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Psychedelic Diaries, Vol VII: Seven challenges to macrodosing

"With more sophistication comes more control"


Everything has a cost.

In previous posts I’ve mostly flapped my gums about the benefits of psychedelic macrodosing… and with good reason.

It has a puncher’s chance at revolutionizing mental healthcare and may turn high performers into damn-near superhuman creators (see Fadiman’s excellent Psychedelic Explorers Guide p119–166).

Nevertheless, it ain’t all roses.

Seven challenges to macrodosing:

1) It’s a significant time commitment

It’s critical to have a restful night before and a quiet morning leading up to the dosing. Then you have a 4–6 hour trip. You’re in a suggestible state after the trip so it’s best to have a quiet & introspective afternoon & evening.

Add it together and we’re talking about a 36-hour stretch that needs a relatively cleared schedule.

2) It takes a physical toll, like running a mental Tough Mudder

The neuroplasticity in your brain means something undeniably physical is happening. It’s a very healthy thing but it requires resources and energy.

You may experience a headache that evening and need more sleep than usual for a couple nights.

3) Some relationships will change

You will change in beautiful ways, but change can be painful. People in your life have grown accustomed to your behavior and when you unilaterally change that behavior, it affects them.

When you change your interests, habits, or even your “triggers,” it may not always be well-received.

You may also start to see some people through a new lens.

4) You need to meditate daily

Perhaps the single most important thing to do in-between macrodoses. Science is starting to back this up.

Meditation is wonderful but it’s a challenge for many people. This book is a good place to start.

5) Your brain is in a vulnerable state for a few days afterwards

You may be a little awkward and suggestible before the Mozart Zone kicks in.

Your suggestibility is difficult to perceive and this old parable is apropos: two young fish swim by an older fish. The older fish quips “Hey, fellas, how’s the water this morning?” and swims off. One young fish turns to the other and asks “what’s water?”

6) The way you start to see the world can be isolating

I personally saw a major reduction in interest in watching sports, news and social media. That may sound nice but those cultural constructs are connectors that bring us together.

It can be off-putting to others when they see your indifference to something they care about.

You may also start to approach life with more of a sense of lightness… and, oddly enough, that can be somewhat ostracizing.

7) You will work through some issues

You’ll be glad you got through them, but that’s easier said than done. Especially when you’re off in the 5th dimension and in a face-to-face dance with the skeletons in your closet.

It’s a gradient scale, like with the gym: the longer it’s been since your last session, the more it may hurt. Fortunately, once you work through your inner demons, the harder trips become very rare.

It’s similar to a professional cleaning service at your home. If you waited a looong time before having them over, they’re gonna need to really roll up their sleeves.

But, if you schedule recurring visits after that, the maintenance cleanings will be much easier.

It’s the same with macrodosing.

Once you’ve done the “deep cleaning,” it’s much easier to handle the periodic maintenance.


Bonus Challenge

There’s an honorable mention: those that engage in macrodosing oftentimes won’t shut-up about macrodosing, myself included.

The experiences on psychedelics can be so moving and poignant that it’s the only thing you want to talk about.

Sometimes it feels as if the psychedelic compounds are compelling you to spread the word… this startling mushroom behavior comes to mind.

I’ve found it’s good to remember that nobody likes the conversational-one-trick-pony, whatever the topic may be.


There’s no panacea in life and it’s wise to understand the challenges in macrodosing.

However, if you can achieve sophistication in your approach, as Sun-tzu mentions, you will feel a very satisfying sense of control.


Psychedelic Diaries refresher

This ten-part series chronicles monthly, full-dose, psychedelic therapy over five years. It will cover the insights, challenges, and overall impact.

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