Can Microdosing Psychedelics Boost Mood Without Drawbacks?
Microdosing usually refers to the practice of taking ingesting very small sub-hallucinogenic. However, a microdose is typically 1/10 to 1/20 of a normal dose, or 10 to 20 micrograms.
Microdosing has become an experimental method some people are choosing to allegedly take charge of their productivity and state of mind. There are three most commonly reported benefits were: improved mood, increased focus and enhanced creativity.
The three most common challenges were: illegality (by a wide margin), physiological discomfort and “other concerns” such as the unknown risk profile of microdosing and forgetting to take a regular dose.
Microdosing began gaining popularity between 2010 and 2013 in Silicon Valley as a way to increase energy and productivity to help brainstorm and tackle road blocks in strategies and coding.
While some people still look to microdosing to help improve their professional efficiency, there are said to be a number of other benefits. Here are a few of the most common:
- better focus
- higher levels of creativity
- relief from depression
- more energy
- less anxiety in social situations
- emotional openness
- help quitting coffee, pharmaceutical drugs, or other substances
- relief from menstrual pain
- heightened spiritual awareness
What Does Microdosing Involve
When people microdose, they normally consume about a tenth of a recreational dose of a psychedelic substance, although doses vary between people.
Before tackling this microdosing here are some of the most important words and phrases to understand:
- Psychedelics. These are natural or synthetic substances known to produce a sense of intensified sensory perception, sometimes accompanied by vivid hallucinations and extreme emotions that are difficult to overcome. Psychedelics include LSD and psilocybin, or“ magic” mushrooms.
- Nootropics. These are natural or synthetic substances that may improve cognitive function with little chance of addiction or negative side effects. Nootropics include caffeine and nicotine.
- “Smart drugs”: These are synthetic drugs used to boost brain function. They carry health risks and can be habit-forming. Smart drugs include methylphenidate (Ritalin).
The Negative Side Of Microdosing
Though microdosing has its fair share of claimed benefits, there are a number of negative side effects to note. These include:
Microdosing produces sub-perceptual, or very subtle, changes. The goal is to unleash a slightly better version of “you.” Once the person starts “feeling” something, chances are they’ve gone too far.
Unintended Terrible Tripping
While tripping is bad, a bad trip is even worse. In fact, a bad trip can, in some cases, even trigger past trauma. In conventional psychedelic use, it’s thought that “set and setting” are the biggest factors influencing the experience.
“Set” refers to a person’s state of mind, or the condition of their thoughts, emotional state, and anxiety levels.
If someone is having a bad trip, the Zendo Project suggests the following steps to help that person through their difficult experience:
- Find a safe space. Move the person to a comfortable, calm, and noise-free area.
- Sit with them. Act as a meditative presence for the person. Don’t try to guide the person’s experience, but rather let their experience guide them.
- Talk them through it. Discuss with the person what they’re currently feeling. Encourage them not to resist what they’re going through.
More Confident, Motivated and Productive
The benefits were reported mostly match what people have been reporting anecdotally. They said microdosing helped with mood, focus, creativity, self-efficacy, energy and more.
For example, the most commonly reported benefit was improved mood (26.6 per cent of people) making mood the highest-potential area for future research to focus on. Creativity is another obvious area.
Perhaps less intuitive is that many people reported microdosing made them more confident, motivated and productive, so this also seems worth researching.
In contrast, only 4.2 per cent of people mentioned reduced anxiety and several people reported increased anxiety, so studying microdosing for anxiety reduction seems less promising.
Though [microdosing] has a remarkable ratio of risks to benefits — because it seems to be extremely safe and has a wide variety of benefits,” it is wise to always consult your doctor for medical counseling. “We expect much more research and pressure from the medical community to be able to use it to help people they have not been able to help.”