Is Microdosing Mushrooms Safe and Effective for Mental Health? Here’s What Science Says

Many people are looking for alternative ways to cope with mental health challenges, such as depression, anxiety, and stress. Some of them are turning to a practice called microdosing, which involves taking very small amounts of psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin mushrooms.

Psilocybin is the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, which can cause hallucinations and altered states of consciousness when taken in larger doses. However, microdosing involves taking only a fraction of a typical dose, usually between 5 to 10 percent, several times a week. The idea is to get the benefits of the drug without the psychedelic effects.

But what are the benefits of microdosing mushrooms? And is it safe and effective?

According to some anecdotal reports and observational studies, microdosing mushrooms may improve mood, creativity, focus, and well-being. Some people also claim that it helps them cope with emotional issues, enhance their spiritual awareness, and increase their appreciation of life.

For example, Joseph, an Austin-based designer who asked to withhold his full name for privacy reasons, said he started microdosing mushrooms five years ago to deal with depression. He said he noticed a positive change in his mood and energy level almost immediately.

“It just kind of boosted my morale,” he said. “I was in a little bit better mood. I had a little bit more pep to my step. I was having a little bit more fun, feeling a little bit more excited about things.”

Erin Royal, a bartender in Seattle who microdoses one or two times a week with mushrooms she forages from nearby forests, said it makes her feel more optimistic and connected to nature.

“It’s akin to walking outside and the sun is suddenly out,” she said. “It reminds you that you are a person who can feel positive things and notice things that are beautiful.”

However, not everyone is convinced that microdosing mushrooms is a good idea. Some scientists are skeptical that the benefits reported by microdosers are real or lasting, and that they may be due to a placebo effect or other factors. They also warn that there are potential risks and side effects of taking psychedelics regularly, even in small doses.

For instance, some people may experience negative reactions, such as anxiety, paranoia, nausea, or headaches. Others may have interactions with other medications or substances. There is also a legal risk involved in obtaining and using illegal drugs.

More scientific evidence is needed to support the claims of microdosing mushrooms. Most of the studies on this topic have been small, uncontrolled, or based on self-reports. There is a need for more rigorous and large-scale research to determine the safety and efficacy of microdosing psychedelics for mental health.

One such study is currently underway at Imperial College London, where researchers are conducting the first placebo-controlled trial of microdosing psilocybin for depression. The study aims to recruit 60 participants who will receive either psilocybin capsules or placebo capsules for four weeks and undergo various assessments of their mood and cognition.

The researchers hope that this study will provide more reliable data on the effects of microdosing mushrooms on depression and other mental health outcomes.

Until then, microdosing mushrooms remains an experimental practice that should be approached with caution and informed consent. While some people may find it helpful and harmless, others may not experience any benefits or encounter unwanted consequences.

As Joseph said: “It’s not a magic bullet. It’s not going to solve all your problems. It’s just something that might help you along the way.”


(1) Microdosing Psilocybin Mushrooms May Improve Mental Health and Mood.

(2) Can Microdosing Psychedelics Improve Your Mental Health?.

(3) What is Microdosing, and Does it Work? – The New York Times.

(4) Can microdosing mushrooms reduce anxiety, depression, and stress?.

(5) Microdosing Mushrooms Guide – Microdosing Psilocybin, Benefits & More.

Published by Ashley Ryan, M.S.

Ashley is an educator and coach who earned her M.S. from Colorado State University.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: