Common MDMA Dosage & Microdosing Explained
In recent years, microdosing psychedelics has picked up steam throughout the psychedelic community and mainstream media.
Many users have reported that it helps alleviate their symptoms of depression and anxiety, boosts their productivity and creative problem solving, and improves their overall well-being. Microdosing MDMA is much less common than other substances, but some people have begun experimenting with it. Generally, they are using it as a tool to work through past trauma, boost their energy levels, and increase their sociability. Typical MDMA microdoses range from 5 milligrams to 25 milligrams. MDMA doses are determined by measuring pure MDMA by the milligram. It is commonly pressed into tablets or pills to facilitate the intake and to avoid the bitter taste. A single tablet or pill generally contains between 80 milligrams and 120 milligrams of pure MDMA.
The variability in the dose contained within a single tablet or pill makes it difficult to microdose them. Most users will prefer microdosing with a powdered or crystalline form so they can weigh out their doses with higher accuracy. Clinical MDMA dosage ranges from 40 milligrams to 125 milligrams with a 62.5-milligram booster dose. In one of the largest studies, 166 subjects in a clinical setting took a single 125-milligram dose. Generally speaking, an overdose occurs when a user consumes a toxic amount of a substance or mixes substances that overwhelm the body. A common measurement of toxicity determines the median lethal dose of a substance, known as the LD50, or Lethal Dose, 50%. Every single substance has an LD50 from water to snake venom.
There is an amount of any substance that can cause harm. In the context of MDMA dosage, serotonin syndrome and sympathomimetic effects result in most overdoses. An overload of serotonin in the central nervous system causes serotonin syndrome, and produces a variety of symptoms including high body temperature, agitation, increased reflexes, tremor, sweating, dilated pupils, and diarrhea. In extreme cases, these symptoms can be fatal. While mostly induced by a combination of serotonergic substances, such as SSRIs, a large dose of a single serotonergic substance could cause the syndrome as well. Fatal intoxication caused by MDMA is extremely rare, especially when used alone.
The LD50 of MDMA has yet to be determined within the scientific community, but most guess it to be somewhere between 10 to 20 mg/kg. This means an average adult weighing 70 kg, about 150 pounds, would have to consume 700mg to 1,400mg, roughly 7 to 14 times a normal dose, before reaching the LD50. Microdosing is the act of consuming a sub-perceptual dose of a psychoactive compound. Many users believe that consuming an extremely small dose brings some of the positive effects of the substance while still remaining fully functional to carry on with all of their daily activities. A typical microdose is somewhere around a tenth to twentieth of the amount of a standard dose. Researchers did not conduct any formal research into microdosing prior to the prohibition of psychedelic research in 1966.
There has been recent interest in microdosing however. Some scientists are looking to derive results from user experiences while others are pursuing clinical research. Much of the inquiry surrounds LSD or psilocybin.
There has yet to be much research or scientific interest in microdosing MDMA. Most MDMA research is examining its potential in psychedelic psychotherapy, particularly for the treatment of PTSD. Most people microdose psychedelics to enhance their creativity, energy levels, emotional stability, and alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and addiction. Microdosing MDMA has largely remained under the radar. However, interest in microdosing MDMA has developed within the psychedelic community. Some users have used it as a method to help them overcome past trauma and enhance their sociability. A microdose of MDMA is generally considered around 5-25 milligrams, with some users dosing as little as 200 micrograms. As a whole, the psychedelic community is very split on how they feel about microdosing MDMA. One user that took 10 milligrams a day for one week reports it helped them overcome their depressive episodes by allowing them to think through the root cause of their depression. This drew them to a past trauma that they were able to understand better and adjust their thought patterns around. While this user reported the positive effects of microdosing MDMA, another user reported a friend’s experience of taking about 20 milligrams every morning for fifteen days.
Their friend had extreme depressive episodes, brain zaps, shakes, and a variety of other issues during the time that they were microdosing. Eventually, these symptoms got so bad that they disposed of the rest of their MDMA.
There has yet to be much scientific research into microdosing MDMA. Most scientists who heavily advocate for further psychedelic research have not commented on microdosing MDMA either.
There has been one study in a therapeutic setting that compared the effects of different MDMA doses on treating PTSD alongside psychotherapy.
The lowest dose studied was 30 milligrams, which could be considered a microdose. However, this 30-milligram dose was not used to test the effectiveness of microdosing; it was administered to a control group.
The study found patients who took 70 milligrams or 125 milligrams “had significantly greater decreases in PTSD symptom severity.” The primary concern critics have with microdosing MDMA is the potential for neurotoxicity. Repeated use of MDMA can cause a decrease in the concentration of serotonin and its metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid. This suggests MDMA use either causes downregulation of serotonin, meaning the neuron isn’t making nor retaining as many serotonergic markers, or the permanent loss of serotonergic axons. It is still unclear whether or not microdosing MDMA will cause these effects or not. As microdosing continues to become increasingly popular throughout the western world, companies are beginning to offer microdosing kits to help an average user measure out a dose, ensure their product is pure, and offer legal alternatives.
These kits generally contain an amber glass bottle, a medicinal syringe, and a reagent test. When purchasing MDMA to microdose, the primary concern is receiving an impure product. Any MDMA that someone purchases could be cut with other substances such as MDA, methamphetamine, amphetamine, cocaine, or just about any other type of stimulant. This makes testing MDMA all the more important. Most recommend testing any MDMA with a Marquis test, Simon test, and Froehde test to ensure that it is pure. This series of tests will rule out most of the common substitutes for MDMA. Common effects of microdosing MDMA include: increased energy levels, decreased anxiety, improved sociability, and mild euphoria.
There has yet to be a consensus on the best method for microdosing MDMA. However, most users recommend spacing out MDMA dosages by at least a week or more in hopes that this will reduce the possibility of neurotoxicity. Most users consume between 5 milligrams to 25 milligrams, but others take as little as 200 micrograms. Once consumed, the gastrointestinal tract absorbs the MDMA.
Then, the liver metabolizes it into an active metabolite called methoxyamphetamine. This substance then acts as a presynaptic releasing agent of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. 5-HT neurons then synthesize the neurotransmitter serotonin and store it in synaptic vessels.
These synaptic vessels release it into the synaptic cleft causing most of MDMA’s effects. When consumed in large doses, MDMA’s effects include: Small doses of MDMA, referred to as a “microdose,” do not produce any of these strong effects. A microdose does not produce any acute effects that are noticeable, but rather provides psychological, creative, and social benefits when regularly consumed.
These effects include: There are a few substances that can cause dangerous side effects when mixed with MDMA. One of these interactions occurs with any substance metabolized by the liver enzyme CYP2D6. Common substances metabolized by CYP2D6 include Ritonavir, codeine, opiate derivatives, DXM, and Prozac. This kind of interaction causes the metabolization of both substances to take longer which in turn intensifies their effects. Never take MDMA with any protease inhibitors. A protease inhibitor is a class of antiviral drugs such as Ritonavir. This combination is potentially life-threatening. Consuming MDMA alongside other stimulants can cause dangerous increases in your heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Common stimulants include Adderall, anabolic steroids, cocaine, Concerta, crack, Dexedrine, methamphetamine, and Ritalin. With MDMA dosages, someone with a pre-existing heart condition is considered a safety concern. MDMA could cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. So using MDMA with a pre-existing heart condition puts unnecessary stress on the heart and could even be fatal.
The United States lists MDMA as a Schedule I Substance under the Controlled Substances Act.
The United Nations also lists it under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, although exceptions exist for research and limited medical use. Peru legalizes the possession of up to 250 milligrams of MDMA so long as it is the only substance you possess.
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