James Fadiman is an American author who has greatly contributed to the world of psychedelics and microdosing more specifically. Although he focuses on LSD, his book, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys is also an amazing resource for psilocybin users!
How did James Fadiman get started on psychedelic research?
Fadiman had a personal experience with psychedelics while he was a student at university. He has stated that before this experience, he had no interest in or knowledge of psychedelics. His first psychedelic experience was a wake-up call that his view of reality was limited. He was living in Paris at the time, writing a novel, living a wonderful and quiet life. A favourite professor of Fadiman’s visited him in Paris and shared a moderate dose of psilocybin.
When describing his first trip, Fadiman states that it opened up his awareness that the self-contact he had had up to that point was very limited; that his attachments were incredibly shallow. A few weeks after this experience, he went to graduate school (avoiding being sent to the Vietnam war). At that school he had another psychedelic experience in which he experienced ego death, feeling that he was part of a larger entity connected to everything in the universe. This experience shifted Fadiman’s interest from conventional psychology towards trying to understand what consciousness is.
What research has James Fadiman done on psychedelics?
For many years, Fadiman’s research has included self-reported data about psychedelic experiences. In Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, he includes a few trip reports from people who took both macro and micro doses of psilocybin mushrooms and LSD.
In an effort to streamline this process, Fadiman developed a form in which psychedelic users could input data into a couple minutes every day for one month. Fadiman has stated, not because a month is a magic number but because that’s about how long he thought people would be willing to be helpful for. Over the years, there have been about 3000 subjects, allowing him to make broader generalizations about microdosing and the effect it might have on the brain.
What did James Fadiman’s research on psychedelics show?
Fadiman’s research has concluded that people feel better when they microdose. If they were depressed, they felt less depressed. Worried people felt less worried. Stressed students received better grades. Athletic performance improved. Basically, any field in which someone was willing to invest more effort while they were microdosing improved significantly for that individual.
For people who were experiencing depression, antidepressants tended to be less effective than microdosing. Antidepressants were capable of making individuals feel less bad, whereas microdosing allowed patients to be more aware of their pleasurable experiences and sensations. (Please speak with your doctor before going off of any medication!)
What is microdosing according to James Fadiman?
Microdosing, according to Fadiman, is a very small dose of a classic psychedelic, usually LSD or psilocybin. The dose is usually in the range of 7 to 12 micrograms of LSD, or 50 to 200 grams of mushrooms. The most important thing about a microdose is that it doesn’t have any psychedelic effects. There are no visions or transformations, no past lives, no transcendent ego death experiences.
What is the Fadiman Protocol?
The Fadiman protocol is a suggested schedule for microdosing LSD or psilocybin. His suggested schedule is one day where you microdose, followed by a two day break. The second day allows for afterglow effects, and the third day allows you to see what differences there are or changes that have happened. This is also a suggested protocol to follow because it prevents any tolerance from developing to the substance you have chosen to microdose.
Fadiman has likened finding the sweet spot of microdosing to eating enough for dinner. You don’t want to take too little and feel hungry, and you don’t want to take too much and feel full.
Has James Fadiman’s research showed any negative side effects of microdosing?
Some negative side effects that have been reported in Fadiman’s research include feeling more susceptible to negative responses. Unfortunately, due to the self-reporting nature of psychedelic research, there are less likely to be negative effects reported because people who experience negative effects discontinue the experiment and do not report their findings.
There are almost no physical side effects from microdosing, and some who reported physical side effects found that they were reduced when the microdose itself was reduced.