The practice of microdosing psychedelic substances – ingesting extremely small quantities at specific intervals –, including magic mushrooms like golden teachers mushrooms, has taken off in recent years, with many individuals who have tried the method reporting that they have experienced minimal acute effects, but many long-term health benefits. Scientific research in the area is still scarce, but it is ongoing – here are some scientific study results on the subject.
Observation of Individuals Engaging into the Practice of Microdosing
Two studies performed in the UK and in Australia, respectively, have followed almost one hundred individuals who engaged in microdosing psychedelics over a period of six weeks. During the process, the participants provided daily reports about the way they were feeling. 63 of the participants also underwent regular psychometric testing to provide information about their mood, attention, level of creativity, general wellbeing, sense of agency and provided accounts of their mystical experiences. The findings of the studies revealed a generally heightened psychological activity on the days when the participants engaged in microdosing, but no or very little residual effects of the kind during non-microdosing days. The overall results reveal that the practice of microdosing has had many, long-term positive effects on the participants, mainly in the form of reduces levels of depression and anxiety, higher levels of focus and concentration.
Gauging Expectations and Beliefs
To gain more insight into the way microdosing was perceived, researchers in the UK and in Australia also conducted a study on a much larger group consisting of 263 people, either naïve or experienced in microdosing, to find out how the expectations and beliefs related to the process might influence the psychological effects. The study found that all participants believed in the positive effects of microdosing, the beliefs and expectancies actually being much higher and much more positive than the actual effects.
The effects of microdosing psilocybin have been studied among clinical circumstances as well, a randomized, double-blind trial having been conducted by researchers of the Johns Hopkins University revealing that psilocybin could produce substantial and prolonged reduction in depression and anxiety in cancer patients in terminal phases of their illness. Other studies focused on the mystical and spiritual effects of microdosing psilocybin to healthy individuals, the results and findings revealing that almost all participants reported having important, even transformative experiences as well as long-lasting positive effects on their mood and attitude towards life.
The Direction for Further Research
The existing studies have opened a multitude of paths for future research, including the goal of achieving a deeper understanding of the psychopharmacological effects of psychedelic substances, including psilocybin and the objective of determining the relationship between various dosages and the experiences and effects elicited. A possible avenue for future research is the study of the long-term effects of microdosing psilocybin and other psychedelic substances on mental health, while also exploring the possibilities of using the substances for medicinal purposes on a larger scale, maybe even in ways similar to the ways that cannabis-based products are being made available to more and more people.