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Our vision is that psychedelics can be used worldwide to better the lives of as many as 450 million people who suffer from mental health problems. Our information hopes to make that vision come to life just a little faster.
Here will be a narrative, readable, summary of the research.
In our literature study we came across the following studies of note. Browse the meta, review, commentary articles for an overview. Check out the individual studies for specific experiments and observations.
The Viability of Microdosing Psychedelics as a Strategy to Enhance Cognition and Well-being – An Early Review
2019 | Bornemann, J.
This 2019 review examines the viability of microdosing psychedelics as a method to improve cognition and well-being. Available evidence indicates a variety of benefits including improvements in mood, focus, and creativity, with some people experiencing no discernible effects or expressing concerns about selective negative consequences like increased anxiety, however, most insights stem from observational studies using convenience samples that are biased or unrepresentative of the general population.
Psychedelic Psychiatry’s Brave New World
2020 | Carhart-Harris, R. L., Erritzoe, D., Nutt, D. J.
This popular commentary article (2020) describes the current resurrection of research into psychedelics (both neuroscience and therapeutic applications). It describes the evidence for the serotonin receptor (5-HT2a) agonism (psychedelics binding to that receptor) and the possible mechanisms through which long-lasting therapeutic effects can be found.
Microdosing Psychedelics as a Promising New Pharmacotherapeutic
2021 | Kuypers, K. P. C.
This book chapter (2021) discusses the state of the art regarding microdosing psychedelics. Microdosing is well tolerated and produces subtle effects that can be beneficial in specific domains. But studies are currently only done with very small sample sizes and healthy volunteers. Double-blind studies with patient populations (including those with ADHD) are needed.
The Viability of Microdosing Psychedelics as a Strategy to Enhance Cognition and Well-being - An Early Review
2020 | Bornemann, J.
This paper (2020) reviews the available evidence on psychedelic microdosing. The author concludes that the current literature, although seemingly promising, is methodologically insufficient to allow strong conclusions.
Potential safety, benefits, and influence of the placebo effect in microdosing psychedelic drugs: A systematic review
2020 | Bouso, J. C., Ona, G.
This systematic review (2020) of (mostly) observational studies on microdosing psychedelics (LSD & psilocybin) finds that it is experienced both positively and negatively by participants (n=3,619).
Microdosing psychedelics: More questions than answers? An overview and suggestions for future research
2019 | Erritzoe, D., Knudsen, G. M., Kuypers, K. P. C., Ng, L., Nichols, C. D., Nichols, D. E., Nutt, D. J., Pani, L., Soula, A.
We don't yet know much about the effects of microdosing or have even defined it rigorously. Kuypers and colleagues ask the questions and take the first step in building a framework for a more scientific study of microdosing. Microdosing is defined as the 1) use of a low dose below the perceptual threshold that does not impair ‘normal’ functioning of an individual, 2) a procedure that includes multiple dosing sessions, 3) with the intention to improve well-being and enhance cognitive and/or emotional processes.
Low doses of LSD reduce broadband oscillatory power and modulate event-related potentials in healthy adults
2021| Malina, M., Perry, C. M.
This double-blind study (n=22) investigated the effects of microdosing LSD (13μg and 26μg) on resting-state electroencephalography (EEG) and event event-related potential (ERP) in healthy adults. The study found that microdoses of LSD produced desynchronization patterns similar to those reported with higher doses of psychedelics, leading the authors to believe that microdoses of LSD may produce therapeutic effects in the absence of a full psychedelic experience.
Psilocybin and LSD Have No Long-Lasting Effects in an Animal Model of Alcohol Relapse
2020| Güngör, C., Meinhardt, M. W., Mertens, L. J., Skorodumov, I., Spanagel, R.
This rodent study (n=81) investigates the efficacy of psilocybin and LSD (microdose, sub-chronic dose, high-dose) to mitigate relapse behavior in an alcohol-deprived rat model of addiction. Contrary to the previous hypothesis, psilocybin and LSD had no long-lasting effects on relapse after alcohol deprivation, but the subchronic dose exerted a short-lasting effect.
Might Microdosing Psychedelics Be Safe and Beneficial? An Initial Exploration
2019| Fadiman, J., Korb, S.
This diary study investigates the "safe and beneficial" use of psychedelics in small quantities (microdosing; 10 micrograms LSD) to improve positive moods by evaluating positive and negative emotional states using the PANAS checklist and written reports. The study showed that microdosing of a psychedelic in clinical and non-clinical populations improved health habits, increased energy, and improved work effectiveness. Furthermore, smaller samples demonstrated alleviation of symptoms in migraine headaches, traumatic brain injury, pre-menstrual syndromes (PMS), shingles, and other such conditions that have not been previously associated with psychedelic use.
Microdosing psychedelics: Demographics, practices, and psychiatric comorbidities.
2020| Anderson, T., Dinh-Williams, L., Hapke, E., Hui, K., Petranker, R., Rosenbaum, D., Weissman, C. R.
This survey (n=909) of psychedelic microdosers founds that they were more likely, than the general public, to have used substances recreational, were less likely to suffer from substance use disorder (SUD), or anxiety disorder. Most microdosed with either LSD (13μg) or psilocybin (0.3g).
Narrative identity, rationality, and microdosing classic psychedelics
2019| Copes, H., Hendricks, P. S., Webb, M.
This interview study (n=30) reviewed the experiences of subjects who have use psychedelics (e.g. LSD, psilocybin) in small quantities (microdosing) to understand their reasons and how they perceived themselves in their conventional lives in the context of their narrative identity. The study opined that the acute use of such psychedelics in small quantities allowed the subjects to rationalize their reasons due to their procurement and administration practices as well as health reasons. This helped them normalize their drug use, facilitates persistence and see themselves as conventional citizens with middle-class values. This reasoning ultimately allows them to distance themselves from those who "abuse" psychedelics.
Microdosing psychedelics and its effect on creativity: Lessons learned from three double-blind placebo controlled longitudinal trials
2021| Fejer, G., Fiacchino, D., Hommel, B., Kuchar, M., Marschall, J., Prochazkova, L., Rifkin, B. D., Schoen, N., van Elk, M.
This preprint of three double-blind placebo-controlled longitudinal experiments (n=175) investigated the effects of microdosing psilocybin (0.74 - 1.71mg) on creativity and found that it increased the originality of their ideas while generating novel applications for ordinary things (divergent thinking). However, it did not increase the number of novel ideas, or their ability to detect features that are common across multiple things (convergent thinking).
Chronic, Intermittent Microdoses of the Psychedelic N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) Produce Positive Effects on Mood and Anxiety in Rodents
2019| Benson, C. J., Cameron, L. P., DeFelice, B. C., Fiehn, O., Olson, D. E.
This animal study (n=35) investigated the effects of microdosing DMT (1mg/kg) in rats and found that a chronic (∼2 months), intermittent (every third day) microdosing regimen facilitated fear extinction learning and reduced depressive immobility in the forced swim test without producing the anxiety-like effects characteristic of a high dose.
Motives and side-effects of microdosing with psychedelics among users
2019| Dolder, P. C., Hutten, N. P. W., Kuypers, K. P. C., Mason, N. L.
This survey study (n=116) investigated the motives and reported side effects of psychedelic microdosing (0.5g psilocybin, 10μg LSD) and found that one-fifth (20%) of all microdosers reported some kind of psychological or physical negative effects. While most users pursued performance enhancement, many of them discontinued this practice primarily because it was not effective.
Psilocin and ketamine microdosing: effects of subchronic intermittent microdoses in the elevated plus-maze in male Wistar rats
2018| Horsley, R. R., Kolin, J., Páleníček, T., Valeš, K.
This placebo-controlled animal study (n=40) investigated the effects of ketamine (0.5 - 3 mg/kg) and psilocin (0.05 - 0.075 mg/kg) microdosing on anxiety-related explorative behavior in rats and found that both substances caused mild anxiety as measured by a reduction of explorative behavior on an elevated open surface.
Powerful substances in tiny amounts An interview study of psychedelic microdosing
2018| Johnstad, P. G.
This qualitative interview study (n=21) investigated how people approach psychedelic microdosing and found that people mostly followed a dosing regimen recommended by James Fadiman and reported that it enhanced their mood and cognitive performance.
Psychedelic microdosing benefits and challenges: an empirical codebook
2019| Anderson, T., Christopher, A., Dinh-Williams, L., Hapke, E., Hui, K., Petranker, R., Rosenbaum, D., Weissman, C. R.
This survey study (n=278) aimed to develop a codebook of benefits and challenges associated with microdosing. The authors found, among other things, that many parallels exist between the effects reported as benefits and the effects reported as challenges.
Psychoactive substances as a last resort—a qualitative study of self-treatment of migraine and cluster headaches
2017| Andersson, M., Kjellgren, A., Persson, M.
This qualitative study (2017) examined self-reports from online forums about psychoactive substance use for treating migraines and cluster headaches, and found that psychedelic tryptamines, primarily LSD and psilocybin, were frequently reported to lessen both their frequency and intensity of pain at sub-psychoactive doses.
Effects of psilocybin microdosing on awe and aesthetic experiences: a preregistered field and lab-based study
2021| Fejer, G., Hajkova, K., Kuchar, M., Lempe, P., Marschall, J., Prochazkova, L., van Elk, M.
This double-blind placebo-controlled study (n=30) found that microdosing psychedelics (psilocybin; 1.5mg; 5-7 doses) increased awe but not aesthetic experiences (e.g. viewing art). Many participants knew which group (receiving placebo or psilocybin in which timeframe) they were in ('breaking blind') and the researcher presume that expectancy-effects may explain the effects found.
Effects of varied doses of psilocybin on time interval reproduction in human subjects
2008| Hasler, F., Vollenweider, F. X., Wittmann, M.
This double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subjects study (n=21) investigated the effects of psilocybin (0.84, 8.05, & 17.5mg/70kg) on time perception and found that it increased the loss rate of internal time representation even within the microdose range. This may be indicative of psilocybin's subjective effects, such as the experience of ‘time standing still'.
A quantitative exploration of the relationships between regular yoga practice, microdosing psychedelics, wellbeing and personality variables
2021| Bettinson, S., Blatchford, E., Bright, S. J., Gringart, E.
This exploratory cross-sectional survey study (n=339) investigated differences in mood and wellbeing between samples of people who either microdose, practice yoga, or engage in neither, in light of personality trait differences in openness, neuroticism, and absorption. Microdosing and yoga practices exhibited complementary effects, as participants who practiced both had the highest absorption score, exhibited higher levels of wellbeing, and had less depression and anxiety, compared to people who either practiced yoga or microdosing, and participants recruited as controls. However, participants were recruited from different population samples, which may bias self-report, and lead to significant differences in age, gender, employment, and education between the conditions.
Exploring the relationship between microdosing, personality and emotional insight: A prospective study
2021| Bright, S. J., Dressler, H. M., Polito, V.
This prospective survey study (n=24) explored the relationship between microdosing, personality change, and emotional awareness. Conscientiousness increased, while neuroticism decreased across these time points and correlated negatively with duration of prior microdosing experience. Extraversion correlated positively with both duration of prior microdosing experience and lifetime number of microdoses.
Self-blinding citizen science to explore psychedelic microdosing
2021| Blemings, A., Carhart-Harris, R. L., Erritzoe, D., Feilding, A., Kartner, L., Nutt, D. J., Rosas, F. E., Szigeti, B.
This self-blinding experiment (n=191) finds that the placebo and microdosing groups both experienced similar improvements in self-rated psychological well-being and cognitive function (e.g. mood, energy, creativity) after four weeks. This study provides more evidence that microdosing benefits can be attributed to expectancy (placebo) effects.
Positive expectations predict improved mental-health outcomes linked to psychedelic microdosing
2021| Balaet, M., Buchborn, T., Carhart-Harris, R. L., Erritzoe, D., Kaertner, L. S., Kettner, H., Roseman, L., Spriggs, M. J., Steinborn, M. B., Timmermann, C.
This prospective survey study (n=81) found that expectancy effects were mostly predictive of microdosing outcomes on reductions in state anxiety, depressive symptoms (at 4-week endpoint), and positive outcomes (e.g. psychological resilience, -connectedness, -flexibility).
Microdosing psychedelics: Motivations, subjective effects and harm reduction
2019| Amada, N., Jungaberle, H., Klein, M., Lea, T., Schecke, H.
This survey study (n=525) found that the motivation for microdosing (psilocybin and LSD) was to mainly to improve mental health, personal development, and cognitive enhancement. Four out of five participants used one or more harm reduction techniques on microdosing days (e.g. not dosing when unwell, no alcohol, avoid driving).
Twenty percent better with 20 micrograms? A qualitative study of psychedelic microdosing self-rapports and discussions on YouTube
2019| Andersson, M., Kjellgren, A.
This qualitative study (n=198) of opinions on microdosing found that they were generally well-tolerated and were used for therapeutic or enhancement purposes. The study analysed 32 videos and the self-report reactions to those videos.
Mood and cognition after administration of low LSD doses in healthy volunteers: A placebo controlled dose-effect finding study
2020| Dolder, P. C., Feilding, A., Holze, F., Hutten, N. P. W., Kuypers, K. P. C., Liechti, M. E., Mason, N. L., Ramaekers, J. G., Theunissen, E. L.
This fourth publication on the administration of a low/micro (5, 10, or 20 µg) dose of LSD found enhanced attention, slower information processing, more positive mood, increased anxiety and confusion. Again, the results are small and quite ambiguous.
Preliminary report on the effects of a low dose of LSD on resting-state amygdala functional connectivity
2020| Bershad, A. K., Bremmer, M. P., de Wit, H., Keedy, S., Lee, R., Preller, K. H., Wren-Jarvis, J.
In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, a microdose of LSD (13 µg) was found to increase and decrease connectivity in various areas of the brain. One of these effects correlated positively with mood increases, but overall mood changes were variable.
Acute Subjective and Behavioral Effects of Microdoses of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide in Healthy Human Volunteers
2019| Bershad, A. K., Bremmer, M. P., de Wit, H., Lee, R., Schepers, S. T.
This double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subject study (n=20) found that a microdose of LSD (up to 26 μg) elicited dose-dependent subjective effects during the 'peak' of the experience, but not at the follow-up (48 hours).
Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of lysergic acid diethylamide microdoses in healthy participants
2020| Dolder, P. C., Duthaler, U., Feilding, A., Holze, F., Hutten, N. P. W., Kuypers, K. P. C., Liechti, M. E., Mason, N. L., Ramaekers, J. G., Theunissen, E. L.
This double-blind, placebo-controlled study (n=23) found that 10 µg (vs 5 µg) produced psychedelic (psychotropic) effects (even more so at 20 µg), the peak effects were at 2.5h and ended at 5 hours.
Low Doses of LSD Acutely Increase BDNF Blood Plasma Levels in Healthy Volunteers
2020| Dolder, P. C., Eckert, A., Feilding, A., Holze, F., Hutten, N. P. W., Kuypers, K. P. C., Liechti, M. E., Mason, N. L., Ramaekers, J. G., Theunissen, E. L., Varghese, N.
A low/micro (20µg) dose of LSD increased neuroplasticity as measured by brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels at 6 hours (n=24). The results are however ambiguous and not present at all values/times.
A low dose of lysergic acid diethylamide decreases pain perception in healthy volunteers
2020| Dolder, P. C., Feilding, A., Holze, F., Hutten, N. P. W., Kuypers, K. P. C., Liechti, M. E., Mason, N. L., Ramaekers, J. G., Theunissen, E. L.
A low/micro (20 µg) dose of LSD increased the pain tolerance of participants (n=24).
A systematic study of microdosing psychedelics
2019| Polito, V., Stevenson, R. J.
Microdosing had much smaller and different effects than participants in this two-part survey study (n=361) expected beforehand, but were generally positive.
The effects of microdose LSD on time perception: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
2018| Family, N., Luke, D. P., Polychroni, N., Terhune, D. B., Williams, L. T. J., Yanakieva, S.
This was the first double-blind and placebo-controlled study (n=48) into the effects of microdosing LSD. The topic was quite specific (time perception), but they also reported on other cognitive changes (of which there were few and at a very small scale).
This section compares the research with psychedelics to other therapies, medicines, or treatments.
This section highlights the various measures used and their use in research.
Who are the top researches in this area, the ones who have done the groundbreaking research.
What do we not know at this time? Where are the gaps in our knowledge and are we closing it?
The companies that are actively engaged in researching this topic or (planning to) provide therapy focussed on this topic.
This section highlights everything done outside of academia, from popular press to books and non academic research.