Microdosing psychedelics – the practice of consuming small, sub-hallucinogenic doses of substances such as LSD or psilocybin – is gaining attention in popular media but remains poorly characterized. Contemporary studies of psychedelic microdosing have yet to report the basic psychiatric descriptors of psychedelic microdosers.
To examine the practices and demographics of a population of psychedelic microdosers – including their psychiatric diagnoses, prescription medications, and recreational substance use patterns – to develop a foundation on which to conduct future clinical research.
Participants (n = 909; Mage = 26.9, SD = 8.6; male = 83.2%; White/European = 79.1%) recruited primarily from the online forum Reddit completed an anonymous online survey. Respondents who reported using LSD, psilocybin, or both for microdosing were grouped and compared with non-microdosing respondents using exploratory odds ratio testing on demographic variables, rates of psychiatric diagnoses, and past-year recreational substance use.
Of microdosers, most reported using LSD (59.3%; Mdose = 13 mcg, or 11.3% of one tab) or psilocybin (25.9%; Mdose = 0.3 g of dried psilocybin mushrooms) on a one-day-on, two-days-off schedule. Compared with non-microdosers, microdosers were significantly less likely to report a history of substance use disorders (SUDs; OR = 0.17 (95% CI: 0.05-0.56)) or anxiety disorders (OR = 0.61 (95% CI: 0.41-0.91)). Microdosers were also more likely to report recent recreational substance use compared with non-microdosers (OR = 5.2 (95% CI: 2.7-10.8)).
Well-designed randomized controlled trials are needed to evaluate the safety and tolerability of this practice in clinical populations and to test claims about potential benefits.
Rosenbaum, D., Weissman, C., Anderson, T., Petranker, R., Dinh-Williams, L. A., Hui, K., & Hapke, E. (2020). Microdosing psychedelics: Demographics, practices, and psychiatric comorbidities. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 0269881120908004., https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881120908004