Much has been said about the benefits that microdosing LSD and magic mushrooms can bring to individuals. Increased energy, concentration, a better mood, and a more creative outlook are just some of the things that users report. What is often left unsaid, however, are the downsides and dangers of microdosing.
This is probably not surprising due to the fact that this is a novel area of psychedelics use. However, it is vital for (potential) users to understand the dangers and risks of microdosing – as far as current research is aware, which is not very.
Lack of Research
So why has so little research been conducted on psychedelics in general, and microdosing in specific? Well, the short answer is that – in practice – there basically is an outright ban on researching psychedelics. Ever since the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961, research on psychedelics (and drugs on that list) have almost completely stopped.
Even when it is technically possible to research psychedelics, the potential researcher has to jump to many hoops in order to get started. There is still a huge stigma and blockades attached to psychedelics and it doesn’t seem like this will be different any time soon.
Some small changes are happening though, with increased attention to the potential benefits of psychedelics of many individuals and users around the world. Initiatives such as Tim Ferriss’s research proposal on psychedelics will surely help in solving these issues. At the moment however, the scientific community is unable to provide clear answers to the dangers of microdosing psychedelics and long-term effects.
The main thing to keep in mind is that psychedelics act as amplifiers. If you’re feeling happy and safe, you will most likely experience a good trip. If, however, you are not feeling well, or if you’re stressed or anxious, you will be more likely to experience a “bad trip.” Even though you’re only consuming small quantities when microdosing, the same principal holds true.
The amplification effects might be less noticeable for microdosing compared to a full dose, but they still exists. So one way to lower your chances of a bad experience with microdosing is to take stock of your mood and situation at that specific time. Feeling tired, stressed out, anxious, angry, or some other negative emotion? Then it might not be the wise to take a microdose at that time. Is there a lot on your mind, is your life falling apart around you, or are you in the middle of some major transition in your life? Likewise, it might not the best time to use any form of psychedelics.
If, on the other hand, you feel fine, your mood is good, and there are no major stressors in your life, you should be good to go!
Interaction with Medicine
Obvious disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nor will I pretend to be one. But when it comes to medication and psychedelic use I would be very, very careful. Basically, if you’re on long-term medication, don’t use any psychedelics. Why? Due to the lack of research on LSD/psilocybin there haven’t been a lot of studies that looked at drug interactions. There are some interactions that are supported by users reports, but otherwise information is lacking. Some of these reports include medication used for HIV suppression and bipolar disorder. Erowid lists a few medications that most likely interact badly with psychedelics.
If you’re on long-term medication avoid using psychedelics. It’s not worth the risk. Perhaps in the future when drug interaction with psychedelics are understood better you can investigate, but at the moment I would refrain from experimenting with this.
If you’re on short-term medication, I would say the same advice applies: don’t mix psychedelics and medication. It is infinitely better to wait until your treatment is finished and you’re feeling a 100% again and then try psychedelics, rather than endangering yourself
While there hasn’t been much research on pscyhedelics and microdosing, overall it seems that the risks of microdosing are manageable if you take a few precautions.
Remember that psychedelics – even with tiny doses – are amplifiers. In general, if you feel good, you will feel better; if you feel bad, you might end up feeling way worse.
If you have any health issues, or are on medication, do not take the risk. The benefits you might receive from microdosing are not equal to the health risks you might take.
Overall, if you use common sense, don’t take risks, it appears that the risks of microdosing are small and manageable.