Microdosing psychedelics is now a common phenomenon within the working community. A psychedelic is basically mind-altering substance that causes changes in external and internal perception. Psychedelics have been used for centuries in ancient traditions, including in Mayan, Greek, and Indian civilizations. They were used for spiritual exploration, communication with the spirit world, and psychological therapy.
Psychedelics have been shown to connect different parts of the brain, and light up areas which are otherwise dormant, because we have devolved to functioning at a minimal level of efficiency. Though it’s true that without the drug, we can achieve the same thing, psychedelics are a medicine; and if used in the right way, they can help you to a great extent.
A ‘microdose’ is a sub-perceptual dose that does not create any noticeable ‘trip’ or visual distortions, but leads to noticeable changes in your state of mind that can help you overcome psychological hurdles and see things from a different perspective altogether. Recently, I ended up taking a little more than a microdose of mushrooms before a flight, and ended up microdosing acid the day after.
So I thought it would be a good idea to write a comparison between the two based on this, rather than comparing them from other past experiences. I’ve written a list of differences I experienced, and a trip report for both of them. Make sure that you read extensively and take proper precautions before taking any substance if you try it.
1. LSD versus Mushrooms
3. Set and Setting
4. Trip Report
6. Safety and Precautions
LSD versus Mushrooms
• The effects of LSD were way longer even on a microdose. I felt the effects of mushrooms for only about 8 hours, whilst I could still feel the acid 24 hours after I had popped. With mushrooms there was a noticeable decline in intensity even just 5 hours after taking them. With acid there was no sense of going down even 8 hours afterwards which was incredibly useful for doing work and planning. Therefore, acid may be more effective for sustaining the effects you achieve on a microdose.
• Microdosing mushrooms felt more organic whilst acid felt more intellectual and focused. Mushrooms were more warm, with greater connection to emotions and even people around me. It felt better for creative work and using my imagination. I could go super into it and better visualize things I wanted to manifest. Acid was more power and less trippy. It was more just clear thoughts about things that were happening now and in the future, which made it better for intellectual work and remaining focused.
• Mushrooms felt less directed, like the mushrooms were taking me rather than me taking the mushrooms. It felt more involuntary in terms of physical movement compared to acid; with acid I had more control over where I would direct it. It was easier to direct the acid inside versus outside whereas with mushrooms it kind of just merges, and erases the boundaries between inside and outside thereby making you feel more connected and whole.
• On mushrooms, I was listening to more forest, psybient, and also zenonesque whilst on acid I felt better listening to more full-on, progressive, and forest for the most part. Mushrooms made music a lot trippier and so it was more enjoyable listening to very trippy, alternative psychedelic music. I listened to more psybient towards the end and afterglow of acid when I needed to chill.
• It was easier to find things on acid that I normally lose frequently, like my phone or keys, though I didn’t notice this much with mushrooms. It was easier to remember things on acid as well, like taking my supplements. The effects have extended for the days afterwards as well.
• My acid dose was more affected by smoking weed and hash though on mushrooms I didn’t feel such a noticeable jump in my level of tripping.
• On mushrooms I felt more in touch with my body and movement, whereas on acid it was more in my mind and it felt more effective for doing meditation rather than doing yoga (which was better with mushrooms).
• Acid was more externally projected whilst mushrooms was more internally trippy and introspective, with more complex and prominent closed eye visuals.
• On mushrooms it was easier to connect with sober people and be empathic, though on acid I felt super spaced out at times and didn’t always connect with the vibe of sober people around me.
A microdose of psylocibin is generally around 0.2-0.5g of dried psylocibin mushrooms (of course the psylocbin content depends on the type of mushroom) and a microdose of LSD is around 10-25 micrograms. Generally, LSD is much easier to dose than mushrooms, because you can directly cut up a blot into the fraction you want. With mushrooms you’d have to experiment first to work out the strength of the dried powder.
I took about 3 large mushroom caps dipped in honey with the stalks, and the floating remains of 1 mushroom that was in the honey as well.
I took a little less than a quarter blot of acid which I was told was 120 micrograms. I cut it in half and then cut the slightly smaller half in half again, and so that was slightly less than 30 mics.
Set and Setting:
Setting stands for the external environment in which you are taking the substance, and set stands for your internal mindset. When taking large doses I’m so so careful about these two and will never take a psychedelic if something feels off either inside or outside. With microdosing however, I find that it is very therapeutic and can actually take me out of uncomfortable feelings inside myself by helping me get to the bottom of them.
I took the shrooms in a totally accidental situation. I had gone to collect some items from my storeroom in Bangalore, and ended up having a fight with an asshole taxi driver and also the building security who seemed to think I was breaking into my own place! On the way to the airport, my mum told me the police were looking for me because they thought I was a thief or something (so fucking retarded). So when I reached the airport at 6pm, I was a bit psyched and decided to consume the leftover mushrooms I had in case I got checked. I mean, they can’t catch the drugs in my bag if they’re already in my system. My flight from Bangalore to Mumbai was about two hours and after this I was at a friends place. When I popped them my mental state was fairly agitated and angry but I have a fairly good relationship with psychedelics and trusted they would only take me somewhere good. For me, this belief is the key, when taking large doses, to not flipping out.
The setting in which I took the acid was a bit different. The day after my flight, it was the last day of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai. This is a huge Hindu festival where over 200,000 people gather in processions with huge statues of Ganesh and then immerse them in the ocean (called Visarjan). I was going to the temple and to see this with three other friends. I split the half blot of acid with my other guy friend, at around 5pm before heading out. Generally, psychedelics take me to a deeper understanding of the happenings around me and can be incredibly enlightening, especially in spiritual settings. Before I dropped, I was feeling fairly lethargic as well as slightly depressed due to some emotional situation. However, I wanted to compare the two substances properly and also I just love acid. More on the link between psychedelics and depression in other articles.
Till date, every trip I have ever had has been incredibly unique. You can’t compare one trip to another, let alone one substance to another. So I decided to describe these two back-to-back trips in detail to be understood in and of themselves.
I started to notice the shrooms when I was in the bus on the way to the aeroplane. I’ve never taken a low dose of shrooms before in a daily life setting so I didn’t know what to expect. In the bus, the energy around me started to group together. I could see people’s energy very clearly, and I could pick up thoughts better. For example, when someone is looking at you and you know it, imagine this on a much higher level. I am very intuitive about these things when sober and this was a heightened form of that.
I knew I was tripping when I boarded the flight. I started smiling super large by mistake at the aircraft attendant and realized I’m smiling like an idiot so attempted to control my face. At this point I realized that in normal life, I’m super serious anyway and hardly even look at anyone (especially in India because it’s so hectic). And this was a nice perception change because it’s often these small things in life that change how we experience it entirely. More than intellectually knowing it, it nice to see my energy projected in the environment and how people would respond to me differently if I was friendly rather than my usual serious and somewhat asshole self.
When I sat down I was tripping fairly hard for a daily life setting. Though there wasn’t much noticeable difference in my external perception, my internal world was crazy. I was listening to OTT and was getting all sorts of closed eye visuals like a floating giant squid in the middle of a galaxy and colourful flowing snakes with patches on them. And it was beautiful so I tried to draw but the scenery was changing so fast, I honestly didn’t draw that well. I would randomly close my eyes to experience and would draw again. I could feel the guy next to me was intrigued with the weird things I was doing but I ignored it.
After this I felt a bit tired and the mushrooms were fairly strong so I just sat there tripping in my chair. The trip hit a bit harder and I was mostly listening to dark forest and also ambient psychedelic. It was when I got up and went to the bathroom where no one else was there, that I realized how hard I was tripping. I talked to myself for a bit and then when back to my seat. Flying is actually one of the most comfortable and enjoyable things for me (I mean, I’m a traveler after all) so it was an interesting experience. My imagination was fairly wild. At a certain point I felt like I was sitting in a floating deckchair with an open view of the galaxy (all with my eyes closed). Normally when flying or landing I speak some mantras and connect with that energy. On mushrooms I could see a funnel of purple and stars going from my head into the universe and it was pretty magical.
I realized a number of things whilst tripping, and wrote whatever I felt in my notebook. For example, I saw the whole situation I faced before with the guards from a higher perspective; about how the place was associated with a lot of pain and anger from my adolescence which is why I always face problems with everyone when I go there, and my parents need to sell that rented out house and storeroom to release the energy from our collective consciousness. My emotions were quite heighted as well; when I landed in Bombay I could see another guy making an Instagram story about how much he loves Bombay and I could feel this strong sense of unity amongst the people in the plane and happiness and love we all shared for this place.
When I got off the flight I was still tripping full power (for that dose), couldn’t stop walking around, and realized how psychedelic the artwork is in the Mumbai airport. I took a few random Instagram videos but didn’t upload them because I look pretty fucked up. It was funny because my friend was getting psyched waiting for me outside and I was having the time of my life, didn’t even feel like I was waiting for my bag at all. When I got out and saw my two friends I felt extremely happy. And on the way back to her place I was playing some dark forest and was finally able to express my energy freely more than just with my hands. It was very easy to sustain normal conversation on shrooms.
Once we reached my friends house where I was staying, we smoked a joint and I played some psybient for them. I could really feel the vibe of the people around me and what they were inclined to listen to. The weed heightened my trip and I felt increased empathy for other people. I then took a shower, cleaned the space I was staying in, and did a full hour of yoga. My practice was incredibly connected, organic, and free-flowing. I went quite deep into everything I did and felt what I needed to release from my body. After this I had so much energy, it was ridiculous – it wasn’t like pure power I feel on acid, but more like internal happiness. I felt like I had released so many things from my system and subconscious mind, to the extent the next day I had even forgotten about the whole police incident. This is another reason why I feel shrooms would be perfect for therapy because it really allows effective emotional processing when combined with other exercises.
The trip became noticeably less a couple of hours into being at my friends place, and it kind of went up and down as it does with large doses as well. But it was more intense than acid of a comparable dose, especially internally. I was also able to visualize and manifest very clearly and intensely through my heart. When I woke up I didn’t feel much of an after effect apart from being incredibly cleansed. I felt very emotionally clear before something else hit me later in the day with an emotional downer. Overall I thought the whole experience was incredibly organic, natural, and cleansing.
I popped the acid at around 5pm in my friends house with another friend, before heading towards South Bombay for the Ganesh Visarjan. I started to feel the acid in the cab, when we were driving across a bridge into the buildings with the trippy clouds behind. For me LSD is always more externally projected. Sometimes I get this slight discomfort when coming up on acid, and so I made sure I sat in the front of the cab. To balance out my energy I did some basic Naadi Shodhana pranayama my make sure my state of mind could process the acid in the best way. I was also slightly depressed before I took the acid, and wanted to clear away anything residual.
When we got out of the cab, it was a bit confusing and chaotic, but we walked across to the Haji Ali juice centre to pick up some juice. I got a pineapple and orange. The internal confusion was still there at this point. Based on all my previous experiences on acid I know that this weird discomfort is actually taking me somewhere; like telling me to go somewhere I’m meant to go or something in my system that needs to be released. This is why acid makes the external world and my subconscious merge; which is actually the reality of things in the first place. So I let it be, and walked around the promenade with my friends taking lots of pictures of the surroundings. It was a very alert and clear high; and taking photographs on acid is always super enjoyable and helps me see things in a different way.
There was supposed to be a large Ganesh procession starting at Mahalaxmi but this got cancelled; so I suggested to my friends we go into the temple. As we entered the temple area it felt like I had entered a different world and I had actually come into India at this point. It was so humbling and also fairly emotional, this experience of seeing all the temple artifacts and feeling the energy where I was. I remember a clear feeling of having missed India and a genuine love for the country I hadn’t felt in a while.
At this point the discomfort was gone. For me, acid is always fairly intellectual and I was picking up things from my friends minds and explaining to my foreign friends the meaning of everything we did in the temple and the festival in general. I also felt a very strong connection to the idols in the temple. When sober also I’m quite spiritually open but this was more direct, more prominent. I was more aware of the things I was doing and how the energy was affecting me; as well as the flow of energy between things and how things were happening as a result.
After this we went to the main procession area near Girgaon Chowpati. Now this place is actually quite crazy, with hundreds of thousands of people jamming the roads and huge idols of Ganpati popping out admist the crowds. When walking towards this I suddenly started experiencing so much happiness in the atmosphere, I almost started running towards the road. The energy was really very high; and I felt totally linked with the flow of what was happening. I could also feel the idols more prominently; not that it was a lie or a drug, the energy of Ganesh is actually invoked in the idols 10 days before and rituals are conducted before they are released into the ocean. Ganesh is ultimately an energy and the meaning of these rituals is to integrate his energy into our consciousness and release things that are holding us back. It’s just that with acid, I could go above all the redundant crap in my mind and see things in a deeper manner. The crowd near the beach was a bit crazy; we did some puja and watched the Ganpatis being immersed into the ocean.
My two foreign friends wanted to go home, and so I met my other friend with my tripping friend afterwards. This was pretty funny because my friend’s wife was there, who had no idea that we’d popped and doesn’t know anything about drugs. My friend who we met knew this though. We smoked some really good charas and started tripping I guess after this – until now I just felt like I had heighted perception and connection. We ended up sitting in this restaurant. Because of the acid, I didn’t feel like eating much and the paneer felt super heavy. My friend was just laughing, we were all super blazed and talking complete shit. I guess my tripping friend felt it a bit stronger and was feeling the artificial grass on the wall with face.
We then went back to my friends house where I was staying and chilled for a bit. I was tripping a bit at this point and went into the room alone and removed my clothes. I changed and chilled outside for a bit, and smoked a little more weed. My other friend was tripping balls so we just chilled inside as well listening to some full-on/progressive psy mostly. I took a shower after a while and this changed everything entirely. My mind was so clear; I organized the entire room, and sat down to work. My friend was chilling. I literally worked for 3-4 hours in such a focused manner, eventually switching my vibe to higher BPM forest which was less trippy on acid than on shrooms but acid is like pure power even at small doses. At about 4.45am I took a half an hour nap, which was more like lucid sleep to be honest. I was still tripping when I woke up, and me and my friend drove over to the beach for an event we had to attend.
At the event I was a bit spaced out but still well-functional. Small things were irritating me a little more, probably because I was physically and mentally tired as well. In the early afternoon me and my friend smoked some weed again and I just closed my eyes on the couch, put on some ambient psy, and floated into outer space. The trip was still internally on, and I felt so refreshed after this and some meditation so I started working again. After taking a couple hours nap, at around 6pm I started to feel a bit down. I guess I was just more aware of my depressive feelings so I felt them more. I was more aware that I had to physically move around to release them. I was still feeling the effects or rather after effects of the acid and felt like I could walk for an hour. So I walked to my favourite café; felt more like listening to full-on, which flipped my mood entirely.
In the café I had the most productive time writing and doing work. After I was done, I guess I felt the most normal and connected to myself I had in a long time. It was only at night, before going to sleep I felt normal and sober, after a while. And even now, the next day whilst I’m writing this, I’m feeling more comfortable with myself. I feel more me, I released a lot of things even with just a microdose. And to an extent, it’s not even the drug it’s just me. It’s the naturally high energy that I have inside myself, but the drug helps me to direct it properly without getting fragmented.
In conclusion, I felt microdosing both acid and mushrooms was incredibly useful. It also helped me appreciate being sober more as well; and I felt no addictive tendency towards either (I never have). I personally would use a combination of the two, to achieve different purposes. Because I have a lot of work and also acid is more easily available I will probably microdose this more often and then do mushrooms in between when I feel. My journey with microdosing has only started recently but I’ll write another article a couple of months afterwards and share how I’ve changed since.
Safety and Precautions
1. If you are buying substances, make sure you get them from a valid source. With acid, you need to get it from a contact who also trips and knows the acid is clean – sometimes dealers mix other chemicals with the acid and there’s no way to tell because the acid is on a blot (or something else). You also need to know the micrograms of acid in the blot, so make sure your source is solid. Most good acid comes from Europe and America. In other countries like India people mostly get clean acid from the darkweb. The same goes for mushrooms – just get them from someone who has taken them before and knows what kind of mushrooms they are. If you are picking your own mushrooms go with someone who can identify the right ones as some can actually be poisonous.
2. If you are taking psychedelics for the first time, take them with someone who you trust and has tripped before. Take them in a setting where you feel comfortable and you’re preferably in nature with a full day for yourself. This way, even if the dose is strong for you, you can trip in peace without other things affecting you. I feel so comfortable taking small doses of psychedelics in daily life because I’ve taken them on several occasions before so I know what the drug is. So gain some familiarity with it first and then work out what dosage works for you in normal life.
3. Don’t overdo the use of psychedelics. Whenever I trip, I never know how it’s going to hit me; how hard or soft. And so don’t make the mistake of taking more just because you don’t feel it enough in the beginning. Always take a full experience first, and then alter your dosage in the next dose if you need more or less. It’s important to respect the substance just like you would respect anything else, for it to respect you back.
4. Make sure you space out your trips so that you have time to gather what you’ve experienced and process it from your system. Microdoses are recommended once every four days. You also build tolerance so if you take the substance the next day in the same amount you won’t even feel anything. And as with anything, never take the substance if you don’t feel like. For some people it maybe once every three days, for some once a week might work better.
5. Make sure your intentions are clear about why you are doing this. If your intention is just to get high, stick to smoking weed. Personally my intention with psychedelics is actually never recreational. For me it’s a total experience and so I have full connection with it before taking it. With psychedelics I forget myself and submit myself to what it’s doing. If you are pure about why you are doing this and respect the substance, there is no reason that it will screw with you.
6. If you have any mental health or particular physical difficulties first check with someone that it is appropriate for you to use psychedelics. There is now plenty of research supporting the use of magic mushrooms and LSD to treat a variety of psychological disorders from depression to anxiety. So if you have a problem it’s super important to make sure you are taking it in the right way, if you want to use it for therapy rather than having a negative experience.
7. Lastly, be aware that microdosing is not the answer to all of life’s problems. The experiences and effects I have on microdoses are due to a variety of factors. I do meditation and yoga; I am also aware of myself in the first place which makes the drug work for me rather than me depending on any item. Ultimately it’s all about balancing your lifestyle and your state of mind, because everything is ultimately your state of mind. And along with this, being humble and allowing things to take you to the places you need to go, in order to evolve.