Microdosing For Modern Life
Psychedelics aren’t only medicines being used for mental health. They are being and historically have been used as tools for well-being, personal development, and deeper connections. While our relationship with psychedelics is thousands of years old, the practice of psychedelic microdosing isn’t as storied.
Microdosing is a practice of consuming fractions of ‘normal doses’ of psychedelics in order to derive their value without the hallucinations. Touted as sub-perceptual or sub-hallucinogenic, these small doses allow someone to receive physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits. All the while, microdosers are still able to function throughout their daily activities, and most of the time, at better, more honest capacities.
Gwella’s Microdosing Consumer Report
Gwella is tapped into the cultural murmurs and genuine potential of microdosing psychedelics, particularly with psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms. In our pursuit of truth around mushrooms and their myriad of benefits, we wanted to shed light on the nature of their use within this growing community of people dipping their toes into the psychedelic pool.
There is a lot of clinical research being pursued with psychedelics, which is tremendously exciting. Our society's nature favors and follows science, which contributes in major ways towards changing public attitudes on bringing psychedelics to market.
But this isn’t an article on the science or mechanisms of action from clinical applications; it’s a glossary of how and why people on the ground are using microdosing in their day-to-day lives.
We communicated with and polled thousands of people across the microdosing community; from Signal and Telegram groups to communities like Reddit and Empathic.Health. Whether it’s related to working, socializing, or experimenting, the pandemic has affected all of us. And in these times of need, people leaned on microdosing and told us just how this practice is impacting their life. In the breakdown to follow, you'll find insights into how, when, why, and where people microdose.
Into The Looking Glass…
The Lay of the Land
Almost all of our audience falls between 21 and 45 and 93% live in the United States or Canada, with 77% of the group microdosing for a year or less. This tells us that this community is experiencing dramatic growth.
And over the past two years, 91% of people prescribed the pandemic as the reason for their decision to begin or continue microdosing.
Lastly, 92% of respondents want their work benefits to cover microdosing. Given Dr. Bronner’s monumental decision to provide ketamine-assisted psychotherapy under his employee’s benefits, this might seem a micro-demand.
The Mechanics of Microdosing
While 63% of people still get their psychedelics from a dealer or a friend, we saw 24% of people report getting their microdoses from a dedicated supplier, hinting at further commercialization.
Many people treat their microdose as one part of a broader psychoactive or bioactive stack: 41% take their microdose with vitamins and 68% microdose alongside caffeinated beverages like coffee or tea. This may indicate the normalization of psychedelic microdoses; they’re being consumed right alongside the most popular beverages on the planet.
We anticipate a flood of new unregulated psychedelic stores that will offer a variety of polished brands offering psilocybin-based products or support tools, ahead of legalization.
And our lucky number is 68, as 68% of those polled both reported consistent positive feelings and experiences with each microdose as well as the sensations of the outdoors being enhanced by psilocybin.
This comes as no surprise. Almost every psychedelic advocate (and probably their mom) advocates spending time in nature at any point during a trip.
Two sidebars. First, the Japanese culture has a longstanding relationship with forest bathing to lessen depression, anxiety, and burnout while increasing wellbeing, interconnectedness, and presence. Second, Paul Stamets, the Michael Jordan of Western mushroom culture, cured his mom’s breast cancer by giving her turkey tail mushrooms. So whether or not you’re microdosing, get outside. Both we and Paul’s mom demand it!
Microdosing For Work, Life, Balance
One of the earliest groups to popularize microdosing were people looking for an edge in their careers, such as Silicon Valley go-getters. Working professionals were experimenting with tiny doses of psychedelics on a regular basis, as an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs or simply to optimize their workday.
Since then, the groups have grown to seek more empathy, connectivity, and grounding through microdosing. Many younger generations are voicing the importance of meaning, impact, sustainability, and happiness as much at work as they seek in their lives.
In the context of work, 71% shared that decreased stress was the best way microdosing improves their professional life and 44% of these people reported improved professional relationships.
Separated from the idea of work, 58% of people microdose before “being creative,” suggesting that it’s associated more with hobbies and side projects. Likewise, just over 50% of people reported microdosing during brainstorming sessions at work, further emphasizing the creative potential of psychedelics.
Only 17% of people seek an increased ability to focus from microdosing, suggesting it’s not necessarily a stand-in for caffeine or other focus-enhancing drugs.
While it might be more indicative of the sample than broad cultural acceptance, 61% of people said their colleagues knew they microdose and 64% would recommend it to their colleagues.
Overall, 86% of people attribute microdosing to better professional performance.
We believe 2022 will usher in the beginning of shared psychedelic experiences as an alternative to corporate bonding.
More than half of participants, 63%, microdose before socializing and seeing friends. On the flip side, just 7% say “increased sociability” is their main benefit of microdosing. As the wellness wave sweeps our communities, we foresee microdosing becoming the new pregame to calm the nerves before dancing, dating, karaoke nights, and family gatherings.
Just over 50% of respondents said they liked to microdose before happy hours or other after-work events.
When asked if a particular person or group of friends could benefit from microdosing, the most popular answer was “depressed or anxious friends.”
Another 39% of participants microdose to “explore their mind,” which could be interpreted as recreational or therapeutic. It highlights the misguided way we try to classify natural compounds into rigid categories.
The most important benefit people seek from microdosing is mindfulness, followed close by a boost in mood and energy. These are positives that could apply to any area of life, and aren’t aligned with traditional recreational vices.
The two activities most likely to increase in frequency since microdosing are meditating and spending time in nature.
The Come Down
The pandemic brought to light the beauty, challenge, and fragile nature of life at individual and collective scales. And as abnormality became our new norm, more and more people turned away from conventional means and traditional medicines to alternative approaches to heal, to learn, to evolve. Microdosing is becoming one of the cornerstones in psychedelic communities and slowly but surely, in psychedelic research too.
There is so much promise and potential for psychedelics at large, namely, microdosing. This practice is incredibly safe, widely effective, and one of the best ways to build a relationship with these ancient and modern medicines. More research is being done and more people are seeing, feeling, and sharing the benefits and betterment they’re practicing thanks to microdosing.