A study published in Psychopharmacology suggests that people may be microdosing psychedelics in an effort to improve their mental health. According to most self-reports, these attempts can be effective.
Interest in psychedelic drugs as a possible treatment option for mental disorders is steadily increasing. One reason for the growing interest could be the lack of effective treatments for certain psychiatric disorders, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Research into the influence of microdosing on mental health
Study authors Toby Lea and his team were motivated to investigate the impact of microdosing on mental health. Microdosing is the consumption of very small, routine doses of a psychedelic drug like LSD or psilocybin for reasons other than achieving hallucinogenic side effects.
“To date, most quantitative microdosing studies have excluded people with a history of mental illness. No studies have examined the correlation between mental health and substance use. Nor the perceived improvements in mental health that people attribute to mid-dosing, ”said Lea.
International survey microdosing
An international online survey polled 1.102 individuals who are currently microdosing or who have attempted microdosing in the past. The mean age of the respondents was 33, and 57% had ever been diagnosed with a mental disorder.
When asked about their motivations for microdosing, 39% said improving their mental health was their main motivation. Of these, 21% used microdosing to improve their depression, 7% for their anxiety, 9% for other mental disorders, including PTSD, and 2% to reduce drug or alcohol use.
Importantly, 85% of those who tried microdosing to improve their mental health had previously received medication or counseling therapy. Half of the people taking medications reported having stopped taking antidepressants and 39,7% taking other psychiatric medications. This suggests that respondents may have used microdosing as a way to replace traditional forms of therapy. “Respondents who have been microdosing for longer were also more likely to be motivated to microdose for their mental health. This may indicate that microdosing is working in these people, and that they are continuing to microdose as an ongoing therapy to replace or supplement psychiatric drugs. Some with the knowledge of their doctor and / or psychotherapist ”, Lea and colleagues note.
Results of respondents
The results are very promising. The researchers report, “Forty-four percent of all respondents felt their mental health was much better, compared to 35,8% who saw minor improvements. Nineteen percent of the respondents did not notice any changes in their mental health. Only 1,3% said their mental health was slightly worse since microdosing, and 0,2% said it was much worse.
Lea and colleagues acknowledge that there are limitations in the study. There may be a pacebo effect or an improvement in mental health as a result of a change in lifestyle.
Read here psypost.org (Source, EN)