April 2022

Micro Dosing, Minimal Effect?

You’ll likely hear this phrase more and more frequently. It’s tossed around as a method to cure a long list of mental health concerns. But what is “micro dosing” exactly? And is there any evidence that it helps?

Micro dosing refers to taking very small doses of a psychedelic substance such as psilocybin. The term “micro dosing” isn’t strictly defined, but it typically involves using about 10% of the amount that would be taken for a “medium-high” single dose, every three days or 2-4 times per week. Anecdotally, proponents claim that it boosts mood and energy and reduces anxiety without the hallucinogenic high. But what does the evidence say?

Unfortunately, we don’t have enough clinical data to know if it really helps. A recent small study in patients without diagnosed mental health conditions shows that taking 5-7 micro doses of about 1.5 mg psilocybin over a 3-week period doesn’t affect symptoms of depression or anxiety. But multiple factors, including self-preparation of the micro doses, may have influenced these results.

What about safety concerns? One of the biggest issues with micro dosing is accurate measurement of the dose. Psilocybin in particular is difficult to self-micro dose because concentrations vary from mushroom to mushroom. Many people aiming to micro dose have ended up taking much larger doses than they intend, leading to hallucinations, paranoia, and increased blood pressure and heart rate. Even when doses ARE correctly measured, long- and short-term safety concerns aren’t entirely clear either.

Stay tuned – research in this area is starting to take off. But for now, explain that there’s still a lot we don’t know. It’s not clear which micro dosing regimen, if any, might offer benefits or what the potential long-term side effects might be.

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