Microdosing is the practice of administering very small doses of a medicine or chemical to examine cellular responses without causing systemic effects. Phase 0 investigations employ it routinely to determine whether or not a medicine is worth testing in Phase 1 clinical trials.
Human microdosing was developed to lessen the need for animal testing and cut down on money wasted on ineffective pharmaceuticals. Furthermore, “microdosing” can refer to the accurate administration of minimal doses of active pharmaceutical ingredients in pharmaceutical preparations.
Psychedelic microdosing is the practice of ingesting sub-threshold dosages of psychedelic drugs with the aim of improving one’s mental and emotional health in order to overcome issues like depression, anxiety, and addiction.
However, there is scant empirical data to back up these impacts among the scientific community. Because of the positive effect at low dosages, hormesis is widely applied in microdosing.
But Why Microdose Psychedelic Drugs?
Microdosing psychedelic drugs has gained attention as the potential legalization and decriminalization of substances like psilocybin and MDMA approaches. Microdosing involves taking small doses of psychedelics to yield subtle effects without full psychedelic experiences.
Advocates believe it can enhance creativity, well-being, and treat certain conditions. However, the evidence for microdosing is mixed, with some studies showing benefits and others showing minimal effects.
Critics raise concerns about uncontrolled access and potential risks, especially for individuals with mental illnesses. It is important to approach psychedelic drug use with caution, especially for those with major mental illnesses.
While some studies support the benefits of microdosing, others suggest that higher doses may be needed for therapeutic effects. Further research is needed to understand the potential benefits, risks, and appropriate usage of microdosing psychedelic drugs.
Microdosing for Mental Health: A Study
Microdosing, the administration of extremely small amounts of psychedelics, has gained popularity due to anecdotal reports of its beneficial effects. Our knowledge of the effects of microdosing is, however, hampered by the absence of placebo-controlled research.
In order to learn more, researchers analyzed data from 34 new psilocybin mushroom microdosers. Subjective reports, behavior, creativity, perception, cognition, and brain activity were all evaluated before and after the individuals were given a modest dose or a placebo.
Acute effects were observed to be stronger in the active dose group compared to the placebo group. They also had lower levels of activity in the theta range of brain waves.
There was no proof, however, that doing so improved happiness, creativity, or brainpower. In fact, microdosing was associated with signs of mild cognitive impairment.
These results provide more evidence that the benefits attributed to psilocybin mushroom microdosing may be more impacted by expectations than by the substance’s actual effects.
While the current research does not lend credence to the idea that microdosing psilocybin mushrooms for mental health would yield improved results, it is important to note that there has been relatively little study in this area.
Microdosing protocols offer different schedules and combinations of psychedelic substances for those interested in the practice. Two well-known protocols include the Fadiman Protocol and the Stamets Protocol.
The Fadiman Protocol involves microdosing on the first and fourth days of a schedule, with two days between doses. It is recommended for beginners and allows for a contrast between normal days and microdosing days.
The Stamets Protocol, created by mycologist Paul Stamets, combines psilocybin truffles, Lion’s Mane mushroom, and Niacin (vitamin B3). This protocol aims to promote neurogenesis and neuroplasticity and involves four days of microdosing followed by three days off. Niacin is included to enhance the delivery of mushroom compounds throughout the body.
The Intuitive Protocol allows individuals to tailor their microdosing schedule based on intuition, as long as there is at least one day between doses.
The Nightcap Protocol involves microdosing before bed and is believed to improve sleep quality. The Asha Sultana Protocol suggests adding saffron to a microdosing routine for its potential mood-boosting effects.
Additionally, functional mushroom stacking protocols involve combining various functional mushrooms with psilocybin for synergistic effects. It is important to be consistent, start with small doses, and pay attention to individual responses when following any microdosing protocol.
Benefits of Microdosing Psychedelics
Here are 10 major benefits of Microdosing Psychedelics:
1. Improved Mental Health
- Alleviation of symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.
- Enhanced mood, reduced stress, and improved overall well-being.
- Potential as a therapy for various mental health conditions.
2. Enhanced Brain Functioning
- Reported improvements in cognitive abilities, such as increased focus and problem-solving skills.
- Heightened brain function on dosing days, although effects may not carry over to non-dosing days.
- Further research needed to determine the cognitive effects of microdosing.
3. Increased Creativity
- Many microdosers claim a boost in creativity and access to novel ideas.
- Enhanced ability to think outside the box and foster innovative thinking.
- Scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited and requires further research.
4. Improved Focus and Concentration
- Microdosing may help individuals maintain focus, leading to increased productivity and reduced distractibility.
- Potential benefits for engaging in tasks that require sustained attention.
5. Support for Quitting Habits
- Anecdotal reports suggest that microdosing may assist in overcoming habits such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption.
- Potential as a treatment for addiction, although further research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms.
6. Mindfulness and Self-Reflection
- Microdosing can facilitate an enhanced sense of mindfulness and self-awareness.
- Potential for deeper introspection and reflection, leading to personal growth and self-discovery.
7. Shift in Perspective and Personal Growth
- Microdosing may trigger a shift in mindset and perspective, allowing individuals to reevaluate their values and priorities.
- Potential for personal growth, leading to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
8. Reduced Symptoms and Improved Well-Being:
- Reports of reduced stress, anxiety, and other symptoms associated with mental health conditions.
- Increased overall well-being and a greater sense of optimism and life appreciation.
9. Potential Therapeutic Value
- Microdosing shows promise as a potential therapeutic tool, although rigorous scientific research is necessary to establish its true value and safety.
- Ongoing studies explore the efficacy of microdosing for various mental health conditions.
10. Lack of Significant Side Effects:
- Microdosing is often reported to have minimal side effects compared to higher doses of psychedelics.
- Users appreciate the ability to control the dosage and the general absence of severe adverse effects.
It’s important to note that while the benefits of microdosing psychedelics are based on anecdotal evidence, further scientific research utilizing placebo-controlled designs is crucial for validating these claims and understanding the full potential of microdosing.
Potential Dangers of Microdosing
Microdosing psychedelics is a practice that involves taking sub-perceptual doses of substances like LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, or MDMA. While some proponents claim various benefits, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and side effects associated with microdosing.
Here are 3 commonly reported side effects:
1. Physical Effects
- Headaches: Some individuals experience headaches, which can range from mild to more severe discomfort.
- Stomach issues: Digestive disturbances such as nausea, stomachache, or gastrointestinal discomfort have been reported by some microdosers.
- Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep or disturbances in sleep patterns can occur.
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure: Stimulating effects of psychedelics can lead to temporary increases in heart rate and blood pressure.
2. Psychological Effects
- Anxiety and increased stress: Microdosing may lead to heightened anxiety or increased stress levels in some individuals, especially those predisposed to anxiety disorders.
- Worsened mood: While some people report mood enhancement, others may experience negative shifts in mood, including feelings of sadness, irritability, or emotional instability.
- Cognitive disturbances: Some individuals may experience difficulties with concentration, focus, or memory while microdosing.
- Uncomfortable sensations or feelings: Sensory perceptions may be altered in ways that individuals find uncomfortable or disorienting.
3. Risk of Psychiatric Symptoms
- Panic attacks: Some individuals may experience intense panic or anxiety attacks while under the influence of microdoses.
- Paranoia: Microdosing can amplify existing feelings of paranoia or induce paranoid thoughts in individuals who are prone to them.
- Psychotic episodes: For individuals with a history of psychotic disorders or a predisposition to psychosis, microdosing can potentially trigger or worsen psychotic symptoms.
It is important to note that these side effects can vary widely among individuals, and some people may not experience any negative effects while microdosing. However, the risks associated with microdosing should not be underestimated, particularly for those with pre-existing mental health conditions.
Is Microdosing Psychedelics Legal in Canada?
Generally speaking, no, unless you’re (perhaps mistakenly) talking to microdosing cannabis, which is against Canadian federal legislation.
Since it is unlawful to possess the common chemicals used for microdosing, such as psilocybin and LSD, in Canada, regardless of quantity, it is practically illegal to use psychedelics.
There are currently no exceptions made for Canadians to use psychedelic microdosing outside of therapeutic investigations. Although taking such a little amount of a psychedelic seems to come with a minimal risk profile, this might alter in the near future.
Note: Microdosing cannabis is permitted for adults in Canada, although some could object that this isn’t technically microdosing in the traditional sense.
Is Microdosing Psychedelics safe?
Microdosing psychedelics, such as LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, or MDMA, is not considered safe due to their illegal status and lack of regulation. These substances are classified as illegal or controlled drugs in most places, with a high risk of addiction and other harmful effects.
Obtaining them from illicit sources means there is no guarantee of purity or accurate dosage. Negative effects of microdosing can include headaches, stomach issues, increased anxiety, and worsened mood. There is also a risk of serious harm in uncontrolled environments.
Most states prohibit the use of psychedelic substances, and even in places where they are decriminalized, they are intended for therapeutic use, not recreational purposes. It is best to avoid engaging in risky and illegal behavior and instead focus on evidence-based approaches for mental health and well-being.
In summary, microdosing involves taking tiny amounts of psychedelics to experience subtle cognitive and emotional enhancements without the full psychedelic effects.
It has gained attention for its reported benefits, including improved focus, creativity, and mood regulation. While research is still in its early stages, microdosing shows promise in facilitating neuroplasticity and assisting individuals with conditions like depression and anxiety.
However, caution, legality, dosage accuracy, and reliable sourcing are crucial. Consulting with professionals is advised. Further research is needed to understand its mechanisms, long-term effects, and risks.
Responsible use, education, and scientific inquiry are essential for maximizing the potential benefits of microdosing and integrating it safely into society.