Microdosing LSD and other psychedelic substances have become increasingly popular among a wide range of individuals, from businessmen in Silicon Valley to creatives working toward their next big idea. It involves ingesting a very small amount, well under a typical LSD dosage, on a regular basis. A recent survey with over one thousand participants from 59 countries suggests microdosing LSD increases energy, work effectiveness, health habits, and overall well-being. Some respondents reported it helped alleviate their symptoms associated with migraines, pre-menstrual syndromes, traumatic brain injury, shingles, and depression. When consuming LSD for a psychedelic experience, most users will measure their LSD dose by the number of tabs, or pieces of blotter paper. However, this is a relatively ineffective method of measurement as a single piece of blotter paper can contain vastly different amounts of LSD. A more accurate way to measure it is by the microgram. It can be difficult to find a reliable source that knows how many micrograms of LSD are in each tab. A standard dose for inducing a psychedelic experience ranges from 50 to 150 micrograms. When microdosing, most users consume about a tenth of a normal dose, so somewhere between five to fifteen micrograms. Clinical research doses of LSD depend on the purpose of the study. Over the last 25 years, scientists conducted six studies with doses ranging from 40 micrograms to 200 micrograms. While the LD50 of LSD is still unknown among humans, (there has yet to be a recorded overdose), it is safe to assume it would be well above what any user would consume for recreational purposes. In one case, eight individuals accidentally consumed upwards of 40,000 micrograms of LSD, around 400 times a normal dose, thinking it was cocaine. While all eight were admitted to a hospital, they were all discharged within 48 hours. Five of these patients were followed up with a year later and were found to have no residual effects after this experience. Microdosing is the act of consuming a sub-perceptual dose of a psychoactive compound. Many users believe that consuming an extremely small dose brings some of the positive effects of the substance while still remaining fully functional to carry on with all of the activities of a standard day. A typical microdose is somewhere around a tenth of the amount of a standard dose. When it comes to microdosing, there is very little history in regards to scientific studies around microdosing. No formal research was conducted prior to 1966 when a prohibition on psychedelic research was established through most of the western world.
There has been recent interest in microdosing with some scientists looking to derive results from user experiences and others looking to conduct clinical studies. Most people try microdosing psychedelics to enhance their creativity, energy levels, emotional stability, and alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and addiction. LSD is one of the most popular substances to microdose with. Many users report an overall improvement in their health and wellness both physiologically and psychologically. Common effects of microdosing LSD include increased energy, improvements in work effectiveness, and better health habits. Some users even report it alleviated symptoms of migraines, pre-menstrual syndromes, traumatic brain injury, and shingles.
The psychedelic community considers that they are a wide range of benefits to microdosing LSD. One user who suffers from anxiety and depression attempted a micro-dosage of 30 micrograms a day for a week to see if that could help him alleviate some of his symptoms. He was also a frequent user of a wide variety of substances. During this week-long trial, he felt a lowered desire to consume other substances, and less stress throughout his workdays. However, in his report, he does say he is unsure whether this was due to a placebo effect or the actual effects of microdosing LSD. Another user microdosed for thirty days, skipping every third day or so. This user reported having more creative tools to problem-solve, however, it did not help him work healthy routines into his day like a regular sleep schedule or healthy eating habits.
The first step for scientists to understand the effects of microdosing is determining what dose constitutes a “microdose,” and the acute effects of dosage over period of time. A brand new study published on November 15, 2019 sought out to find this dose.
They used three doses: 6.5 micrograms, 13 micrograms, and 26 micrograms in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 20 healthy young adults. This study finds that 13 micrograms would likely be a safe dose to further study with repeated administrations. Further studies based on these conclusions have not been conducted yet but this study paves the way for future research into the potential benefits and consequences of regularly microdosing LSD. With the increased media attention microdosing has received, there have also been critics of the practice pointing out potential downsides.
The major point most of these critics are emphasizing is in regards to microdosing DMT but these effects could be apparent in microdosing LSD as well.
They all reference a study published by the ACS which found microdosing DMT affected the metabolism and neuronal growth in rats. Male rats tended to gain a significant amount of weight and the female rats developed neuronal atrophy. Whether these effects would appear in humans is still unknown. A microdose of LSD is considered to be a sub-perceptual dose meaning the effects are mostly unnoticeable. How much this dose would be is very subjective depending on the individual.
The Fadiman protocol recommends a dosage that is between a tenth to twentieth of a normal dose daily with every fourth day skipped. This prevents a tolerance from building up and allows you to subjectively determine the effects compared to an off day and a day of microdosing. As microdosing continues to become increasingly popular throughout the western world, companies are beginning to offer microdosing kits to help average users measure out a dose, ensure their LSD is pure, and offer legal alternatives.
These kits generally contain an amber glass bottle, a medicinal syringe, and an Ehrlich reagent test.
The most important part of safely consuming any substance is ensuring the substance you are consuming is pure.
The psychedelic community commonly uses an Ehrlich reagent test to rule out the most common LSD substitutes. This test involves placing a small drop of an Ehrlich reagent on a portion of the substance that you have.
The reagent turns purple when in the presence of indoles, which is what LSD is. This will rule out a common and dangerous substitute for LSD called 25i-NBOMe. Common effects of microdosing LSD include increased energy, improvements in work effectiveness, and better health habits.
The most popular method of microdosing LSD is referred to as the Fadiman protocol named after the man who created it, James Fadiman. Fadiman created this method to survey the effects microdosing has on a wide range of individuals through a controlled methodology. For LSD, it involves consuming between 5 micrograms and 10 micrograms every third day. This allows for a baseline on the third day in order to compare how microdosing has affected you and whether or not it is beneficial for your specific situation. He encourages anyone trying this method to report their results to him so he can congregate them and hopefully further encourage research in this area based on those results. His site also provides a quick set of five questions that makes reporting your experiences even easier.
The basic mechanism behind how LSD produces its effects involves the substance binding to the serotonin receptors in the central and peripheral nervous system.
These receptors are called 5-hydroxytryptamine, or 5-HT, receptors. LSD binds to most types of these receptors except the 5-HT3 and 5-HT4 receptors.
The most important receptor it binds to, which produced the majority of its effects, is called the 5-HT2A receptor. This causes a cross-activation of the heteromers of this receptor which is thought to produce to the psychedelic effect. When consumed in large doses, LSD produces a profound psychedelic effect involving: Small doses of LSD, referred to as a “microdose,” does not produce any of these strong effects. A real microdose should not produce any acute effects that are very noticeable, but rather a psychological and social benefit from regularly consuming microdoses.
These effects may include increases in: The largest concern in how LSD interacts with other substances comes from the knowledge of what could happen when mixing it with Lithium or any other tricyclic antidepressant. This combination has the potential to cause serious seizures. Another interaction that has cause for concern is with any SSRI due to the increased chances of inducing serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is a potentially fatal disorder caused by an overload of serotonin. Lastly, benzodiazepine tends to lower the effectiveness of LSD. Remember there are more than 15 different types of benzodiazepine medications that exist. If you are on any medications, it would be wise to consult a physician and an interaction chart before consuming a psychedelic substance.
There are potential safety concerns when microdosing LSD for individuals with pre-existing heart conditions. This concern comes from the vasoconstriction caused by most psychedelics including LSD. It also tends to alter an individual’s heart rate which can cause complications with an existing heart condition. LSD is a controlled substance in most of the modern world.
The United States listed it as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
The United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances also lists LSD requiring all members of the UN to prohibit LSD. However, Mexico has made the possession of extremely small quantities, under 15 micrograms, legal. Portugal also decriminalized LSD in 2001.
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