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Microdosing is a productivity hack that is popular among business leaders and Silicon Valley engineers. Microdosers take small regular doses of LSD. Rather than experiencing mind-bending, hallucinatory trips, they experience a jolt in creativity and focus. This helps elevate work performance, relationships and improve a stressful demanding daily life.
So far, it has been impossible to separate the truth from hype. This is because till recently, microdoses were yet to be tested in placebo-controlled trials. The first placebo-controlled microdose trial got published late last year. According to the study, microdoses of LSD positively altered the subjects’ sense of time. This allowed them to more accurately reproduce lapsed spans of time. The study puts together a compelling story on how LSD alters the brain’s perspective and cognitive systems. This could lead to more creativity and focus.
What was the all idea about?
The idea behind microdosing goes back to the 1950s with the aim of making alcoholics clean and free. Psychedelic therapist guided patients through an LSD experience. Half the patients were able to completely recover from alcoholism. The government of Canada ordered rigorous trials with placebo controls. Fortunately, the results were highly successful.
Most of what is known about the benefits of microdosing come from reports collected by James Fadiman. Microdosers speak of how their anxiety and depression melted away. This is accompanied by a feeling of determination that helped them achieve professional success. Some of the color-blind men were even able to see color for the first time.
Also, a group of psychologists at Goldsmiths, University of London published the first placebo-controlled study in late 2018. They were led by Devin Terhune and they recruited volunteers who had not used LSD for the previous 5 years. They randomly assigned them into LSD microdose or placebo groups.
On the question of whether you are supposed to feel the drug, the study showed that you do not actually feel anything after micro-dosing.
On the question of if microdosing changes the brain’s function in a sub-perceptual way: Terhune looked at how the subjects perceived time. Terhune showed the subjects a blue dot for a specified amount of time. They were also asked to recreate the length of time by pressing a key and the ones who received microdoses better represented the time interval.
Does micro-dosing result in you getting smarter?
Terhune together with his partners took caution not to over-interpret their findings. It is not really clear if perceiving time accurately is preferable. The brain tends to favor under-representing time. However, disrupting the brain’s way of representing time can be of benefit in some daily tasks.
The findings showed that microdoses do change the brain’s functions somehow. This is despite it not inducing a strong drug feeling.
A lot is at stake for a broader understanding of the brain and the potential for drugs to enhance cognitive abilities. Microdosing does not dissolve your ego. This is as opposed to taking large doses of psychedelics. Microdosing is capable of activating just the right amount of receptors for us to be our better selves.
Would you take LSD to treat alcoholism or become smarter? We would love to hear from you in the comment area below.
Rose, S. (2019, 04 16). Scientific American. Retrieved 04 30, 2019, from www.scientificamerican.com: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-microdoses-of-lsd-change-your-mind/