The Seeker's Guide to Microdosing Ayahuasca
Microdosing with ayahuasca is an accessible and gentle way to explore this powerful psychedelic vine. It may be the ideal way to introduce yourself to ayahuasca rather than a full ceremony dose!
Microdosing is the practice of taking a small, barely-noticeable dose of a psychedelic once every few days. In this way, microdosing with ayahuasca can allow you to absorb some of the benefits of a full ayahuasca ceremony, allowing them to gradually diffuse into your daily life.
Whether you’re totally new to ayahuasca, or a regular ceremony attendee, microdosing with ayahuasca could have something profound to offer. This guide will cover everything you need to know to get started with your own microdosing regimen, and make the most of the benefits of ayahuasca.
Table of Contents
What is Ayahuasca Microdosing?
A microdose is technically a dose of a substance that is so small, you barely notice it. You could go about your daily routine, go to work, socialize… all without noticing a difference. The idea is that at the end of the day, or week, when you reflect on things: you realize it’s all gone a lot more smoothly than normal. Maybe you procrastinated less, or found it easier to talk to people. Maybe you came up with new ideas, or ate healthier food. Whatever the benefits, they will be subtle and won’t have intruded too much in your life.
People may microdose with ayahuasca every day for several weeks – or just take a single dose every now and then. In reality, microdosing with ayahuasca will look very different from person to person.
Some people microdose with larger doses of ayahuasca, and use the enhanced state for deep spiritual connection. Other people will microdose with tiny amounts, and are happy to have a couple of weeks with a subtle background glow of improved connection and wellbeing.
Some people start microdosing ayahuasca in order to treat serious conditions like depression, or to help process grief and trauma. Some are hoping to reconnect to spiritual lessons they encountered during a full ayahuasca ceremony. Others are just looking for a mood boost, or an extra spark in their daily life.
No matter the reason, people everywhere are reporting surprising health and spiritual benefits from taking tiny drops of the ayahuasca vine in their daily lives.
The Indigenous Roots of Microdosing Ayahuasca
Although microdosing is currently booming in popularity in the Global North, it is by no means a recent invention! For as long as plant medicines have been incorporated in indigenous cultures, shamans and healers have been using different levels of doses.
There are many examples of indigenous microdosing (or low dosing) practices – such as practitioners of the Bwiti religion, who use smaller doses of iboga to improve visual acuity during hunting; or Mazatec shamans who sometimes prescribe small doses of Salvia divinorum to people suffering from physical ailments; or even ayahuasca shamans who sometimes advise microdoses following a full ceremony.
If there is a medicinal plant substance, there will be practitioners who have already experimented with smaller doses. There’s always something to learn from indigenous wisdom!
Why Microdose With Ayahuasca?
Microdosing with ayahuasca is an excellent way to introduce yourself to psychedelic plant medicines, without having to travel, spend lots of money, or break the law. It’s also a great pursuit for people who are already experienced with plant medicine and want to bring spiritual practices into their everyday lives.
Microdosing with ayahuasca may be perfect for you if you are:
- Seeking an effective, natural way to alleviate trauma, anxiety and depression.
- Interested in psychedelic plant medicines, but unsure about taking a large dose or partaking in an all-night ceremony.
- Restricted from being able to travel to a country where ayahuasca ceremonies take place.
- Looking for spiritual and medicinal support in your life that feels gentle and natural.
- Hoping to find a holistic spiritual practice that can fit into your life without huge cost or practical sacrifices.
- Wishing to connect with the vine in advance of attending a ceremony.
- Want to stay in touch with “La Madre,” when you don’t have access to ceremonial medicine.
Ayahuasca is, in small quantities, a very gentle but spiritually beneficial medicine that can easily fit around your daily life. Microdosing with this plant medicine may be the ideal way to introduce yourself to natural psychedelics.
The Two Different Types of Ayahuasca Microdosing
When we talk about microdosing with ayahuasca, we could be talking about one of two things:
- Microdosing with ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) alone, or:
- Microdosing with a mixture of ayahuasca vine and a DMT-containing plant.
Many people will microdose with the B. caapi vine alone. This is the prime (and sometimes only) ingredient in traditional ayahuasca brews, and it has considerable spiritual and psychotropic power. The vine contains molecules called beta-carbolines: the most important ones are harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine (THH). Extracts of ayahuasca vine are available to purchase online (see our reviews), and it is legal to buy in almost every country.
Other people may microdose with an ayahuasca brew that contains both B. caapi and a plant source of DMT such as Psychotria viridis. This approach may require you to microdose with very small quantities, considering how powerful this form of the brew is. You may have to take more precautions with this method, and it’s not recommended for beginners.
In this guide, when we refer to ayahuasca microdosing, we mean the ayahuasca vine alone – unless we explicitly state otherwise.
The Benefits of Ayahuasca Microdosing
There is barely any research on microdosing, let alone ayahuasca microdosing; so the benefits are mostly anecdotal, or based on research into larger doses of the ayahuasca vine.
The B. caapi vine has been shown to have a number of medicinal properties. It increases the amount of serotonin in the brain, which is how most typical antidepressants work. Its active components can stimulate the growth of brain cells in laboratory conditions (neurogenesis) which is also thought to be an antidepressant function. The ayahuasca vine has antibacterial effects, and has been shown to potentially regrow and protect bone and cartilage,[4,5] and reduce general inflammation.
Although it’s unclear whether these medicinal effects will be present in microdoses, people who are microdosing with ayahuasca often discover feelings of increased connection with nature, improved concentration and productivity, and reduced anxiety and stress. These are just some of the psychological and spiritual benefits reported:
- A general reduction in anxiety
- Lessening of depressive symptoms
- Assistance in processing grief
- Improved relationships with loved ones
- A surge in creativity and motivation
- Shifts in perspective towards less obsessive mindsets
- Increased connection to the world
It’s important to appreciate that the effects of microdosing any substance are unpredictable, and you may only see benefits if you perfectly balance your dose with your daily practices. Ayahuasca may not be the substance for you – and that’s totally alright. There are plenty of other plant medicines, and many different alternative spiritual practices besides microdosing to explore.
The Risks of Ayahuasca Microdosing
As there has been no mainstream research on microdosing with ayahuasca vine, it’s very hard to be certain about the risks!
The most common downsides of microdosing with ayahuasca vine appear to be the negative experiences such as sleeplessness, anxiety, and nausea. All of these can usually be mitigated by either reducing your dose or taking a break from microdosing.
There is also the theoretical risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) if you mix ayahuasca microdosing with medications that affect your blood pressure, such as MAOIs. This is why we advise not mixing your ayahuasca vine with any other medications if you can safely avoid it.
However, if you are on medications that are crucial for your physical or mental health, it may not be safe for you to discontinue them completely just in order to try microdosing – so consult with your doctor and balance all your options carefully.
Read more about the full contraindications of the ayahuasca vine here.
Microdosing with an ayahuasca brew containing DMT has a very different risk profile than the ayahuasca vine alone...
There is a serious risk of heart disease if you microdose frequently with an ayahuasca brew containing DMT. The DMT molecule activates 5-HT2B receptors, and these receptors have been linked to valvular heart disease. Taking frequent, or high doses of substances that activate 5-HT2B receptors can increase the risk of developing heart disease. Although there have been no specific studies on what effects microdosing DMT has on the heart, it’s best to be cautious: avoid microdosing if you have a heart condition, and microdose for no longer than a few weeks at a time, taking extended breaks between microdosing periods.
Whether you’re microdosing with ayahuasca vine alone or a DMT-containing brew, you should absolutely avoid taking these substances:
- 5-MeO-DMT & Bufo alvarius. 5-MeO-DMT has potential contraindications with the harmala alkaloids in ayahuasca. At least two deaths that have been recorded in the medical literature where harmaline and 5-MeO-DMT have been found in autopsies. You should avoid 5-MeO-DMT while microdosing with ayahuasca.
- Lithium and Tramadol can cause seizures when mixed with serotonergic psychedelics like DMT. Although the ayahuasca vine is not primarily serotonergic, it does slightly increase serotonin levels, so we’d advise against combining it with lithium or tramadol.
To minimize any risks, it’s recommended to keep your microdosing period short. Don’t microdose for longer than three months at a time. Make sure to keep a journal both during your microdosing course, and in the weeks following it. If you feel a big shift in the way you feel once you stop microdosing, it could be a sign that microdosing is unhealthy for you.
If you are feeling negative effects from microdosing, such as anxiety, insomnia, drowsiness, or nausea; stop your routine and take a week or two off. Once you’ve returned to normal, if you still wish to continue microdosing, consider lowering your dose or changing another aspect of your regimen.
Another real risk of microdosing that is often overlooked is the exploitation of indigenous people and of the ecology of the Amazon. As the Western interest in ayahuasca grows, so does the risk of the overcultivation of sacred plants, or of the disruption of indigenous peoples’ lives. Consider the source of your ayahuasca – has it come from a shaman? Are you supporting an indigenous group by taking ayahuasca? Are the plants from a responsible cultivation?
The over-cultivation of ayahuasca plants and the appropriation of indigenous culture are real risks of the globalization of ayahuasca. This should be an important factor of any ayahuasca microdosing protocol. How will your personal spiritual journey be affected if the source of your medicine is linked to the exploitation and destruction of the Amazonian culture and ecosystem?
The products recommended by EntheoNation have all been obtained sustainably, from indigenous peoples who are fairly compensated for their medicine and expertise.
Where to Get Ayahuasca Vine for Microdosing
There are two main forms in which you can obtain ayahuasca vine for microdosing – either in dried plant form (for you to refine into a microdosing solution), or as ready-prepared microdosing drops.
Dried B. caapi vine can be purchased online, and then chopped and boiled down to a thick paste. You can then resuspend this paste in either distilled water or an alcoholic solution (alcohol will preserve it better) and store the tincture in your fridge. Getting the dose right may be a little tricky – about 1g of dried vine should be a single microdose, but this might take some experimentation. You can also buy pre-made ayahuasca vine paste if you don't want to prepare the vine yourself. Read our full guide on making an ayahuasca extract for microdosing.
An easier option is to purchase ready-prepared ayahuasca microdose drops. These are ethically obtained and make it easy to measure out a regular dose. EntheoNation has reviewed several brands, all of which source their ayahuasca vine from sustainable harvests.
The Legality of the Ayahuasca Vine
Although the harmala alkaloids contained within the B. caapi vine are scheduled substances in a few countries, in most cases the vine itself, and preparations or extracts of the vine, are legal to buy and import. Here are some countries or states that prohibit the vine itself:
Australia has unclear laws about B. caapi but it may count as an illegal preparation of harmala alkaloids if you’re buying extract.
Canada has ruled that B. caapi prepared for human consumption is illegal with or without DMT. Harmala is listed under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act as a schedule III substance.
France has ruled the B. caapi vine itself officially illegal, even to grow for decorative purposes.
Indonesia has a corrupt collusion between the customs department and police, whereby the purchase of ethnobotanical products can make you vulnerable to extortion.
Louisiana (US) prohibits B. caapi unless you’re growing it for ornamental purposes.
Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam appear to prohibit B. caapi, but we were unable to find specific legal information pertaining to these countries.
Make sure to be aware of the laws in your own country as laws and regulations can change. EntheoNation does not endorse illegal behavior nor do we wish that anyone experience undue stress and trauma over their consumption of plants.
It’s also important to know that some countries can be very unforgiving about the import of plants and plant extracts, even if they’re legal! In some cases, the shipments might simply disappear. In other cases, you may receive a fine from customs. In corrupt countries with draconian drug laws, you might find yourself apprehended by the police and extorted for cash to avoid jail. Even if the product is technically legal, it would be your word against theirs.
How to Microdose Ayahuasca
Once you’ve got your ayahuasca vine drops, or you’ve made your own extract, it’s time to start microdosing! There are several steps of preparation and logistics you will need to consider before diving in...
What Ayahuasca Microdosing Protocol Should You Use?
There are two main styles of microdosing with ayahuasca vine: daily dosage, or the Fadiman technique. The Fadiman technique is the “go to” protocol for many people microdosing for the first time, but this was developed for specifically LSD and magic mushrooms. The pure vine community seems to lean towards a daily dose protocol.
Daily Dose Protocol – One Month On, One Week Off
With daily dosage, you simply take your preferred dosage of your chosen ayahuasca vine extract on your tongue every morning after you wake up, ideally with your breakfast. Alternatively, you can dose in the evening, a few hours before bed. As time goes on, you can adjust your dose gradually until you reach a place where you feel the effects are right for you.
People usually dose for several weeks (one month is a common standard), then take a week or two off, before continuing.
This protocol helps you stay fully in touch with the effects of ayahuasca microdosing, while allowing you for a 7-10 day break for you to evaluate your dosage and adjust accordingly.
Daily doses are recommended for people who are prepared for more sustained and apparent effects, and are perhaps not the ideal method for beginners.
Fadiman Technique – One Day On, Two Days Off
With the Fadiman technique, doses are taken three days apart. So on a usual week, you may microdose on Monday and Thursday, then take an extra rest day on Sunday. Or, if you’d like to keep it regular, simply dose on every third day. As with the daily dose method, it’s best to take your dose in the morning with breakfast, and adjust your dose as you go until you find one that works for you.
The Fadiman technique was originally developed for people microdosing with serotonergic psychedelics like LSD and magic mushrooms, as three days’ break is required to prevent a tolerance building up.
Although the ayahuasca vine does not have the same tolerance build-up as LSD and magic mushrooms, the Fadiman technique is good for beginners because it gives you more time to reflect on the effects of each individual dose.
The Fadiman technique is therefore also the preferred technique if you are microdosing with an ayahuasca brew containing DMT, as it will help to minimize a tolerance buildup.
For both techniques, make sure to microdose for no longer than three months at a time, and take an extended break before returning to it. This will help keep you healthy and focussed on your goals.
Microdosing Ayahuasca Dosage
Pre-prepared ayahuasca microdosing drops usually recommend starting with one or two drops as a single dose, and to work your way up to find an ideal dosage. People generally settle somewhere between 1-5 drops as a single dose.
If you’re making your own microdosing solution, a typical starting microdose would be around 1g of dried B. caapi plant material; but in reality this could be highly variable due to the efficiency of the reduction process. Start with this dose and if you feel nothing, work your way up until you approach your ideal dose. Anything higher than 5g will probably start to become more active than a microdose.
Across all different kinds of microdosing, the most important aspect of dosage is keeping a journal, so you can track the effects of your doses, and either increase or decrease the dose as desired during the course of your regimen.
If you’re microdosing with an ayahuasca brew containing DMT, your dosage will be a little harder to figure out. It is recommended to begin with around a twentieth of whatever standard dose of the brew you would use in a ceremony.
What is a Typical Ayahuasca Microdosing Routine?
Ayahuasca microdosing will look completely different from person to person, depending on purpose and preferences. Some people will microdose every single morning, while some will microdose at any time of day whenever they feel like it. Some will incorporate it with spiritual practices and deep reflection, while others will go about their daily lives as if nothing is different.
Regardless, these things will always appear in the most effective ayahuasca microdosing routines:
Preparation. Taking time to set your intention, prepare your mindset, and preserve enough time to microdose attentively, are crucial for a really positive microdosing experience! Read more about preparing for an ayahuasca microdosing routine here.
Structure. Keeping your dosing routine regular is a great way to make the most of ayahuasca microdosing. Decide when and how often you’re going to take your dose, and what other practices you’re going to combine with it. Here’s some great advice on getting started with structuring your ayahuasca microdosing regimen.
Mindfulness. If you’re not paying attention to the effects of ayahuasca microdosing, you’re not likely to discover the benefits! Keeping a journal of every single dose, and every effect you notice (good and bad!) is important in determining whether microdosing has met your intentions. Read more about keeping an ayahuasca microdosing journal here.
While every ayahuasca microdosing routine will look different, always remember to take a break and reduce your dose if you experience negative effects, and take extended breaks every three months.
The End Goal of Ayahuasca Microdosing
The ultimate aim of microdosing with ayahuasca is to show you the ways you can improve your life without having to rely on substances. Just like we would ideally not have to endure weekly psychedelic ego-death experiences for the rest of our lives, the aim is to allow ayahuasca to point you in the right direction, and make the right changes.
Whereas a full-blown psychedelic ceremony can help you make radical, transformational changes to your life; microdosing can help remind you of the small things that you can be doing on a daily basis to make your life easier and more fulfilling.
For example, you might have a few weeks of microdosing where you feel strong and healthy, and after reading through your journal you realize you were taking more enjoyment from exercise and good dieting. The lesson here is to try and find the joys of healthy behaviors without needing a substance to nudge you along all the time!
With a mindful approach, ayahuasca microdosing could shift you into a healthier and happier life, without you needing to continue it forever!
What if I’m new to psychedelic plant medicines?
If you’ve never taken a psychedelic before, have no fear! Microdosing ayahuasca is a great way to start out, especially if the idea of a full ceremony is daunting or impractical. The doses are so small that you are unlikely to feel any effects, and if you don’t feel comfortable at any point you can simply stop.
What if I’m experienced with psychedelic plant medicines?
Even if you are an experienced psychonaut, and prefer to take larger doses of psychedelic plant medicines in ceremonial settings, there is something to be said for microdosing ayahuasca as another tool in your spiritual arsenal.
Many people microdose with ayahuasca to remind them of the benefits they’ve received from high-dose ceremonies, and it’s certainly more practical to microdose for a few weeks than to take many days off work and fly to another country.
Where do I find ayahuasca vine for microdosing?
You can purchase pre-prepared ayahuasca microdosing drops: read our full reviews to choose the ideal one for you. This is the easiest option for beginners. You can also purchase dried ayahuasca vine if you’d like to prepare your own extract from scratch – read our full article on making ayahuasca vine extract.
Can I take ayahuasca vine while I’m on medications?
Lithium and tramadol are the only medications that are seriously dangerous to combine with ayahuasca vine. If you’re on medication that raises your blood pressure, check with your doctor before microdosing ayahuasca. If you’re microdosing an ayahuasca brew that contains DMT, you’ll need to be more careful – read more above.
Will this work without DMT?
Ayahuasca vine is a powerful plant medicine that has been the core component of ayahuasca brews for centuries. It has measurable psychoactive and medicinal effects, so microdosing with ayahuasca vine absolutely has the potential to work without DMT!
Can the ayahuasca vine cure my (addiction/depression/trauma)?
Ayahuasca vine will not cure anything. It may help to lessen symptoms and help you to address problems in your life – but it is in no way a replacement for therapy or any other treatment of mental health conditions.
Will the vine make me hallucinate?
Microdoses of ayahuasca vine will not make you hallucinate. You might experience more vivid dreams, or slightly heightened visual perception, but you won’t see things that aren’t there. The vine is not as powerfully psychoactive as the classic psychedelics (DMT, LSD, magic mushrooms, mescaline).
Will ayahuasca vine make me sick?
Microdoses of the ayahuasca vine are very unlikely to make you physically sick. However, if you start to feel nauseous, try lowering your dose or taking a break of a few weeks to help recover from any imbalance. Pay attention to your diet and try to avoid tyramine-rich foods or anything that could be upsetting your stomach.
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