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Fadiman Protocol vs Stamets Protocol vs Heroic Dose Protocol

The main difference between the Fadiman Protocol, Stamets Protocol, and the Heroic dose Protocol is that the Fadiman Protocol is suitable for beginners to improve productivity, creativity, and overall mood; the Stamets stack is suitable for experienced and advanced microdosers seeking to improve cognition and mental health; the heroic dose is suitable for exploring spirituality.

These 3 microdosing protocols differ in schedule, dosage, and the substances used. For instance, the heroic dose protocol has no specific schedule, but the other 2 protocols do. Stamets stack and Fadiman protocol suggest small doses, but the heroic dose suggests a high dose of 5 grams. The Stamets stack suggests lion’s mane and Niacin, but the other 2 do not.

In this article, you will be presented with a quick comparison table of these 3 protocols, a deep discussion on each protocol and their substances, schedule, dosage, benefits, and side effects. Finally, you will be guided to decide which microdosing protocol is the best for you. Let’s dive in.

Quick comparison of Fadiman Protocol, Stamets Protocol and Heroic Dose Protocol

A quick comparison table of the Fadiman protocol, Stamets protocol, and Heroic dose protocol is given below:

FactorsFadiman ProtocolHeroic DoseStamets Stack
Brief DescriptionA microdosing protocol aimed at enhancing productivity and mental well-being.A single, large dose of psychedelics intended for deep spiritual or therapeutic experiences.A microdosing protocol designed to enhance cognitive function and confer a host of benefits related to neurogenesis.
Founded ByJames FadimanTerence McKennaPaul Stamets
Substances UsedLSD, Psilocybin, cannabis, etc.Psilocybin, LSD, Ayahuasca, etc.Psilocybin mushrooms, Lion’s Mane mushroom, Niacin
ScheduleEvery fourth daySingle doseTwo variations: 5 days on, 2 days off or 4 days on, 3 days off
DosageSub-perceptual (100 – 200 mg of psilocybin)5 grams or more of psilocybin mushroomsPsilocybin: 100 – 200 mg of psilocybin, 50 – 100 mg of lion’s mane, and 100 – 200 mg of Niacin
BenefitsIncreased creativity, better focus and productivity, improved mood, better emotional understanding, etcLife-changing and transformative experiences, improved mental health, self-discovery, and spiritual enlightenmentNeurological Growth, reduced anxiety and depression
RisksNo major risks if protocol is followed correctlyBad trip, confusion, emotional distressFlushing accompanied with tingling, burning, and itching due to Niacin
Beneficial forBeginnersDeep spiritual experience seekersExperienced microdosers

Overview of Fadiman Protocol

Overview of Fadiman Protocol

The Fadiman protocol is a microdosing protocol best suited for beginners as it has a structured schedule. It was founded by renowned psychologist and researcher Dr. James Fadiman, also known as the “Father of Microdosing.” This protocol suggests microdose of psychedelic drugs like LSD or psilocybin.

A microdose of psilocybin is 100 – 200 mg or 10 – 20% of a recreational dose. This protocol can be used with almost all psychedelic drugs, including LSD, psilocybin, cannabis, etc.

Substances

The substances used in the Fadiman Protocol include mainly LSD, psilocybin, and Cannabis.

  • LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide): synthetic psychedelic drug.
  • Psilocybin Mushrooms (Magic Mushrooms): psilocybin is a psychedelic chemical in specific mushroom species.
  • Cannabis: also known as marijuana. It is a drug manufactured from the cannabis plant. This drug contains 2 main cannabinoids: THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

Schedule and Dosage

The dosage suggested in the Fadiman protocol is a microdose of the particular substance used. Microdose is usually 10 – 20% of a recreational dose of the psychedelic drug. For psilocybin, it is 100 – 200 mg, 5 – 20 micrograms for LSD, and 2.5 – 5 mg of THC content in Cannabis.

  • The schedule suggested in the Fadiman Protocol is structured and is as follows:
  • Day 1: Take the microdose 
  • Day 2: No microdose
  • Day 3: No microdose. Normal day
  • Day 4: Take another microdose

There is a gap of 2 days between 2 consecutive microdosing days. Continue this cycle for 4-8 weeks and then take a “reset” period of 2-4 years.

Benefits

Benefits

The main benefits of the Fadiman Protocols include: 

  • Improved creativity: Fadiman protocol users reported better problem-solving skills, innovative thinking, and artistic ability.
  • Overall mood and well-being: Microdosers reported stability in mood and improved management of emotions like anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Focus and awareness: Microdosers also reported a heightened sense of self-awareness and improved overall focus and concentration.

Side effects

There are no such side effects of the Fadiman protocol if followed correctly. However, it is still advised to consult an expert to know if you can microdose with this protocol. 

Overview of Stamets Protocol

Overview of Stamets Protocol

The Stamets Stack is a microdosing protocol for advanced and experienced microdosers for improving cognition and mental health and other neurogenesis benefits. It was developed by famous mycologist Paul Stamets. It suggests the stacking of three compounds, including Lion’s mane, Psilocybin, and Niacin.

Substances

The substances suggested in the Stamets Stack Protocol include lion’s mane, psilocybin, and niacin.

  • Lion’s mane: an edible mushroom that can improve cognition, help in the growth of nerve cells, and help treat depression.
  • Niacin: an antioxidant vitamin that can help in cell signaling and DNA repair. It is also known as nicotinic acid.
  • Psilocybin: a psychedelic chemical produced by specific mushroom species. It is also known as a magic mushroom.

Schedule and Dosage

The dosage of each compound suggested in the stamets stack is as follows:

  • Lion’s mane: a microdose of 50 – 100 mg
  • Niacin: a low dose of 100 – 200 mg
  • Psilocybin: a microdose of 100 – 200 mg

The specific schedule, as suggested in the Stamets Stack, is as follows:

  • Day 1: Take a microdose
  • Day 2: Take 2nd microdose
  • Day 3: Take 3rd microdose
  • Day 4: Take 4th microdose
  • Day 5: Take a break
  • Day 6: Take a break
  • Day 7: Take a break

Repeat this cycle for 4 weeks and then take a “reset” period of 2-4 weeks.

Benefits

Benefits

The potential benefits of the Stamets Stack include:

  • Cognition and neurological growth: Lion’s mane promotes neurological growth and better cognition.
  • Reduced depression and anxiety: The lion’s mane was found helpful in treating depression by helping in the growth of the nerve cells and reducing inflammation, according to a study done by Pit Shan Chong and the team on the effects of Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s mane) on depression.
  • Stable mood: A sense of calmness and serenity was experienced by the users.

Side effects

The potential side effects of the Stamets Stack include heat, tingling, and itching due to Niacin. According to an article published by Douglas Mackay and the team, 30-50 mg of Niacin/day can cause flushing effects along with burning, tingling, and itching.

According to an article published on healthnews, Niacin taken in doses of 500mg/day can cause diarrhea, and in doses above 1000mg/day can cause hypotension and impaired vision. Niacin can interact with alcohol and antidiabetic medicines.

Overview of Terence McKenna’s Heroic Dose Protocol

Overview of Terence McKenna's Heroic Dose Protocol

The Heroic dose protocol is a macro dose protocol of a single heavy dose of psilocybin for people seeking spiritual experiences. This protocol was made famous by ethnobiologist Terence Mckenna in the 1980s. 

This protocol suggests a high dose of 5 gm of dried Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms. It can potentially induce transformative experiences. Terence Mckenna also suggested lying down with your eyes closed in a safe environment after taking the higher doses to explore inside your mind.

Substances

The heroic dose primarily suggests dried magic mushrooms. However, some people may want to try with DMT, LSD, or Cannabis. Try other substances at your risk, as the dosage amount suggested here is for psilocybin and may not directly apply to other substances. 

Schedule and Dosage

The dosage suggested by Terence Mckenna’s heroic dose is 5gm of dried psilocybe cubensis mushrooms. There are no suggestions for dosage amounts for any other psychedelic drug.

There is no specific schedule for the Terence McKenna’s protocol. Terence Mckenna suggests taking 2 to 3 heroic doses a year. The heroic dose is not fit for frequent and casual use. 

Benefits

benefits of heroic dose

The main benefits of the Heroic dose protocol may include:

  • Transformative experiences: The heroic dose allows you to explore your mind, which might get ego-shattering and life-changing at the same time.  
  • Spiritual explorations and Self-discovery: allows you to get closer to your subconscious and unconscious mind, which might provide some key insights about your own self.

Side effects

The main side effects of the Heroic dose include bad trips, emotional challenges, confusion, hallucinations, traumatic experiences, etc.

What are the key differences between the three microdosing protocols?

The two primary microdosing protocols, the Fadiman Protocol and the Stamets Protocol, offer different approaches to microdosing psychedelics. The Fadiman microdosing schedule involves microdosing every four days, while the Stamets Protocol is more complex, with four days of microdosing followed by three days off, and it includes lion’s mane mushroom and niacin.

On the other hand, the Heroic Protocol is not a microdosing method but involves taking a high dose of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes under professional supervision.

The choice of protocol should depend on individual needs and goals, with the Fadiman Protocol being a suitable starting point for beginners, the Stamets Protocol offering more complexity and options, and the Heroic Protocol requiring expert guidance.

Which one is the best?

No psychedelic or magic mushroom microdosing protocol can be the best for all the people. For beginners, The Fadiman microdosing schedule could be the best. The Stamets stack could be the best for advanced and experienced microdosers. For people seeking deep spiritual explorations, the heroic protocol could be the best. However, we will see now how to decide which one is the best for you.

When to choose the Fadiman microdosing protocol?

Choose the Fadiman Microdosing Protocol when you are a beginner, and it is your first time microdosing. Choose it if your aim is to improve productivity, creativity, and overall mood and not experience any hallucinations.

When to choose the Stamets microdosing protocol?

Choose Paul Stamets microdosing protocol when you are an advanced or experienced microdoser, and you have followed a protocol for over 2-3 months. Choose it if you aim to improve mental health, cognition, neural growth, and neurogenesis.

When to choose the Heroic microdosing protocol?

Choose Heroic microdosing protocol when you are an advanced or experienced microdoser and don’t want to microdose anymore. Choose it if you aim to have profound spiritual and transformative experiences, treat depression, and reduce mental blockages.

FAQs

What should you do on “off” days?

On “off” days, it’s crucial to refrain from taking any low doses of magic mushrooms to allow your body to rest and prevent the development of tolerance. Utilize this time for self-care and reflection. Here are specific activities to consider on your off days:

  1. Prioritize quality sleep.
  2. Maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.
  3. Engage in regular exercise.
  4. Connect with nature through outdoor activities.
  5. Practice meditation or yoga for mental well-being.
  6. Foster connections with loved ones.
  7. Pursue enjoyable hobbies and activities.

These practices can enhance your overall microdosing experience and contribute to your well-being.

What research or clinical trials has been done on the effectiveness of microdosing protocols?

Research on the effectiveness of microdosing protocols using psilocybin mushrooms is expanding, although further investigation is necessary to establish the ideal dosage, regimen, and long-term consequences of microdosing.

Some research and clinical trials on the effect of microdose psilocybin indicates that microdosing may enhance mood, cognitive abilities, creativity, and problem-solving aptitude. Additionally, it has shown potential in alleviating anxiety, depression, and stress.

It’s important to recognize that microdosing research is in its early phases. Ongoing studies are required to validate existing findings and assess the enduring safety and effectiveness of microdosing protocols.

How can you tell if you are microdosing correctly?

Determining if you’re microdosing effectively isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation, as the right dosage and schedule can vary among individuals. Nevertheless, there are some general guidelines to consider.

Commence with an extremely low dose and gradually increase it over time. Be attuned to your body’s signals and monitor your well-being closely. If you encounter adverse effects like anxiety, paranoia, or sleep difficulties, consider reducing the dose or discontinuing microdosing.

Here are indicators that you might be microdosing correctly:

  1. Heightened focus and concentration.
  2. Improved mood and increased energy levels.
  3. Enhanced creativity and problem-solving abilities.
  4. Alleviated anxiety and depression.
  5. Heightened sensory perception.

Consider an online mental health evaluation or journaling to track your emotions. This can help gauge changes in your everyday life and overall well-being, both before and after your 30-day experiment.

What are the signs and symptoms of a bad trip?

What are the signs and symptoms of a bad trip?

A negative experience known as a “bad trip” can occur when using psychedelics. Several factors can contribute to bad trips, including taking too high a dose, being in a stressful or unsafe environment, or having a history of mental health issues.

Here are some signs and symptoms associated with a bad trip:

  1. Anxiety and fear.
  2. Paranoia and suspicion.
  3. Difficulty thinking clearly.
  4. Hallucinations and delusions.
  5. Sensations of losing control.
  6. Physical symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and sweating.

How can you prevent a bad trip?

Preventing a bad trip while microdosing involves several key steps:

  1. Start with a low dose: Initiate your microdosing journey with a minimal dose and gradually increase it as needed.
  2. Choose a safe environment: Microdose in a comfortable and secure environment where you feel at ease.
  3. Have a trusted companion: It’s advisable to have a trusted trip sitter with you to provide support if necessary.
  4. Mind your mental state: Avoid microdosing if you’re feeling stressed or anxious, as this can increase the likelihood of a bad experience.
  5. Consider your set and setting: Be conscious of your mental and physical state and the environment in which you’re microdosing.

If you find yourself in the midst of a challenging experience, it’s crucial to remain calm and remind yourself that it’s temporary. You can attempt to change your surroundings or listen to soothing music. In cases of severe distress, seeking professional assistance is essential.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we covered the fundamental differences between the Fadiman Protocol, Stamets Protocol, and Heroic Dose Protocol. Each protocol is suitable for a different group of people based on their motivation, intentions, and experience in microdosing.

We went over each of the three protocols for using psychedelic mushrooms in depth before laying out the general guidelines for deciding which microdosing practice is right for you.

References:

  • Chong, P. S., Fung, M., Wong, K. H., & Lim, L. W. (2019). Therapeutic Potential of Hericium erinaceus for Depressive Disorder. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/1/163
  • MacKay, D., Hathcock, J., & Guarneri, E. (2012). Niacin: Chemical forms, bioavailability, and health effects. Nutrition Reviews, 70(6), 357-366, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00479.x
  • Christopher Yuen, and Healthnews Team. August 14, 2023. The Stamets Stack: Should You Try Microdosing. Healthnews.com https://healthnews.com/family-health/drugs/the-stamets-stack-should-you-try-microdosing/
Author Microdosify

By Rachel Grey

I’m Rachel Grey, a Ph.D. psychologist specializing in psychedelic therapy with psilocybin and natural plant medicines. I obtained my doctorate from the University of Toronto, where I immersed myself in the study of these transformative therapies. With over 10 years of experience, let’s embark on transformative journeys of healing, growth, and self-discovery as we explore the power of psychedelic therapy together.

Updated on September 29, 2023