Microdosing involves taking tiny amounts of psychedelic substances in order to produce subtle changes in cognitive function without altering perception. Although many underground adherents attribute a variety of psychological and physical benefits to microdosing, including enhanced mood, focus, and cognition, or even reduced pain, there is a dearth of reliable evidence of the benefits – or indeed any potential health effects – of the practice.
With the Beckley/Maastricht Programme, we are conducting a series of placebo-controlled microdosing studies to investigate in great detail this increasingly popular practice, and its potential therapeutic applications. Our first study is investigating the short-term effects of various sizes of LSD microdose on creativity, cognitive flexibility, and wellbeing. Next, we will look at the safety and effects of fixed microdoses of LSD administered repeatedly over a period of four weeks, on brain activity, cognitive functions and mood.
Outside of the lab, the Beckley/Imperial team are also conducting the world’s first placebo-controlled, self-blinded study of microdosing. Recruiting participants from around the world who already microdose, or who are about to start, the study uses an innovative new procedure to mimic important aspects of the blinding process, improving on previous survey studies of microdosers by diminishing the role of the placebo effect. To learn more, click here.
Amanda Fielding is also working on a new collaboration with researchers in the San Francisco Bay area to investigate the new Silicon Valley microdosing trend.
Results from our studies will provide robust scientific data to a worldwide conversation currently dominated by speculation and anecdote, and so identify or confirm the potential benefits of microdosing and pave the way for the development of clinical trials investigating its therapeutic applications in more depth.
With little or no inclination for governments or pharmaceutical companies to finance research into psychedelic medications, studies such as this depend entirely on private donors and institutions.
Given our current understanding of the mechanisms of action of psychedelic compounds such as LSD, possible future indications for microdosing could include a range of conditions in need of more efficient treatments such as mood disorders, age-related cognitive decline/mild cognitive impairment, chronic pain, brain rehabilitation and addiction. The Beckley Foundation is aiming to initiate research projects exploring these potential therapeutic applications.
If you want to get involved and make this important line of research a reality, please consider donating to help fund this and other studies into the potential health benefits of psychedelic compounds.