Microdosing has become somewhat of a buzzword over the last few years. Many skeptics label it as a modern trend destined to pass, while enthusiasts claim it makes everyday life more manageable. Either way, there’s no denying that more and more people across the globe are choosing to partake in microdosing.
Many users claim microdosing LSD in particular, can help tackle anxiety, lack of productivity, and in some cases, depression. But considering LSD is highly illegal in most places, what are the risks?
In this LSD microdosing overview, we’ll look at relevant medical studies, effects of using, and possible problems users might encounter. It’s important to note that this guide is for informational purposes only. LSD remains illegal in most countries around the world, even in micro amounts. It’s essential to check the laws and regulations surrounding LSD before deciding to use it.
A Complete LSD Microdosing Guide
LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, was first discovered by Albert Hofmann in 1938. Hofmann had been investigating compounds in the fungus ergot and found that high doses of the chemical LSD created hallucinogenic effects.
During what is now considered the first intentional use of LSD, Hofman reportedly consumed 250 micrograms (0.000025 of a gram). In his 1979 memoir, where he recounted this ‘trip’, he described feelings of confusion, visual and auditory distortions.
However, unlike Hofman’s hallucinogenic experience, microdosing doesn’t produce the same effects. Microdosing with LSD is essentially consuming small amounts of the compound in the hopes of experiencing the therapeutic effects but avoiding the intense psychedelic effects.
Many of the effects that LSD has become renowned for include (but are not limited to):
- Visual hallucinations
- Distorted time perception
- Spiritual awakeness
However, studies show this isn’t the case for lower doses of LSD. Instead, many users say that microdosing helps improve general mood, promote creativity, and simply handle the stress of everyday life.
How to Microdose LSD
James Fadiman is often dubbed the ‘father of microdosing’.
He was one of the first psychedelic researchers to discuss the benefits of microdosing in detail, and as a result, helped catapult the trend. As a fevered advocate and experienced researcher, many microdosing-enthusiasts follow the advice of Fadiman when it comes to quantity and consistency.
- How Much to Use: LSD dosages are typically measured by ‘ug’ or ‘mcg’ (microgram). To put it in perspective, both measurements represent one-millionth of a gram. Most researchers consider a microdose to be 25 micrograms and less, or 1/10 of a user’s regular recreational dose.
- When to Use: In terms of consistency, there are many different suggestions; however, one of the popular methods is Fadiman’s. He recommends consuming a microdose of LSD on the first day and then having a two-day break. This 3-day cycle should be repeated for a month, after which, the user should reflect on their experience.
- How to Use: Since LSD is very potent, microdoses are incredibly small. That’s why it is important to be able to measure quantities accurately. The easiest way to do this is by dissolving either liquid LSD or LSD ‘tabs’ in a measured amount of water or alcohol. This mixture is often kept in a dark environment to preserve quality. Some people also consume the tab directly.
For instance, dissolving 100mcg of LSD in 10ml of water means that 1ml = 10mcg of LSD.
The Impact of LSD Microdosing Studies
Microdosing studies were practically non-existent during the psychedelic golden-age of the 1960s. And while modern research is trying to make up for lost time, much of the research surrounding microdosing is still based on anecdotal evidence, unpublished journals, and testimonials.
With that said, LSD research, in general, can tell us a little something about how exactly microdoses may work within the body. Research suggests that LSD works by interacting with the brain’s serotonin system, most dominantly, 5-HT2A receptors. However, why LSD produces the effects it does is still relatively unknown.
Research suggests that LSD’s traditional psychedelic effects, which are produced in high doses, aren’t often experienced when microdosing. This opinion is supported by a 2018 study conducted at the University of Bergen. Researchers conducted a qualitative study with 24 participants, all of whom reported their experience at microdosing at 1/10th of their regular dose.
Participants spoke at length with the researchers about their experience; most highlighted that microdosing LSD had increased energy levels, creativity, and general stimulation. However, some users did experience adverse effects too.
The most prominent concern with LSD microdosing was insomnia; this supports the theory that LSD in small doses is a stimulant. During that study, one respondent also found that the combination of microdosing and cannabis-use had made them experience a ‘bad trip’. Clearly, more research needs to be conducted about how LSD interacts with other drugs in the body.
Despite these concerns, the study’s overarching result was that LSD mostly produced positive therapeutic effects.
What Are the Effects of Microdosing LSD?
Since microdose amounts are sub-perceptual, most consumers don’t have to worry about LSD’s traditional effects. In fact, many people microdosing on LSD feel it enhances rather than distorts real life.
Based on the evidence we do have, these are the possible benefits and negatives of microdosing LSD.
Short-Term Positive Effects
- Increase in creativity and focus
- Higher energy levels
- Improved mood
- Decrease in stress
Short Term Negative Effects
- Adverse effects when co-consuming with other drugs, such as cannabis
- Potential to overdose
LSD Microdosing Tolerance: Is It Possible?
One major concern for people who are or want to microdose LSD is the risk of becoming tolerant. In essence, feeling no effects whatsoever on the same dose that used to show benefit.
Some evidence has shown that continuous psychedelic-use can create increased tolerance in general, albeit at much higher dosages.
Studies like this one also show that cross-tolerance might be possible. This means that consistent psilocybin-use may also impact the effects of another psychedelic like LSD. Perhaps this isn’t surprising given they both interact with the body’s serotonin system.
So, what does this mean for LSD microdosing effects?
Fadiman’s method of consuming LSD on day one and then restraining its use for two days after is a direct attempt to solve this problem. And for some users, it works. However, this isn’t always the case. As we know, the human body is complex and can differ significantly from one person to the next.
Microdosing LSD vs. Mushrooms
LSD and psilocybin mushrooms are two of the most popular psychedelics to microdose. And naturally, many people are curious about which substance is better to use. So what’s the difference?
Revisiting the 2018 study, many found that LSD stimulated the mind, making it ideal for creativity and high-focus environments, whereas psilocybin-users had more of an intimate and thoughtful experience. The truth is, this is all anecdotal evidence. Not enough is known about the effects of either psychedelic to make accurate claims about the difference in effects.
This is a clear indication that we still have much to learn about microdosing both LSD and psychedelics in general.