Behavioral and Productivity Impact Of Microdosing Psychedelics

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The phenomenon of microdosing psychedelics has gained widespread attention, but scientific research is lagging on the subject. There are numerous online guides available that show how to benefit from psychedelic use of LSD or psilocybin with doses as less as one-twentieth of recreational use [1].

Hallucinations and intense emotional response of psychedelics are not pronounced in microdosing. The high of the drug is not achieved, and the rationale behind this practice is to get short term residual effects as well as long-term general health and wellbeing benefits [2].

These benefits include increased productivity, creativity, focus, memory, positive moods, amongst other things.

Microdosing Application

It is an exciting application of psychedelics where individuals retain their responsiveness while also claiming the benefits of their centuries-old indigenous practices [3]. In history, it has proven to be useful to treat ailments and reduce hunger while inspiring courage at the same time. [4].

However, the modern practice of microdosing is a recent occurrence, and scientific research is severely lacking. Only anecdotal evidence is available on the topic where it has apparently led to positive outcomes, especially with respect to productivity increase without the hallucinogenic implications [5].

The popularity of microdosing in recent years has seen a swath of positive news articles with claims of considerable benefits. Improved moods and energy levels are one of the more pronounced perks of microdosing [6].

It has also been cited to increase thinking patterns, especially improvement in convergent and divergent thinking [7], while also reducing negative emotions [8].

Scientific Support of Microdosing

Recent scientific research on microdosing has backed anecdotal evidence from informal case reports, with respect to psychological impact and therapeutic benefits [9].

Individuals reported that their exposure to LSD and psilocybin was ‘highly meaningful and transformative. Both psychedelics had long term positive emotional impact [10].

Clinically, both psilocybin and LSD have had favorable responses in treating anxiety and depression, especially in terminally ill patients. Moreover, psilocybin has shown to reduce signs of treatment-resistant depression [11], as well as addiction to smoking and alcohol [12-46,47]. Results from higher dosage use of psychedelics in clinical trials are supporting the micro-dose narratives and anecdotal results.

There is a need for research with respect to the safety of microdosing psychedelics. Scientific studies with higher dosages have reported them as relatively safe [13]. The negative effects recorded include perception and psychotic symptoms.

While they have been found as not addictive, large scale studies have also failed to associate the hallucinogens with adverse mental health outcomes [14].

Systematic observation of microdosing healthy individuals matched anecdotal claims. The psychedelics in use included LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline, as they impact 5-HT receptor sites. These individuals were measured on attention, wellbeing, mindfulness, mystical experiences, personality, absorption, creativity, and sense of agency.

It showed that on the DASS scale, individuals reported significant decreases in an already low baseline of depression and stress ratings [15].

There was also an increase in focus with comparable reduction is mind-wandering [16]. Besides, subjects also shared in follow-ups that their happiness levels increased and productivity levels at work and in school [17]. While popular accounts of microdosing do not match the substantial expectations of individuals, it is fair to state that the avenue has promising benefits to reap.

Citation

PolitoV, StevensonRJ (2019)Asystematicstudyof microdosing psychedelics.PLoSONE 14(2):e0211023.https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0211023

References

  1. Schirp M. Microdosing: The Revolutionary Way of Using Psychedelics. In: High Existence [Internet]. 2015 [cited 9 Nov 2015]. Available: http://www.highexistence.com/microdosing-lsd-psychedelic/
  2. Hogan E. Turn on, tune in, drop by the office. 1843. 11 Jul 2017. Available: https://www.1843magazine.com/features/turn-on-tune-in-drop-by-the-office.
  3. Schultes RE, Hofmann A. Plants of the gods: their sacred, healing, and hallucinogenic powers. Rochester, NY: Healing Arts Press; 1979
  4. Prioreschi P. A History of Medicine: Primitive and ancient medicine. 2nd ed. Omaha, NE: Horatius Press; 1996.
  5. Leonard A. How LSD Microdosing Became the Hot New Business Trip. Rolling Stone. 20 Nov 2015.
  6. Johnstad PG. Powerful substances in tiny amounts: An interview study of psychedelic microdosing. Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2018;35: 39–51. 10.1177/1455072517753339
  7. Prochazkova L, Lippelt DP, Colzato LS, Kuchar M, Sjoerds Z, Hommel B. Exploring the effect of microdosing psychedelics on creativity in an open-label natural setting. Psychopharmacology. 2018; doi: 10/gfj9h8
  8. Anderson T, Petranker R, Dinh-Williams L-A, Rosenbaum D, Weissman C, Hapke E, et al. Microdosing Psychedelics: Personality, mental health, and creativity differences in microdosers. PsyArXiv. 2018; 10.31234/osf.io/gk4jd
  9. Sessa B. Shaping the renaissance of psychedelic research. The Lancet. 2012;380: 200–201. 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60600-X
  10. Kometer M, Schmidt A, Bachmann R, Studerus E, Seifritz E, Vollenweider FX. Psilocybin Biases Facial Recognition, Goal-Directed Behavior, and Mood State Toward Positive Relative to Negative Emotions Through Different Serotonergic Subreceptors. Biological Psychiatry. 2012;72: 898–906. 10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.04.005
  11. Carhart-Harris RL, Kaelen M, Bolstridge M, Williams TM, Williams LT, Underwood R, et al. The paradoxical psychological effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Psychological Medicine. 2016;FirstView: 1–12. 10.1017/S0033291715002901
  12. Johnson MW, Garcia-Romeu A, Griffiths RR. Long-term follow-up of psilocybin-facilitated smoking cessation. The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse. 2017;43: 55–60. 10.3109/00952990.2016.1170135
  13. Nichols D. Psychedelics Pharmacol Rev. 2016;68: 264–355. 10.1124/pr.115.011478
  14. Johansen P-Ø, Krebs TS. Psychedelics not linked to mental health problems or suicidal behavior: A population study. J Psychopharmacol. 2015;29: 270–279. 10.1177/0269881114568039
  15. Fadiman J. Microdose Research: Without approvals, control groups, double-blinds, staff, or funding by Dr James Fadiman. Psychedelic Press. 2017XV.
  16. Smallwood J, Schooler JW. The Science of Mind Wandering: Empirically Navigating the Stream of Consciousness. Annual Review of Psychology. 2015;66: 487–518. 10.1146/annurev-psych-010814-015331
  17. Smallwood J, Fishman DJ, Schooler JW. Counting the cost of an absent mind: Mind wandering as an underrecognized influence on educational performance. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. 2007;14: 230–236. 10.3758/BF03194057

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