Microdosing: Red Pill Placebo

People who microdose consume very little amounts of psychedelic substances like LSD or psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) – often roughly a tenth of the quantity that one would take to get a full psychedelic experience. Microdosing is gaining popularity as a trend among young people. 

Aya Allison believes that microdosing has cognitive benefits such as clarity and greater self-understanding. People have reported feeling more innovative or efficient at work, more innovative or efficient at work, while others say that it affects mood and makes them feel significantly better. Others resort to microdosing to treat mental health disorders such as depression on their own. On the other hand, there is mixed evidence from scientific studies regarding the effects of microdosing, and it is challenging to carry out controlled experiments.

Growing Interest In Microdosing

Although psychedelic chemicals remain illegal in many countries, it is crucial to emphasize that microdosing has garnered considerable interest. In 2018, participants interested in microdosing got the chance to participate in research by  Imperial College London. They were requested to replace some of their medications with empty capsules, often known as placebos. This way, when the participants took the medications, they would not know if they were receiving a microdose or not. The experiment lasted for four weeks. After that, they were given regular cognitive tests and online surveys to determine how well their minds were functioning and how sharp their minds were. The purpose of this research is to investigate whether or not microdosing generates the positive effects on mood and brain function that some people claim it does.

People Just Love It

As was to be expected, the vast majority of participants held a favorable opinion of psychedelic drugs, particularly concerning their application in medicine: 74% and 90% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “I am an active supporter of the restorative use of psychedelics.”

After a month of testing, they discovered that all psychological outcomes, including the categories of well-being, mindfulness, life satisfaction, and paranoia, had improved in the microdosing group since the beginning of the study. However, the placebo group performed similarly, with no significant differences between the two groups.

Thus, microdosing did increase the number of these psychological factors. But so did four weeks of placebo administration.

Red Pill Placebo?

Therefore, the researchers concluded that the anecdotal benefits of microdosing could be attributed to the placebo effect. That is not to argue that persons who claimed to feel benefits from microdosing were mistaken; in fact, the study implies that they did feel these benefits; nevertheless, these outcomes were not the consequence of the drug’s physiological action but rather their psychological expectations.

Long after the research was done, some people still couldn’t believe they were on placebos the whole time. They were astonished when the truth was proven and realized that they self-generated altered consciousness based on their expectations. It was as if spirituality had been poured into an empty pill.

For more information about microdosing, you can connect to Aya Allison on her Instagram page.