Microdosing Psychedelics

Microdosing Psychedelics

Microdosing psychedelics (e.g., LSD, psilocybin). This refers to people routinely taking small doses of psychedelic substances to improve mental health and wellbeing, or to enhance cognitive performance. Research evidence is currently limited. This paper examines microdosing motivations, dosing practices, perceived short-term benefits, unwanted effects, and harm reduction practices.

What is ‘microdosing?’

Prof. Nutt describes the motivation for the review, saying, “Despite so much interest in the subject, we still don’t have any agreed scientific consensus on what microdosing is — like what constitutes a ‘micro’ dose, how often someone would take it, and even if there may be potential health effect

Reviewing the benefits of psilocybin

The review focused on psilocybin, which is the active compound in magic mushrooms. Prof. Nutt and colleagues chose psilocybin because it is closer than other psychedelic substances to becoming a clinically approved treatment.


LSD is one of the most potent, mood-changing chemicals. It is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in the ergot fungus that grows on rye and other grains.

While more than a thousand early studies linked psychedelic use with beneficial effects  there was a 40-year pause on psychedelic research following the prohibition of these substances . Despite continued prohibition, modern research has revealed the promising potential of LSD and psilocybin for treating alcohol and tobacco dependence , depression  and end-of-life anxiety , while related research on methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) has shown great promise for treating post-traumatic stress disorder . Psychedelics can also increase openness and occasion mystical-type experiences in healthy controls . As full-dose psychedelics appear to aide in the relief of severe, chronic psychiatric conditions (e.g. depression, anxiety, PTSD), milder mental health concerns may plausibly be treated by lower, recurring doses. This is especially worth considering if certain full-dose outcomes are found to rely on purely pharmacologic mechanisms rather than primarily on phenomenological experiences .

Microdosing benefits and challenges (MDBCs)
Microdosing respondents reported up to three benefits and three drawbacks of microdosing psychedelics. They also gave each outcome a rating of subjective importance on a sliding scale from 0 to 100