedy well-known in the sports world is called concussions. And one of the things that you probably know is that the treatment for concussions is pretty much nothing. What you're given is help in finding workarounds for the part of you that doesn't work as well. But that isn't repair. What we're seeing, and this is with some professional athletes who've been retired at an early age due to brain injuries, coming back from their lives of headaches, depression, anger, and despair, to being fully functioning.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

Jim:  And that is something that classical high-dose psychedelics have never really looked at. And it's highly unlikely that a single high-dose section would have the same effect, just as–I think you've talked about people who do excess workouts. If you work out for 24 hours straight, that's not going to give you the same improvement as 12 one-hour workouts spaced correctly.

Ben:  Right, right. And that's interesting that you bring that up. I actually, in the past year, have introduced one NFL tight-end and one NFL quarterback to almost like the classic Paul Stamets microdosing protocol of every three days stacking psilocybin with lion's mane and niacin, typically paired with some type of walk in nature, a little breathwork, and meditation to really pay attention to what the body and brain are doing afterwards. They both have a history of head injuries and have noted remarkable improvements in their brain fog and focus upon embarking on around 10 weeks of that protocol every three days.

And then, I just returned from San Diego where I did an interview, it may have come out by the time we released this podcast, with Navy SEAL Nick Norris. And we had a pretty, pretty long discussion about his experience with ibogaine. Now, granted this was a larger dose of ibogaine, but he had a compelling amount of research on the decrease in neural inflammation post-TBI in in the Navy SEAL community upon the use of ibogaine and introduced several of his former active-duty Navy SEALs to that, and they had all found it to be one of the most effective TBI and concussion treatments that they'd ever experienced.

Jim:  So, what you're telling me is that the research, which I call citizen science, isn't waiting for the double-blind laboratory, highly expensive, and takes an incredibly long time to do studies that are also going on. So, we're dealing with substances which are not only illegal, but widely available, and in parts of the world that are a little more civilized about medicine legal. One can buy psilocybin, mushrooms, and truffles in The Netherlands. And because they're part of the EU, you can pretty much order them from around the EU. So, they're not waiting for the United States, which is historically lagged in these things, to finish the research because people who are suffering really don't react well and you say, “Well, it's going to be four or five years before the science has done enough so that people can rush in and make a commercial company and price it out of your range anyway.”

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I just mentioned one protocol that has been made popular by Paul Stamets, that whole niacin, psilocybin, lion's mane, stack every three days or so. But there are other microdosing protocols out there. You being someone who has either developed or at least seen the use of many of such protocols would probably be the perfect person to ask this to. Is there a particular kind of gold standard or a few gold standards tried and true microdosing protocols that you think tend to be effective amongst a wide variety of the population?

Jim:  Well, let me just step back to protocols because when I started doing this research, there were no protocols. And I developed a research protocol, which is taking it on day one, not taking it on day two, not taking it on day three, and taking it on day four.

Ben:  Taking what?

Jim:  Taking a microdose–

Ben:  Okay.

Jim:  A single microdose, and we'll get to stacking versus non-stacking in a moment, that's known, unfortunately, is the Fadiman Protocol. Now, I developed that because what we found early on is what's called the two-day effect. And great many reports say, “Hey, that second day's even better.” Now, the second day, there's zero psychedelic in your system, just to keep in mind. But the body, of course, once it is in a recovery mode, doesn't stop recovering. The third day, originally, was so people could feel the way they felt before they started, and then when they wrote me, I would get information.

Now, after about 10 cycles or around 30 days, people began to report that the third day was pretty damn good, too. That's a protocol that's widely used, and there's a reason for the spacing, is because psychedelics have the reverse of addiction, which is they have something called tolerance, which is if you take a whole bunch of LSD the first day and you see God, and you realize that you're a divinely realized being and your ankle no longer hurts. The second day, you say, “God, I'm going to do that again. I want to be back there.” And you do that, and you have a nice day, and you have some visual, beautiful things, and the flowers smile at you, and you feel good. And then, the third day, you say, “Well, I'm going to do that again,” and nothing happens.

That for reasons that have not really been well-studied, there's called tolerance, which is your system says, “No more psychedelics for a while.” And the more you stuff in, the more I just excrete. That has led to “protocols,” all of which have days off. And the protocol that I know the most about is the one I gave you, one day on, two days off. Paul Stamets has a different protocol, which is four days on and three days off, or five days on and two days off. And at one point, I asked Paul, I said, “Hey, people ask me all the time. What's this damage protocol? Which is it?” And he said, “Well, you can't be too rigid. Both are probably pretty good.” When people say, “Well, what's the difference between you and Paul's?” I said, “Well, one possibility is that Paul lives in a world where there are more mushrooms.” A study being completed right now with 8,000 people who signed up on an app to microdose and to keep some records, and they had a choice of Paul's protocol or the one day on, two days off protocol. So, we're getting, for the first time, genuinely to see if there's any difference, and Paul and I are both predicting that there's almost no difference.

Ben:  Now, another protocol that I'm familiar with is instead of taking a complete couple of days off in between microdoses to rotate your microdoses–for example, on day one, a lysergamide, on day two, say, a psilocybin, and on day three, something like a San Pedro or Huachuma. What about something like that to where you're microdosing every day, but with a different type of substance?

Jim:  Well, the notion is that the substances somehow affect you differently, or else they're really saying, “Well, I'm switching my alcohol. I do rum on Mondays, and scotch on Tuesdays, and tequila on Wednesdays.” So, if you would think of it in a different way, if the receptor, the 5-2A receptor, is the primary receptor, and it might be. There's lots of evidence that there's other receptors, but that's a different game. Those three substances all affect the same receptor so that had I been asked about that protocol when it was being developed, I would have suggested days off. The other thing of course is very few people have access to all three of those substances at any given time. So, we're really being a little exotic here.

Ben:  Yeah.

Jim:  But we know–I mean, again, I'm a minimalist, which is, what's the least amount you take for the most benefit? And what we know is the Stamets protocol and the two-on-one protocol, according to the reports that I keep getting, is enough.

Ben:  Yeah. And I think it's also important to point out the fact that you can play around with this a little bit. For example, if you're microdosing on a Thursday, and Thursdays and Fridays are incredibly busy, productive/creative or cognitively demanding days for you, you might microdose on those days, and then on a relaxing weekend, take two full days off. And then, perhaps Monday's an easy day, too. So, you take that day off, then Tuesday's busy, and you need more cognitive power, and so you microdose. And so, sometimes saving your microdose for whichever day, it's going to be most appropriate similar to how you might drink two cups of coffee on a Monday morning, but none on a Sunday morning, is something else that can be taken into account, this idea that don't take it unless you need it and then save it for the days that you do anticipate needing it.

Jim:  Well, here's what's interesting, which is that's what people come to. Now, I mentioned that we asked people to take it for 30 days and let us know how it's going. What we also say is, hey, if you're still microdosing or not, let us know about that, too. So, what we found is on the whole, not everyone, but a great many people, after they've done 10 cycles of microdosing, and this is for very serious issues as well like chronic depression, they take it less often. And a number of people use it exactly as you're saying. They say, “I use it for special occasions.” And the one that comes to mind is someone who wrote and said, “I took my driver's test and I flunked it twice.” Now, in California, if you can't drive, you're at a severe disadvantage for almost everything else you do in your life because of our limited transportation, public transportation. So, he said, “So, I took a microdose for the third test and I did very well.” Now, could have been that just gave him more confidence, but that's how he was using it as a special boost exactly as you're suggesting.

Ben:  Yeah. Now, what about–because I mentioned that, for example, when I've recommended it to a few people, especially if people are just starting, I've told them to actually get away from the office, get outside, go meditate, or do some breathwork. And really, for the first few times that you microdose, just go inside your body, pay attention to that with as few distractions as possible. Have you found that or any other type of best practice associated with the microdosing protocol to be something that you would recommend, or do you say, “Just take your microdose and get after your day?”

Jim:  What's wonderful is you know and have described in great detail all the physiological changes and improvements that happen if you meditate and take a walk in nature. You're going to sense loading the microdose with other known benefits. And of course, that's going to be better. And again, I don't recommend as much as I listen, and what I get from most people is they have made microdosing part of their day. And without intending to, there's a large number of reports that say, “Gee, I've gone back to meditating. Gee, I'm spending time in nature.” And they also, by the way, report, and great companies will tremble as I say this, people tend to have less alcohol, less marijuana, and less coffee. And what they say is, “I just don't feel the need.”

So, what we're seeing is that if microdosing is simply improving the overall effectiveness and health of the body, one would predict that the need for excess stimulants would decline. Now, that also, again, what's fun is when you get reports for, say, “I'm taking it for such and such,” but all this happens. And so, we get these reports that say, “I'm eating better. My sleep pattern has improved except if I take a microdose too late in the day because it is a stimulant.” So, we're getting these reports of general health improvement even if they were taking it as a student to get better grades, or as someone who had failed on six or eight antidepressants was desperate. So, what we're looking at, and of course the improvements that you're suggesting, are ideal. And if you add a microdose to that, what a wonderful way to start your day.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. And one other kind of logistical question, we've talked about, for example, every few days for, say, 10 weeks, or some people lose 12 weeks. What about instead of cycling in and out just using this type of approach year-round, is there anything that you'd have against that, or have you seen that to be effective for people?

Jim:  Well, you see, again, that's wonderful, which is why I look over the hundreds of reports. What people say is, and they've evolved this on their own and they tell each other, they say, “It's a good idea to take a few weeks off every couple of months.” Now, I have no idea. Again, we're not able to do that kind of research, and it's almost impossible to do that kind of research on anything like a pharmaceutical. But what they're saying is they think that's a good idea. And when I look at, say, a Reddit thread of maybe 80 responses, 70 of them say, “Yeah. I do that, too. I think that's a good idea.” What we know is it will not harm you to stop taking something if you're still feeling the benefits. It's a conservative way that people have evolved on their own. And so, I support it.

Ben:  Yeah. I mean, but for me, it's similar to coffee. For every three bags of decaf or caffeinated coffee I order, I order one bag of decaf. And so, when I'm out of those three bags of coffee, I switch to decaf so that my adenosine receptors are not being flooded with caffeine. They reset after about 7 to 10 days of not being stimulated by caffeine. And then, when I return to caffeine, it's noticeable effect. That way, I drink coffee year-round with a few breaks here and there, and that seems very effective. And I think the body just responds to those type of press pulse cyclings pretty well. And so, I think that's a good way to go.

Jim:  I think actually, it's a nice version of the same thing for intense exercise for building muscle.

Ben:  Yeah. In exercise, we call that periodization. And then, you can say the same thing for nutritional periodization when it comes to anything from carbohydrates to coffee to now of course microdosing. Now, in terms of what you had mentioned earlier regarding stacks, we had talked a little bit in the beginning of this podcast about, for example, the fact that I'll use theanine or magnesium L-threonate to bring down some of the over stimulative effects of something like lysergamide if I were to take a little bit too much, or accidentally exceed 20 micrograms. And then, we also talked about how to increase blood flow and some of the neuroplasticity. In the Stamets protocol, you would accompany psilocybin with niacin and lion's mane. Have you found other stacks to be particularly effective or something that people are reporting success with?

Jim:  Well, there's a company called Flow State Micro, which has recently released information on what they're calling microdose minus one. I may get it wrong, but the minus one is the psilocybin, but it's a stack of several different mushrooms slightly different than Paul Stamets protocol. And they are working very often with very hard cases, people say with brain injuries or with alcoholism, and they report that works very well. My guess is, and this is not even an educated guess, is that a little bit like the adding the breathwork or meditation or walking, it's bound to improve the accessibility and utility use of the microdose itself.

So, that seems to me the way we're going. For many, many, many people who don't know that or never thought about it, they report major shifts. So, let me give you one of the major shifts because it's among the most common reports I get, which is chronic depression. Now, a chronic depression that we get, that we see in our reports, are people who basically say, “I have tried a lot of antidepressants. I've tried therapies. We have people who've done surgery. They come to microdosing.” So, they're not what we would call ideal clients, if you were trying to sell the microdosing. These are the people who failed at everything. About 80% of them have a remarkable recovery from depression. And the recovery sounds almost always the same, which is, “I'm back. I'm me again. I have my feelings.” That's not the same effect as you get with antidepressant. And we actually did a little quick study.

Ben:  Aside from maybe ketamine.

Jim:  Well, ketamine, again, the question is how long does it last? When you ask how long does it last, then we're not sure that there's any neuroplasticity. We're not sure that the brain is laying down a new armature of healthy cells that don't have any interest in being depressed. And the other difference is when you actually look at the data for people that antidepressants work for, maybe half, they report that they can handle bad experiences better. Meaning, they are less sad. A lot of people also say, “I'm so less sad that I'm numb.” Okay? But let's say the ones who basically say, “I'm less sad,” and that's incredible for them.

What we see with microdosing is the same effect, less sad. But we see another effect, which is that their good emotions go up, that they are more cheerful, they're more curious, they're more kind, they are more glad, as well as less sad. So, it's a very different effect even though we're looking at the same question of depression, then antidepressants even try–which they also suggest. And Julie Holland talks about in her new book that there's obviously other things going on than the 5-2A. And one of the things that's going on is an increase probably in oxytocin so that most people, when they microdose, and certainly, when they take a high dose, they feel more loving. And that's not an effect that you'll ever get from an antidepressant.

Ben:  Now, is that Julie Holland's book–what's it called, “Good Chemistry?” I'll link to that one in the shownotes if you guys go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/jimfadiman. I haven't read that book yet, but it's on my list of books to check out. And I have certainly heard similar things about depression. And the other thing, the other use that I've heard about it that I think you also alluded to a little bit earlier was this idea of using it in between larger doses of psychedelics or plant medicines to continue to get some of the benefits of the so-called downloads, or personal insights, or connection to that substance that you might have received from a larger dose. Is that also a common practice?

Jim:  Well, actually, I've heard it from you, not from me.

Ben:  Okay.

Jim:  Mainly because I'm not in the prescribing. It's just not what I do. I try very hard to just listen to what comes in and reported back out because also, that way, I get incredible surprises. Again, what people are saying is that seems like a sensible idea. It's like the ibogaine person we talked about before.

Ben:  Right.

Jim:  But again, you have to be careful that you're not overriding the body's own healing capacities. And after a high dose, what we know is there's four to six weeks where you are retaining a great deal of the social benefit. Meaning, you're really nicer, you're really more loving. We had to warn people in my early research days, don't make major life decisions within a week or two of a high-dose experience. Why did we say that? Well, because we had a guy who had a great breakthrough, beautiful experience on Friday, met someone on Saturday, and married her on Sunday.

Ben:  I often will have deep meaningful insights, ideas for articles, discussions that I need to have, important discussions, changes to life that I need to make, or to the way that certain relationships are structured if I journey, which is pretty seldom for me. That might be three to four times a year max that I would take what one would consider to be a trip dose of a substance, and I am always cognizant to do nothing with that information for about three days.

Jim:  At least.

Ben:  At least, because any big decisions while that's still in your system can sometimes be made in a state of excitement, or overwhelm, or not taking into account all of the downstream butterfly effects of making a big decision. So, that's a good point that you make that it's always important to just sit with it for a little while, sleep on it, so to speak, walk on it, and take some time. And I think that when it comes to microdosing, at least in my own experience, that it's something that I'll take some time off after some type of a journey. But then when I begin to use those substances, particularly if it's the same substance that I had journeyed with prior that I often will continue to get more important personal insights and so-called downloads when using that same substance. So, there's definitely something to combining infrequent trip doses with smaller microdoses of the same substance, in my opinion. I think it can be pretty effective.

Jim:  Well, that's why the word integration is now coming into being. Integration says, “Now that you've seen God and that you know you're immortal, what are you going to do with your accounting job?” And that's a big jump. One of the things that we're seeing is as people get aware of their different facets, their different selves, they begin to see who made that decision. “Well, gee, I think I'll quit my accounting job, and I've already booked a trip to Nepal to sit with a guru whose name I don't know.”

Ben:  I've bought my Birkenstocks. I've sold all my belongings. I'm headed to Nepal. Yeah. No. I've seen that happen occasionally, and there's very few people in which that tends to work out versus taking your time and making an educated decision once your ego is back fully on board and you're actually thinking with just a little bit more rationality and logic, which at the same time, fully thinking with rationality and logic and never stepping into that. That slightly increased hemispheric coordination is something that some people miss out on, and something that microdosing can help with. But if you're completely acting in a dosed-up state, you're going to basically be making decisions that someone who's perhaps constantly on drugs is going to take versus someone who's rationally dialed in and sober, so to speak.

Jim:  What comes to mind is my own first major, major experience as a graduate student, and I came down, and I thought, “My God, why did I pick this person, Jim Fadiman, this body, and being a graduate student, which is like a powerless position in the culture? How could I have done this?” And I was simply puzzled from my high state, why I was back being Jim Fadiman, the graduate student. I would say now, 50 years or so later, I understand. It was not a bad decision.

Ben:  Right, right. Yeah. That makes sense. Okay. So, I have a few other questions for you. And by the way, to close that loop on stacks, just so folks know, I mean, there's–

Jim:  Oh, yes. Stacks is basically healthier, probably.

Ben:  Oh, yeah. I mean, I've found–we talked about, for example, niacin for blood flow, but there are others, ginkgo biloba or vinpocetine, which has been used in a lot of concussion and TBI research, and even for Alzheimer's and dementia by people like Dale Bredesen. Carnitine would be another that can enhance blood flow. I've found that certain neuroprotectants can be very useful like–just because I think you can get a mild amount of neural inflammation from some of the increased cognitive load of some of these substances. So, neural protections like astaxanthin, or fisetin, or quercetin. I found those to be very beneficial. And then, there are certain things, and it sounds like the folks at this flow stack that you talked about, or flow state, are probably familiar with the–

Jim:  Flow State Micro, right.

Ben:  Yeah. Certain things that can enhance the neurogenesis, not just lion's mane, but some of these other mushrooms like cordyceps, or chaga, or maitake.

Jim:  Yeah. It's one of the areas where research–and I guess more citizen science research is going on. As I say, this is one group I've seen the results.

Ben:  Yeah.

Jim:  And the other group I've looked at is Microdose Institute of The Netherlands because they've been doing microdosing with coaching since 2017. So, they have at least a thousand people that they're looking at who they've actually worked with, not just sending them a substance, but actually working with them as the benefits of the substance, or at least the effects of the substance come on.

Ben:  Right. Yeah. And then, another very important one I think is any choline derivative, simply because you'll exhaust your acetylcholine stores pretty rapidly if you're overstimulated with anything, caffeine, nicotine, any of these microdoses, et cetera. So, something like phosphatidylcholine or eating a larger amount of, say, like egg yolks, or walnuts, or some other choline-rich food on a microdosing day. I've also found that to be a very effective nutritional approach.

Jim:  If I ever get commercial, will you be on my board?

Ben:  I'd be happy to. Okay. So, you also have a new book on multiplicity. And although we could of course do an entire podcast on that book, I read it recently, considering the fact that we have limited time and can't get into the whole book, I would love to hear specifically how you would define multiplicity, and whether microdosing plays into being able to assist with tapping into one's multiple selves that you get into in that book.

Jim:  Okay. Well, the assumption, the observation that the book describes endlessly is that people have internal multiplicity, and that healthy people use it, and that very successful people often are terribly conscious of it, and they know they need to switch into a different self when they do a different part of their day. For example, there's a part of many people who say, “I know I'm supposed to go to the gym today and I know it's good for me, but I don't want to do it.” Then when they get to the gym, they say, “God, I really forget how much I like this.” Now, what's happened is they've made a shift from the self that doesn't want to get out of bed in the morning to the self that loves exercise. Those people overlap of course the same identity, but they actually act as if they're different selves.

And the other way of looking at it is if you've ever argued with yourself, and the answer from everybody is yes, who is the other person? Who are you arguing with? The answer is another part of yourself. That's the assumption. And from there, we simply look at what happens when you begin to pay conscious attention to that, just the way what happens when you pay conscious attention to your breathing. First thing you notice is your breathing changes. First thing that happens when you begin to notice what self you're in is you are more likely to go for a self that makes the best sense. If you're working all day, let's say, your kind of work, which is very intellectually intense, and you have kids, and your kids really don't want to know all about the new discoveries with choline. So, you have to shift from very intense intellectual researcher to, “Hi. I'm actually your father, and I love you, and I want to play some games, or let's just run.” Then when you're with close friends of one coin, you're one way, and so forth.

So, that's in essence what we're looking at. And it turns out when people begin to think that way, their life starts to work better because they're more likely to be able to get into what we call the right mind at the right time. And that turns out to be simple sounding, but what it does is immediately, you start to forgive yourself. I don't know, I'm sure you have said, I don't know how I could have done that. Now, the answer is you didn't, but the part of you that did it doesn't think it was difficult at all, what we know from alcoholics. One of the things that alcoholics like is they like the self they get into up to a certain level of their drinking. And the person in the morning who has the hangover, and the headaches, and the stomach, says, “I hate drinking.” And the answer is, “Yeah. Well, you don't drink. I, your night self, do and I never have a hangover.”

So, we're really looking at a healthy, normal internal division. And when you start looking that way, suddenly, one is you're kinder to yourself because you forgive yourself for the things that parts of you did. And then, the other wonderful thing is you look at your spouse, your significant other, or your children, and you say, “Oh, there's a part of them that just drives me nuts.” But it's just a part of them. It's much easier with our children because we tend to forgive our children all faults because we love them, but we don't deny their faults. But if we see that their faults, so to speak, are just a part of them, it suddenly shifts it.

Ben:  I've certainly noticed that myself, particularly with microdosing, I do interact with people in slightly different ways. I am a slightly different me, especially in terms of social ability and empathy. The social ability and empathy are probably two biggest things I've noticed because I tend to naturally be a somewhat introverted, non-empathetic person, and I have found that certain substances seem to enhance my ability to be able to step into that, I guess, a slightly multiplicitous version of myself.

Jim:  Well, you step into the right person at the right time. And what microdosing does, it just makes it easier because again, if your system is working better, then the switching part of it that moves from self to self works better. Let me give you just personal example. The last time I traveled, we remember travel, I went to Utah and I was going to give a talk to about 500 people, and I liked it, I liked the idea, and I was feeling physically terrible. And literally, I was in the green room, the little room off stage before you go on, and I thought, “I wonder what will happen if I faint during this talk.” And I thought, “That's going to be just terrible, but we'll see what happens.”

So, I was feeling that kind of lack of capacity, whatever vital energy was, I didn't have much. I walked on stage, I sat down the chair, I said something appropriate and light to the audience. They clearly, since they'd all paid for it, wanted it to be a wonderful evening, and I could feel my body shift, and I gave, for me, a really good talk. It was interesting, it was funny, it was moving. People wanted the information, I wanted to give it to them. Afterwards, I was highly energized. I took audience questions and individual questions, and I was just filled with incredibly healthy energy. That's what shifting does.

Ben:  Yeah.

Jim:  Now, as the evening wore on and it got near the end of the evening, I was literally not well again and slept long and so forth. But that's what shifting can do, and we know it happens in athletics, we know it happens in professional sports. I mean, remember, you have people in professional sports who have some incredible injury and they just keep playing. So, we know the extremes of what switching into the right self can do. And what we've found is switching into the right self so that when you come home, your loving husband or wife is as important as these extremes of war and sports.

Ben:  Right. Just being able to tap into the dynamic nature of your personality. It's a very interesting book. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, stuff that I don't think a lot of people have talked about. So, that one, for those of you listening in, is called “Your Symphony of Selves.” And I'll put that one at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/jimfadiman as well. Now, of course I would be remiss not to mention the fact that there are certain substances when we speak of stacking that one should take great caution with when it comes to combination with microdoses. And fortunately, if you go to that website I mentioned earlier, the microdosingpsychedelics.com, there is mostly self-reports, anecdotes that–you should be aware these are anecdotes, not human clinical research studies, showing which type of particularly pharmaceutical medications from antifungals to antihistamines to benzodiazepines would be appropriate and potentially safe with microdoses and which would not be. And so, I'd recommend that you access that website for information on that, just so you're well-informed.

The other thing, and I'm going to ask you this question, Jim, and I don't know what your answer will be, but I want to ask it to you because I know it's one of the first questions people are going to leave in the comments section. You might anticipate what I'm going to ask, but people will say, “Where do I get a microdose? Where do I get my hands on a product?” What is your typical answer to something like that, or atypical answer?

Jim:  Well, of course, I will send you a list of illegal drug dealers, and I will give you their emails and their addresses. No, I won't.

Ben:  Just make sure to use Gmail so it's all trackable.

Jim:  Exactly. No. The fact of the matter is two things. One is mushrooms don't know they're illegal. And places like England, there's a mushroom called a fairy inkcap that grows all over England, and people write me about going out collecting. And that's true of all the other natural substances. The curious thing is, and I deliberately maintained fairly high level of ignorance here on how to get it, is it's remarkable how few people worry about that. And when people have written me, they say, “Hey, there's no way I can possibly find anything. I run a small machine shop in a small town in Iowa. No one I know has ever heard of a psychedelic.” And I say, “I want you to ask around.” And two days later, I get a report says, “Got it.”

So, these substances are remarkably available. And again, if living in Europe, one can order psilocybin truffles. Truffles are the immature mushroom just before it breaks the surface. If you're in Canada, a number of the LSD analogs are available through mail order from my friends in Los Angeles and other major cities for reasons that make sense if you understand basic human economics, which is if people want something, that's good for them. The fact that it's illegal will not prevent it being available.

Ben:  Yeah. It's funny because in the past, the nerdy physiologist in me, because I took a lot of pharmacology and more advanced nutrition and biochemistry courses at University of Idaho, I would simply find out what the active ingredient was in a substance then go to a laboratory chemical website like Sigma-Aldrich and order just the “not safe for human consumption” version of that and get exposed to the effects. But I have actually found nothing to compare to securing the plant in its whole extract such as a psilocybin mushroom, and it seems to have a far better effect than, say, the isolated chemical derivative, although that's what I know that some people are doing.

Jim:  Again, we haven't yet had research, but since they're now a dozen companies that say they're going to be selling you synthetic psilocybin, someone's going to compare the two because there are also several companies saying, “We're only going to use the natural.” Psilocybin is one of about five alkaloids in the mushroom that have psychodynamic effects. Psilocybin is the one that's the most, but it may not be the most important. Similarly, as we found with cannabis, cannabis has 400 alkaloids. THC is one. CBD is one. The chances that nature just threw in the other several hundred alkaloids, because they had it available, is very unlikely.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. It's just like the effects on prostate cancer of isolated lycopene supplementation versus consumption of whole tomatoes. They've actually found the latter to be more beneficial. The same could be said of ascorbic acid from orange, or acerola cherry, or goji berry versus a vitamin C derivative.

Jim:  Or turkey tail mushrooms on breast cancer.

Ben:  Right, right. Exactly.

Jim:  So, yeah. My theory is nature took a long time to build these substances into these plants and fungus. Maybe it knew what it was doing.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

Jim:  Now, of course, that would assume then it also developed us and we could say it knew what it was doing, but we also know it didn't do as good a job as we wished.

Ben:  Right. Well, this is absolutely fascinating, and I'm sure that people are going to have plenty of questions. And so, what I would recommend that you do if you want to jump in with your own questions, your comments, your feedback, your own experience with microdosing, then you can go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/jimfadiman. Just like it sounds, J-I-M F-A-D-I-M-A-N. Leave your comments there and I'll try and hop in and give you a helpful reply. Just don't ask me where to get microdoses because I get about 10 messages a day about that and I'm just not going to reply.

Jim:  Well, if you go to the website, microdosingpsychedelics.com, your basic questions will be answered. And at least in two places on that site, it says, “Don't ask us.”

Ben:  That's probably prudent. That cuts down on the amount of communication back and forth. Well, Jim, I will link to all your websites to your books including your two new books, “The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide,” which I guess isn't new, but the “Symphony of Selves” is the newer one. I believe you're also working on title about microdosing specifically, are you not?

Jim:  I'm dealing with the fact that I probably will be writing the microdose book, but don't wait for it at this point.

Ben:  Well, I'll look forward to reading it when it comes out. And in the meantime, folks, again, shownotes are at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/jimfadiman. Jim, this has been a fascinating discussion. Thank you so much for coming on the show, man.

Jim:  This was really my pleasure, Ben, and you know it.

Ben:  Alright, folks. Well, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Jim Fadiman signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.

Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.

 

 

I get tons of questions about microdosing—specifically, microdosing with psychedelics or plant medicines such as lithium, psilocybin, LSD, San Pedro, DMT, ibogaine, and beyond.

My guest on today's podcast, Jim Fadiman, Ph.D.—who has a host of information on microdosing with psychedelics in his book The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys and also at MicrodosingPsychedelics.com—is considered to be one of the world's leading experts on psychedelics and plant medicine and has developed some particularly helpful and effective microdosing protocols. 

Jim holds degrees from Harvard and Stanford and wrote his entire dissertation about LSD-assisted therapy. In addition to holding consulting, training, counseling, and editorial jobs, he has taught in psychology and design engineering at San Francisco State, Brandeis, and Stanford. For three decades, Jim taught Sufism and other classes at Sophia University, which he co-founded.

He has also published textbooks, professional books, a self-help book, a novel, and produced a play and various videos, including Drugs: The Children are Choosing, for National Public Television. He was featured in a National Geographic documentary and had three solo shows featuring his nature photography. He has been involved in researching microdosing psychedelics since 2010.

Jim's most recent book, which we'll dive into on this podcast, is entitled Your Symphony of Selves: Discover and Understand More of Who We Are, which he wrote with his co-author, Jordan Gruber.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-How Jim defines a microdose…07:00

  • Typical LSD microdose is 10 micrograms (mcg); mushrooms is .10 gram
  • Small amount, not taken very often
  • The variable you use to know the proper dose is how you feel, not necessarily body mass or type
  • A “high” feeling is a sign it's too much
  • L-theanineis used to take the edge off when someone has taken too much caffeine (100-200 mg)
  • Magnesium Threonate
  • Not just the brain is affected; the entire body feels the effects as well

-Microdosing as a pre-workout strategy…10:53

-Lesser-known substances people are microdosing with…18:50

  • LSD may turn into other substances once it's in the body (ALD, 1P-LSD)
  • MDMA is not a psychedelic; different family, different effect
  • Ibogaine to overcome addiction
  • Psilocybin and peyote have “agendas” or identities not found in LSD
  • Chris Bell documentary on ibogainefor addiction
  • Ibogaine is not recreational; the experience can be very unpleasant in its vivid recall of the past
  • Microdosing does not give a psychedelic effect

-How microdosing affects neuroplasticity and brain function…28:45

  • Cells exposed to microdoses develop more dendrites, capacity
  • People with long-term problems such as concussions see legitimate repair after microdosing
  • Navy SEALs found ibogaine to be one of the best concussion repair treatments they'd experienced

-Gold standard microdosing protocols…36:23

  • Psychedelics have tolerance, the reverse of addiction
  • Fadiman Protocol(2-day effect): 1 day on, 2 days off, 1 day on; (on microdosingpsychedelics.com)
  • Stamets Protocol: 4 days on, 3 days off; or 5 days on, 2 days off
  • A study to determine the difference between the two is currently underway
  • Jim does not recommend a “rotational” protocol where a different substance is taken each day
  • Go for the max benefit with the least amount you take
  • The best results are reported when taken less often

-Best practices for microdosing…44:00

  • Combine it with other practices such as meditationor walking in nature
  • People report it causes them to return to meditation or walking in nature
  • People consume less alcohol, marijuana, and coffee because they “don't feel the need.”
  • Good idea to take a few weeks off every couple of months
  • Similar to periodization for exercise
  • Flow State Micro
  • Microdosing minus 1 (minus psilocybin)

-The effects of microdosing on those suffering from depression…50:00

  • Chronic depression patients experience remarkable recovery after microdosing
  • Ketamine's effects on neuroplasticity uncertain
  • “More glad, less sad”
  • Good Chemistryby Julie Holland

-Microdosing used “in-between” larger doses, plant medicine ceremonies, etc…52:45

-What “multiplicity” is and whether microdosing can be used to assist with “tapping into” one's multiple selves…1:00:00

  • Your Symphony of Selvesby James Fadiman
  • Not wanting to go to the gym, then realizing how much you enjoy the gym when you get there
  • Who are you arguing with when you argue with yourself?
  • Different roles you play: professional vs. being a parent
  • Microdosing helps you get into the “right mind at the right time”
  • Become more forgiving of yourself, and more tolerant of the quirks and faults of others, particularly your children
  • Microdosing makes it easier to shift/switch from self to self

-Where to get the products needed for microdosing…1:07:45

Resources from this episode:

– James Fadiman:

– Microdosing:

– Podcast:

– Supplements:

– Other resources:

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