As science rushes forward to compile data and research, at-home “microdosers” may already have the vital experiences necessary to change ages old legislation.
Whatever your association with psychedelics— whether it be a history of personal use, social stereotypes, or merely what you’ve seen in print or media— it’s almost impossible to ignore the allure of psychedelic therapy in modern times. Specifically if you’re old enough to remember the global difficulty experienced within the last 21 years or so. Multiple, crippling recessions. Far-reaching war and destruction. Political instability, and now a global pandemic that has all but crushed the experience of anything of its kind in the last 100 years.
Which has all culminated in a mental health crisis so acute, that providers, professionals, researchers, and the general public alike are desperately seeking respite from the onslaught of common mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, and suicidality that have reached peak numbers in the last decade. However, companies like Microcybin Canada believe they may have a solution that could reasonably provide unfettered access to safe and effective care that can be done at home. And as it turns out— researchers and those who have experienced it themselves are agreeing with them.
Microdosing and Psychedelic Therapy
Perhaps the biggest breakthrough in psychopharmacology is the widespread and incredibly promising benefits that these types of drugs could offer mental health sufferers. Particularly those that may experience difficult to treat affectations, or do not have appropriate access to the mental health services they sorely need. In fact, thanks largely to an underground push by those choosing to ‘microdose’ classic psychedelics in order to boost mood, or address symptoms of common mental health disturbances like depression or anxiety, researchers have a renewed focus and reason to find the means in order to more appropriately research these claims…
Microdosing, or the act of taking small, sub-hallucinogenic amounts of classic psychedelics like psilocybin, isn’t actually a novel process. Instead existing nearly as long as psychedelics have been used to work through mental problems throughout history. While the 1960s gets the lion’s share of credit for bringing the mind expanding possibilities of psychedelics to light in the Western world, many cultures have used them to treat mental health issues throughout history. To this day, shamanic rituals throughout South America still exist in which an individual will be subjected to many weeks of psychedelic experiences in order to contend with a litany of mental health problems.
However, full doses and hallucinatory “trips” aren’t for everyone, but because of the outpouring of anecdotal reports in the last ten years, researchers are beginning to believe that even small doses of these substances can improve the state of our mental health. These small doses don’t incur any auditory or visual phenomenon, nor do they cause a “body high” or tangible changes to proprioception. Instead, quietly working in the background, leaving those who take them none the wiser. Many reports however do suggest that these non-trip inducing dosing schedules do in fact improve mood, boost creativity, help quell sleep disturbances, and can even address chronic pain issues.
Evidence in Experience
One researcher, James Fadiman, looked to find a way to quantify these experiences that people were reporting. While it can be extremely difficult to pull reliable data from at-home microdosers, Fadiman believed that there was beneficial information and exceptionally useful knowledge held within these individual experiences. Offering interested parties particular forms and journal formats to fill out as they went through their low-dose psychedelic journey, Fadiman hoped to compile a more structured idea of the possible benefits that microdosing psychedelics could provide.
Previously, multiple meta studies had been done, amassing information from a number of different sources, from online forums, to social media sites like Reddit. While the results did indeed seem promising, it was difficult to gauge just how much psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, Mescaline, or other classic psychedelic individuals were taking, how often they were taking it, and how pure their source was. As these things do exist in pharmaceutical grade potencies, they are difficult to come by— especially when nearly all microdosers are expected to buy their medicine in the streets. While some medicinal mushroom dispensaries do exist, some even selling pre-dosed mushroom capsules (with an explicit and well tested amount of psilocybin per capsule)— many at-home microdosers are denied access to such precise amounts of these substances. Making it extremely difficult for researchers to gain sincere quantitative data sets.
However, based on the precise type of forms and journaling formats Fadiman was able to disseminate, he and colleague Sophia Korb released a paper in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs in 2019, discussing their initial results. The results of the study seem extremely promising, particularly when weighted against other recent research published regarding similar systems of using psychedelics to treat mental health disorders. Countries like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, amongst others, have recently poured an impressive amount of funding into starting entire research centers dedicated to furthering the study of psychedelics and their psychological applications.
As the results from almost all studies seem nearly too good to be true, with psychedelics addressing even the most stubborn to treat mental health issues, costing little to implement, and having nearly zero adverse side effects or addictive properties— researchers and at-home microdosers alike are hoping that these results could help persuade policy makers to remove antiquated restrictions on the drugs themselves. Further improving access for both scientists and sufferers alike. Which could even begin to address wider— and much more terrifying— issues we all face, like the opioid crisis, or the impending mental health pandemic.