The Lab

Case Study: Microdosing For Courage To Create A Fulfilling Change


With the opening of Third Wave’s new Alchemist Academy, we wanted to share a recent case study about one entrepreneur’s journey to find a more fulfilling career without losing financial security. Microdosing with LSD and psilocybin played a significant role in his transition. This article explores Michael’s* experience and contextualizes it with studies on the way psychedelics impact our expectations of future events.

Unsatisfying Work and Beginning Microdosing

Michael had a successful career in the tech industry, which earned him a stable and comfortable salary. Although he found the work environment toxic, he ignored his discontent because he feared pursuing new opportunities that lacked the financial security of his current position.

Michael’s situation is very common. A Gallup poll conducted in the first half of 2021 found that 64% of Americans are disengaged in their work and workplace. And 15% of those employees are “actively disengaged” and “report miserable work experiences and are generally poorly managed.” On top of this, a Harvard Business Review study revealed that less than half of American employees trust the company for which they work. In fact, 15% say that they put “very little” or “no trust at all” in their employer.

Despite these bleak statistics about workplace satisfaction, 60% of Americans at least feel that their jobs are secure, according to a Pew Research Center study. So, many people remain in jobs that they do not find meaningful and where they mistrust their employers simply to keep earning a stable paycheck.

But Michael found a way out of this toxic cycle after experiencing an acute knee injury.

While he was recovering from surgery, a friend gifted him a vial of LSD and introduced him to the basics of microdosing. Having to lay low put Michael in a period of deep reflection and he discovered Third Wave while researching microdosing online. In Michael’s words, the website

“was really helpful in providing a lot of data and research, which made me more comfortable.” He realized: “Microdosing is something that is beginning to gain notice and popularity.”

That information gave him the confidence to begin experimenting with a microdosing protocol.

He began microdosing with 10 micrograms of LSD every three days, which he eventually bumped up to 15-20 micrograms depending on the context.

Transformation Through Microdosing

Very quickly, the microdosing had an effect on Michael’s perception of his work. He could no longer ignore the toxic work environment and the fact that what he was doing didn’t align with his values.

Most significantly, however, Michael had newfound confidence to set out on his own and pursue independent work in the wellness industry, about which he was truly passionate.

In Michael’s words:

“My risk tolerance went way up. I was able to quiet the ‘Mom and Dad voices’ in my head that say, ‘No, you got to stay in the corporate and stable position.’ Instead, I was able to take the time to push pause and lean into the things that I really want to do.”

Michael’s experience is supported by some interesting psychedelics research. A 2018 Imperial College study found that psilocybin made patients with treatment-resistant depression significantly more accurate at predicting the occurrence of future life events. Typically, people who are depressed or anxious experience pessimism bias, which means that they are likely to predict that future events will turn out poorly. However, these forecasts tend to be highly inaccurate. The evidence suggests that psychedelics can help us perceive the future more clearly.

Moreover, numerous studies have explored how psychedelics mitigate our fear response. For example, a 2016 Nature study concluded that LSD impairs fear recognition, while a 2014 study in the Journal of Nervous and Medical Disease revealed how LSD eases fear of death.

The bottom line: due to microdosing, Michael was less afraid of quitting his job and had a more accurately positive outlook on his future as an entrepreneur.

And, very quickly, things started unfolding in his favor.

“Within a couple of months, I was able to land three really interesting startup clients and was able to cultivate a new consulting practice out of that. Ultimately, I was able to find a lot more happiness in what I was doing.”

Still, Michael was not ready to commit fully to independent consulting, so he joined another company in the tech space that he thought would be a better fit, while still doing his work in the wellness industry on the side. At the same time, he began experimenting with alternating between microdosing LSD and psilocybin. Michael observed that these two psychedelics had different effects: LSD increased his productivity, while psilocybin heightened his creativity. But, most importantly, his microdosing practice brought into sharper focus the misalignment he continued to feel at his tech job.

Ultimately, microdosing, in Michael’s words,

“gave me a desire to do something that wasn’t just going to be about financial income but was going to be tied to a feeling of purpose, a feeling of mission. In the past, I really struggled with fear of financial uncertainty. But microdosing gave me the comfort to know that everything’s going be okay, that I’ve got some pretty great strengths to bring into this world. And that I’m not going to fully know exactly what I’m going to be able to do with these strengths until I take a leap. So I think microdosing gave me a lot more courage and it gave me confidence.”

Now, only one year after taking this leap, Michael reports that he’s making 80-90% of his previous tech industry income in his new career as a wellness entrepreneur. Psychedelics helped him realize that his fears about the financial future were inaccurately pessimistic, and now he’s actually experiencing the positive outcomes—financial and personal—that came with making a change.

Editor’s note:

If Michael’s situation resonates with you, but you’re not quite sure how to navigate your own career shift, Third Wave’s upcoming Alchemist Academy program can help. We’ll explore not only microdosing protocols, but also the effects of larger doses of various psychedelics, and teach you how to harness these powerful tools to make lasting, meaningful changes in your life.

*Michael is a pseudonym. Quotes edited for clarity.

Gregory Frederick Ferenstein

Director of Research

Gregory Frederick Ferenstein, M.Sc., has been writing on innovation and psychology for over a decade. His peer-reviewed research was published in the leading journal of its field, and his work appears in top media outlets, including New York Times, The Washington Post, and the BBC.

After designing large-scale economic reform in Congress, he conducted field research in Silicon Valley and become convinced that mental health must be a national priority.

He is now dedicated to advancing world-class, personalized mental healthcare. He holds a Master’s in Mathematical Behavior Sciences, taught statistics for journalism at the University of Texas, and resides in Austin.

Samantha Morse, Ph.D

Writer & Coach

Samantha Morse, Ph.D, was an English professor and high school teacher before turning to freelance writing and editing while she traveled the U.S. full time in a self-converted Ford Transit van. Her studies in English taught her the power of stories told by others, while her work with plant medicines taught her the power of stories we tell ourselves.

Samantha has explored expanded states of consciousness through meditation, breathwork, and plants for over ten years. As a participant in Third Wave’s Coaching Certification Program, she’s excited to build her own transformational coaching practice.

Connect with Samantha at and Instagram @ascendinbend.

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