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Psychedelic microdosing is the practice of using sub-threshold doses (microdoses) of serotonergic psychedelic drugs in an attempt to improve creativity, boost physical energy level, emotional balance, increase performance on problems-solving tasks and to treat anxiety, depression and addiction. The practice of microdosing has become more widespread in the 21st century with more people claiming long-term benefits from the practice.
The two most common psychedelic drugs used in microdosing are Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and Psilocybin (psychoactive mushrooms). Other psychedelics that have been used for microdosing include mescaline, 4-HO-MET, 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-bromoamphetamine, 2C-H, 2C-D, 2C-E and lysergic acid amide. A microdose is usually 1/10 to 1/20 of an active dose of a psychedelic drug.
In contrast to the recreational use of psychedelics, individuals who microdose stick to strict drug schedules, often dosing about every 3 days, and do not observe any impairment to their normal functioning. In a study that evaluated the effects of three different doses of LSD on healthy human volunteers, it was concluded that the threshold dose of LSD that would affect normal functioning is 13 ug. Doses lower than this are considered appropriate for microdosing with LSD.
Most research on the effects of microdosing to date has been based on either anecdotal evidence or survey. Long-term effects remain largely undetermined. In a study examining the qualitative reports of 278 microdosers the researchers found that there were mixed results among users. Some users experienced positive effects such as improved mood and increased focus, while other users experienced negative effects such as physiological discomfort and anxiety.
In one of the only double-blind, randomized studies to date, those given microdoses of LSD did not perform better than those given the placebo on cognitive tasks. This study did not have any conclusive evidence on whether or not microdosing with LSD has any therapeutic effects for those suffering from anxiety or depressive disorders since all participants were healthy at the time of the study. This study analyzed users who answered mood questionnaires and performed behavioral tests after taking a range of microdoses from 0-26 ug of LSD. The only changes in function that this study saw were a decrease in how the users rated the positivity of images that had positive emotional content and an increase in their vigor, determined behaviorally, when compared to those who received the placebo.
Since research on the topic of microdosing with psychedelics is fairly new, there are sure to be more studies focusing on double-blind, randomized experiments in order to determine if these doses have any benefit to normal functioning as proclaimed by some users.