Meet The People Who Microdose Psychedelics To Treat ADHD
A smartly dressed, relaxed-looking man greeted me on the other end of the Skype call, in Seattle’s early morning. I apologized for calling him so early. “Not a problem,” he replied cheerfully. “I’m usually up around this time for work.”
I don’t know what exactly I was expecting from someone with adult ADHD, but Mike didn’t stick to any stereotypes. Although anyone who has turned to psychedelics for self-improvement is unlikely to be much of a conformist.
Mike, a Territory Manager for a building materials manufacturer, had reached out to me in the hopes of spreading his message: “I have a lot to say about how microdosing helps combat the negative effects of living with adult ADHD.”
Over our video call, Mike described how taking a tiny dose of psychedelics every other day helps his work performance, enriches his daily life, and has, remarkably, helped him quit his ADHD medication.
FIGHTING FOR FOCUS
Mike was diagnosed with ADHD at seven years old: “I remember being told that I have ADHD very vividly; sitting on my bed in my childhood home as my mom broke the news.” He describes his ADHD symptoms as “A mix of impulsivity with lack of mindfulness. An inability to focus on one thought… it can be very difficult to do anything.”
He was immediately prescribed Ritalin and remained on medication until he was 16. It was when a friend described how he “lost his personality” every time he took Concerta that he decided to leave the medication behind. Ultimately, he preferred his ADHD symptoms over being an identity-free zombie.
Mike found himself back on medication at 22 after struggling to find focus at college. After several years of switching between Adderall and Vyvanse, he ran into problems. “That was when my tolerance went through the roof. I briefly decided to attain a second script because I thought I needed more amphetamines.”
“An inability to focus on one thought… it can be very difficult to do anything.”
SERENDIPITY IN SAN FRANCISCO
It was at this crisis point that Mike found himself at the Golden Gate Park, taking 110ug of LSD, with a group of close friends. It was an experience that changed his life. “I have a firm belief that my first dose of LSD cured me of the hyperactivity of ADHD. In some way it allowed me to take control of my uncontrollable symptoms.
“It came to my attention that I had so much more control over myself, my thoughts, my physicality, my movements, my emotions, everything was slowed down and kept my focus. I was able to follow a single thought for longer than I had before. With ADHD I could hardly stay with one thought, let alone finish it out and reflect on it later. This was what I was able to do throughout the entire trip.”
Having experienced a clear perspective on his ADHD for the first time, Mike decided he wanted to make the most of the benefits LSD gave him. He began microdosing, taking less than a tenth of a “Golden Gate Park” dose, allowing him to reconnect to the feelings of focus and calm he’d experienced back then:
“I have been microdosing since November 2016. Most of the time I am microdosing 8-10ug every other day. It works for me and I never feel faded or tired or worn out.”
“As well as allowing me to control my ADHD, microdosing gives me increased feelings of joy, energy, focus, and an overall better attitude towards not only others around me, but a better attitude towards myself and who I am.”
“I have a firm belief that my first dose of LSD cured me of the hyperactivity of ADHD.”
MEDICATION MINUS THE MOOD SWINGS
Compared to amphetamines, microdosing is a world apart, says Mike. “In my opinion, the ups and downs of those medicines can be exhausting and ineffective after a certain point. While Adderall and Vyvanse have, for the most part, assisted me in important parts of life – finishing school, allowing me to think about what I want and how to go about things I’d otherwise refuse to do like everyday chores – these medicines have diminishing returns.
“Microdosing allows me to use my brain the way I want to – I can explore single thoughts one at a time, and I don’t need to worry about tolerance or the unpleasant come-down of amphetamines.”
Mike says that microdosing has allowed him to wean off amphetamines altogether. He can function in his busy life, building relationships with customers and developing new business. And he can focus on his own life without feeling like a slave to pharmaceuticals.
“I’d recommend microdosing to anyone with ADHD who is desperate to get free of amphetamines,” he told me. “Although I’ve accepted that ‘medications’ are a part of my life, and will be for the foreseeable future, microdosing is a medication that helps me accept myself for who I am, rather than dulling my identity.”
“Microdosing allows me to use my brain the way I want to.”
MIKE ISN’T ALONE
I soon came across another adult ADHD sufferer shortly after my meeting with Mike. Also diagnosed with ADHD at a young age, Marcel was happy to share his story in hopes of helping others in his position.
Marcel, a (soon-to-be) mechanical engineer from Germany, describes his ADHD in a similar way to Mike. He finds it extremely hard to concentrate on one thought, which severely hampers his education and causes him to miss countless appointments, deadlines, and job opportunities. He took Ritalin for a decade, which somewhat helped his concentration and anxiety, although its significantly diminishing returns led him to quit the drug.
It was a radio feature that tuned Marcel into the idea of microdosing. After only a few weeks of microdosing the LSD analogue 1P-LSD, he decided it was for him. “Microdosing not only lightened my mood,” he said. “It also helped me develop better self control. Those tiny paper snips surprisingly strengthened my sanity and wisdom.” Marcel decided to stock up on a long-term supply of microdoses.
For a year and a half, Marcel has been microdosing with 1P-LSD daily. But it’s not all smooth sailing. Marcel emphasises that microdosing can be a powerful catalyst for change; as long as you are willing to do some work yourself. “I recognize this after microdosing for a fairly long time now. Without continued effort, the brain will regress into defunct patterns. Microdosing, without being a miracle cure, creates enormous room for growth. Yet it is still up to oneself to cultivate better life skills.”
(We don’t recommend microdosing every day – Jim Fadiman’s microdosing protocol leaves two days between doses, to defend against tolerance build-up)
Do the benefits rely on having experienced a full-size dose, similar to that which introduced Mike to microdosing? Marcel doesn’t think so: “A couple of friends from my local ADHD support group with whom I shared microdoses reported distinctive subjective improvements, nearly all of them without any previous exposure to psychedelic substances. I actually do think microdosing is an effective therapy option in and of itself, without requiring a full-strength psychedelic trip.”
Curious about supporting your mental health through psychedelics? Check out Third Wave’s vetted directory of psychedelic therapists.
In a short space of time, I had come across two people with evocative stories about the life-changing effects of microdosing. Imagine how many ADHD microdosers are out there, gradually leaving behind the bottles of Ritalin and breaking free from the amphetamine tolerance. In the preliminary results of James Fadiman’s recent microdosing study, released earlier this year, his team suggests that around 31% of microdosers are self-treating adult ADD/ADHD. This is nearly as many as those microdosing to treat depression.
Pharmaceutical companies take notice: people with ADHD are looking for something that will help them battle their own symptoms without numbing their identity. Microdosing is giving them that chance at healing without the cost, side-effects, or impracticalities of prescription amphetamines.
Stories like Mike’s and Marcel’s are only just beginning to come to the forefront of the microdosing movement. We could be witnessing the start of a paradigm shift in mental health treatment – all thanks to tiny strips of paper imbued with mind-opening molecules.
If you’d like to discover how microdosing can help you meet your unique goals, check out our Microdosing Course. We’ll guide you through the basics—then dive much deeper, providing you with step-by-step instructions to personalize your experience.
I m a 64 year old woman with ADD and depression. I grew up in the 70’s and was not diagnosed with ADD. I did do LSD a couple of times and loved it. In my 40’s i figured out i had ADD. I was prescribed ritalin and adderall, never really did anything for me. Ive smoked marijuana throughout time.
Recently, i have started eating my marijuana. I have found that if i just eat a small amount of marijuana its like microdosing. I dont get high i just get relaxed. I like it. I dont like getting wasted on marijuana but i like the very small dose. Can i get any info on where to get LSD to microdose on.
A dealer says
You can grow your own shrooms easyli.
All you need is a magic mushroom growkit, bought on the web.
You will need something to dry them and a presicion scale to weight them precisely.
A microdose is anywere from 0.1 to 1.0 grams.
And off you go to a more aware life.
Diane Kay says
Hello. Can you send me a link or some better search terms for “magic mushroom growkit”? I guess I was thinking such a kit comes with some sort of “starter” spores, but it looks like I’ll have to find those myself? I guess it’s unclear to me. I’d like to microdose for severe bipolar depression. I’ve tried it all. I want to do Ketamine infusions but it’s incredibly expensive and not covered by insurance.
Shante Little says
Hey Diane! You can find some helpful information in our guide here: https://thethirdwave.co/psychedelics/shrooms/grow-psilocybin-mushrooms/ We’ve got a couple links down at the bottom with tips re: spores!
Hi, I’m an artist. I’ve suffered with depression for years. I took “shrooms” LSD, through my youth. I always had an amazing experience with these interactions. Ok, now I’ve been on antidepressants — I’m so burnt out with these drugs. I want to go into exploring other help…
Let me know how I can move into this paradigm…
Any discussion on age? How early could an individual start micro dosing? 16-17? Serious ADHD on medication, Concerta which is beginning to lose it’s effect. School is becoming a disaster.
I know someone who is 15 and started about two months ago.The amount of joy and calmness has really been a eye opener.Alot of people has said to her that she has became “better” and less impulsive.
But I honestly think it depends on person to person
As Yana said, it might help.
Though if you’re under 25 you will want to be careful about frequency and dose size, your brain is still developing and is particularly vulnerable to many of the negative effects of narcotics.
I don’t have any numbers, nor am I saying you should or shouldn’t try, just a reminder to be mindful of the risks you’re juggling.
I would not recomend taking LSD or LSA under the age of 26 even at a microdose. The age is actually arbitrary, but by then you should know if you have schizophrenia or not. I came of age in the late 80’s in the mid Atlantic region of the US, where I could get
Blotter easier then good weed. I got plenty of experience with LSD & have witnessed first hand the on set of this terrible affliction. Now the LSD & LSA doesn’t cause it, but it will bring on symptoms in a hurry. If there is a test for schizophrenia, I would recommend that you do that 1st before you try any of these remedies. I am looking of a reliable source to be able to micro dose, currently I try to use LSA, but the learning curve for extraction & isolation is steep.
Dhyana D says
Thank you for this article. I am 33, and was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD when I was 18. Adderal wrecked my life and sent me into an isolated and lonely tailspin. Vyvance has been better, but still affects my personality and causes me to be much more close hearted. I am in California and appreciate any additional information that you can offer.
Can anyone comment on combining LSD microdoses with ADD/ADHD medication? Thanks
Googled the topic to see if anyone else, diagnosed with adult ADHD, found resolve through micro dosing. Stumbled across the micro dosing method just this year ( I’d previously taken LSD recreationally and at a ‘full’ does 3 times in my life in the last 20 years but did not correlate beneficial changes , offsetting my ADHD ). A calm and clarity id only previously found through conventional medication was a result from my newly found method of micro dosing, but with LSD (at one-tenth dose between one-tenth to one-fifth of a typical recreational dose) I’m able to keep my personality , and not a quite cold and silent detachment I’ve found with my prescribed prescribed. Its great to see others with our condition can find solace in this intriguing substance. I just hope the ridiculous stigma and legal restrictions will soon unravel
Louisa Kyriacou says
Hello, I am 26 and have ADHD!
I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 9 after my teachers said I was day dreamy unfocused and too hyper in class.
I have always been a very creative, adventurous and curious child. But recently I really feel my personality is becoming vacant and that my medication (now lisdexamfetamine) is dulling my normal ADHD creative thought process, information absorption and proactiveness.
I took concerta and ritalin for 12 years through high school.
After I finished university I went through a lot of experiences that triggered a series of panic attacks, anxiety and depression. I later found out that dispite my experiences that cause this my medication (Concerta) began making me act emotionally out of control (according to my ADHD doctor) as these attacks would happen at a certain time of the day, when they began wearing off.
The concerta did wake me up, and half an hour after taking it would allow me a brief window of hyperactive thought whilst being able to multi absorb lots of information at once, whilst simultaneously creating new ideas…. until it kicked in and made me super focus.
I am not sure of this new medication Lisdexamfetamine as it really is making my personality feel dull and unimaginative unlike my usual self!
I am interested in this new psychedelic therapy research and was wondering if micro dosing LSD or other psychoactive substances will help my ADHD to focus and still have my personality?
I want to excell my creative thinking but still be able to focus which is hard to balance with ADHD!
What would you all recommend?