Women are turning to microdosing to treat PMDD

Women are turning to microdosing to treat PMDD

While there’s a common trope of women being irritable, weepy, or otherwise moody while they’re on their period, the difficulty lies before the bleeding starts for most women who experience emotional symptoms in their cycle. Many women are turning to microdosing to treat PMDD. The P in PMS stands for premenstrual. A menstrual cycle is divided into four phases: menstruation (the bleeding phase or what most people call “the period”), the follicular phase (from menstruation until ovulation), ovulation (around day 14), and the luteal phase. The entire process lasts around 28 days, although some women may have shorter or longer cycles.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder takes PMS and cranks it up 100 degrees. Impatience can become irritability or rage that lasts for days, and sadness may turn into depression and suicidal thoughts. Anxiety, insecurity, fatigue, tender breasts, trouble concentrating, sleep problems, and food cravings are all common. These symptoms may last the entire two weeks of the luteal phase, from ovulation until bleeding begins. People who struggle with PMDD tend to count down the days until they start bleeding. After which they usually start to feel relief. Many say that they feel they only have one good week in the month, and everything feels like it goes downhill rapidly right after ovulation.

Why more women are turning to microdosing

The PMDD subreddit has 40.8k members at the time of writing. There, people who get periods and partners of those who get periods write about the challenges they face and support each other through “hell week”, This is the week leading up to their period, during the luteal phase. “Does anyone else want to break up with their partner each month during their luteal period?” “I can’t do this anymore” “Counting down the days until I get my period.”

And, of course, they discuss solutions. There currently isn’t one accepted treatment for PMDD. Women are often prescribed antidepressants or hormonal birth control. Some women try to get by with lifestyle changes and supplements such as magnesium, B6, and Vitex (chasteberry), while others choose to get sterilized. 

Many struggle to find a doctor who can take their symptoms seriously

Studies suggest that while between 3% and 8% of women meet the entirety of the criteria for a PMDD diagnosis, 75% of women experience some PMS symptoms. 13-18% of women may experience severe enough PMS symptoms to cause impairment or distress.[1]

Many struggle to find a doctor who can take their symptoms seriously. And even when they do, they often spend months or years trying different types of birth control and antidepressants. Often, they find no relief, only side effects such as decreased libido and weight gain. Or they find that their symptoms get worse or their emotions feel blunted. They may experience less depression and anxiety, but they find their capacity for joy reduced.

Ever so often on the subreddit, someone makes a thread discussing how women are turning to microdosing psilocybin mushrooms to treat their PMDD symptoms, and reports very promising results. Microdosing for PMDD seems to be increasing in popularity, particularly since the writer Ayelet Waldman wrote a book (A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life). This book records her month-long experiment with microdosing LSD to help her PMDD symptoms. 

For some, it’s their last hope for a happy and stable life, and they see results they would never have believed.

Is microdosing effective for PMDD?

The practice of microdosing is taking tiny doses of a psychedelic substance, such as 1/10th or 1/20th of a regular dose. Microdosers usually take a dose every few days or use a schedule such as taking the microdose for four days, and then taking a three-day break. Because the amount is minimal, users don’t experience the typical effects associated with psychedelics, like hallucinations or changes in perception. Instead, they report feeling slightly better: more creative, joyous, or focused. Psilocybin microdosers often “stack” their dose with other medicinal mushrooms or supplements, such as Lion’s Mane, which is anti-inflammatory and reported to have benefits in reducing anxiety and depression.

While it’s difficult to find studies on the effects of microdosing on PMDD, the research on microdosing in general can help us understand why it seems to help. Microdosers scored lower on negative emotionality[2] and reported reduced anxiety and enhanced sociality.[3]

One study that surveyed adults who microdose psychedelics and were diagnosed with at least one mental or physiological disorder found that psilocybin was the most commonly used (297 people in the study, or 57.1%) followed by LSD (248 respondents at 47.7%).[4] While PMDD was not one of the disorders looked at, the study found that microdosing psychedelics seemed more effective than conventional treatment for ADHD, anxiety, and psychological disorders such as pain. In addition, users reported fewer adverse side effects, such as a crash from typical ADHD stimulant medication. 

Another study that tracked 98 participants as they microdosed found reductions in depression and anxiety and lower levels of distractability.[5] 

Why microdosing may help PMDD symptoms

The serotonergic system, which is closely reciprocal with the gonadal hormones, has been identified as “the most plausible target of intervention” in PMDD. SSRIs are the current preferred conventional treatment, often given only in the luteal phase.[6] Serotonin is involved in most reported PMDD symptoms, such as anger and irritability, depressive symptoms, and specific food cravings.[7]

While SSRIs may provide relief for the emotional symptoms of PMDD, they usually don’t offer much for the pain of physical symptoms. Possible side effects of SSRIs include agitation, insomnia, headache, and an impact on appetite, which can worsen regular PMS and PMDD symptoms. On rare occasions, SSRIs can also cause serotonin syndrome. 

How psilocybin works on the serotonergic system

Like most commonly prescribed antidepressants today, psilocybin works on the serotonergic system. [8] Common antidepressant SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) do as the name suggests and inhibit the reupdate of serotonin in the neuron synapses, making the serotonin “hang out” for longer. Meanwhile, psilocybin is chemically similar to serotonin and binds to serotonin receptors in the brain. Thus, it can make your brain think there is more serotonin in your system than there is without playing with the serotonin levels. And while SSRIs may take up to two weeks for one to feel effects, one feels the effect of microdosing within a couple of hours, and the healing effects can last months.

Because psilocybin does not actually increase the serotonin levels in your system, it has the lowest risk for serotonin syndrome. This is a huge benefit and one of the reasons why women are turning to microdosing to treat PMDD.

It can also provide significant relief for physical PMDD symptoms that SSRIs usually don’t help with. Psilocybin acts as a vasoconstrictor, constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to certain areas of the body. Psilocybin mushrooms are also being studied for pain relief due to their anti-inflammatory properties.[9] That means that they may provide relief for symptoms such as headaches, cramps, back pain, and muscle pain that many with PMDD face.

Women are turning to microdosing to treat PMDD

A drug that can help with both the physical and emotional aspects of PMDD with no extreme side effects such as insomnia or sexual dysfunctional sounds like a dream. Yet microdosing seems to deliver all these effects and provide PMDD sufferers with increased quality of life. Yet that’s not the only remarkable thing. While SSRIs tend to work only when you use them on a daily basis, studies suggest that psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms increase long-term neuroplasticity and can help patients make long-lasting changes.

Hopefully we will see more research on the effects of microdosing psilocybin mushrooms for PMDD and other debilitating mental health disorders soon. Ideally, once the research becomes unavoidable it will pave the way to easier access so that everyone struggling with PMDD and other related mental health challenges may be empowered to choose their treatment options. Many women are already women are turning to microdosing to treat PMDD but the number will keep increasing as more research becomes available.

Microdosing options available through our online store

In the meantime, there are solutions if you’re looking to buy psychedelics online in Canada. Utopia Mushroom Co. is a trusted magic mushroom dispensary in Canada that offers lab-tested microdose capsules with 50, 75 and 100mg dosages of Golden Teacher magic mushrooms, coupled with locally grown functional mushrooms such as Lions Mane and Reishi for additional nootropic and adaptogenic support. There’s no need to suffer with PMDD symptoms such as fatigue and mood swings in silence anymore, microdosing with mushrooms may provide you with relief.


  1. Halbreich, U., Borenstein, J., Pearlstein, T., & Kahn, L. S. (2003). The prevalence, impairment, impact, and burden of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMS/PMDD). Psychoneuroendocrinology, 28, 1–23.
  2. Anderson, T., Petranker, R., Rosenbaum, D., Weissman, C. R., Dinh-Williams, L.-A., Hui, K., Hapke, E., & Farb, N. A. S. (2019). Microdosing psychedelics: personality, mental health, and creativity differences in microdosers. Psychopharmacology, 236(2), 731–740.
  3. Psychedelic Microdosing: Prevalence and Subjective Effects. (2020). Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
  4. Hutten, N. R. P. W., Mason, N. L., Dolder, P. C., & Kuypers, K. P. C. (2019). Self-Rated Effectiveness of Microdosing With Psychedelics for Mental and Physical Health Problems Among Microdosers. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10.
  5. Polito, V., & Stevenson, R. J. (2019). A systematic study of microdosing psychedelics. PLOS ONE, 14(2), e0211023.
  6. Steiner M;Pearlstein T. (2022). Premenstrual dysphoria and the serotonin system: pathophysiology and treatment. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61 Suppl 12.
  7. Limosin F;Ades J. (2015). [Psychiatric and psychological aspects of premenstrual syndrome]. L’Encephale, 27(6).
  8. Erowid Mushroom Vaults : Serotonin, Psilocybin and Body Dysmorphic Disorder: a case report by Karl R. Hanes, Ph.D. (2015).
  9. Elman, I., Pustilnik, A., & Borsook, D. (2022). Beating pain with psychedelics: Matter over mind? Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 134, 104482.

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