The emerging science of microdosing: A systematic review of research on low dose psychedelics (1955 – 2021)

This preprint (2021) review is one of the most comprehensive reviews on microdosing to date. The reviewers report effects across six categories; mood and mental health; wellbeing and attitude; cognition and creativity; personality; changes in conscious state; and neurobiology and physiology. Studies showed a wide range in risk of bias and argue that the idea that the effects of microdosing are due to expectancy is possibly wrong.

Abstract

“The use of low doses of psychedelic substances (microdosing) is attracting increasing interest. This systematic review summarises all empirical microdosing research to date, including a set of infrequently cited studies that took place prior to prohibition. Specifically, we reviewed 44 studies published between 1955 and 2021, and summarised reported effects across six categories: mood and mental health; wellbeing and attitude; cognition and creativity; personality; changes in conscious state; and neurobiology and physiology. Studies showed a wide range in risk of bias, depending on design, age, and other study characteristics. Laboratory studies found changes in pain perception, time perception, conscious state, and neurophysiology. Self-report studies found changes in cognitive processing and mental health. We review data related to expectation and placebo effects, but argue that claims that microdosing effects are largely due to expectancy are premature and possibly wrong. In addition, we attempt to clarify definitional inconsistencies in the microdosing literature by providing suggested dose ranges across different substances. Finally, we provide specific design suggestions to facilitate more rigorous future research.”

Authors: Vince Polito & Paul Liknaitzky

Study details

Topics studied
Microdosing

Study characteristics
Literature Review

Participants
0 Humans

Authors

Authors associated with this publication with profiles on Blossom

Paul Liknaitzky
Dr Paul Liknaitzky, the Head of Clinical Psychedelic Research at Monash University, examines the mechanisms of mental illness and how to treat them. He is an investigator in several (of the first) psychedelic trials being conducted in Australia.

Vince Polito
Vince Polito is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Psychological Sciences, and a member of the Biomolecular Discovery Research Centre at Macquarie University.

Institutes

Institutes associated with this publication

Monash University
The Clinical Psychedelic Research Lab at Monash University is Australia's first research group dedicated to the study of psychedelics.