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 .
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 .
These benefits include increased productivity, creativity, focus, memory, positive moods, amongst other things.
It is an exciting application of psychedelics where individuals retain their responsiveness while also claiming the benefits of their centuries-old indigenous practices . In history, it has proven to be useful to treat ailments and reduce hunger while inspiring courage at the same time. .
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 .
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 .
It has also been cited to increase thinking patterns, especially improvement in convergent and divergent thinking , while also reducing negative emotions .
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 .
Individuals reported that their exposure to LSD and psilocybin was ‘highly meaningful and transformative. Both psychedelics had long term positive emotional impact .
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 , 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 . 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 .
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 .
There was also an increase in focus with comparable reduction is mind-wandering . Besides, subjects also shared in follow-ups that their happiness levels increased and productivity levels at work and in school . 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.
PolitoV, StevensonRJ (2019)Asystematicstudyof microdosing psychedelics.PLoSONE 14(2):e0211023.https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0211023
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