What is Microdosing LSD?
Microdosing is a fast-growing lifestyle trend in which people consume a very small fraction of what is considered a recreational dose of LSD or other Hallucinogen (like Psilocybin Mushrooms, also known as Magic Mushrooms). Usually taken every couple of days for several weeks – to improve their mood, focus, creativity, motivation, or energy levels. Given many Hallucinogens’ status as Schedule I controlled substances, it is difficult to conduct FDA-approved scientific studies.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the notion that Hallucinogenic drugs, taken in small doses or under the supervision and guidance of a medical professional, can be used to treat mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. However, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) , empirical evidence regarding the efficacy of microdosing LSD for symptomatic relief is lacking. Furthermore, taking frequent and consistent doses of any drug, especially one as potent as LSD, is by no means safe for all individuals and may put certain people at high risk for developing a drug addiction.
Between 2010 and 2013, microdosing began to gain steam in Silicon Valley coder circles, thanks in part to the preachings of LSD researcher James Fadiman. The appeal of a drug regimen that allows for hours of uninterrupted focus and concentration was not lost on this crowd.
Social media reports indicate that microdosing LSD is gradually increasing in popularity among drug users sharing their experiences on the internet. It appears that regular LSD use, as well as microdosing, is also on the rise in the U.S. For example, from 2015 to 2018, LSD use increased by over 50%. Some are turning to LSD to understand their own consciousness, others are using it therapeutically, and the rest are merely chasing the next big high.
What is LSD?
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a synthetic hallucinogenic compound known to cause behavioral and psychological changes. Researchers are looking into the potential of LSD in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and substance addiction. LSD is manufactured from lysergic acid obtained from the ergot fungus, which grows on rye and other grains. LSD is also used for recreational purposes due to its hallucinogenic effects.
What is Microdosing?
While microdosing refers to a common process in developing medications, it also involves taking low doses of psychedelic drugs. In pharmacology, microdosing is a practice that aids in drug development and drug selection, where an individual takes a very small dose of the proposed medication. Researchers can then assess its pharmacokinetics, or how it interacts with the body.
In a pharmacological context, microdosing typically involves taking around 1% of a drug’s potential pharmacological dose. In the context of psychedelics, such as LSD, microdosing involves someone taking 5–10% of the dose that elicits psychoactive effects.
How Does Microdosing LSD Work?
Microdosing LSD involves taking small doses of LSD that are not strong enough to induce psychedelic effects, cause intoxication, or significantly impact consciousness. Typically, a person takes these small doses of psychedelics routinely, such as every set number of hours or days for an extended period. There is no set amount of LSD that someone should take when microdosing. However, the dosage is often around one-tenth to one-twentieth of a recreational dose.
Microdosing LSD is a fairly straightforward process. Essentially, you need to prepare your microdoses with volumetric dosing, consume the microdose at the appropriate time, and follow a month-long protocol. Volumetric dosing involves submerging a full tab into distilled water and taking small, measured quantities of the water to microdose. To do this, drop a 100ug tab into 10ml of distilled water or alcohol. Leave it for a day or so, and keep it in the dark. Once the LSD has come fully off the tab, 1ml of the liquid will contain 10ug of LSD.
Microdosing LSD How Long Does it Last?
The threshold level (the amount at which people start to notice a mild psychedelic effect) varies but is usually between 10 and 50 micrograms. The (sub-perceptual) effect of a microdose of LSD can last for up to 10 hours, which makes the time of ingestion especially important. In a light trip, you are high and maintain a certain degree of control and overview. With a heavy trip, this disappears, and there is no more control. Thinking is highly associative and seems to go in circles.
Effects of Microdosing LSD
LSD can be highly unpredictable and affect different people differently. The fact that it is made in illicit laboratories means that a person may never be sure exactly what else may be contained in the version of the drug taken. While some people may experience distorted perceptions of their body image, altered perception of the size and shape of surrounding objects, modifications in their depth perception and other senses, and increased euphoria, others may become paranoid, experience a panic attack, have an intense fear of death, and suffer from psychosis when taking LSD. These negative symptoms are commonly referred to as a bad trip.
Dangers of Microdosing LSD
There is a common misconception that Hallucinogenic drugs are relatively safe because they’re not as physically addictive as other illicit drugs, such as benzodiazepines and opioids. However, while Hallucinogens typically don’t produce severe symptoms of physiological addiction, it is very possible to become psychologically addicted to any drug of abuse.
Furthermore, microdosing can induce feelings of euphoria, heightened awareness, and general well-being. The neurotransmitters responsible for creating such a positive association may put certain people at risk of developing a psychological addiction.
Fundamentally, addiction is harmful because, as a chronic disease, it will grow and take prevalence over other aspects of one’s life. Another concern with microdosing is that many of the potential harms and side effects are generally unknown. Many of the aforementioned studies are conducted by systematically tracking the experiences of people who are already microdosing using an anonymous online system. This makes it more difficult to control the substance use of participants and get accurate results. Instead, results rely on the accuracy and honesty of participants’ reports.
Furthermore, some drugs with Hallucinogenic properties pose potential risks when microdosing due to other characteristics that many classic Hallucinogens (such as MDMA) don’t have. MDMA, commonly sold on the street as Ecstasy or Molly, is typically associated with Hallucinogens because it can produce hallucinations when taken in certain quantities.
However, most classify Ecstasy as a Stimulant due to its Amphetamine-like effects. Stimulants, including Ecstasy, increase a person’s risk for developing various heart diseases and death. This is due to MDMA’s activation of the 5-HT2B receptor, a serotonin receptor, which is also activated by LSD and Psilocybin Mushrooms.
Long-term Effects of Microdosing LSD and Abuse
One of the possible threats of abusing LSD in any amount, including microdosing, maybe the risk of experiencing “flashbacks” days, months, or even years after discontinuing the use of the drug. A flashback is a re-experiencing of the drug’s effects that may come on unexpectedly and without warning. These flashbacks may contain both positive and negative experiences and be quite disruptive.
LSD use can also cause the onset of hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), which may cause visual disturbances at such a rate that everyday life and the ability to function is typically impaired. For those suffering from HPPD, moving objects may appear to have attached trails.
LSD affects levels of serotonin in the brain, which is one of the chemical messengers responsible for signaling pleasure. As a result, it may disrupt the natural way the brain processes rewards and therefore feels pleasure. Other drugs that affect the reward pathways in the brain are highly addictive and can cause the brain’s circuitry to be rewired, thus making it more difficult for individuals to feel good without the drug’s interference. As a result, depression is a common side effect of drug addiction and withdrawal.
Microdosing and its potential long-term side effects have not been properly studied at this point, so it’s difficult to fully assess the effects of the practice.
Taking any illicit substance is dangerous even in a small amount. Given the illegality of LSD and other Hallucinogens, there is a high possibility for drug dealers to lace them with other illicit drugs like Fentanyl, Ketamine, or Meth. These contaminants are not only highly addictive but may cause a lethal overdose.
In addition to these threats, microdosing exposes users to consistent doses of a powerful drug that activates a given area of the brain repeatedly — as opposed to the less-frequent use typically connected with “tripping.” This only increases the risk of developing an addiction or dependency.
If you want to feel happier, boost your dopamine levels, and increase your creativity, microdosing LSD is not the answer. There are many natural, drug-free ways like eating the right diet, exercise, and mindfulness meditation that can help you without exposing yourself to addiction risks. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, contact We Level Up NJ today to discuss treatment options.