Microdosing, typically associated with taking small, sub-hallucinogenic doses of psychedelics like LSD or psilocybin, has gained popularity as a means to improve creativity, focus, and emotional balance. While microdosing hallucinogens may have some beneficial mental and emotional effects, it’s essential to recognize the potential risks and dangers linked to microdosing.
What is Microdosing?
Microdosing is when individuals take small amounts of psychedelic substances to improve their mental and emotional functioning. These sub-hallucinogenic doses can help users receive some of the effects without experiencing the full-blown psychedelic effects these substances typically produce. The substances most commonly used for microdosing include Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), Psilocybin, and other psychedelics such as mescaline or DMT. LSD is a powerful hallucinogenic drug, causing users to lose touch with reality and encounter extraordinary experiences. Psilocybin is the active compound found in “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms,” often causing heightened sensory awareness and even hallucinations.
A microdose is typically around 1/5th to 1/20th of a traditional recreational dose. This is meant to be small enough to avoid feeling high or the intense sensory and psychological effects associated with these drugs. Psychedelics typically cause hallucinations and significant alterations in perception, mood, and thought. People who microdose often do so with the belief and intention that it will enhance creativity and focus, mood regulation, reduce anxiety, and boost energy levels. While many cities have decriminalized hallucinogens, psychedelics are still illegal to use or possess in the U.S.. Microdosing mushrooms or LSD can have many hidden risks and long-term effects, such as psychological effects, dependency and addiction, and cognitive impairments.
The Dangers of Microdosing
Microdosing LSD or psychedelic mushrooms can be risky due to the lack of scientific research and potential psychological and physiological health risks. Hallucinogens can exacerbate mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, and their long-term effects on physical health are unknown. Legal issues with microdosing are also a factor, as many of these psychedelic substances are illegal and unregulated. Obtaining LSD or psilocybin illegally can lead to concerns about drug purity and dosage. Another hidden danger of microdosing is the increased risk of developing dependency and tolerance, which can lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Microdosing can impact cognition and behavior, which is another concern emphasizing caution and a thorough understanding of these risks.
Lack of Scientific Research
One of the biggest dangers of microdosing is the lack of regulatory insight and comprehensive scientific research on the effects of microdosing. Without substantial, reliable evidence, microdosing’s long-term impacts and risks remain primarily based on unscientific research.
The effects of psychedelics, even in small doses, on mental health and the mind can be unpredictable. While many users often microdose “shrooms” or LSD for mood enhancements, the effects may be short-term and potentially risky for those with a history of mental health issues. There’s a risk of exacerbating conditions like anxiety, depression, or psychosis, especially in individuals with a susceptibility to these issues. There is a concern about the potential for cognitive impairment or changes in thought processes with sub-hallucinogenic microdosing, which might be dangerous in the long run.
Physiological Health Risks
The impact of regular, long-term use of psychedelic substances, even in small doses, on physical health is not well understood and requires further research. Unforeseen health risks could be associated with microdosing over an extended period, including potential impacts on heart health, neurology, and other bodily systems.
Many substances used for microdosing, like LSD and psilocybin, are illegal in numerous countries. Possession and use of psychedelic substances can potentially lead to legal repercussions, including fines and imprisonment.
Dependency and Tolerance
There’s a risk of developing a psychological dependency on psychedelics when microdosing. Regular use of shrooms or LSD might lead to increased tolerance, necessitating larger doses for the same effect, which could potentially lead to abuse and addiction.
Quality and Purity Concerns
Since these substances are often obtained illegally from unregulated sources, there’s no guarantee of their drug purity or quality. This unpredictability can result in adverse effects, such as the drug being cross-mixed with other harmful substances.
Drug Interactions: Microdosing and Prescription Medications
Psychedelics can interact with other prescription medications, potentially causing harmful side effects or reducing the effectiveness of prescription drugs. For example, if someone is taking selective serotonergic reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) while microdosing, this can potentially have negative interactions while reducing the efficacy of the antidepressant.
Unintended Behavioral Changes
Microdosing can lead to subtle changes in behavior or perception that might not be immediately evident to the user but could impact social interactions or decision-making. This can create potential challenges or strain personal relationships depending on the behavioral changes from microdosing.
Overestimation of Abilities
Users might overestimate their abilities or become overconfident in certain situations when microdosing with hallucinogens like LSD or magic mushrooms. This can be dangerous, especially in tasks requiring acute attention like driving or professional settings. Some people report problems paying attention or thinking clearly, difficulty in social settings, increased anxiety, and hallucinations with microdosing.
Treatment and Support for Substance Abuse and Dependency
Given the hidden risks and dangers of microdosing, it’s important for individuals considering microdosing to consult a healthcare professional. While dependency and addiction are not the most common risk of microdosing, there is potential for abuse and dependency on the effects of psychedelics. If you’re experiencing an increased tolerance and dependency to hallucinogens or another substance, Coastal Detox offers addiction treatment services and drug detox in Stuart, FL.
Reach out today to start on your road to recovery!
- Cleveland Clinic, 2023. Hallucinogens.
- Harvard Health Publishing, 2022. The popularity of microdosing of psychedelics: What does the science say?
- National Library of Medicine, 2019. Motives and Side-Effects of Microdosing With Psychedelics Among Users.
- PubMed, 2023. Attenuation of psilocybin mushroom effects during and after SSRI/SNRI antidepressant use.
- GoodRx Health, 2023. What Is Microdosing? Benefits, Effects, Safety, and More.