Author: Alex Thompson

Microdosing: Overview, Benefits, Risks

what is microdosing

These tend to be the most researched and are often easier to obtain than some lesser-used substances. When microdosed, proponents suggest that it helps increase spiritual awareness and lessen feelings of anxiety. Microdosing may also help with temporary focus, allowing a person to work on a big project without their mind wandering. Overall, 44% of people who responded perceived that their mental health was much better as a consequence of microdosing.

what is microdosing

People choose to microdose for a variety of reasons, mostly to be more productive, creative, and focused without the effects of a full psychedelic experience. The science around microdosing is still being explored and clinical studies are needed to determine its benefits and risks. However, one self-reported observational study suggests microdosing may help with depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders. Microdosing may also improve creativity as well as enhance one’s overall outlook on life. A growing number of people have started using psychedelic drugs to enhance their lives.

As its popularity rises, it’s important to remember that the short and long-term effects of microdosing are still largely unknown. Many factors, including your current mental and physical health condition, play a role in the effects of psychedelics. If you or a loved one are considering microdosing, speak with your healthcare provider and/or a mental health provider about your risks. Side effects of decreased mood, cognitive impairment, neurosis, and feelings of disconnection from others have also been noted. The substances people microdose are illegal, further complicating research efforts.

Proponents of microdosing claim that taking these psychedelics in small, measured doses benefits the mind, making them think more clearly or feel more open throughout the day. Microdosing involves taking a very small dose of some popular hallucinogenic substances. Proponents of microdosing believe that the practice benefits the mind, and research has recently started to explore this possibility.

How do I microdose?

It was during the 1960s that counterculture figures such as psychologist Timothy Leary helped to popularize hallucinogens. However, research on the topic was effectively halted for a period of 40 years after such substances were banned in the United States. Psychedelics are powerful psychoactive substances that produce mind-altering effects including changes in perception, mood, and cognition.

It has energizing effects and enhances feelings of empathy and self-awareness. Depression and anxiety run in Joseph’s family, and he’d been prescribed Prozac as a kid. But when symptoms of depression returned in his early 30s, he didn’t want to go back to a prescription drug.

It is always a good idea to do thorough research before mixing any drugs, including prescription drugs that are taken regularly. In clinical settings, a microdose would consist of “10–20 mcg of LSD and/or 0.3–0.5 g of psilocybin-containing mushrooms.” That is roughly 1/10th of a typical active dose. The goal is to use psychedelics in a way that reduces the risk of having an intense experience. The number of microdosers has increased with media reporting and the emergence of online microdosing communities. Not all doses are created equalA microdose for most folks can be a major dose for some.

what is microdosing

The goal is to achieve the positive results of the substance (more focus, energy, and emotional balance) without the negative (hallucinations, sensory shifts, and other extreme experiential side effects). However, there are obstacles to microdosing, the first and foremost being that many of the most popular microdosed substances are illegal. “The whole idea is you’re taking a very small dose – like a tenth of what you would use to feel anything. Elon Musk recently reported that he microdoses ketamine for the treatment of depression, while Prince Harry said mushrooms and ayahuasca helped him through the grief of losing his mother.

The drug could be adulterated (mixed in) with substances of a lower quality or dangerous product. When considering psychedelic drug use in any form, the substance should always be tested for purity. When using any psychedelic substance outside of a clinical setting, it is possible that the substance could be cut with other potentially lethal contaminants. There are harm-reduction networks where testing kits can be accessed that will indicate whether a substance is pure or not.

Full-Dose vs. Microdose

Most other hallucinogenic drugs aren’t legal, however, more research is being done on their therapeutic use, which could change laws in the future. There are risks when you take any drug or medication, however, microdosing is safest when it is done under the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional. In this setting, healthcare professionals can respond in an emergency, and you know exactly what you’re taking and the dose. Such substances may also show up on standard drug tests, even at very low doses. This could lead to serious consequences, including legal charges and loss of employment. Some studies have found that LSD and psilocybin may be useful in the treatment of drug and alcohol dependence and depression.

  1. The results suggested that many participants felt that microdosing was more effective than some other types of conventional treatment, yet not as effective as standard doses of psychedelics.
  2. However, as more research is done on the use of psychedelics, both in standard dosages and microdoses, it may be possible that psychedelics find their way into various treatment paradigms.
  3. Microdosing is best described as the practice of regularly consuming a very small amount of a psychedelic substance, usually 5–10% of a regular dose, with the intention of improving one’s quality of life.

What we do know is that psychedelic substances act on the serotonin (5-HT) receptors in our brain. Serotonin receptors are found throughout our nervous system and govern many aspects of our being, including mood, thinking, and bowel movements. Psychedelics bind most effectively to the 5HT-2A receptor, which is one of the receptors involved in learning, memory, and cognition. As a result, when consuming only a microdose of a psychedelic substance and thus avoiding the “classical trip,” it is believed that the brain can focus solely on the cognitive boost caused by these receptors. Some research suggests that psychedelics (at full doses) may help relieve some mental health conditions including anxiety and depression.

Although some formal research explores the possibility of using psychedelics, such as psilocybin, to help people stop using other drugs, there is little scientific research or proof as of yet. At these low levels, many people do not notice the effects in the same as a person would notice a psychedelic trip. The illegality of microdosing substances limits research opportunity and quality. It also means people consuming these substances cannot access a controlled, safe supply.

Improved brain functioning

At that level, taken several times a week, some claim the drugs improve their mood, boost their creativity and give the world a brighter, shinier quality, like it’s in high-definition. The goal of microdosing is to develop practical applications for psychedelic substances in everyday life. Considering that most long-term benefit of psychedelic therapy is attributed to the trip and integration of the experience, microdosing operates from a different therapeutic paradigm. Psychologists and psychiatrists believed that the drugs they studied in the fifties and sixties (especially LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline) brought subconscious parts of ourselves to the conscious mind. What all psychedelic substances have in common is that they induce a classic trip experience at high doses, they’re not addictive, and especially when microdosing, they pose hardly any risks in healthy people. The idea is that when taken at low doses, psychedelics can improve mood and productivity while reducing the risk of negative side effects, like anxiety, that might be experienced during a full-blown trip.

Microdosing to Increase Productivity & Creativity

Now that you know what microdosing is; learn more about the history of microdosing, Dr. James Fadiman, the benefits and risks, and medical applications of microdosing. Another important safety consideration is the fact that because many of the substances used for microdosing are illegal, there is no regulation of the manufacture and production of these substances. Mescaline is a naturally-occurring psychedelic that has effects similar to LSD and has played an important role in Native American tradition.

Microdosing: Definition, Effects, Uses, Risks, Legality

It appears that a microdose of some psychedelics could affect cognitive flexibility by reducing the tendency toward rumination, a thinking pattern commonly experienced as a symptom of depression. Scientific research is in the beginning stages, but much of the research on microdosing is largely anecdotal or self-reported survey research. A recent study suggests that the benefits of microdosing can also be attributed to the placebo effect. With 191 participants, this study was the largest placebo-controlled study that has been done on psychedelics. The results found that while the microdose group reported improved psychological outcomes, so did the placebo group, with little difference between the two. Those who have been diagnosed with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are discouraged from using psychedelic drugs at any dosage, as negative consequences may be experienced.