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Microdosing psilocybin for therapeutic purposes should only be done under the express recommendation of a qualified physician. This includes the popular practice of microdosing psilocybin for depression, which like all forms of complementary treatment may not be suitable for everyone.
Psilocybin microdosing for depression has become a popular alternative to the use of conventional antidepressants in Canada. While some would prefer to avoid the risks and side-effects associated with traditional meds, others find little to no relief in the various anti-depressants available.
As research continues to draw direct links between the controlled administration of psilocybin and rapid relief from depression, it’s an alternative treatment strategy that’s on its way to going mainstream. In this brief introductory microdosing psilocybin guide, we’ll be taking a quick look at what to expect when taking your first psilocybin microdose for depression.
The Importance of Alternative Therapy
Most people are unaware of the prevalence of depression among the general population. According to one recent estimate, as many as 7% of all adults experience at least one episode of depression each year. While most cases of depression experienced are mild and temporary in nature, others endure an ongoing struggle with depression throughout their lives.
For most people, conventional anti-depressants can and do work to an extent. However, the vast majority of anti-depressants build towards a cumulative effect over the course of several weeks or months. Not only can this make it difficult to gauge the effectiveness of a specific course of treatment, but it can also complicate calculating the correct dosage.
In addition, most anti-depressants prescribed are associated with a long list of potential side-effects. They can also be dangerously addictive, making it extremely difficult for some users to wean themselves away from them in the future.
All of which underpins the importance of research into alternative therapy, as everyday anti-depressants are not a viable option for many patients.
How Does Psychedelic Therapy Work?
Treatment involving the use of psilocybin isn’t quite as simple as prescribing the compound and ensuring it is taken as advised. Instead, it is a case of combining psilocybin – a psychedelic compound – with an alternative form of behavioral therapy.
Advocates believe that by providing patients with the opportunity to view their lives and their issues from a completely different perspective, psilocybin can bring about improvements that would be impossible with therapy alone.
Research also suggests that psilocybin microdosing can effectively ‘rewire’ certain parts of the brain, again leading to improvements that go beyond the realms of traditional antidepressants.
Extensive studies into the effects and potential benefits of LSD and other psychedelics were performed for several decades after its discovery in the 1940s. All of which came to a halt when the Controlled Substances Act was passed in 1970, at which point LSD and psilocybin became illegal.
Across much of the world, psilocybin was declared to have no recognized medical value and pose a significant risk of abuse and addiction. It wasn’t until several decades later that researchers were finally granted approval to begin researching the potential benefits of psilocybin on a carefully controlled basis.
The use of psilocybin for recreational and therapeutic purposes remains rife – estimates suggest that almost 9% of people have experimented with it at some point during their lifetime.
Psilocybin and LSD are similar in many ways, in terms of their effects when consumed in tiny doses. Other substances are perhaps most commonly associated with feelings of euphoria and a complete sense of physical and spiritual relaxation.
When consumed, psilocybin interacts with the neural pathways responsible for the release and control of serotonin. This results in rapid alteration to the individual’s mood, state of consciousness and perception of the world around them.
The intensity of which is determined by the size of the dose consumed, which in the case of microdosing is extremely small. The idea with microdosing is that the ‘high’ associated with psilocybin is avoided, focusing instead on the subtler effects of the substance.
Consumed in sufficient quantities, psilocybin can trigger a wide variety of effects including:
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
- A feeling of utter happiness and euphoria
- Introspective or spiritual experiences
- Heightened sensitivity of all senses
- Distorted perceptions and a slowdown of time
- The feeling of an out of body experience
What’s important to remember is that with microdosing, the goal is not typically to achieve any of the above. Instead, it is to leverage the potential benefits of psilocybin without the associated ‘high’ in the conventional sense.
This is where the difference between microdosing and macrodosing lies – two very different approaches to the consumption of psychedelics.
What to Expect
If planning on microdosing psilocybin for the first time, it is important to have realistic expectations. Likewise, you should ensure that you are in a safe, comfortable and reassuring setting – ideally with at least one person you trust nearby, in case you find the experience unpleasant.
Starting out, it’s important to consume the smallest possible dose of psilocybin and take things from there. Ideally, you should be aiming for an effect whereby you experience a noticeable difference to the symptoms of depression, but remain perfectly capable of going about your business and functioning as normal.
Your physician will provide you with all the information you need to stay safe and gain the maximum possible value from your therapeutic psilocybin. Even where psilocybin is readily available, self-medicating without first consulting with a doctor is not recommended.