Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions page, your trusted source for finding quick answers to queries. Here you can find information about our most commonly asked questions and familiarize yourself with our services, procedures, and policies.

What is psilocybin and where does it come from?

Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic chemical in certain mushrooms that grow Asia, Europe, South America, Mexico, and the United States. In fact, magic mushrooms have been used for more than 10,000 years in various spiritual and medical rituals for their ability to alter consciousness and trigger mystical experiences.

As the story goes, R. Gordon Wasson, an American banker, and mushroom enthusiast was vacationing with his wife in Mexico in 1955 when they became the first outsiders to participate in the Mazatec Indians’ sacred mushroom rituals with a healer named Maria Sabina. He brought some of the mushrooms back to his home in New York City, and later shared his experience in Mexico in a Life magazine article published in 1957, when LSD—a chemically-similar psychedelic but about 1000 times more potent—was already being studied for its ability to treat alcoholism and other psychiatric illnesses. (A 25 mg dose of psilocybin is equivalent to approximately 250 micrograms of LSD.)

Three years later, two Harvard psychologists—Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert—began to explore how cognition, perception, and emotion are impacted by psychedelic drugs. They started the notorious Harvard Psilocybin Project, which involved administering psilocybin to student volunteers to document its effects. Bear in mind, psilocybin and LSD were legal then, but both Leary and Alpert were also tripping during their experiments, which ultimately got them fired in 1963.

By now, psychedelics were gaining a reputation in mainstream culture as being dangerous. Numerous states began banning their use, and in 1970, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act and classified both psilocybin and LSD as Schedule 1 drugs. With both now illegal, funds for research on psychedelics disappeared and research slowed to a drip.

But it didn’t stop altogether, and decades of findings slowly accumulated, showing the benefits of psilocybin. In 2018, the FDA took note of studies looking at its ability to ease treatment-resistant depression, and designated it as a Breakthrough Therapy, a classification that indicates significant therapeutic potential, and fast-tracked the development and review process.

Another sign of its potential as a clinical treatment: Johns Hopkins University launched the Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research in September 2019, where research continues to reveal psilocybin’s therapeutic effects. A small handful of other, reputable centers for psychedelic research have also cropped up including the Center for Neuroscience of Psychedelics at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Imperial Psychedelic Research Programme at Imperial College London.

Psilocybin is itself biologically inactive but is quickly converted by the body to psilocin, which has mind-altering effects similar, in some aspects, to those of LSD, mescaline, and DMT. In general, the effects include euphoria, visual and mental hallucinations, changes in perception, a distorted sense of time, and perceived spiritual experiences.

How is psilocybin used, and how does it work?

Usually taken orally, psilocybin is found in dried or fresh mushrooms or as a powder in capsules. It is also sometimes brewed into a tea. Typical doses range from 10 to 50 milligrams (approximately 20 to 30 grams of fresh mushrooms or 1 to 2.5 grams of dried mushroom powder) and the effects usually take 1 to 2 hours to start and typically last for about 6 hours. However, dosages may vary because psilocybin concentrations differ widely according to the genus, strength, and condition (fresh or dried) of the mushrooms.

Exactly what psilocybin does to the brain to trigger changes in mood and behavior is still a big mystery, but we know that, acutely, when someone’s on a psychedelic drug, the brain communicates in a much different way than it was “programmed” to, says Michael McGee, MD, staff psychiatrist at Atascadero State Hospital in California and author of The Joy of Recovery. He explains that the programming begins in mid to late childhood to handle the roughly 90 to 100 billion neurons in the cerebral cortex, the outermost layer of the brain that plays a key role in higher-order functions such as perception, thought, memory, and judgment. “If all of those neurons could communicate with each other, the number of potential connections is probably higher than the number of atoms in the universe,” says Dr. McGee.

But the brain can’t function like that—it has to be efficient for its survival. “So there’s a pruning process, where perceptions of the way we understand ourselves in the world are narrowed, and the ego-consciousness develops,” explains Dr. McGee. “And what happens to all of those neural connections is that some get prioritized and are very efficient, like highways with a lot of neural traffic going through, and the others are paired down and rarely used, like dirt roads.” That’s where psilocybin can come into play—it can basically open up those dirt roads again and send a lot more traffic down them.

“Psilocybin and other psychedelics that are serotonin HT2A receptor agonists or stimulators massively increase brain entropy, so you have all of the neurons talking to each other in a very open, non-focused, and less organized way,” Dr. McGee says. At the same time, he says, there’s a reduction of activity in the Default Mode Network (DMN), a network of interacting brain regions that’s active when you’re not focused on the outside world. In other words, an inhibited DMN means there’s less of that stream of self-reflective thought going on that we associate with our independent thinking self.

“When that goes away, and it’s combined with all of these novel neural connections, the brain is capable of making radically different associations and developing new understandings of reality,” says Dr. McGee. For instance, if the operating paradigm of the brain is trauma-based and defines others and the world as “bad” and “unsafe,” it could be replaced with a larger paradigm of “goodness” (or at least a less rigid experience of negativity) that sees the essence of the universe as love, and thus produces more feelings of love and compassion.

What is microdosing?

Microdosing is taking a small amount of a hallucinogenic medicine on a more regular schedule for a specified amount of time. Microdoses range between 1–10% of the dose that would produce a “full” psychedelic experience, which can vary from person to person. While you don’t experience visual hallucinations or a trippy headspace, microdosing shrooms still deliver psilocybin’s beneficial side effects — such as helping ease anxiety and depression or increasing creativity levels. According to various posts on the “microdosing” subreddit forum, many individuals have even attempted to replace their antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications with microdosing.

A February 2019 study found that people who microdosed psychedelics regularly reported better mental health and a greater ability to focus. But, what else can we expect from a microdose of magic mushrooms?

  • Improved mood states
  • Self-efficacy
  • Creativity
  • Improved focus and energy
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Social benefits

    At this point, there is little research on the effects of microdosing. Many individuals have reaped the benefits, while others faced more challenges or little-to-no changes.


    Microdosing is suggested for the individual that’s ready to dip their toe in the psychedelic pool, but not totally ready to cannonball into the deep end. Starting off with a microdose or smaller dose is a great chance to see how both your body and brain react to the substances, and how you feel overall.

    How should I schedule my microdoses?

    There are a few common schedules for microdosing. The most famous and classical one is a microdose every 3 days. The idea behind this is on the first day you feel the full effects, on the second day you still feel about ½ the effects as the substance is still in your body, and the third day is a tolerance break.


    If you stick with this schedule, taking 0.1 grams every 3 days, you should manage to avoid building up a tolerance. Some people also do it every other day, which may work for them, but for beginners, we would still suggest every third day.


    Another common regime is one week on and one week off. This would average out to every other day, but by having a full week off, you can rebuild your tolerance. Since there hasn’t been a lot of scientific study on the best regimes, you should choose the one that seems most appealing to you and stick with it for a minimum of a month.


    The key here is consistency. A lot of the benefits of microdosing come over time, not on the first or second day, so whichever schedule you choose, make sure you stick by it.

    What is macrodosing?

    On the opposite end of the spectrum is macrodosing mushrooms, which has also been referred to as a “heroic dose”. Typically, that means consuming 5 grams of shrooms or more. And it’s no joke. Taking a high dose of shrooms can send you into a full-blown, oddly profound psychedelic experience. Talk about taking a cannonball into the deep end of the psychedelic swimming pool. These trips truly make you face yourself, head-on. An individual may have intense visual hallucinations, realizations, or changes in perceptions. Uncomfortable feelings or realizations about ourselves and our lives may arise, creating what some refer to as a “bad trip”. However, these realizations of our shadow selves can be incredibly growth-provoking when integrated.


    Ingesting a large dose of magic mushrooms can last anywhere from 4 – 10 hours, depending on just how much a person takes – although it usually falls somewhere in the 6- to 8-hour range. Unlike microdosing, taking large doses of shrooms should not be done on a regular, weekly basis. These experiences can be overwhelming and should be spaced out. Many individuals report doing a macrodose trip every 3 – 6 months, while others take more time to integrate previous lessons.


    Side effects from taking a large dose of mushrooms include:


  • euphoria, peacefulness, “spiritual awakening”
  • depersonalization, or a dream-like sense of being disengaged from surroundings
  • distorted thinking
  • visual alteration and distortion, such as seeing halos of light and vivid colors
  • a deeper connection to people, pets, or nature
  • altered senses
  • impaired concentration
  • muscle weakness, lack of coordination, “body high”
  • nausea or vomiting
  • paranoia, confusion, heightened anxiety

    As mentioned, macrodosing can be an overwhelming — and sometimes exhausting – experience. If you’ve never taken psychedelics and jump right into a macrodose of shrooms, you may never want to do it again because it can be very uncomfortable. On the other hand, some people are true “psychonauts” with lots of prior experience and can handle these larger doses. But if you are seeking a truly a healing experience from a macrodose for the first time, it’s suggested to be performed in a therapeutic setting.

    What about the “in-between” dose?

    For many people (, their happy mushroom medium falls somewhere in between a microdose and a macrodose. The experiences of “in-between” dose vary based on just how much is consumed but typically is anywhere from 1 to 4 grams. Side effects are similar to those of a macrodose — only slightly less intense. If you are new to psychedelics, it’s best to start somewhere in between a micro and macrodose. This will allow you to witness how you react to psilocybin and how it makes you feel — both during and after the fact. Sometimes, we need to slowly wade into the pool to get adjusted.


    Sometimes less can be more, especially with these strong substances. Their medicinal power should not be taken for granted.

    Are there risks to taking psilocybin?

    Because psilocybin can exacerbate or trigger the onset of underlying psychotic conditions, people with a personal or family history of conditions like schizophrenia are at high risk of long-lasting harm and should steer clear of psilocybin. If not used in a controlled environment with a mental health professional present, psilocybin is a powerful tool that, if used in a dangerous way, could harm the person or the people around them. Finally, chronic use of psilocybin does come with cardiovascular risks. It binds to HT2B receptors, which can cause dangerous changes in the structure and shape of heart valves. (Fen-phen—another drug that binds to HT2B receptors—was pulled from the market due to risk of valvular heart disease, one cause of heart failure.) Experts believe this likely isn’t an issue when you’re taking the drug once or a few times for therapeutic effect.