Microdosing psychedelics has become quite popular these days. People who take small doses of LSD have said that it helps elevate their mood, increase focus, productivity—and some are even microdosing LSD to treat bipolar disorder.
Up to now, there has been precious little research done on the practice, but that’s about to change.
Researchers in the United Kingdom are undertaking the first-ever rigorous scientific study on the effectiveness of microdosing.
This unprecedented and highly original trial is enrolling 20 participants, who will receive either a microdose of LSD—about one 10th of a recreational dose —or a placebo, on four different occasions. They will be asked to perform various tasks that measure creativity, alertness, mood and pattern recognition.
While tripping, or not, the subjects will undergo brain scans using MRI and MEG machines (neuroimaging techniques to map brain activity), while they engage in a variety of cognitive tasks such as the Wisconsin Card Sorting test, which is a psychological test used to measure cognitive functions including attention, working memory and visual processing.
According to the UK-based Beckley Foundation, which is undertaking the study, participants will also play the ancient Chinese game of Go against a computer ,while the researchers assess whether LSD can increase intuitive pattern recognition and creativity, which is what the game is based on.
The study will be double-blind, meaning participants won’t know whether they were given LSD or the placebo, which for some might find hard to imagine. If you were given a microdose of Orange Sunshine, even the tiniest bit, don’t you think you’d notice?
Amanda Fielding, founder and director of the Beckley Foundation, is the lead researcher on the LSD microdosing trial. Fielding has been called the “hidden hand” behind the renaissance of psychedelic science.
“For decades, we have seen anecdotal evidence that microdosing improves mood and well-being, enhances cognition, increases productivity and boosts creativity,” Fielding said on the foundation’s website. “Now we have the opportunity to undertake the first controlled scientific investigation… into the effects of microdosing LSD, thereby finally establishing whether the claims about its benefits are true.”
The Beckley Foundation has, for over a decade, been carrying out research into consciousness, spanning the entire mind-altering spectrum from cannabis and LSD to Buddhist meditation. One of their goals is to encourage authorities to base drug policies on scientific evidence.
“However, with little or no inclination for governments or pharmaceutical companies to finance research into psychedelic medications, studies such as this depend entirely on private donors and institutions,” according to Beckley’s website.
The researchers are raising money for this study, and other studies on psychedelic drugs, through a crowdfunding campaign launched this week.
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