Psychedelic microdosing

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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, promote emotional balance, increase performance on problems-solving tasks and to treat anxiety, depression and addiction.[1][2] The practice of microdosing has become more widespread in the 21st century with more people claiming long-term benefits from the practice.[3][4]

Techniques[edit]

Five doses of LSD. 1/20 to 1/10 of a recreational dose is considered microdosing.[5]

The two most common psychedelic drugs used in microdosing are lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin (psychoactive mushrooms).[5][6] Other psychedelics that have been used for microdosing include 1P-LSD, mescaline, 4-HO-MET, 2,5-dimethoxy-4-bromoamphetamine, 2C-H, 2C-D, 2C-E and lysergic acid amide.[5] A microdose is usually 1/20 to 1/10 of an active dose of a psychedelic drug.[6]

In contrast to the recreational use of psychedelics, individuals who microdose often stick to drug schedules, often dosing about every three days, two fixed days a week, every other day, or 4 consecutive days followed by a 3 day break.[4]

Prevalence and demographics[edit]

Both gender and education have an effect on the prevalence of microdosing. An online survey found that out of 2,437 individuals, 13% had previously practiced microdosing and 4% were currently microdosing.[7] Females (n=100) were about half as likely as males (n=188) to report microdosing.[7]  The average age of these individuals who had previous microdosing experience, both male and female, was 33.26.[7] Education and income was highly correlated with microdosing experience.[7] Participants who reported microdosing were more likely to have lower income levels (<$50,000) and lower levels of education.[7] No particular type of employment was associated with microdosing.[7]

Another anonymous online survey drew a sample of microdosers from the online forum Reddit.[8] The survey was primarily targeted at current or past users to examine demographics, practice, and mental health comorbidity.[8] Microdosers and non-microdosers showed no statistical difference in terms of age, sexual orientation, social class, or highest completed formal education.[8] Significant differences were found in gender and religious affiliation with microdosers more likely to be male and reporting lower rates of religious affiliation.[8] The majority of microdosers reported the use of LSD or psilocybin as their substance of choice and followed a one-day-on, two-days-off schedule.[8] Despite no significant differences in psychiatric history, microdosers were less likely to report a history of anxiety or substance use disorder.[8] Statistical analyses showed that users were about five times more likely to report recent substance use, excluding caffeine, alcohol, and prescription medications, compared to non-microdosers.[8]

Motivation[edit]

Research that examines the motives of users is narrative or survey-based. People’s reasons for microdosing are both physically and psychologically oriented. A study investigated the motives for microdosing with psychedelics in 1,116 users through an online questionnaire.[9] Common reasons given by respondents were performance enhancement, mood enhancement, symptom relief, and curiosity.[9] Almost half of respondents claimed that they microdosed to go to work.[9]

Another study relied on data collected from interviews with thirty people who had previously microdosed.[4] Responses from users emphasized their role as conventional citizens, distancing themselves from traditional drug users.[4]  Motivations were similar to those of the previous study; reasons for microdosing included mood enhancement, greater productivity, and increase in sociability.[4] Although this sample is not representative of the population of users, the results still provide insights about the motivation to microdose.[4]

Research[edit]

In 2020 a study by the Beckley Foundation examined whether a low dose of LSD could reduce the perception of pain. The study found that a 20 microgram dose of LSD significantly reduced pain perception when compared to a placebo. Tolerance of pain was increased by 20%, results comparable to those observed after administration of opioids such as oxycodone and morphine .[10]

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.[4][5][11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fadiman J (2016-01-01). "Microdose research: without approvals, control groups, double blinds, staff or funding". Psychedelic Press. XV.
  2. ^ Brodwin E (30 January 2017). "The truth about 'microdosing,' which involves taking tiny amounts of psychedelics like LSD". Business Insider. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  3. ^ Dahl H (7 July 2015). "A Brief History of LSD in the Twenty-First Century". Psychedelic Press UK. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Webb M, Copes H, Hendricks PS (August 2019). "Narrative identity, rationality, and microdosing classic psychedelics". The International Journal on Drug Policy. 70: 33–39. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.04.013. PMID 31071597.
  5. ^ a b c d Polito V, Stevenson RJ (2019-02-06). "A systematic study of microdosing psychedelics". PLOS ONE. 14 (2): e0211023. Bibcode:2019PLoSO..1411023P. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0211023. PMC 6364961. PMID 30726251.
  6. ^ a b Preller KH (November 2019). "The Effects of Low Doses of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide in Healthy Humans: Demystifying the Microdosing of Psychedelics". Biological Psychiatry. 86 (10): 736–737. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.08.021. PMID 31648681. S2CID 204800273.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Cameron LP, Nazarian A, Olson DE (January 2020). "Psychedelic Microdosing: Prevalence and Subjective Effects". Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. 52 (2): 113–122. doi:10.1080/02791072.2020.1718250. PMC 7282936. PMID 31973684.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Rosenbaum D, Weissman C, Anderson T, Petranker R, Dinh-Williams LA, Hui K, Hapke E (February 2020). "Microdosing psychedelics: Demographics, practices, and psychiatric comorbidities". Journal of Psychopharmacology. 34 (6): 612–622. doi:10.1177/0269881120908004. PMID 32108529. S2CID 211556532.
  9. ^ a b c Hutten NR, Mason NL, Dolder PC, Kuypers KP (July 2019). "Motives and Side-Effects of Microdosing With Psychedelics Among Users". The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. 22 (7): 426–434. doi:10.1093/ijnp/pyz029. PMC 6600464. PMID 31152167.
  10. ^ "5 things you need to know about microdosing". leafie. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  11. ^ Anderson T, Petranker R, Christopher A, Rosenbaum D, Weissman C, Dinh-Williams LA, et al. (July 2019). "Psychedelic microdosing benefits and challenges: an empirical codebook". Harm Reduction Journal. 16 (1): 43. doi:10.1186/s12954-019-0308-4. PMC 6617883. PMID 31288862.