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Who is James Fadiman?

Those who know a thing or two about psychedelic research are probably already familiar with the name James Fadiman. And those new to the subject are bound to come across him sooner rather than later. In fact, the American psychologist is arguably the world’s leading authority in the field, having dedicated over 50 years of his life to psychedelic study.

The following article investigates Fadiman’s findings, focusing in particular on his vital role in the exciting new world of microdosing.

==A Little History==

Born in 1939 and raised in the shadows of Hollywood, James Fadiman’s credentials speak for themselves, having supplemented his Harvard BA with a master’s and a PhD in Psychology at Stanford. During the psychedelic heyday of the ’60s, Fadiman and his peers were permitted to study LSD legally, both as a therapeutic aid and as a tool for solving hard scientific problems. The results were remarkable, yet not enough to prevent the US government from shutting down all operations in 1968 and slapping a severe Schedule I classification on all psychedelic substances.    

After several years teaching, counseling, consulting, and editing, Fadiman co-founded the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology alongside Robert Frager, now known as Sofia University. Countless publications followed, including the highly rated Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic and Sacred Journeys, in which Fadiman presents decades worth of data in a clear and digestible manner.

==The Ultimate Guide==

Fadiman’s groundbreaking book was exactly what the community had been waiting for. Dispelling myths, offering productive advice, and reviewing a plethora of research studies, the book combines practical tips with inspirational discoveries.

Firstly, the psychologist explores the effects of entheogenic sessions in terms of a transcendent experience, which involves relatively high doses of LSD, mescaline, or psilocybin. Fadiman discusses the six most influential factors and how to manipulate each one to ensure a harmonious psychedelic journey:

  • Set - This refers to the mindset and expectations of the voyager and their guide
  • Setting - The physical environment in which the trip will take place
  • Dosage - Recommended amounts depending on the substance
  • Guide - Throughout the book, Fadiman stresses the value of a guide or trip-sitter
  • Session - The actual journey and its duration
  • Situation - How to reflect on the experience and integrate discoveries into everyday life

The guide then delves into the role of hallucinogens as a tool for treating mental health conditions, including PTSD, with patients claiming a single session returns the same or in fact more benefits than months or even years of conventional therapy. What’s even more significant is the fact that the possibilities for effective treatment are not limited to PTSD and depression, but extend to curing addictions, helping terminal patients deal with end-of-life anxiety, and many more situations.

Aside from improved mental health and well-being, psychedelics have also been used throughout history to boost creativity and increase productivity and focus. Fadiman highlights examples, such as Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick, who admitted his discovery of the double helix structure of DNA came while under the influence of LSD. And then of course, the psychedelic renaissance of Silicon Valley, which brought the practice of microdosing to the mainstream.  

==The Father of Microdosing==

The process of microdosing, which involves the consumption of tiny or sub-perceptual amounts of psychedelics, is not a new phenomenon. In fact, indigenous cultures have been benefitting from this practice for centuries. But Fadiman was the first to coin the term and hence became known as the movement’s founding father.

Supporters claim a variety of positive effects, ranging from better eating and sleeping habits to increased energy and general feelings of contentment. The minute dose removes the hallucinogen element, meaning users can carry on with daily activities without any disruption. Not only that, but side effects are practically non-existent.

And to top it all off, the benefits appear to last for up to two days. Taking a higher dose of LSD will result in a psychedelic experience of between eight and twelve hours. For psilocybin mushrooms, the duration is reduced to around six hours. The effects of DMT last just 15 minutes. Yet, taking micro amounts replaces the intensity of recreational doses with subtle changes in the mind and body that last much longer.

==The Fadiman Protocol==

Fadiman analyzed scores of anecdotal user accounts to develop a specific microdosing schedule, which remains the most popular protocol to date. According to the psychologist, sticking to structured guidelines plays a decisive role in ensuring a safe and positive microdosing experience. Fadiman’s protocol works as follows:

  • Day 1 - Microdosing day
  • Day 2 - Transition day
  • Day 3 - Normal day

The cycle should be repeated for at least a month followed by a reset of two to four weeks. This break aims to reduce tolerance and allows the full benefits to be enjoyed once again at the start of the next cycle.

==The Future for Fadiman==

With increasing support from the general populace and the scientific world, Fadiman, like many others, will continue his research into the powerful potential of microdosing. As attitudes shift, substances are decriminalized, and clinical trials become more commonplace, the true value of psychedelics can be revealed and utilized for society’s benefit.


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