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At MycoMeditations, we understand the difficulties of living with depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges. Psychedelics are gaining traction as a way to better tackle these challenges, and various options ranging from microdosing protocols, ayahuasca retreats, ketamine clinics, and psilocybin retreats like our own are emerging for people to try.

Microdosing in particular has gained popularity as a way for people to try and experience the potential benefits of psychedelics, magic mushrooms in particular, in an attempt to improve their mood or conditions. News outlets from The Guardian to The New York Times and National Geographic have written extensively about this growing trend, and microdosing retreats for mental health issues have started to appear as discussions of psilocybin-assisted therapy become more mainstream.

We, however, are not a microdosing retreat. Read below to learn the differences between microdosing and what we do at a MycoMeditations retreat.

Supposed Effects of Microdosing: Does it Work?

This supposed convenience of avoiding challenging psychological experiences with smaller doses of psychedelics is actually what makes microdosing a less than ideal psychedelic treatment. To reap the real mental health benefits of psychedelic therapy, people must be willing to face challenging or even frightening experiences. The potential benefits of taking a high dose of psilocybin when done intentionally in a safe, supportive setting with time to effectively integrate the experience far outweighs the subjective effects that will come with microdosing.

So how would we compare microdosing with macrodosing at MycoMeditations psilocybin-assisted retreats? Are you considering trying a microdosing retreat? Continue reading to learn the differences between our methodology and microdosing.

Comparing Microdosing to Macrodosing: What Happens at MycoMeditations

If microdosing is a term that everybody can recognize by now, then you might call what we do at MycoMeditations macrodosing. Instead of taking sub-perceptual amounts of psilocybin mushrooms (0.1g, 0.2g) as with microdosing, we provide guests with high doses in the range of 3-15g of dried psilocybin mushrooms during their stay with us. This is also referred to as a heroic dose. The amount generally increases in this range throughout the retreat week with each of the three dosing sessions. The dosage depends on many personal factors for the guest that we determine through our protocol.

Why do we work with such high doses? We repeatedly see that people with intractable cases of depression and anxiety simply need to be pulled out of the negative mental pattern they are stuck in. This is where the Default Mode Network, or “DMN” comes in.

Mystical Experiences & The Default Mode Network

The Default Mode Network describes the state of our brains when we are at rest. The DMN is often associated with activities such as daydreaming and self-reflection. For many people with mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety, the DMN essentially causes them to negatively ruminate constantly.

Psilocybin has been proven to reduce activity in the Default Mode Network, which allows the brain an opportunity to create new neural connections. This process is greatly enhanced when taking larger doses compared to microdosing. With the DMN offline, people have a window for novel experiences. They can learn to better relate with themselves, others, nature, or society. This rich, new experience then factors into the brain's neural connections when the DMN comes back online. With effective psilocybin therapy and integration, the Default Mode Network takes this fresh experience into account and helps the individual find a “new normal”.

Positive Effects of Higher Dose Magic Mushroom Sessions

MycoMeditations psilocybin-assisted retreats also create cathartic sensory experiences. Besides the process involving the Default Mode Network, psilocybin also acts as a chemical key to open people up to deeper layers of the mind, which isn't possible in the same way with microdosing.

With higher doses of psilocybin mushrooms, many of the emotions and feelings that have been subdued, ignored, or forgotten begin to emerge. These are often experiences that stem from childhood and our earliest encounters in life, at times even including somebody's birth process. High-dose psilocybin therapy allows somebody hours of time to work with their most deepest, core emotions and memories. In this time, an extraordinary amount of healing can be done. Microdosing simply will not open you up to this level of depth, or provide the same level of therapeutic benefits.

Here's an analogy to describe macrodosing experiences: Imagine the various layers of soil being your mind. You have the topsoil all the way down to the bedrock. Microdosing, as with conventional therapy, can help in doing work at the uppermost layers, as they can activate new perspectives, insights, and create subtle shifts. Whereas at MycoMeditations, providing larger doses of psilocybin is like drilling into the bedrock. These deeper layers (of our psyche) is where our problems stem from and where trauma is buried.

High-dose psilocybin therapy aims to go to the root cause of psychological suffering, including dealing with traumatic experiences. In order to cope with trauma, an individual's psyche often uses defense mechanisms such as repressed memories, or dissociative amnesia.

Dealing with Psychological Effects & Challenging Experiences

Of course, these types of psilocybin experiences can be challenging and frightening. That is why we staff our retreats with trained therapists and facilitators and provide guests ample time each day to reflect and integrate their experiences.

Microdosing may ensure you won't have difficult experiences. However, our position is that courage to face uncomfortable feelings is needed to heal.

That isn't to say that these profound experiences on high doses of psilocybin mushrooms are always difficult — often they are the most blissful experience someone will ever have! The key is being prepared and supported, because the therapeutic outcomes can be tremendous with high-dose work.

We hope this helps you understand the differences between microdosing and our work at MycoMeditations. At the end of the day, regardless of whether an individual chooses to explore a microdosing retreat or high-dose psilocybin retreat like ours, healing is defined by nobody besides you.

capsules by ocean at a psilocybin retreat

Why Psilocybin Retreats are the New Transformational Travel Trend

Why Psilocybin Retreats are the New Transformational Travel Trend
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