Microdosing criticism scientifically tested

The trend around microdosing has been on everyone’s lips for some years now. In Silicon Valley, the practice is used to increase productivity, students use it to learn, and self-optimizers use it for personal development. The idea that taking regular, very small doses of psychedelic substances such as LSD could have a definite positive and, more importantly, measurable effect on mood and cognition was, until recently, considered daring and, above all, purely anecdotally based.

In 2017, psychologist, microdosing researcher and author of the well-known work “The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide” James Fadiman presented the results of his month-long, independent microdosing study. The anecdotal study showed that those who took microdoses of LSD at the recommended rate every three days experienced an “increase in feelings of determination, alertness, and energy, and a sharp decrease in feelings of depression.”

Microdosing placebo no critic diary

“But is it safe? And is it even more effective than a placebo?”

Thus the legitimate questions of critical scientists – even within the psychedelic research community. The first ever controlled study of the effects of microdosing with LSD says yes, to both.

What sounded promising at the time 3 years ago has only now been clearly proven. The double-blind study, published in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry, found that single microdoses of LSD produced dose-related subjective effects in healthy volunteers [und] that a threshold dose of 13μg LSD could be safely used in the study of repeated administrations.”

To be able to check the effectiveness for your own life in a structured way, we recommend to keep a microdosing diary about your subjective effects. Journaling, like microdosing, brings more mindfulness to everyday life. We’ll explain the benefits of both trends and what to look for in your documentation.

Advantages of Microdosing – a selection
  • Increased productivity through improved focus and concentration
  • Increase in awareness of patterns of thought and behaviour
  • Deepening empathic connections
  • Enhancement of communication skills
  • Improvement of the emotional well-being
  • Relief from anxiety and depression, PTSD
  • Increasing creativity and innovation
  • Optimization of problem-solving oriented thinking
  • Increased alertness

Why write a diary?

With microdosing, the effect of such a small dose usually has nothing to do with the actual effect of the psychedelic substance. Often users can’t even say for sure if they actually feel an effect, but they report many positive improvements in their daily lives. It is practically a matter of not being restricted in everyday life by “being high”, but only experiencing the positive perceptual effects of the psychedelic.

For comparison: From approx. 50-75 micrograms LSD one speaks of a light to moderate LSD dosage, at which clearly perceptible effects of the change of consciousness are noticeable. When microdosing, our recommended dosage is between 5 and 20μg of LSD.

As with all substances, the optimal dosage varies from user to user. It is therefore necessary to find out the individual threshold value yourself using the try-and-error method. The aim should be to be as close as possible below the threshold of the onset of distracting effects.

In order to be able to record the intermediate results of the self-experiment as accurately as possible, we recommend keeping a microdosing diary.

Advantages of diary writing

“Journaling” is an appropriate mindfulness exercise for recording one’s thoughts, slowing their flow, and thereby structuring them. During the day we think so much and so fast that in the evening we usually only remember a fraction of the thoughts and ideas.

This is not least because we usually do not even try to actively remember. Journal writing, however, is all about that. It allows us to reflect on ourselves, to improve our memory and thus also makes our personal progress comprehensible or readable for ourselves.

Microdosing Diary Writing Journaling

Not only chronologically recording the experience creates clarity. Goals for the future, open questions or core findings can also be manifested in writing. Actively considered decisions become more “official” when we write them down instead of just making them up in our minds. It creates a certain psychological pressure on ourselves and from ourselves to stick to our own plans, as we would also have to write our failures in the diary for the sake of completeness and honesty with ourselves. It can be especially therapeutic to write down your feelings. Often our displacement mechanisms are faster than our processing mechanisms. Journaling helps to process and analyze emotions before we automatically suppress or push them aside. This can sometimes be uncomfortable, especially in face-to-face conversations with other people. The reason for this is that we (have to) show ourselves vulnerable in front of our counterpart in order to bring the conversation to a profound level. For those who have difficulty with this, diary writing is the first place to practice it.

No one has to see this later, we can write down our thoughts and feelings just as privately and vulnerably as they arise in the mind. Only when we can be absolutely honest, trusting and thus authentic with ourselves, can we become so in our exchanges with other people.

Instructions Microdosing diary

There are many possibilities for design. You can simply jot down a few bullet points, or formulate complete sentences. You can do this chronologically, or “chaotically” – just write down everything that comes to mind.

It’s important that you write your microdosing journal just for you. If you plan ahead of time to show your log to someone, you will inevitably be less honest with yourself. You don’t have to develop a particularly good writing style for it to read nicely later. Private things that you might not tell anyone should find their place here. It’s simply about subjective observations of your self that you’re supposed to record in your microdosing journal for self-analysis purposes.

If possible, always write in your microdosing diary at a similar time. Preferably at the end of the day. Also, link it to one thing you do daily at this time anyway. For example, brushing teeth in the evening, walking the dog, turning off the lights in the living room, or just putting on sleeping clothes. This is the easiest way to integrate routines into everyday life. You can also set an alarm to remind you. Always have a pencil ready so that the effort to prepare is as minimal as possible.

With microdosing, this rhythm makes sense:
Microdosing day ● Pause day ● Pause day ● Microdosing day ● Pause day …
This should be followed for about a month, then pause for 2 months. You should also keep your microdosing diary on the break days during the microsoing month.

Exemplary scheme
Factor Rating
Date 26.05.2020
Dose 14μg
Take 09:00, Spray
Intention Focused work without distraction by smartphone
Productivity scale 1-5 3 (4/6 ToDo’s achieved)
Energy Level Scale 1-5 5
Positively noticed Smartphone not unlocked for 5h at a stretch
Negative noticed restless after coffee 5 pm, after that focus more difficult
Notes for improvement next time no coffee and 2μg less
Other Addendum 05/26/2020: Difficulty falling asleep (caffeine?).
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