Microdosing has become something of a wellness trend in recent years and is gaining popularity. What are the differences of microdosing with respect to spiritual exercises such as yoga or meditation? Or can these activities for body and mind reinforce each other?
While the anecdotal reports are compelling, important questions remain about how microdosing works and how much of the reported benefits are due to pharmacological effects, rather than the beliefs and expectations of the participants.
Australian Research: Effects of Microdosing
Research tells us that some of the benefits of microdosing may be comparable to other wellness activities such as yoga. It's not clear how many Australians microdose, but the percentage of Australian adults who have used psychedelics in their lifetime has risen from 8% in 2001 to 10,9% in 2019.
After a slow start, Australian research into psychedelics is now progressing rapidly. One area of particular interest is the science of microdosing. In a previous study by one of Vince Polito, levels of depression and stress decreased after a six-week microdosing period. Furthermore, the participants reported less wandering of the mind, suggesting that microdosing leads to improved cognitive performance. However, this study also found an increase in neuroticism. People who score high on this personality dimension are more likely to experience unpleasant emotions and are generally more prone to depression and anxiety. This was a puzzling finding and did not seem to fit the rest of the results.
Microdosing versus yoga
In a recent study, a research team recruited 339 participants who engaged in microdosing, yoga, both, or neither. Yoga practitioners reported higher levels of stress and anxiety than those in the microdosing or control groups (participants who did neither yoga nor microdosing). Meanwhile, people who practiced microdosing reported higher levels of depression.
We cannot say for sure why we saw these results, although it is possible that people who experienced stress and anxiety were attracted to yoga, while those who were depressed were more likely to microdose. This was a cross-sectional study, so participants were observed in their chosen activity, rather than assigned to a particular group.
But more importantly, the yoga group and the microdosing group achieved comparably higher overall psychological well-being scores compared to the control group. And interestingly, people who engaged in both yoga and microdosing reported lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. This suggests that microdosing and yoga can have synergistic effects.
The most recent findings suggest that the positive effects of microdosing on psychological well-being are due to a reduction in neuroticism. The performance gains may come from the increased conscientiousness people experience as a result of taking low doses of psychedelics. The research shows that activities like yoga are especially useful for less experienced microdosers. Especially when dealing with negative side effects such as anxiety. Because psychedelic drugs are illegal, it is ethically complex to provide them to research participants.
Microdosing involves risks
Since the illicit drug market is unregulated, there is a danger that people will inadvertently consume a potentially dangerous new psychoactive substance, such as 25-I-NBOMe, which is sold as LSD.
People also cannot be sure of the size of the dose they are taking. This can lead to unwanted effects. That is why people are advised to start with a very low dose.
Despite the hype surrounding microdosing, scientific results have so far been mixed. We have found that microdosers report significant benefits. But it's unclear how much of this is caused by placebo effects and expectations.
For people who choose to microdose, practicing contemplative practices like yoga can also reduce some of the unwanted effects and lead to better results overall. Some people may find that they get the same benefit from mental exercises as meditation or yoga alone, which is less risky than microdosing.
Read more theconversation.com (Source, EN)