Microdosing psychedelics – the regular consumption of small amounts of psychedelic substances such as LSD or psilocybin – is a growing trend in popular culture. Recent studies on full-dose psychedelic psychotherapy reveal promising benefits for mental well-being, especially for depression and end-of-life anxiety. While full-dose therapies include perception-distorting properties, microdosing may provide complementary clinical benefits using lower-risk, non-hallucinogenic doses.
No experimental study has evaluated psychedelic microdosing, however; this pre-registered study is the first to investigate microdosing psychedelics and mental health. Recruited from online forums, current and former microdosers scored lower on measures of dysfunctional attitudes and negative emotionality and higher on wisdom, open-mindedness, and creativity when compared to non-microdosing controls.
These findings provide promising initial evidence that warrants controlled experimental research to directly test safety and clinical efficacy. As microdoses are easier to administer than full-doses, this new paradigm has the exciting potential to shape future psychedelic research.
This study provides initial, correlational evidence for mental health and personality benefits associated with microdosing psychedelics. While anecdotal reports of microdosing benefits have existed for some time (Fadiman, 2011),this study marks the first formal study of the topic. Additionally, the use of a pre-registered study design sets a precedent for responsible and replicable psychedelic microdosing research. To add depth to the current discussion, a full epidemiological report (Rosenbaum et al., 2018) and a Grounded Theory analysis of qualitative outcomes (Anderson et al., 2018) are forthcoming.
The results of the present study suggest that there is a significant relationship between microdosing experience and measures of mental health and flourishing including lower dysfunctional attitudes and negative emotionality, higher wisdom and open-mindedness, and higher creativity and affect-valence. These findings are the initial evidence that warrants RCTs to directly test safety and therapeutic efficacy. With almost 40,000 users subscribing to the /r/microdosing subreddit and thousands more reading media reports on microdosing, this growing community continues to explore microdosing and its effects.
It is our hope that scientific reporting can help to clarify and inform the public about the nature of microdosing’s putative effects and that this new paradigm helps shape future psychedelic research. We hope that researchers will draw on our shared resources (https://osf.io/g5cwy/) and pre-register studies of their own so that psychedelic science will be built upon strong research practices. Insights from these and other studies will form the backbone of future research into microdosing psychedelics
T. Anderson, R. Petranker, L. Dinh-Williams, D. Rosenbaum, C. Weissman, E. Hapke, K. Hui, N. Farb (2018), Psychopharmacology, November 2018