Exploring the Possible Downsides of Microdosing Psychedelics

Microdosing, the act of consuming minimal quantities of a psychoactive substance, aims to harness perceived benefits without inducing intoxication or full-scale psychoactive experiences. 

Researchers have identified numerous therapeutic benefits of psychoactive drugs such as cannabis, effectively addressing various medical conditions. If you reside in Parkersburg and seek to use cannabis for medical purposes, the initial step is obtaining a medical marijuana card online.

In recent times, microdosing psychedelics has emerged as a trendy wellness practice. Advocates suggest it can offer a range of mental health advantages, including heightened mood and creativity. This trend has attracted a diverse following, from health-conscious young professionals to influential tech executives, who view it as an effective cognitive enhancement tool with minimal apparent adverse effects.

Psychedelics have long held a connection with creativity and have been scientifically proven to stimulate neural plasticity, the brain cells’ ability to rewire themselves. This phenomenon is believed to underpin their therapeutic benefits for mental health.

This has given rise to the intriguing concept of microdosing: What if one could harness the advantages of enhanced neural plasticity without delving into the ego-dissolving hallucinogenic journey? Just ingest a magic mushroom gummy and witness an uplift in your mood.

There’s substantial commercial interest in this arena. In startup jargon, microdosing has the potential to expand the “Total Addressable Market” (TAM) for psychedelics, broadening the pool of potential users. If microdosing can demonstrate tangible benefits, it may contribute to the broader adoption of psychedelic medicine. 

While substantial doses of psilocybin may yield therapeutic effects, they require meticulous preparation and supervision before, during, and after the experience. On the other hand, smaller sub-psychedelic doses do not necessitate such resource-intensive oversight.

In comparison to microdosing, which involves supervision and integration, microdosing aligns more neatly with the conventional pharmaceutical treatment model in psychiatry: diagnose the patient’s condition, prescribe a non-ego-dissolving medication, and incorporate talk therapy as needed. Repeat as necessary.

Supporting Proof of the Advantages of Microdosing Psychedelics

The majority of evidence supporting the advantages of microdosing psychedelics in humans is based on anecdotal reports. The limited human studies available depend on self-reported information, making it challenging to derive dependable conclusions, particularly when assessing subjective experiences.

People tend to exhibit expectancy effects, where their reports are influenced by their anticipation of a particular outcome, especially when they strongly desire that outcome. This is why double-blind, placebo-controlled studies are considered the most reliable approach.

As with assessing any self-reported data about microdosing, care must be taken when interpreting self-reported results of microdosing. A recent study indicated that those who microdose psychedelics reported lower anxiety and depression levels; although encouraging, these reported effects were generally modest and collected from participants driven by concerns for mental health – individuals motivated by intense desires for specific results.

These circumstances are conducive to expectancy effects. Because the data relies on self-reports and lacks a genuine control group, we should not place excessive reliance on these findings.

Placebo Effects and the Influence of Belief

Placebo effects are a captivating psychoactive phenomenon in their own right, and they are widespread in the realm of medicine. They demonstrate that a person’s expectations have the potential to trigger measurable physiological changes. These effects tend to manifest most prominently in situations where the assessed outcome is subjective, which aligns with what microdosing enthusiasts assert—they often describe mild subjective effects.

Placebo effects are a well-known occurrence in the field of pain medicine, where giving someone a sugar pill they believe to be a pain-relieving drug can actually lead to a reduction in their perception of pain.

At its most minimal expression, microdosing can resemble homeopathy: the dose is so infinitesimal that it’s essentially negligible. Imagine gathering data from health-conscious homeopathy enthusiasts aiming to alleviate anxiety with homeopathic remedies. If you were to provide half of them with a homeopathic product and the other half with a placebo, then inquire about their experiences, it’s highly likely that they would all report feeling better.

Indeed, in one placebo-controlled study on microdosing with psychedelics I’m aware of, both individuals who received microdoses as well as those given placebo reported improvements with no distinguishing feature between groups.

Undoubtedly, placebo effects are genuine and can have a notable impact. However, when it comes to the elevation of one’s mood, whether it results from the mere belief that a 0.1g mushroom chocolate serves as an antidepressant rather than a pharmacological effect derived from psilocybin, it may not be a matter of concern. There is nothing inherently wrong with experiencing a mood boost induced by a placebo, as long as there are no associated potential risks.

Nonetheless, it is important to consider the possibility of potential risks.

Can You Have an Excess of Neuroplasticity?

In the brain, neural plasticity, the capacity of brain cells to reconfigure themselves, is carefully regulated by homeostasis. Plasticity is essential for learning, but if neural plasticity were excessively heightened—akin to turning up the plasticity dial to the maximum—it could lead to a state reminiscent of infancy. Existing memories might become unstable, and the ability to take coherent actions could be compromised.

Conversely, if the plasticity dial were turned in the opposite direction, it could result in inflexibility, impeding one’s capacity to learn and adapt.

Similar to the regulation of blood sugar, the brain exercises control over plasticity: not too much, not too little. The brain has inherent mechanisms to detect excessive growth, and in such instances, it can lower the “growth thermostat,” causing neurons to retract their connections.

In essence, excessive stimulation of neural connections through regular microdosing of psychedelics carries the risk of triggering an automatic process that produces precisely the opposite effect.

In order to legally integrate cannabis into your medical treatment plan, it is essential to possess a medical marijuana card Parkersburg.

Richard Maxwell

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