An LSD microdosing trial has just been given the go ahead in New Zealand. This study is a positive step forward in the study of microdosing as it will be using controlled and measured doses consumed by study participants in a naturalistic setting.
“Users report improvements in mood, wellbeing, improved attention and cognition, so those are the things we will be measuring,” said study leader Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy. Dr Muthukumaraswamy is an associate professor at the University of Auckland School of Pharmacy, where much of his research focuses on understanding how therapies alter brain activity, and in developing techniques to measure such changes.
Forty men will be carefully screened to participate in the trial, and LSD microdoses will be tested against placebo. Male only participants are being recruited for this particular study as some of the measures being taken are affected by the menstrual cycle.
At the present time, psychedelic microdosing remains scientifically understudied, since it is hard to distinguish actual effects people experience from placebo. At the present time, most evidence in support of microdosing LSD is largely anecdotal. Previous studies have had serious design flaws, such as users bringing in their own drugs of varying quality, and tests being done in an unnatural, clinical lab environment.
“We’ll be giving microdoses on very tightly controlled prescriptions to take at home – it’ll be a more realistic assessment of what microdosing actually does,” said Dr Muthukumaraswamy.
Psychedelic microdosing is very much in vogue. The practice of consuming tiny amounts of sub-perceptual doses of psychedelic substances (most commonly LSD or psilocybin mushrooms) certainly has an expanding fan base. LSD inventor and discover Albert Hofmann was himself an advocate of microdosing, feeling that it could have a positive effect on mental health and physical functioning. Aside from this study, there are ongoing rigorous studies on psychedelic microdosing currently being carried out by Imperial College London and Maastricht University. Together, this research will provide a much clearer picture on the effects of this practice.
Does psychedelic microdosing yield concrete effects in its advocates? Or is it all a placebo effect? This remains to be answered scientifically, but this research will help to provide a clear answer. If the effects are found to be more than placebo, psychedelic microdosing could provide a more user friendly way of using psychedelics that could yield a host of potential therapeutic applications.