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What is Microdosing?

by Diana Gonzalez on Nov 19, 2022

What Is Microdosing

What is Microdosing?

Key takeaways

  • Microdosing may effectively relieve specific side effects of a disease, but it can also increase focus or functioning in daily activities.

  • There are adverse effects to microdosing any drug. For example, you can get a dependency on the drug, or you may experience psychological difficulties.

  • Microdosing is a term that has not been agreed upon for any psychedelic, making it impossible to do consistent scientific studies on the topic.

  • Although there has been some formal research on using psychedelics like psilocybin to help people overcome their addictions, the evidence is limited.

  • Results showed that microdosing was more effective than other treatments but not as effective as higher doses of psychedelics.

  • Microdosing LSD or other psychedelics may be less likely to result in adverse experiences since it lacks the intensity of full-dosed experiments.

  • The truth is that for one person, it might have other perceived outcomes than the other, and the ability to predict that is near impossible.

Exercise, meditation, behavioral health counseling, prescription medicines, or a combination of these may have been attempted if you are concerned about your mental health and want to feel better and happier.

You may have heard, however, about the potential benefits of psychedelic drugs, also called hallucinogens, for improving one's mental health. Some people are now achieving their goals by using small doses of these drugs.

So what is microdosing? Microdosing psychedelics, which involves taking very small doses, or tiny amounts, is rapidly gaining popularity. Everyone from Silicon Valley, heavy hitters to cutting-edge creatives, is now openly trying out psychoactive controlled substances to boost their productivity, clarity, and happiness at work.

Microdosing is a term that has not been agreed upon for any psychedelic, making it impossible to do consistent scientific studies on the topic. One common definition is 1/50th to 1/20th of a standard dose of substance taken for recreational purposes.

The technicalities of microdosing

On online forums, you'll read that microdosing is used as a problem-solving strategy, taking tiny hits of certain substances. For example, the empirical codebook for microdosing mentions all the benefits, including improved mood disorders. In addition, it is said that microdosing psychedelics may sometimes help treat 'treatment-resistant' depression. Other substances may also help, but magic mushrooms or LSD are often considered the best option.

Psychedelics at large doses and their benefits

When microdosing studies are restricted to those topics covered in full-dose studies, novel and surprising microdosing discoveries may be overlooked. Although some of the focal assessments used in full-dose research—including symptomatology, mood, and personality—may be transferable to microdosing research, the low doses and lack of perceptual alteration intended in microdosing make some of the full-dose phenomena—like ego dissolution and mystical-type experiences—less relevant.

Instead, the present work asked for free-form responses on benefits and drawbacks, so we might be ready for mixed results. It's also conceivable that different drugs will have other effects because psychedelic chemicals act on distinct but overlapping brain receptor regions.

Here are the claimed psychedelic microdosing benefits:

improved cognitive abilities

Microdosing is said to enhance cognitive performance by its proponents. Users report that microdosing potent drugs make them more creative and receptive to new ideas.

Studies have shown that while microdosing can boost cognitive performance on the days you take, the advantages don't last when you're not taking your dosage.

Improve mood disorders

Substance use in tiny amounts can have a positive impact on certain mood disorders

Putting aside other addiction

Microdosing, proponents say, can help people give up vices like smoking and drinking. Microdosing can give the impression of euphoria, making it seem unnecessary to use even the most basic stimulants, like coffee.

Although there has been some formal research on using psychedelics like psilocybin to help people overcome their addictions, the evidence is limited. However, anecdotal evidence indicates the possibility.

Creativity

Putting a number on creativity is harder, but many microdoses say they use it to boost their imagination. Yet, this benefit might also result from decreased stress and increased focus. Once again, we lack hard facts to support these claims, and only scientific research can provide them.

Focus

Microdosing may also help with a short-term focus, allowing the user to finish a challenging task with few interruptions. An authoritative research source has found that

Improved psychological well-being

Microdosing is used for various reasons, many of which are related to the individual's mental health.

Researchers questioned people who participated in a study about their experiences with microdosing.

About 21 percent of those who took the survey stated they used microdosing primarily to deal with depression, while 7 percent said the same about anxiety. Roughly nine percent of patients who improved from therapy for other mental health issues also used microdosing.

Nearly half of respondents (46%) found that microdosing significantly impacted their emotional well-being.

An online questionnaire was utilized in a different study to compare the efficacy of microdosing to that of other therapy for mood and anxiety disorders. Results showed that microdosing was more effective than other treatments but not as effective as higher doses of psychedelics. The Emerging Fields of Psychiatry

Animal studies have shown that diseases like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and general anxiety may be mimicked by administering low doses of DMT. This is precisely what the researchers found in their study participants.

Is microdosing dangerous?

Full-dose psychedelic experiences, despite their apparent benefits and very low physiological risks, can cause severe psychological trauma to users. Researchers found that 39 percent of participants whose lives included at least one negative trip on psilocybin mushrooms reported that their full-dose experiences were among the five most psychologically difficult/challenging moments.

The negative side-effects of psychedelic drugs

Microdosing LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) or other drugs may be less likely to result in adverse experiences since it lacks the intensity of full-dosed experiments. Yet, it's reasonable to anticipate that the fewer and milder manifestations of full-dosed issues will persist even at the lower doses used in micro-dosing (e.g., restlessness instead of insomnia, mild anxiety instead of fear, mild headaches). As microdosing research is only getting started, we may encounter challenges outside the purview of studies based on total doses; as a result, the current research opted for open-ended surveying of drawbacks rather than pre-existing tailored surveys.

Can You Get High From A Microdose of Potent drugs?

All drug use is risky, even if the substance in question is not considered addictive. In addition, the placebo effect of, e.g., micro-dosed LSD may cause you to keep using drugs. Substances that are illegal to possess, such as fentanyl, ketamine, or methamphetamine, are more likely to include impurities. If you're using psilocybin mushrooms or other microdosing psychedelics, there is still a chance you will get addicted to illicit substances. When you get addicted to microdosing or using a recreational dose of a psychedelic drug, it can still cause serious harm, like psychotic disorders.

The industry needs randomized controlled trials

It requires future research and systematic study, to say for sure. However, many anecdotal reports claim that tiny doses of psychedelic substances have cognitive benefits for mental illness, improved focus, stress reduction, self-efficacy, social benefits, and an overall better mood, contributing to a growing trend in substance use.

Should I try Microdosing to improve mental health?

It is said that microdosing LSD can help solve depression. Still, remember that next to reported benefits, there are also claims of mood disorders, anxiety, and even psychosis when using LSD or psilocybin mushrooms. The truth is that for one person, it might have other outcomes than the other.