Struggling at work? Not enough focus? Persistent low mood? Have you ever wondered if there is a ‘fix’ for it? People across the world are practising microdosing – a technique in which small amounts of psychedelics are consumed to “enhance” your brain’s functioning. By no means are we telling you to go out and try this, but we thought it was such an interesting topic! And, with shows like Nine ‘Perfect Strangers’ and ‘How To Change Your Mind’ popping up on Netflix, it seemed like a good time to take a look at this increasingly talked about practice.
Does it work? Yes and no. Will it affect my body? Maybe. Will it make me emotional and irrational? It could do. These are short answers to some important questions. To understand about this process in depth, first we need to learn how microdosing actually works.
How does microdosing work?
Microdosing, as the name suggests, involves the consumption of psychedelics or drugs in extremely small quantities. Usually, these quantities are about one twentieth or a tenth of the quantities needed to induce the sense of a high. These quantities are just enough to make you feel the “positive effects” of the drug, without bearing the negative effects which come with its consumption. This ratio varies across substances and any experimentation may result in unforeseen circumstances. People are known to space out the consumption across a few days to get the best results, though there is no scientific proof this works.
What do people report?
Despite the science being a bit ropey, people who are into microdosing support the ideology of using these substances as performance enhancers. Some describe it as seeing the world in high definition. Others have reported feeling much more relaxed. Of the few studies that have been carried out, results showed that most of the people who microdosed, had few to no side effects, though long-term microdosing is still in question.
Why do people do it?
It has been observed that most people who microdose are usually suffering from stress, mental fatigue, depression, and other similar conditions. These people believe that microdosing substances can improve their mental health. A person in a creative field may microdose LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) to improve their creativity, while someone at a corporate job may consume microdoses of psilocybin mushrooms (magic mushrooms) to alleviate work stress and the anxiety that comes with it.
Is there any scientific proof behind microdosing?
Technically, no. Research on psychedelics has historically encountered obstacles as a result of public perception. When it comes to microdosing, some studies conclude that the user feels significant effects for short durations. The effect doesn’t last that long and wears off within a few days. When it comes to long-term use, it was found that there was an overall increase in the mental capabilities of the user. By which we mean less anxiety, better focus, improved depression and a better mental health overall, suggest microdosing works well. However, this came with increased neuroticism as well.
Some studies have also shown that the positives of microdosing could largely be due to the placebo effect. It is true that most people who microdose, vouch for it, but scientists conclude that due to their strong beliefs, a general panacea has been created which impacts a wide variety of variables during research. This makes it difficult to conduct a placebo-controlled study. It was also observed that some users quit microdosing due to it becoming less effective over time.
So should you try microdosing?
Microdosing involves the use of drugs, hallucinogens and psychedelics which are notorious to have severe health effects in the long run (and are illegal!). They alter the body’s composition which can lead to severe complications if high levels of substance is consumed. If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or any other mental health issues, consulting a counsellor or psychiatrist should be your first step. Relying on methods which are not scientifically proven yet is dangerous for your wellbeing.