Microdosing is the practice of consuming small, sub hallucinogenic doses of a particular psychedelic substance – in this case magic mushrooms. Over the last decade, the popularity of microdosing has increased substantially, with many individuals reporting positive experiences in online forums and pages. Although there is a lot of positivity on the topic, there is not enough scientific evidence to provide its exact benefits and challenges.
A microdosing dosage is generally considered to be a tenth of what a recreational dose would be. The dosage size is dependent on the level of experience of an individual, so for magic mushrooms this ranges from 0.1 – 0.3 grams of dried psilocybin mushrooms. The benefits and challenges range per individual, and will be discussed in the section below.
According to a study by Harm Reduction Journal, there are a handful of benefits that are associated with microdosing. There isn’t much to know about the long-term effect it can have on individuals, but the short-term ones have been recorded by many users.
One of the most common benefits seemed to be an improved mood amongst individuals. This ranged from increased happiness and outlook, to reduced depressive symptoms. Another advantage reported was “improved focus, with microdosers reporting improved concentration, mindfulness and engagement”, which seems to make sense given psychedelics energising nature. The last common symptom experienced by users was an outburst of creativity, such as perspective shifting ideas, curiosity and creative thinking.
The challenges of microdosing are somewhat broader than the benefits, in the sense that there are numerous challenges relating to the social sphere. The illegal status in many countries means that there can be consequences, such as fines, prison sentences or social stigma. Furthermore, the uncertainty and misinformation of dosing amount is another issue that individuals come across, especially when dealing with the substance in countries where it is illegal.
Microdosing also comes with challenges relating to your body or mental state. One of these challenges is timing. If your dosage is poorly timed in relation to your daily routine, then it can lead to cases of insomnia. Other challenges faced include stomach aches, nausea and reduced appetite. Many users have also experienced headaches or unexplained tingling sensations in parts of the body, which causes some discomfort.
Figure 1: Pie chart showing microdosing benefits and challenges.
It is extremely difficult to define the exact benefits and challenges of microdosing as there is a lack of scientific research, and it differs per individual. What we can agree on is that there are many individuals who have benefited from microdosing in the short term, with a large proportion of them experiencing improved mood behaviour and creative outbursts. However, it must also be mentioned that there are some challenges related to the social sphere as well as the health sphere, such as its long-term risk for chronic users. As a result of these uncertainties and lack of information, the scientific community has developed a heavy interest in researching psychedelics, with more and more reports appearing as time goes by.
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