Mushroom Microdosing is a new and upcoming trend with recreational cannabis users. Many psychedelic substances have been illegal for years, but most recently many of the world’s top experts have made many strides in research regarding psychedelics.
Much of what scientists know about psychedelics work involves serotonin, a chemical that keeps our brains ticking. It is one of the most important neurotransmitters in the brain and has an affect on nearly everything that we do everyday including what mood we are in, and how we process information.
According to the pharmaceutical industry, antidepressants typically to increase the production of serotonin in the brain so that a person feels better. Now psychedelics work a little more directly by copying or “mimicking” the effects of serotonin. This means that one of their main effects is to stimulate a serotonin receptor, located in the prefrontal cortex, called “5-HT2A.”
The stimulation of the 5-HT2A receptor leads to two very important results:
- The production of “Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor” (BDNF). BDNF is “like Miracle-Gro for your brain. It stimulates growth, connections, and activity.”
- The increased transmission of “Glutamate.” Glutamate is the neurotransmitter most responsible for brain functions like cognition, learning, and memory.
Glutamate and BDNF work together in ways that science is still struggling to understand, but it’s become clear that having more of each leads to many of the benefits we all seek from “microdosing”.
Psychedelics allow unique connections to be formed by dampening the activity of an often over-used part of our brain called the “Default Mode Network”.
The Default Mode Network is an area of the brain used for an array of different mental activities, including day-dreaming, self-reflection, and thinking about the past or the future. Some studies suggest that depression is linked to an overactive DMN. It’s possible that a highly active DMN causes us to ruminate, over-analyze ourselves, and step out of the present moment to constantly question the past and the future.
This helps explain why these substances could be used to combat depression and anxiety, and also lead to insights and creative perspectives that otherwise remain inaccessible to us.
What is a FLOW STATE?
All of us, at some point in our lives, have experienced a flow state. The surfer effortlessly riding a big wave, the therapist perfectly in-sync with her client, the salesman working the room in an out of body experience… all are examples of people performing at their best while in flow.
Simply put, flow is truly one of the great experiences of being human.
We have no specific, non-anecdotal evidence to suggest that microdoses of psychedelics can induce flow states – but we know that moderate doses can change the function of the brain in a way very similar to that seen in flow states.
Scientific studies show that moderate doses of psychedelics cause brain waves to shift more towards alpha oscillations, which is also seen in the transition to a flow state.
Psychedelics imitate the neurotransmitter serotonin when they enter the brain – and we know that serotonin is found in higher levels in flow states. Similarly, psychedelics increase the levels of dopamine in the brain, another neurotransmitter which is found in higher levels in flow states.
Perhaps most importantly, psychedelics’ ability to dampen down the DMN can allow our brains to make unique connections between areas that don’t usually communicate. This is crucial for allowing flow states to occur.
Since we know that moderate doses of psychedelics can induce similar effects to a flow state in the brain, it seems likely that a regular microdosing regimen will start to shift our awareness in the direction of flow.
This is the first in a series of 5 articles explaining microdosing and how it can be used to influence our moods and increase the state of our mood.