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Microdose research: without approvals, control groups, double blinds, staff or funding

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Abstract

A brief informal look at the methods used and the results obtained by asking users to reports the results of their own self study, taking microdoses of different psychedelics for a wide range of conditions. Favorable reports included drug-resistant depression and anxiety and other medical conditions as well as non-medical goals including increased creativity and work related concerns.
Microdose Research
Without approvals, control groups, double-blinds, staff or funding
– James Fadiman –
There is an abundance of good news. After forty plus years of research
being denied, what Charles Glob kindly called, “a lull,” psychedelic
science is back. Excellent research results appear in the top peer-reviewed
journals. The popular science press, as well as the general media, favorably
covers the ndings. In fact, it is difcult to nd a thoughtful negative article
about psychedelics anywhere. Governments hover on the edge of funding and
hundreds of graduate students in religious studies, social work, psychology,
biochemistry, neuroscience and psychiatry intend to go into psychedelic
research.
Major research groups in the US and the UK have the same long-term
goal, to make psychedelics available to physicians and others trained in
their use. Then, ordinary individuals can have guided therapeutic sessions,
bracketed by supportive therapy, to deal with otherwise intractable mental
health issues.
Marijuana is on a fast track worldwide toward total medical acceptance
and expanding legalization. While pharmaceutical companies try to cash
in on extracts or synthetics of the more curative alkaloids, recreational
marijuana is proving incredibly protable to tax, and also adds to the
public good. States in the US where marijuana has become legal report less
drinking, less crime and fewer opioid overdose deaths. Marijuana, no longer
routinely demonized, ultimately will be seen for what it is, good for pleasure
and an amazing number of medical conditions. Right behind it, psychedelics
are increasingly accepted in much of the scientic community as potentially
James Fadiman
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benecial for a growing cascade of heath conditions, as well as for personal
growth and creativity.
So far so good. If you’re connected to an academic research institution, a
research hospital, are a physician in a clinic or have a solo practice, it is easier
and easier to get government approval to do research. However, it is equally
obvious that 99% of psychedelic users do not sign up for research projects
and are very, very unlikely ever to do so. Therefore, most of what could be
known about the effects of individual psychedelics, be they synthetics, plants
or mushrooms, are not sufciently reported or recorded.
Erowid, Bluelight and other sites house individual trip reports and
commentaries in ever expanding databases. Erowid has had 100,000
reports on over 350 different substances and combinations submitted. It has
published about 25,000 of them. The information is used by rst responders,
emergency rooms, medical personnel and, of course, psychonauts uncertain
whether to take a recent designer drug that has zero medical research or tests
of its contents or purity.
However, as my interest in psychedelics has always been to search out
ways to increase safety and maximize benets, these trip reports are rarely
useful. I’m much more interested in the aftereffects of the experience in
normal life then the chaotic, illuminating, transcendent and just plain weird
moments experienced in what Robert Dickins artfully describes as “other
space.”
I spent my rst few years (with government approval) working with
high doses to ensure transcendent and worldview changing sessions. Until
recently, I had almost no interest in less reality-shattering sessions. As for
marijuana, I was sufciently puritanical to be gently disdainful of people
who wanted nothing more then the slightly disorienting, pleasurable social,
sexual and sensory enhancement that, at least in those early days, seemed its
only uses.
Therefore, when I rst heard about microdosing from Robert Forte,
and that Albert Hoffman had done it for decades, I was more amused than
intrigued. That the same substance which could reveal your immortality and
you being the divinity that created the stars might, in low enough doses, make
you a little more emotionally stable seemed hardly worth noticing.
But the wheel of fortune turns, and, as I’ve learned over the years, many
things I’ve disdained turned out to be enormously valuable.
However, even if I wanted to do research about the effects of microdoses,
I have neither the right credentials (a PhD in psychology, no clinical license),
nor am I part of any institution that could meet even the most generous
Microdose Research 3
of the new regulations. Furthermore, it was clear, after talking with some
senior researchers and looking at those institutions most favorably disposed
to psychedelic research, microdose studies were unlikely to get approval.
Letting people loose, having dosed them with a Schedule 1 drug, was more
that any IRB could allow.
So here I was, wanting to nd out more about the effects of substances
at dose levels that made even marijuana look like a heavy drug. Treating
microdoses as baby psychedelics put them in the wrong paradigm. They are
more akin to SSRIs and cognitive enhancers, except that you take them far
less often.
Spoiled by those initial years working legally, the idea of running a
clandestine research operation dispensing drugs, etc. never occurred to me.
Fortunately, as readers of this publication know, mushrooms, peyote, San
Pedro, morning glory seeds and many other plants have no idea that they
are illegal and just kept growing. Sufcient supplies of microdoses were
available, once I realized that I could ask other people about their experiences.
Western science suffers from an insane obsession for simplicity. The
reigning paradigm is to try to control every possible variable. In pharmacology,
the goal is to isolate a single active molecule from a plant or fungus and
ignore the incredible complex interactive mosaic of other substances that
nature so effortlessly creates. (Trivia note: Mescaline was isolated from the
peyote cactus decades ago and is assumed to be its most important alkaloid.
There are at least 49 other alkaloids in that same cactus, exactly four of which
have undergone any kind of testing in animals, let alone humans.)
As I more fully appreciated that living organisms are always found
enmeshed in an incredibly complex set of relationships with other organisms
within and without, I developed a healthy suspicion that most results
coming out of laboratories were likely to be, at best incomplete, at worst
useless.
Bolstered by such realizations, I started asking questions of those few
people I could nd who had microdosed. Albert Hoffman had said of the effects
of these doses that this was the “under-researched area” of psychedelics. Had
Sandoz been more interested, he felt that they might have had a product more
useful and safer than Ritalin or its descendant Adderall.
I became quite excited at the rst reports. For a while, I was convinced
that I was the discoverer of a whole new way of working with psychedelics.
My hubris was knocked out of me, however, when I touted my original and
unique discoveries to an anthropologist friend. He pointed out that indigenous
groups from Mexico throughout South America had worked with psychedelic
James Fadiman
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plants for hundreds, probably for thousands, of years. Did I imagine they had
not worked with low doses? In case I needed proof, he directed me to a six-
volume work written by a Jesuit priest shortly after the Spanish conquest of
Mexico that included descriptions of low doses with different psychedelics.
As for modern uses, he gave me an example. “Whenever I feel a cold coming
on, I take a low dose of a psilocybin mushroom. I have not had a cold in 15
years.” As it turned out, I was a late arriving guest at a very long running
party.
Chastened, but even more curious, I’ve continued to record and encourage
microdose research without government permission, at almost no cost, and
without any laboratory tests or controls. The reports I’ve accumulated are
based on trust, on the interests of the individuals themselves, and on my
well-founded belief in the generosity and integrity of the members of the
worldwide psychedelic community.
Since I began collecting reports in 2010, I have been rening how best
to get useful data from people. Now, when asked, I send a detailed protocol
of how to do a safe “Self-Study” of the effects of microdosing any chosen
psychedelic. I request that anyone who uses this protocol send a report –
either daily notes over a period of 10 four-day cycles and/or an overview of
what they’ve noticed during that time.
I have answered close at 250 requests to join the self-study and use the
protocol. About half the people have sent in reports. Requests have come
from more than 12 countries and the age range has been from 18 to 73.
Almost everyone who asked to join has had from some, to considerable, prior
psychedelic experience.
Many requests are from people with long-standing depression and
anxiety, most on meds and disappointed with the results and/or the side
effects. Most people microdose with LSD or psilocybin mushrooms. Several
have used 1P-LSD, (legal in the UK till 2016), and a scattering has tried
different designer drugs. I have a few reports from people microdosing either
ayahausca or iboga, usually following full doses taken in ritual or medical
settings.
At Breaking Convention III, I described the wide range of conditions
where people reported benets from microdosing. The list below is partial,
but suggestive.
Microdose Research 5
Conditions reported improved while microdosing:
Anxiety: General, social, academic, party
Asperger’s Syndrome: More ease in social situations, especially parties
Bipolar: Mood elevation during depression phase (for some, disturbed
sleep cycle)
No (Post-) Burning Man crash on returning home (a rst)
Capacity to live in the present (the now)
Creativity (technical): Coding, machine design, other
Decreased/Stopped: Cigarettes, coffee, Adderall, Venlafaxine
Depression: Alleviated – many reports
Ice-pick Headaches (one minute clusters): Ended series
Health Habits: Food choices, exercise, yoga, meditation
Insights: Personal (therapeutic), work related
Learning: Languages, Advanced Maths, more focused attention in class
Menstrual periods: Elimination of pain and cramping.
Migraines: Lessened or eliminated.
Physical skills: Musical instruments, drumming, composition, ying a
plane, driving
Trauma: Deceased triggering
Procrastination: Lessened
Stuttering: Increased ease and uency in normal speech
Writing: Writer’s block, rst drafts, procrastination
Work (improved): Amount, discrimination, ow, quality, enjoyment
Among the more surprising results were diminished stuttering, and
several women whose previously painful menstrual periods became pain-free
and normal while microdosing for other reasons. One other early nding that
remains consistent was, for most people, the effects last two days, and, for
some people, the second day was better. This has completely upended my
understanding of how long a full dose actually lasts, but that discussion is for
a different essay.
While we do not yet have formal scientic studies to investigate or verify
these reports, it appears that periodic microdosing with sufcient time in
between (every 4th day is what I recommend) improves overall functioning.
However, like anything else, microdosing is not for everyone. Several people
reported uncomfortable sweating on dose day, but continued dosing, and
two people reported increased anxiety. Both stopped microdosing with no
residual ill effects. One person reported more migraines.
James Fadiman
6
Overcoming the limitations, bureaucratic delays and costs of conventional
research, collecting reports has opened a window to this dose level of
psychedelic use that appear to enhance normal daily activities. Perhaps it is
yet one more set of wonders that nature has been waiting for us to uncover.
Here are a few representative quotes from the collected reports:
Psilocybin mushrooms: In general, a tiny dose of psilocybin makes me think
much more deeply in every aspect of life. Instead of having a monkey mind,
creating noise, my mind is still. It is in a mode that it has been in before, but
that was a long time ago. Psilocybin makes me feel exactly how I felt when I
was a kid in school. It is happiness, because you realize that you have all you
need. During my test days, I feel more love for myself, and I can give that
to others. I also have this sense of being the pilot of my body. My cravings
for sugar, smoke and sodas nearly went away. I wanted to give my body the
best fuel, I feel like I attract positive people and happenings in my life. I
got a job offer landing on my lap, without working for it. I can’t prove that
there is some connection, and scientist would deny it, but I feel like there is
something bigger going on.
Ibogaine: Currently experimenting with microdosing of ibogaine (50-
75 mg of a 50/50 mixture of TA and HCL). Wow. There needs to be more
research with this! I have found a very subtle yet very noticeable shift in
my personality. It has removed what I call “automated response syndrome.”
New insights into how I respond to situations. The inner critic has been pretty
much silenced. Less anxiety. More self-condence. More sure of myself.
Less self-conscious. My voice is more condent, easier to talk to people…
very positive effects. Also, my emotional state is more uid. I laugh easier,
cry easier – more gratitude, greater appreciation. More calmness….
LSD: Microdosing has allowed me to unlock my potential and to live fuller,
to be engaged in an individual moment, which has in turn allowed me to
be more focused and happier. I’m much more empathetic and willing to
give people the benet of the doubt now. I just feel lighter all the time, even
on day 3 of the routine. I rarely get angry or stressed anymore. Since I’ve
started microdosing, I’ve been eating much healthier and exercising more.
And it hasn’t been forced. I started doing yoga and meditating daily rather
organically. It all just happened.
Microdose Research 7
Psilocybin .4 mg every 4th day for 10 doses: The day of and day after Dose
days I felt disconnected when engaging with people. I was drawn to pull back
and not engage as fully as I normally would. Felt a bit out of sorts in relation
to my community and others. The day after a dose day I usually did not feel
good. Some days worse than others. This is normal for me to have days where
I don’t feel good, but these were more frequent (as well as more frequent
migraines). I am more connected to my intuitive self and more trusting of
the information I am receiving. The personal and spiritual growth I have
experienced is signicant. I see and own my personal value and worth like
I have never known it before. I have seen how certain behaviors and belief
systems have contributed to low self-esteem and low self-worth patterns. So
basically, I am more condent in myself, and my abilities to create the life I
am wanting for myself. My setting boundaries and taking care of myself with
others has improved. I have more energy and am more productive. This has
been a fabulous experience of healing for me.
... Recently microdosing, the practice of repeatedly using low doses of psychedelics like lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin, has gained considerable media attention, where it is portrayed as a performance enhancing activity (Glatter, 2015;Solon, 2016;Dean, 2017;Fadiman, 2017;Reddit, 2018;thethirdwave, 2018;Tomaszewski, 2018). In contrast to a regular dose that is characterized by perceptual changes and hallucinations, a microdose by definition does not induce perceptual alterations (Greiner et al., 1958;Vollenweider and Kometer, 2010;Liechti, 2017;thethirdwave, 2018;Yanakieva et al., 2018;K.P.C. ...
... Despite the media's focus on the positive effects of microdosing, users also report negative psychological and physiological effects, such as anxiety and migraines (Fadiman, 2017;Johnstad, 2018). Recently a preclinical study suggested increased anxiety behavior in rats after subchronic intermittent administration of low doses of psilocybin and ketamine, a dissociative agent (Horsley et al., 2018). ...
... Recently a preclinical study suggested increased anxiety behavior in rats after subchronic intermittent administration of low doses of psilocybin and ketamine, a dissociative agent (Horsley et al., 2018). These findings support the anecdotal reports of symptom intensification in users (Fadiman, 2017). In line with this, an observational study in humans showed an increase in the personality trait neuroticism; a mood trait associated with feelings of anxiety, fear, and frustration, after a period of 6 weeks of microdosing with serotonergic psychedelics (Polito and Stevenson, 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Microdosing with psychedelics has gained considerable media attention where it is portrayed as a performance enhancer, especially popular on the work floor. While reports are in general positive, scientific evidence about potential negative effects is lacking aside from the prevalence and motives for use. The present study addressed this gap by surveying psychedelic users about their experience with microdosing including their dosing schedule, motivation and potential experienced negative effects. Methods: An online questionnaire was launched on several websites and fora between March and July 2018. Respondents who had consented, were 18 years of age or older, and had experience with microdosing were included in the analyses. Results: In total, 1116 of the respondents were either currently microdosing (79.5%) or microdosed in the past (20.5%). LSD (10 mcg) and psilocybin (0.5 g) were the most commonly used psychedelics with a microdosing frequency between two-to-four times a week. The majority of users however were oblivious about the consumed dose. Performance enhancement was the main motive to microdose (37%). The most reported negative effects were of psychological nature and occurred acutely, while under the influence. Conclusion: In line with media reports and anecdotes, the majority of our respondents microdosed in order to enhance performance. Negative effects occurred mostly acutely, after substance consumption. However, the main reason to have stopped microdosing was that it was not effective. Future experimental placebo-controlled studies are needed to test whether performance enhancement can be quantified and to assess potential negative effects after longer-term microdosing.
... Psychedelics produce an array of acute and long-term affects, which may address several key biopsychosocial issues associated with AUDs. These include mood and affect issues (Grob et al., 2011;Kilgus et al., 2016; National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2010), cognitive issues (Bogenshutz & Johnson, 2016;Stavro et al., 2013), thought content and processing issues (Mann, 2003;Sher, Wood, Richardson, & Jackson, 2005), relational issues ( Charney et al., 2010;Fadiman, 2016;Moos & Moos, 2006), legal issues (Hendricks, Clark, Johnson, Fontaine, & Cropsey, 2014;Room et al., 2005;Stavro et al., 2013), and spirituality (Allen, Nieuwsma, Pollitt, & Blazer, 2014;Griffiths, Richards, Johnson, McCann, & Jesse, 2008;Walton-Moss, Ray, & Woodruff, 2013). ...
... A psychedelic experience can promote non-judgmental attitudes toward inner experiences and defusion or objective separation from difficult thoughts and emotions, such as anxiety ( Soler et al., 2016). Anecdotal reports from a microdosing self-study have revealed a decrease in general anxiety and an alleviation of depression symptoms for some participants (Fadiman, 2016). ...
... The mechanism of ego dissolution within the psychedelic experience facilitates feel- ings of unity consciousness and increased feelings of con- nectedness to other people (Zamaria, 2016). Subjective reports from microdosing volunteers reveal decreases in social anxiety, increased capacity to live in the present, and decreased triggering related to trauma, which may have inhibited social integration (Fadiman, 2016). The mediation of social anxiety coupled with an increased desire for per- sonal connectedness may facilitate the cultivation of social resources imperative for individuals in early recovery. ...
... 10) Was the data made publicly available? Note: Fadiman & Korb (2019) was not assessed for risk of bias, as this project explicitly aimed to collect data outside of the framework of standard experimental controls (see Fadiman, 2017 for details). ...
... The potential application of microdosing as a clinical tool, particularly as a treatment for depression has been identified previously (Kuypers, 2020), but no clinical study has yet taken place. The original reports from Fadiman that catalysed the current popularity of microdosing were clearly focused on the clinical utility of low dose psychedelics (e.g., Fadiman, 2017), yet this has not been a major focus of most empirical research. This is an obvious gap that should be addressed. ...
Article
The use of low doses of psychedelic substances (microdosing) is attracting increasing interest. This systematic review summarises all empirical microdosing research to date, including a set of infrequently cited studies that took place prior to prohibition. Specifically, we reviewed 44 studies published between 1955 and 2021, and summarised reported effects across six categories: mood and mental health; wellbeing and attitude; cognition and creativity; personality; changes in conscious state; and neurobiology and physiology. Studies showed a wide range in risk of bias, depending on design, age, and other study characteristics. Laboratory studies found changes in pain perception, time perception, conscious state, and neurophysiology. Self-report studies found changes in cognitive processing and mental health. We review data related to expectation and placebo effects, but argue that claims that microdosing effects are largely due to expectancy are premature and possibly wrong. In addition, we attempt to clarify definitional inconsistencies in the microdosing literature by providing suggested dose ranges across different substances. Finally, we provide specific design suggestions to facilitate more rigorous future research.
... 10) Was the data made publicly available? Note: Fadiman & Korb (2019) was not assessed for risk of bias, as this project explicitly aimed to collect data outside of the framework of standard experimental controls (see Fadiman, 2017 for details). ...
... The potential application of microdosing as a clinical tool, particularly as a treatment for depression has been identified previously (Kuypers, 2020), but no clinical study has yet taken place. The original reports from Fadiman that catalysed the current popularity of microdosing were clearly focused on the clinical utility of low dose psychedelics (e.g., Fadiman, 2017), yet this has not been a major focus of most empirical research. This is an obvious gap that should be addressed. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
The use of low doses of psychedelic substances (microdosing) is attracting increasing interest. This systematic review summarises all empirical microdosing research to date, including a set of infrequently cited studies that took place prior to prohibition. Specifically, we reviewed 44 studies published between 1955 and 2021, and summarised reported effects across six categories: mood and mental health; wellbeing and attitude; cognition and creativity; personality; changes in conscious state; and neurobiology and physiology. Studies showed a wide range in risk of bias, depending on design, age, and other study characteristics. Laboratory studies found changes in pain perception, time perception, conscious state, and neurophysiology. Self-report studies found changes in cognitive processing and mental health. We review data related to expectation and placebo effects, but argue that claims that microdosing effects are largely due to expectancy are premature and possibly wrong. In addition, we attempt to clarify definitional inconsistencies in the microdosing literature by providing suggested dose ranges across different substances. Finally, we provide specific design suggestions to facilitate more rigorous future research.
... People follow a variety of different schedules when microdosing, sometimes taking a dose each day but much more frequently interspersing dosing days with rest days. One common schedule is to microdose every three days [7]. The idea behind this regimen is that there may be a residual effect from each microdose that lasts one to two days afterwards. ...
... As such, ratings on the DASS scale were relatively low at baseline. Nevertheless, depression and stress ratings both decreased significantly over the course of the study, consistent with reports that microdosing benefits general mental wellbeing [7]. ...
Article
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The phenomenon of ‘microdosing’, that is, regular ingestion of very small quantities of psychedelic substances, has seen a rapid explosion of popularity in recent years. Individuals who microdose report minimal acute effects from these substances yet claim a range of long-term general health and wellbeing benefits. There have been no published empirical studies of microdosing and the current legal and bureaucratic climate makes direct empirical investigation of the effects of psychedelics difficult. In Study One we conducted a systematic, observational investigation of individuals who microdose. We tracked the experiences of 98 microdosing participants, who provided daily ratings of psychological functioning over a six week period. 63 of these additionally completed a battery of psychometric measures tapping mood, attention, wellbeing, mystical experiences, personality, creativity, and sense of agency, at baseline and at completion of the study. Analyses of daily ratings revealed a general increase in reported psychological functioning across all measures on dosing days but limited evidence of residual effects on following days. Analyses of pre and post study measures revealed reductions in reported levels of depression and stress; lower levels of distractibility; increased absorption; and increased neuroticism. To better understand these findings, in Study Two we investigated pre-existing beliefs and expectations about the effects of microdosing in a sample of 263 naïve and experienced microdosers, so as to gauge expectancy bias. All participants believed that microdosing would have large and wide-ranging benefits in contrast to the limited outcomes reported by actual microdosers. Notably, the effects believed most likely to change were unrelated to the observed pattern of reported outcomes. The current results suggest that dose controlled empirical research on the impacts of microdosing on mental health and attentional capabilities are needed.
... Even though psychedelics are ranked low in terms of harms compared with other substances ( Nutt, King & Phillips, 2010 ) and microdosing is portrayed as a safer alternative to popularised forms of pharmacological enhancement, adverse effects resulting from use have been reported ( Fadiman, 2017 ;Hutten et al., 2019 ;Johnstad, 2018 ;Polito & Stevenson, 2019 ). As the most popular psychedelics are controlled substances under the UN Conventions and often illicitly sourced, key concerns include quality, dosage, frequency and duration of use, polypharmacy, and lack of resources for managing potentially overwhelming experiences, all of which can adversely affect mental, physical and social health and wellbeing. ...
Article
Microdosing psychedelics is the regular use of sub-perceptive threshold doses of substances such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin (‘magic’) mushrooms. The phenomenon has attracted increasing public and scientific attention in numerous countries in recent years. This commentary looks at microdosing psychedelics as an emerging facet of human enhancement through drugs. After presenting a narrative based on a multidisciplinary body of literature on human enhancement drugs and microdosing, the commentary maps out directions for further sociological studies of the phenomenon as well as outlining the different fields such research can contribute to.
... As of the last few years, there has been an increasing visibility and interest in the use of low doses of psychedelics, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin, for beneficial health-related purposes. Referred to as "microdosing," users report consuming about one tenth of a recreational dose (1,2), to enhance daily functions, without inducing a profound altered state of consciousness (2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9). While the primary motivation to microdose is indeed to enhance performance, including creativity and mental concentration (10), it is also reported to be used to alleviate psychological and physical symptoms, such as anxiety and headache (10)(11)(12). ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: There is a growing interest in the use of psychedelic substances for health related purposes, including symptom relief for disorders like anxiety, depression, and pain. Although the focus of recent clinical trials has been on high doses of these substances, anecdotal evidence suggests that low (micro) doses are also effective, and may be more suitable for certain conditions. Nonetheless, empirical evidence regarding the efficacy of microdosing with psychedelics for symptomatic relief is lacking. The present study aimed to investigate, by means of an online questionnaire, the self-rated effectiveness (SRE) of microdosing with psychedelics (MDP) for mental and physiological disorders compared to the conventional prescribed treatment and to regular doses of psychedelics. Methods: An online questionnaire was launched on several websites and fora between March and July 2018. Respondents who had consented, were 18 years of age or older, had experience with microdosing and were diagnosed with at least one mental or physiological disorder by a medical doctor or therapist (N = 410; 7.2%) were included in the analyses. Odds ratio were calculated to compare the SRE of MDP with conventional treatment, and regular psychedelic doses for mental and physiological diagnoses for each of the three effectiveness questions ("Did it work," "Symptom disappear," "Quality of life improved"). Results: Odds ratio showed that SRE of MDP was significantly higher compared to that of conventional treatments for both mental and physiological diagnoses; and that these effects were specific for ADHD/ADD and anxiety disorders. In contrast, SRE of MDP was lower compared to that of higher, regular psychedelic doses for mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, while for physiological disorders no difference was shown. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that SRE of MDP to alleviate symptoms of a range of mental or physiological diagnoses is higher compared to conventionally offered treatment options, and lower than regular ('full') psychedelic doses. Future RCTs in patient populations should objectively assess the effectivity claims of psychedelics, and whether these are dose related, disorder specific, and superior to conventional treatments.
Article
Full-text available
Le micro-dosage est un phénomène social de plus en plus répandu parmi la communauté des consommateurs et consommatrices des substances dites psychédéliques. Il consiste une consommation d'un dixième de la dose typique de substance (principalement LSD ou Psilocybine) de façon fréquente, deux ou trois fois par semaine, pour améliorer les capacités cognitives ou comme auto-thérapie. L'analyse de ce phénomène est actuellement très fragmentaire et inconsistante, tant du point de vue des sciences humaines que du point de vue des sciences dites «dures». L'objectif de cet article est de présenter les résultats d'un premier travail historique et ethnographique à ce propos, tout en mettant en discussion la thèse selon laquelle la consommation fréquente des petites doses de champignons hallucinogènes constitue une pratique répandue parmi les peuples traditionnellement liés à l'usage de dites substances. Mots-clés: Microdosing, psychédélique, hallucinogène, histoire, ethnographie, Mexique Rattaché à l'Université de Milan, Vittorio Biancardi est doctorant au CRH/EHESS. Son travail de recherche, qui relève d'une méthodologie à la fois historique et anthropologique, est axé sur l'usage à faible dose des substances dites psychédéliques.
Chapter
Microdosing psychedelics, the repeated use of small doses of substances such as psilocybin and lysergic acid diethylamide, has gained popular and scientific attention in recent years. While some users claim microdosing psychedelics has therapeutic value, to date only a handful of (placebo-controlled) experimental studies in human volunteers have been conducted testing the effects of low doses on physiological, subjective state, and performance measures. This chapter aims to answer, based on the scientific knowledge we have so far, whether microdosing psychedelics has therapeutic potential. Reviewed studies demonstrated that low doses were in general well tolerated. Single doses produced subtle, beneficial effects on selective performance measures and subjective states. The fact that most studies were conducted in small samples of healthy (young) volunteers hampers generalization to other populations. However, the observed cognitive and affective effects might be of help in some psychiatric disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or depression. Future placebo-controlled studies in patient populations are needed to conclude about the (therapeutic) potential of microdosing psychedelics.
Article
Albert Hoffman suggested that low doses of LSD might be an appropriate alternative to Ritalin. Following this possibility, a systematic exploration of the effects of “microdoses,” comprising hundreds of lengthy descriptive reports, was undertaken. Based on these reports, using a psychedelic in the microdose range (10 micrograms) every three days was determined to be safe across a wide variety of individuals and conditions. Over 18 months, more than a thousand individuals from 59 countries did a daily evaluation of negative and positive emotional state using the PANAS checklist plus written reports for between one week and four months. Participant reports suggested that spaced but repeated microdoses were followed by improvements in negative moods, especially depression, and increases in positive moods. Increased energy, improved work effectiveness, and improved health habits were observed in clinical and non-clinical populations. Smaller samples described alleviation of symptoms in migraine headaches, pre-menstrual syndromes, traumatic brain injury, shingles, and other conditions not previously associated with psychedelic use.
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