Over the last few years, there has been a shift in attention to the sphere of microdosing psychedelics and what it entails. Claims have surfaced regarding its ability to improve creativity, enhance focus, and ease people of depression. With these impressive claims, scientists are now interested in verifying the alleged potency of the substances, by using only little amounts. September 3 marked a significant step towards this investigation, with researchers from the Imperial College of London and Beckley Foundation coming together to launch the first-ever research into the effects of microdosing LSD. According to the team of researchers, the study is capable of giving great leads and enhanced perceptiveness of the world of microdosing psychedelics.
From the rather straightforward aim of the study – “Self-blinding microdose study,” anyone could rightly guess what the scientists are interested in: whether or not microdosing psychedelics creates positive effects that can be verified and experienced by users of the substances.
Microdosing with psychedelics entails typically consuming a tiny dose of LSD or mushrooms. The underlying principle here is that these tiny doses, although too small to create a complete and external psychedelic experience, are substantial enough to deliver great energy and vigor required to power the brain beyond the normal limits.
According to the users, microdosing enhances their normal lives and improves their workflow significantly. Hence, the scientists on this research are interested in verifying these claims by microdosers, i.e., to check if they are really experiencing the enhancements produced by the drugs or if what they are feeling is the placebo effect. However, due to the illegality of psychedelics, it is impossible to make the substance available for several tests on subjects. Thus, the standard lab setting is not ideal for this type of research, and researchers have been forced to come up with an alternative.
For this study, the scientists invented a method they called the “self-binding study design.”
Self-Binding Study Design
In this design, there is a group of test subjects, which comprises active microdosers. These microdosers, however, are those that only use LSD. This segregation is necessary to differentiate the actual microdosers from mushroom users. These subjects are then provided with comprehensive instructions on how to make these capsules. The contents of the capsules will vary, with some containing a microdose of the personal LSD of the subjects making them, others will be made up of blotter paper, with no acid. The capsules are made opaque to ensure no subject get to see the mini-tabs present in them.
Once the doses have been created, the next step will require the subject to place each into an envelope alongside a unique QR code. The inclusion of the QR code makes it possible to track which days the subject took LSD or a placebo pill. After this, all the envelopes will be sealed and mixed up, and this shuffling makes it impossible for test subjects to detect which envelopes have the psychedelic or placebo capsules. This step is necessary to keep the study randomized, and the subject unaware of what they are actually taking at one time.
The dose is such that the subject will ingest the pill inside one envelope daily. After swallowing the pill, they are required to fill an online questionnaire and play some cognitive games, all of which are intended for tracking their responses and results. With these precautions, researchers are hopeful that the experiment will offer concrete and reliable data about the effects of microdosing.
As gathered on the official website of the study, the researchers explained that the study is such that the test subjects will microdose at home on their own initiative without the supervision of the team. “We hope to aggregate data from microdosers following our design, thus, producing placebo-controlled data on psychedelics microdosing,” the statement further revealed.
The Increasing Prominence of Microdosing Psychedelics
This research is happening at a period where microdosing using psychedelics has enjoyed a lot of attention from several quarters, especially with its increasing use among young tech professionals, particularly the Silicon Valley nerds. The popular podcast – “Reply All” recently addressed the subject on one of its episode where the hosts experimented with microdosing LSD and showed the results and observations. Likewise, Michael Pollan – a writer and researcher, recently published a book titled “How to Change Your Mind,” where he addresses past reviews and attempts at exploring psychedelics and how the legal constraints have thwarted these efforts.
The cannabis world is not left out, with claims of microdosing weed allowing the exploration of several therapeutic benefits of marijuana, while regulating the highness such that users can carry on with their daily lives normally.