What Is ‘Microdosing’? Tiny Hits of Psychedelic Drugs Reduce Anxiety Without the Trip, Study Says

published on August 6, 2018 by Scottie Andrew in Newsweek

A subpopulation of psychedelic drug users said tiny doses of LSD and mushrooms helped lower their anxiety and stimulated their mind without the accompanying transcendental trip, according to a new study.

A team of Canadian researchers studied the effects of microdosing, or using small amounts of a psychedelic substance so that the user never nears the threshold for psychoactive effects and can continue his or her daily routine. In their observations, researchers found that microdosers reported lower anxiety and depression levels, less vulnerability to failure and less self-doubt than those who never microdosed. That was evidence, researchers said, that those illegal drugs could treat mental disorders.

Researchers recruited active and former microdosers, as well as who were interested but inexperienced, on Reddit, Twitter and Facebook to observe the impacts of microdoses of LSD and psilocybin, or psychedelic mushrooms.

After taking a low dosage, nearly one-fourth of users reported a sharpened focus and heightened energy, which boosted their engagement and stimulation with their tasks at hand. More than 20 percent of participants’ mood and outlook on life improved, while another 13 percent said microdosing assuaged their existing anxiety and stress. Microdosers also scored slightly higher in measures of wisdom and open-mindedness.

But the potential disadvantages outweighed the rewards for some. Nearly 30 percent of participants—users and nonusers—were uncomfortable using illegal substances, and the lack of a standard microdose amount led users to doubt its reliability and accuracy in treating their symptoms. Others were turned off by its potential for abuse and the comedown effects, even without the high, and 15 percent of users said their anxiety increased due to overstimulation while using the drug.

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