A series of three new research projects announced this week will seek to illuminate our understanding of microdosing LSD.
The research is being spearheaded by The Beckley Foundation and its founder, the experienced psychedelics researcher Amanda Feilding.
“The first study will assess the brain changes that take place during the mystical experience—that is, a profound sense of connection or unity that can occur following ingestion of high doses of psychedelic compounds and which is proving to be associated with the benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy…The second study is a collaboration between Feilding and physicians at the University of Basel—the city in which Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD. This study will examine the therapeutic potential of microdosing LSD for the treatment of apathy and depression in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions…A third study co-led by Beckley and Cornell University will use advanced optical imaging to investigate how LSD alters cerebral blood flow and the connection between neurons and their associated network of blood vessels,” according to Benzinga.
The first study leans on research “developed by Feilding and neuroimaging experts from King’s College London and UCL, [and] seeks to expand understanding of the neurobiology of consciousness,” Benzinga reported. All three projects “are part of a larger multi-armed research program developed and led by Feilding and are focused on the use of the latest generation of neuroimaging technologies.”
Microdosing psychedelics has exploded in popularity over the last decade, as many have adopted the approach to alleviate depression and other conditions.
As such, research into the practice has also blossomed. A study published this past summer found that “psilocybin microdosers demonstrate greater observed improvements in mood and mental health at one month relative to non-microdosing controls.”
The study, authored by researchers at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Psychology, examined more than 1,100 subjects over a two year period. Researchers observed “small- to medium-sized improvements in mood and mental health that were generally consistent across gender, age and presence of mental health concerns … improvements in psychomotor performance that were specific to older adults.”
Founded in 1998 by Feilding, the Beckley Foundation “has been at the forefront of global drug policy reform and scientific research into psychoactive substances.”
“We collaborate with leading scientific and political institutions worldwide to design and develop ground-breaking research and global policy initiatives,” the group says on its website.
Feilding, meanwhile, is an authority on psychedelic research.
According to her biography on the Beckley Foundation website, she “has been called the ‘hidden hand’ behind the renaissance of psychedelic science, and her contribution to global drug policy reform has also been pivotal and widely acknowledged.”
“Amanda was first introduced to LSD in the mid-1960s, at the height of the first wave of scientific research into psychedelics. Impressed by its capacity to initiate mystical states of consciousness and heighten creativity, she quickly recognised its transformative and therapeutic power. Inspired by her experiences, she began studying the mechanisms underlying the effects of psychedelic substances and dedicated herself to exploring ways of harnessing their potential to cure sickness and enhance wellbeing,” the website says.
Through the Beckley Foundation, she has “initiated much ground-breaking research and has co-authored over 80 scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals.”
“She collaborates with leading scientists and institutions around the world to design and direct a wide range of scientific research projects (including clinical trials) investigating the effects of psychoactive substances on brain function, subjective experience, and clinical symptoms, with a focus on cannabis, the psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, DMT, 5-MEO-DMT) and MDMA,” the website says.