Can Microdosing Really Change Your Brain? (2023)

Table of contents

People may choose to microdose psychedelics for many reasons: to increase productivity, to improve mental health, or to explore consciousness without the superior experience of a full psychedelic tripStamets Stackis an increasingly popular microdosing protocol pioneered by renowned mycologist Paul Stamets. Stamets is the author of six books on mushrooms and was also featured in the Netflix documentary.Fantastic mushrooms(2019). Still, he is considered an amateur mycologist because he has not risen through the traditional academic ranks. Nonetheless, Stamets has been studying and working with medicinal mushrooms since the 1970's and is now one of the most respected mycologists in the world.

Der Paul Stamets Microdosing Stack

The Stamets Stack combines three components: A microdose of psilocybin mushrooms along with lion's mane mushroom and niacin. Stamets designed the stack to improve cognitive function andbring a lot of benefitsin the context of neurogenesis - although his hypothesis has not been verified by a medical professional, nor has the protocol been tested in rigorous clinical trials considered best practice in nutritional science and public health. Claimed benefits of the Stamets Stack include:

Need access to mushrooms?
Secure your supply with DoubleBlind!

(Video) This is Your Brain on Acid (Seriously)
  • less anxiety and depression
  • stabilized mood
  • increased creativity
  • Regeneration of visual and auditory neurons
  • reduced irritability
  • Relieving PTSD Symptoms
  • reduced incidence of neuropathy
  • increased ability to socialize, empathize, and feel courageous
  • mediated effects of aging on the brain
  • increased self-confidence
  • greater sense of connectedness

Essentially, the Stack is envisioned as a nootropic (brain-boosting) protocol designed to help people break free from the habits of their ordinary minds and thereby think in novel, more adaptive ways — ways that Stamets says can spur the evolution of human consciousness . To achieve this, Stamets combines microdosed to low-dose psilocybin mushrooms with other potentially synergistic compounds.

Some benefits can be conferred with a microdose of psilocybin. AMicrodosisof psilocybin is very different than alowDose. A microdose is below perception or below the noise threshold. This micro amount is usually one tenth of a regular dose and can therefore be taken in everyday life. A low dose can produce some noticeable psychedelic effects.

Can Microdosing Really Change Your Brain? (1)

To date, we have limited - but promising - research on microdosing. In a study published in 2013, laboratory mice that had been previously conditioned to have a PTSD-like fear response were able to do soovercome learned traumaafter taking microdoses of psilocybin. A preliminary study from 2019 looked at thisadvantages and challengesof microdosing and concluded that the area is indeed promising enough to warrant further research.

Anecdotally, a quick search through YouTube videos and psychedelic message boards turns up dozens of first-hand accounts from psychonauts and mental health advocates of the Stack's ability to promote physical health and mental-emotional well-being.

What's in the Stamets Stack?

Some of the specifics of the Stamets Stack have evolved over the years, as reflected in Stamets'various patent applications. Overall, Stamets believes that the components of the stack work better together and cites one possibilityEntourage effectof compounds similar to those thought to exist for cannabis.

Are you ready to deepen your intimate and personal relationships?
Join us in discovering the power of psychedelics, intimacy and sex at our upcoming summit on April 8th!
Save 25% before March 21st!

Lion's Mane Mushrooms

lion's mane (hericium erinaceus) is a large, swollen, white-colored fungus nicknamed the "Beard Tooth Fungus". In Japan - where it was said to have been used by Buddhist monks - it goes by the name "Mountain Priest Mushroom". The fungus is well knownSupporting brain health by stimulating nerve growth factor(NGF), which stimulates the production, growth and maintenance of neurons. Because neurons tend to become stagnant and atrophy with age, Lion's Mane has interesting potential as an anti-aging supplement. Research shows that this is possiblehelp slow or prevent dementia. Stamets has called Lion's Mane an "intelligence mushroom" that he believes could actually make us smarter.

Can Microdosing Really Change Your Brain? (3)

Lion's mane — which may also have anti-inflammatory and heart health benefits — is perfectly legal, relatively inexpensive, and available at health food stores and online. Including it as part of the Stamets Stack protocol can amplify and enhance the long-term benefits of psilocybin, the formula's most famous ingredient. In fact, Stamets dubbed Lion's Mane the "second smart mushroom" when he delivered the keynote address at the 2020 Bioneers conference. It is only surpassed by psilocybin itself,he claims, emphasizing Lion's Mane's importance in this nootropic stack because it "enhances psilocybin's ability to induce neurogenesis."

(Video) Your Brain on Psilocybin

Stamets notes that Lion's Mane products may be most beneficial from mycelium (the underground parts of the plant) rather than the aerial part known as the fruiting body.

Read:Long-term effects of microdosing


Of the 100+ varieties of psilocybin mushrooms — also known as “magic mushrooms” or simply “shrooms” —psilocybe cubensisis most common. Psilocybin is the primary psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms, although the compound itself is not psychoactive. Rather, psilocybin is converted into the more active compoundPsilocinthrough the human liver. The latter molecule is responsible for the mind-blowing effects of mushrooms. Regardless, psychoactive mushrooms have a long history of human use; They were used as a spiritual aid in pre-Columbian cultures across the Americas. In addition, the speculative "Stoned-Affen-Hypothese' suggests that early hominids in Africa ate psilocybin mushrooms, which caused rapid brain expansion, which in turn contributed to the evolution of Homo sapiens.

Can Microdosing Really Change Your Brain? (6)

Johns Hopkins University has studied psilocin for its potentialhelp solveDepression and anxiety at the end of life. This is also shown by a newly published studysignificant improvementin people with major depression after just two therapeutic psilocybin sessions. Other research suggests that psilocin may also play a helpful role in treating addictionAlcoholand tobacco – with onean impressive 60 percentof participants who remained tobacco-free at 12 months in the latter study. The compound is known to replace serotonin, the best-known neurotransmitter linked to its role in relieving depression and anxiety.

Much of the attention surrounding psilocybin's therapeutic properties has focused on macrodosing - large doses of dried shrooms in the two to five gram range. However, for the Stamets Stack, Paul Stamets recommends using a microdose down to a low dose of psilocybin: 0 .1 to 1 gram. A low dose (0.5 to 1 gram) can produce some psychedelic cognition effects. Therefore, it is not recommended to take this dosage during a working day or when you have urgent tasks. Regardless, Stamets has high hopes for the therapeutic and human potential of the psychedelic,say thatnaturally derived psilocin makes you "smarter, kinder and braver".

Some prefer microdosing psilocybin. AMicrodosisis often only 0.1 to 0.2 grams of dried mushroom. However, it is important to note that dosage will vary depending on a variety of factors such as body weight, type of mushroom consumed,etc.Some consumers may find that dosages up to 0.5 grams are considered a microdose. However, the higher the dosage, the more likely you are to experience mild to strong psychedelic effects.

(Video) How Psychedelics Change the Brain

Read:Mushroom Dosing: What is the “Right” Amount of Mushrooms?


Niacin (vitamin B3) is also known as nicotineacid. Its primary physiological role is to help your body convert the calories in the food you eat into usable energy. It also plays a role in the health of your nervous system, digestive system, and skin. The vitamin may also improve the absorption of psilocybin when used in the Stamets Stack - as suggested by Stamets Stack advocates.

When taken at the amount recommended in the Stamets Stack protocol (100 to 200 milligrams), niacin produces an uncomfortable flushing effect characterized by redness and tingling on the face, neck, and arms that can last 10 to 30 minutes. Flushing is caused by niacin's vasodilator properties. The skin turns red as more blood flows into the capillaries. Temporary sensations of heat, itching, and discomfort may accompany this effect. The niacin flush is both a harmless side effect of larger doses; For the purposes of the protocol, avoid the “no-flush” variant of the vitamin.

Can Microdosing Really Change Your Brain? (7)

Due to niacin's role as a vasodilator, it's believed that it distributes the benefits of psilocybin more thoroughly throughout the body, including the nerves at the end of the peripheral nervous system — where, according to Stamets, most of neurogenesis actually occurs. Niacin also transports GABA (a neurotransmitter that plays a role in the regulation of anxiety and restlessness) across the blood-brain barrier. Stamets states in a 2018 patent filing that its presence in the stack “enhances neurogenic benefits' by psilocybin. Due to its initially uncomfortable side effect of hot flashes, the ultimate purpose of niacin as part of the Stamets Stack is to prevent overuse.

Note that the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of niacin is 14 to 16 milligrams and that the stack calls for a much higher dose. Research suggests that niacin is unlikely to be toxic in healthy adults unless taken in high doses.ab 2.000 mg pro Tag. Although, asmentioned in a Stamets patentMedical professionals can monitor patients who take more than 500 milligrams daily. The adage “start low, go slow, stay low” fits well with niacin and this protocol; high dosages are a likely culprit for potential unwanted side effects.

Warning: Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, including but not limited to liver or kidney disease, B3 vitamin sensitivity, alcoholism, and potential pharmaceutical interactions should consult a physician before taking large doses of niacin.

Stamets stack dosages

Paul Stametsrecommendsdifferent dosage ranges for each element included in the Stamets microdosing stack. The following guide is based on a person weighing 74 kg:

  • Psilocybin Mushrooms:0.1 to 1 gram dried mushrooms (with probable perception effects near 0.5 grams and above)
  • lion's mane: 5 to 20 grams fresh (or 50 to 200 milligrams of extract containing Erinacin and Hericenone)
  • Niacin: 101 to 200 milligrams

In part, the dosage should be determined by body weight; Individuals weighing less than 154 pounds should start on the lower side of the scale, while those weighing more than 154 pounds may benefit from a dose closer to the high end of the recommended range. In any case, it's a good idea to start low with any psychedelic substance to learn your body's responsiveness to the compounds and how they affect you. It should also be noted that there are natural variations in the psilocybin content of shrooms - some more than others - and these differences can be further complicated by the way the shrooms were grown and stored.

Paul Stamets' microdosing protocol

The Stamets Stack comes with two slightly varying microdosing schedules. At Stamets' debut appearance at the Joe Rogan Experience in 2017, he recommended a repetitive regimen consisting of five days of microdosing followed by two days off. In 2019, his advice had changed to reflect a four-day on, three-day off model. In both cases, taking the stack two to three days a week anecdotally reduces tolerance to psilocybin.

Accounts also vary as to the recommended duration of the nootropics stacking routine; Some microdosers and psychonauts continue on the 5:2 or 4:3 plan for extended periods of time — even indefinitely — while others discuss using the stack for a month at a time before taking a longer tolerance reset of two to 10 minutes do four weeks.

Read:WHat you should know about microdosing for anxiety

(Video) Your Brain On Shrooms

Other microdosing protocols

The Stamets Stack can be contrasted with another established microdosing protocol developed by James Fadiman. Fadiman introduced his own microdosing protocol in his 2011 book,The Psychedelics Explorer Guide. The Fadiman protocol, touted for promoting productivity, focus, and emotional regulation, involves microdosing a psychedelic compound every fourth day. Fadiman's protocol developed for LSD was expanded to include psilocybin.

Need access to mushrooms?
Secure your supply with DoubleBlind!

Experienced microdosers often experiment with both protocols, often citing the pros and cons of each method; some claim that the Stamets Stack is the more robust and effective mental health promoting protocolmicrodose.mewas developed in collaboration with health research firm Quantified Citizen and the Canadian arm ofMultidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies(CARDS).

Note: The Stamets Stack is not a medically approved protocol for brain health or any other disease. Its potential risks are unknown. In addition, the niacin dosages proposed by Stamets in public debate far exceed the recommended daily allowance established by the National Institutes of Health. Therefore, this information is for educational purposes and should not be used in lieu of medical advice or treatment. Consume at your own risk. The Stamets team declined comment on this article.

If you are looking for peer support during or after a psychedelic experience, please contact usFireside Projectby calling or texting 6-2FIRESIDE. Interested in a psychedelic experience but don't know where to start? Get our definitive guide to trusted legal retreat centers, clinical trials, therapists and more.


(Video) How Psychedelics Can Change Your Life, According to Michael Pollan | Opinions | NowThis


1. Psilocybin may ‘reset’ the brain to help manage treatment-resistant depression
(Scientific Reports)
2. Psilocybin Induces Long Lasting Modifications to Brain Connections
3. How to Change Your Mind | Official Trailer | Netflix
4. MICHAEL POLLAN - Psychedelics: How To Change Your Mind 🧠 Part 1 of 2
(London Real)
5. Microdosing Psychedelics
6. Michael Pollan - Psychedelics and How to Change Your Mind | Bioneers
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Gregorio Kreiger

Last Updated: 03/20/2023

Views: 6010

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Gregorio Kreiger

Birthday: 1994-12-18

Address: 89212 Tracey Ramp, Sunside, MT 08453-0951

Phone: +9014805370218

Job: Customer Designer

Hobby: Mountain biking, Orienteering, Hiking, Sewing, Backpacking, Mushroom hunting, Backpacking

Introduction: My name is Gregorio Kreiger, I am a tender, brainy, enthusiastic, combative, agreeable, gentle, gentle person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.