Over the last few years, you may have come across the term “microdosing,” the act of taking small amounts of psychedelics, such as mushrooms and LSD, to get a boost of mental energy.
People who microdose claim it makes them more productive or creative. But does taking tiny amounts of psychedelic help make you more focused?
Researchers are starting to look into the benefits (if any) of microdosing and the potential side effects it can have over an extended period. There hasn’t been enough quantitative research to directly claim that microdosing psychedelics work or that it’s safe. However, the trippy trend is slowly making its way into the mainstream.
In this post, we’re going to cover the current microdosing trends and whether or not they are useful in the workplace.
A Brief History About Psychedelics
According to the National Institute of Health, psychedelics are potent psychoactive substances that can alter your mental and physical state. Contrary to common belief, they generally don’t have any known harmful physiological effects and aren’t addictive.
Humans have been using psychedelics before written history. Historians have stated that humans were consuming psychedelic plants during ritual ceremonies over 10,000 years ago. Now all those abstract cave paintings make sense.
In more modern history, psychedelics have been present in pop culture since the 1960s. Up until 2008, you could legally buy magic mushrooms at coffeeshops in Amsterdam.
Today, there are over 100 psychedelic drugs. Some of the most popular include:
- Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (or LSD)
- Psilocybin mushrooms (commonly called “magic mushrooms”)
- Dimethyltryptamine (or DMT)
All psychedelics have different effects, but the most common are vivid hallucinations. However, microdosing doesn’t cause any hallucinations, at least it’s not supposed to.
What Are the Health Benefits of Microdosing?
Few researchers have directly studied the effects and health benefits of microdosing psychedelics. Since the trend is still relatively new, no long-term studies have been conducted. Another significant issue is the credibility of the data since the majority of the research relies on self-claims.
The primary source of data lies in asking people who are already microdosing and getting a collective study of responses. The only problem is some of the reactions may be biased, considering the individual is already interested in psychedelics.
However, there have been a few promising studies about the benefits of microdosing. Some of the self-proclaimed benefits include:
- Enhanced focus, concentration, and awareness
- Higher energy levels, and stimulation
- Enhanced cognitive function
- More sociable
- Less stress/anxiety
- Enhanced creativity
- Better mood, positivity, and empathy
- Higher self-worth
People also claim that microdosing gives them a less intense introduction to the powerful effects of full-dosing psychedelics.
Microdosing & Mental Health
One of the main reasons people microdose is to help manage stress, anxiety, and depression. According to research published by Rstreet, microdosing participants claim that the substances help give them a “bigger picture” view on life.
While there’s no direct relation between psychedelics and better self-worth, a large majority of people who microdose claim it’s because it makes them feel more optimistic about life. With that in mind, many mental health professionals are looking to microdosing as an alternative medicine for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Microdosing & Creativity
We all know rockstars like Jimi Hendrix, and Pink Floyd openly spoke about their avid use of LSD for songwriting, but does microdosing make you more creative? Small amounts of psilocybin mushrooms and LSD can allegedly boost cognitive function and help with problem-solving.
According to the National Institute of Health, a study by the Dutch Psychedelic Society concluded that there were improvements in divergent thinking. However, fluid intelligence was not affected by the substance. Also, the boost in creativity may be a result of less stress and anxiety.
Many creative professionals who microdose say it helps them get a better grip on creative projects. If microdosing does enhance cognitive function and creativity, it’s no surprise that many artists turn to psychedelics to help with inspiration.
Quitting Bad Habits & Addictive Substances
Another potential health benefit of microdosing is that it might help individuals kick a bad habit, such as drinking and smoking. Some people claim that microdosing even eliminates the need for a morning cup of coffee.
The theory is that psychedelics give you all you need to be productive, creative, alert, happy, and care-free all in a tiny dose. Therefore, you don’t need to rely on other stimulants for such effects.
There hasn’t been any reliable research on this theory, but as the trend becomes more mainstream scientists will have more data to make a sound decision.
Are There Any Risks?
Microdosing indeed isn’t risk-free. Many people who try microdosing claim to have an unpleasant experience, where some say it doesn’t work at all. The effects of psychedelics can vary from person to person. Some people are more sensitive to hallucinogens and might feel adverse effects even in small doses.
Here are some of the common adverse side effects of microdosing:
- Decreased focus
- Low energy
- Lack of motivation
- Higher anxiety
- Mood swings
- General discomfort
Also, people with pre-existing mental health conditions should be wary of trying microdosing. Studies have shown that people with heightened anxiety may make their symptoms worse.
Since most psychedelic substances are illegal in the United States, microdosing could jeopardize your job or get you into legal trouble. Even small amounts of psychedelic substances can show up on a drug test.
If you do decide to try microdosing, do so at your own risk.
Microdosing is, without a doubt, an exciting trend. It’s crazy to think that taking small doses of psychedelics is slowly becoming a social norm in our society. With that in mind, if the potential health benefits of microdosing are real, psychedelics may be a viable treatment for many horrible conditions.
Remember, some psychedelics are powerful and potentially dangerous. If you plan on microdosing, make sure to do as much research as you can on the substance before taking a dose. The last thing you want is to be fighting off a dragon in the middle of your office.