Microdosing

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Microdosing on psychedelic substances such as LSD or magic mushrooms may improve mood and attention, according to the preliminary results of an ongoing study.

Microdosing psychedelics involves ingesting a very small amount of a drug in order to experience some positive side effects while staying below the dosage threshold that would cause you to trip (i.e. hallucinate).

James Fadiman, a psychologist at the University of Sofia, Palo Alto, enlisted more than 1,000 online volunteers from 59 countries who agreed to microdose (10 micrograms of active substance) once every three days for a whole month. During this time, each participant self-evaluated their emotional states and submit journals detailing their experiences.

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The results published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs suggest that microdosing is associated with an increase in positive emotions, better social interactions, fewer headaches, improved productivity at work, and better focus.

“Smaller samples described alleviation of symptoms in migraine headaches, pre-menstrual syndromes, traumatic brain injury, shingles, and other conditions not previously associated with psychedelic use,” the authors reported.

Previous microdosing studies reported reductions in self-reported levels of depression, stress, and distractibility, but also increased neuroticism.

There is one major caveat, however: all of these studies, including this most recent one, rely on participants self-reporting their experiences. There is also no formal control over their dosage. In 2018, researchers at the Imperial College London launched the first-ever microdosing clinical trial. This study, which only involves LSD, should provide more reliable and robust conclusions.

Until then people should not microdose on their own. Besides being illegal in most countries, microdosing psychedelic drugs could have some unintended negative consequences.