How microdose cycling can help you achieve noticeable results — and maintain them for the long-run.

While there's nothing wrong with being health obsessed, haphazardly microdosing each day may delay microdosing's benefits, or fail to achieve them altogether.

That's where microdose cycling comes in.

Cycling isn't new to the personal care world. Bodybuilders and wellness aficionados have been cycling supplements for years to avoid building a tolerance to active ingredients and maximize performance benefits.

But what is microdose cycling, and why should you do it? We'll answer those questions for you in this article, along with 6 of the most well-known microdosing protocols and their cycling periods.

But first, a word on microdosing.

Why do people microdose?

Microdosing began gaining popularity between 2010 and 2013 in Silicon Valley as a way to increase energy and productivity to help brainstorm and tackle roadblocks in strategies and coding.

While some folks still look to microdosing to improve their professional efficiency, there are a number of other clinically studied benefits. Most commonly:

  • better focus
  • enhanced creativity
  • relief from depression
  • better energy balance and metabolism
  • less anxiety, generally and socially
  • emotional openness
  • help with quitting coffee, pharmaceutical drugs, or other substances
  • relief from menstrual pain
  • heightened spiritual awareness
  • improved gut health, including relief from IBS

These benefits can be attributed to psilocybin's ability to promote healthy serotonin activity and induce rapid and sustained positive changes in brain connectivity.

That's because — in addition to regulating mood and cognition — serotonin is involved in a number of bodily processes, including:

  • metabolism
  • sleep
  • blood clotting
  • energy balance
  • digestion
  • body sugar balance
  • cardiac function
  • liver function
  • immune system response
  • pain production

Cycling ensures that each dose you take continues to support these functions and deliver the therapeutic benefits you've come to love.

So, what is cycling, and how does it help you achieve these benefits more effectively and rapidly?

What is microdose cycling?

Microdose cycling means microdosing psychedelics for set periods of time with breaks in between. It depends on the microdose schedule, or protocol, you're following, but it involves following a schedule for a few weeks with short 1-3 day breaks between microdosing days, then taking longer breaks to reset your tolerance altogether.

For example, the Stamets Protocol calls for 4 days of microdosing followed by a 3-day break. After 4 weeks of following this protocol, it's recommended you take a 2 – 4 week rest. This completes one full Stamets Protocol cycle.

At this point, you can either repeat the Protocol or experiment with a new one. We've included a list of the top 6 protocols and their cycling periods below.

Benefits of microdose cycling.

Cycling your microdose supplements is beneficial for a number of reasons. Our bodies have an incredible propensity to adapt to external factors and changes in the environment. It’s this innate ability that allows us to gain muscle after lifting heavy weights, or lose body fat when we restrict calories.

But our adaptability can also mean that we become "immune" to the effects of supplements. Exposing our bodies to psilocybin can build up a tolerance over time, so more is needed to achieve the same results.

Microdose cycling helps you avoid this tolerance buildup and guarantees continued health and performance benefits.

The different microdosing protocols.

There are many different microdosing protocols. Some are based on science, and some on anecdotal evidence — enough to formulate testable hypotheses. All of them schedule 2 – 4 weeks of rest after a completed microdosing cycle of 4 – 8 weeks. This break or reset — is vital to avoid tolerance and thus maintain the healing effects of microdosing psychedelics. To determine if a microdosing protocol is suitable for you, we recommend trying each microdosing schedule for at least one month.

1. Stamet's Stack (Stamet's Protocol)

Paul Stamets, a world-renowned mycologist, author, and advocate for medicinal mushrooms, developed and tested a novel microdosing formula: Psilocybin mushrooms, Vitamin B3 (as Niacin), and the adaptogenic, neuroprotective mushroom Lion’s Mane. This microdosing stacking method has a positive and lasting effect on the brain, promoting neurotrophic growth factors from your own stem cells and protecting it from oxidative stress.

He coined the term “stacking” to describe the process of combining these ingredients. Find the Stamets Stack ingredients in Brain Stack, our refined take on Paul Stamet's formula.

The Stamets Protocol is an excellent basis for a first microdosing experiment. It assumes a 7-day schedule, which you follow for a 4-week period, with a reset period of 2 – 4 weeks with no microdose. This completes one full Stamets Protocol microdosing cycle.

How to microdose according to the Stamets Protocol:​

  • Day 1 – 4: microdose days (e.g. Monday - Thursday)
  • Day 5 – 7: afterglow days (e.g. Friday - Sunday)

Microdose: 4 days
Schedule: 1 week
Period: 4 weeks
Rest: 2 – 4 weeks

2. Fadiman Protocol

The Fadiman Protocol (also known as the Beginner's Protocol) is the most well-known microdosing protocol. It’s named after Dr. James Fadiman, who created this protocol to observe the effects of mircodosing by clearly distinguishing between microdosing days and non-microdosing days.

Dr. James Fadiman’s protocol is an excellent basis for a first microdosing experiment. It assumes a 3-day schedule, which you follow for a 4 – 8 week period, with a reset period of 2 – 4 weeks with no microdose. This completes one full Fadiman Protocol microdosing cycle.

How to microdose according to the Fadiman Protocol:

  • Day 1: microdose day
  • Day 2: afterglow day
  • Day 3: afterglow day

Microdose: 1 day
Schedule: 3 days
Period: 4 – 8 weeks
Rest: 2 – 4 weeks

Watch this video in which Dr. James Fadiman shares the "why" behind the Fadiman Protocol with the Microdosing Institute:

3. My Supply Co. Protocol (every other day)

Early stage research, the experience of microdosing coaches, and users in online forums indicate that some people benefit more from microdosing every second day. This is especially the case when microdosing for medical purposes or psychological challenges such as depression, social anxiety, ADHD/ADD, migraine, or cluster headaches. There is no official term for it, so we dubbed it the My Supply Co. Protocol.  

This microdosing protocol should be chosen carefully. If you want to start microdosing for medical purposes, don’t experiment by yourself; consult your doctor or health practitioner first and seek guidance from a microdosing coach.

The MSC Protocol assumes a 2-day schedule, which you follow for a 4 – 8 week period, with a reset period of 2 – 4 weeks with no microdose. This completes one full MSC Protocol microdosing cycle.

How to microdose according to the MSC Protocol:​

  • Day 1: microdose day
  • Day 2: afterglow day

Microdose: 1 day
Schedule: 2 days
Period: 4 – 8 weeks
Rest: 2 – 4 weeks

4. Two-days-a-week Protocol

When microdosing every other day, the microdosing days fall on different days of the week each time. This is not ideal if you prefer a fixed scheme that matches with a weekly work or social routine. If that’s the case, we advise choosing two fixed days in a week that fit your schedule best, and always keep at least one day between each microdosing days.

The TDAW Protocol assumes a 7-day schedule with 2 fixed microdosing days, which you follow for a 4 – 8 week period, with a reset period of 2 – 4 weeks with no microdose. This completes one full TDAW Protocol microdosing cycle.

How to microdose according to the TDAW Protocol:

  • Monday: microdose day
  • Tuesday: afterglow day
  • Wednesday: afterglow day
  • Thursday: microdose day

Microdose: 2 fixed days
Schedule: 7 days
Period: 4 – 8 weeks
Rest: 2 – 4 weeks

Watch this video about how filmmaker Tyler Mann became one of the many to find relief from cluster headaches — AKA suicide headaches — thanks to the power of psychedelic mushrooms.

5. Nightcap Protocol

Some people experience slight fatigue while microdosing magic mushrooms. If this happens to you, you may be taking more than you need to for a microdose. For many, this is also a choice and preference, as it allows them to relax and ease into their night routine. Therefore, we devised the Nightcap Protocol. This involves microdosing every second day before bedtime to take advantage of this weariness and get a decent night’s sleep.

People who follow this microdosing protocol report having more vivid dreams and waking up feeling more bright and refreshed.

When using the Nightcap Protocol, we recommend taking the microdose at least an hour before going to bed. Mushrooms, truffles, and B.Caapi vine can be microdosed using the Nightcap Protocol, but do not use this protocol when microdosing with LSD, 1cP-LSD, or 1P-LSD!

There are two options for Nightcap Protocol:

How to microdose according to the Nightcap Protocol:

OPTION 1

Following the My Supply Co. Protocol:

  • Night 1: microdose day
  • Night 2: afterglow day

Microdose: 1 day
Schedule: 2 days
Period: 4 – 8 weeks
Rest: 2 – 4 weeks

Option 2:

Following the Fadiman Protocol:

  • Night 1: microdose day
  • Night 2: afterglow day
  • Night 3: afterglow day

Microdose: 1 day
Schedule: 3 days
Period: 4 – 8 weeks
Rest: 2 – 4 weeks

6. Intuitive microdosing

Another way of microdosing is to do it entirely intuitively, with only one rule: you always leave at least one day between the days you take a microdose. People who have followed any kind of microdosing protocol for one or two cycles often switch to a more intuitive way of microdosing.

Which microdosing protocol suits you?

The best way to discover which microdosing protocol suits you best is simply by trying them out. We recommend starting with Stamet's Protocol or the Fadiman Protocol. The important thing is to become aware of the contrast between an ordinary and a microdosing day. To properly investigate what microdosing can do for you, we recommend writing your observations down in a journal or tracking them via an app.

After your first cycle, or if you experience adverse effects, you can decide to switch to another microdosing protocol. Now you are ready to get started with microdosing!

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