Microdosing Psychedelics is in the news again as it’s becoming evident that more people than ever are using it to try to help them in their daily lives.
But what is it?
And how can creatives use it to get ahead?
What is microdosing?
So, what do we mean by microdosing?
It usually entails taking a small amount of a psychedelic drug to reap potential side benefits.
It’s not a case of taking too much to get yourself “high” and simply a small amount to give you a ‘spark.’
It is used to help with issues such as anxiety and depression, and it also has reported benefits such as increased perception and creativity levels. Most people who experiment with micro-dosing will do one day on and then two days off to not build up a tolerance and to experience next-day leftover effects.
Some people swear by it, while others are unconvinced, and there’s a severe lack of scientific research to back up the practice.
The late Steve Jobs admitted to micro-dosing, describing it as a “profound experience.” He said:
“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and human consciousness as much as possible.”
CEOs may well be into it, but it’s important to remember that micro-dosing at work could well end up with you losing your job.
It happened to executive Justin Zhu who took a small amount of LSD to improve his focus during a 2019 meeting, and it was discovered that it violated the company’s policy, and he was fired.
The science behind microdosing
There have been several studies looking at the science behind micro-dosing.
In February 2019, a study found that people who microdosed LSD or psychedelic mushrooms were more open-minded, experienced better moods, and felt more creative than those who didn’t take them. It also concluded that people who microdosed psychedelics regularly reported better mental health and a better ability to focus.
Another study in March 2020 by researchers at Imperial College, London, reported that it appeared to be more of a placebo effect and that those who knew they were taking the drugs believed they had a positive experience.
A 2020 study conducted by Psychopharmacology reported that:
“the benefits associated with micro dosing greatly outweigh the challenges” and, despite being anecdotal, concluded that subjects reported “enhanced mood, creativity, focus, and sociability.”
So while it’s still inconclusive for some, others swear by it.
How much do you take for microdosing?
When micro-dosing, you are only taking a small amount. This equates to approximately one-tenth of the amount you usually take if you want to get high.
That would equate to around five micrograms of LSD or 0.5 grams of mushroom. This can differ depending on an individual’s tolerance. Dosing daily is also not a good idea; you might grow immune to the potential effects.
It’s essential, however, to remember that minimal research has been done on this topic, and it is still illegal to purchase magic mushrooms or LSD in the United States.
Dr. Jonathan Fields is a doctor and an artist that presents research at psychedelic medicine conferences. He says:
“Psychedelics are well known to help unblock and enhance creativity. Artists and musicians have a long history of using them in their creative process and have always been outspoken about having done some of their best work while under the influence.”
It has been suggested that even very small microdoses can increase brain activity by stimulating neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. In layman’s terms, a large and growing body of evidence shows psychedelic use encourages new connections and neural pathways to be made in mind. This is usually done by stimulating nerve growth factors and other mechanisms still being studied, but the results are precise.
Dr. Fields says:
“In the last few years, psychedelic research has exploded with overwhelmingly positive results showing that substances like psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, ayahuasca, MDMA, ketamine and DMT have tremendous potential in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction and stroke sequelae. This has resulted in a few states decriminalizing these substances, many more ballots, and the federal government even taking up the agenda to reclassify them and remove them from the DEA Schedule 1 list of drugs, meaning they are dangerous and have no medicinal value.”
While ketamine is used clinically for pain and depression, most other substances remain illegal and may be challenging to acquire in most states.
It has been estimated that most states will have decriminalized and/or allowed medicinal use by 2035. Besides just creativity, microdosing can also help you become more present and grounded in your surroundings, appreciate nature, and improve your relationships.
Compared to standard treatment protocols and pharmaceuticals, psychedelics have a much higher safety protocol, and microdosing has virtually no risk. However, as with any medication, larger doses should be administered by trained professionals, and most of the clinical trials are done with doctors and therapists present. There is always the possibility someone may have an allergic reaction or in rare cases, have a psychotic break.
You also need to consider the quality of the source, as not all black-market dealers operate strictly hygienically or by ethical guidelines. In addition, they are not recommended for people on SSRIs, those with schizophrenia, or a history of suicidal tendencies.”
Some may argue that using these are high-risk drugs. While far more research will be needed before identifying the exact benefits- if any- of miscrodosing, it’s clear that the scientific community is open to the possibilities.
Who knows, we could talk about it as if it’s the norm in a decade.