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Microdosing Protocols, Schedules, Frequency, and Tolerances

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the microdosing basics, you’ll likely want to figure out what frequency is best for you. Sticking to a specific schedule will make it easier to see positive changes throughout your microdosing journey. It will also help to prevent you from developing a tolerance.

Three dried mushrooms with caps in foreground and stems in the background, all over Azza mushroom microdose chocolate bar

There are six popular schedules, or microdosing protocols, that are generally recommended in the microdosing community. We’ll explore each of them, and let you know why following a microdosing schedule is so important.

What is a Microdosing Protocol?

When you get a new jar of microdosing capsules, it can be tempting to take them every day. More = better, right?

Well, this isn’t the case for microdosing. In fact, microdosing every day is not recommended—regardless if it’s psilocybin mushrooms or LSD. They both affect the brain’s serotonin receptors, which downregulate after regular exposure.

Psychedelic tolerance—even with microdosing

In other words, even at small doses, consuming these substances does build a tolerance, where the effects of the drug decrease after further consumption, requiring higher doses to maintain initial efficacy. They’re also documented to produce a cross-tolerance, meaning you shouldn’t mix and match microdoses of LSD and mushrooms daily either.

While psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms are physiologically non-addictive, their impact on 5-HT2A serotonin receptors means that less are available to bind to psilocin. After a period of continuous use, someone could eat pounds of shrooms (though we wouldn’t recommend this), but without activation by the serotonin receptors, no effects would be produced.

Yes, pounds of mushrooms are vastly different from the teeny-tiny amount typically consumed during microdosing, but the general impacts of tolerance still apply. Over time, someone could experience a decrease in benefits after microdosing every day (it’s a waste of money, too!).

Tolerance is dependent on a range of factors—age, weight, neurobiology, genetics, the potency of the mushrooms, and factors that we don’t understand yet. So, how can you know how often to microdose? That’s where the microdosing protocols come in.

Microdosing schedules

Years of anecdotal research have contributed to two main microdosing protocols, as well as others that have emerged as the microdosing community has grown. While it’s recommended to experiment with microdosing schedules to determine what’s best for you, you can rest assured that the protocols listed below have been tried and tested by thousands who’ve come before you.

They all recognize the importance of a break. The breaks in between microdose days are just as valuable as the days in which they’re consumed. They act as a “reset” allowing the brain to return to its baseline state and give you time to reflect on the difference between microdose days and “normal” ones.

Think of these protocols as a starting off point, helping you gauge your experience and make adjustments where needed.

6 Microdosing Protocols

1. The Fadiman Protocol

James Fadiman, Ph.D. is the psychedelics advocate and writer who’s also referred to as the “Father of Microdosing.” While Indigenous peoples likely were the first to microdose and Albert Hoffman—the chemist who initially synthesized LSD—is credited for it formally, Fadiman popularized it.

Since then, he’s collected data and anecdotal reports from microdosers around the globe, which helped him develop the Fadiman Protocol—which is recommended for those new to microdosing.

It follows this general schedule (alternate the start day to suit your own schedule):

  • Sunday: Microdose

  • Monday: Afterglow

  • Tuesday: Baseline

  • Wednesday: Microdose

  • Thursday: Afterglow

  • Friday: Baseline

  • Saturday: Microdose

Essentially, it follows a one day on, two days off pattern. Following this cycle, you should notice a “window” of effects over two days: the effects of the microdose, then an “afterglow” that lingers the following day. The third day allows you to return to your baseline state, giving you an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the beneficial effects of the previous days.

A pause of two to four weeks is recommended after ten cycles, or roughly a month.

2. The Stamets Stack Protocol

There’s probably no better known name in the world of mushrooms than Paul Stamets. Not only has he been a key figure in medicinal mushroom research, but he’s also played a role in some of the most important science-backed benefits of microdosing mushrooms.

So it’s no wonder that his own protocol entails both! The Stamets Stack Protocol is designed to promote neurogenesis, or the growth of new connections in the nervous system and brain. To accomplish this, three substances are ‘stacked’ (combined): psilocybin mushrooms, Lion’s Mane mushrooms, and Niacin, a B vitamin.

It follows this schedule (again, the start day can be adjusted based on your schedule):

  • Sunday: Microdose

  • Monday: Microdose:

  • Tuesday: Microdose:

  • Wednesday: Microdose:

  • Thursday: Day off (optional: continue with Lion’s Mane and Niacin)

  • Friday: Day off (optional: continue with Lion’s Mane and Niacin)

  • Saturday: Day off (optional: continue with Lion’s Mane and Niacin)

By combining psilocybin with the other legal components, it’s thought to enhance the neurogenesis of psilocybin, while providing the same benefits on mood, performance, and cognition as the Fadiman Protocol.

After the full cycle of four days on, three days off over a period of a month, a pause of two to four weeks is recommended. Lion’s Mane and Niacin can still be consumed during this break.

If you’re new to the Stamets Stack, you may want to try it out with just psilocybin first (over the period of a month). This will help you gauge the impact of the mushrooms, before adding Lion’s Mane and Niacin.

3. The Microdosing Institute Protocol

Microdosing Institute developed their own protocol after working with clients using microdosing to address certain medical or psychological challenges, like ADHD/ADD, anxiety, depression, cluster headaches, or migraines.

The schedule is easy to follow (alternate start day per your schedule):

  • Sunday: Microdose

  • Monday: Transition day

  • Tuesday: Microdose

  • Wednesday: Transition day

  • Thursday: Microdose

  • Friday: Transition day

  • Saturday: Microdose

After the cycle is repeated for one to two months it should be broken up with a pause of two to four weeks.

4. The Two-Days-A-Week Protocol

What if it’s not practical for you to microdose on a Sunday? What if you have a meeting every Tuesday that you’d like to harness peak performance for? This is where the Two-Days-a-Week Protocol comes in.

It’s not as popular as many of these other protocols, but it is more customizable. It allows you to choose two microdose days of the week to match with your social or work routine. Then, those two days become your regular microdosing days (consistency is key here).

Per your schedule, it would look something like this:

  • Sunday: Day off

  • Monday: Microdose

  • Tuesday: Transition day

  • Wednesday: Baseline

  • Thursday: Microdose

  • Friday: Transition day

  • Saturday: Baseline

Like the others, the cycle can be repeated for one to two months, followed by a pause of two to four weeks.

5. The Intuitive Protocol

After experimenting with one or all of the above protocols, you may realize that a certain pattern or schedule works best for you. This is generally referred to as the Intuitive Protocol—and you’re the designer!

It is recommended that you give these other protocols at least a cycle or two before you develop your own. Then, you can microdose when it feels right, or when you have a work or social demand that it could support.

Once you do start to follow a pattern that works best with your schedule and provides the most benefits, be sure to have a one-day break in between microdose days. You’ll still build up tolerance, even if you’re following your own schedule!

6. The Nightcap Protocol

Ever get a case of “the yawns” after consuming magic mushrooms? This is a common side effect, regardless of dose size. For some people though, a mushroom microdose can lead to stronger feelings of fatigue.

This doesn’t always pair well with a busy work or social schedule, so the Nightcap Protocol emerged to provide people with all the benefits of microdosing, but only when it’s convenient to feel sleepy.

For this protocol, it’s recommended to follow a day on, day off schedule, while taking the mushrooms before going to bed:

  • Sunday: Microdose

  • Monday: Transition day

  • Tuesday: Microdose

  • Wednesday: Transition day

  • Thursday: Microdose

  • Friday: Transition day

  • Saturday: Microdose

You may notice that you get a better night’s sleep, have more vivid dreams, and wake up feeling clear and well-rested. Like the other protocols, a one to two month cycle should be followed up with two to four weeks off.

Try One or Try Them All, But Take Some Time Off

If there’s any practice that encourages self-examination and reflection, it’s microdosing. With any and all of these protocols, it’s crucial to take the time to understand how you respond to them.

Journaling can help you track your process. It can be simple—thoughts, feelings, daily goals, and intentions. After you follow one protocol for a month or two, use your journal entries to reflect on your experience. Then (if need be), switch protocols or experiment with the intuitive approach.

But above all, be sure to take breaks. Having a time to reset isn’t just important from a tolerance standpoint, but it will also help you be able to assess the differences between a microdosing day and a normal day.

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