Researchers observed a notable development in an ongoing study of microdosing for ADHD. Two weeks into the research, participants using traditional ADHD medication reported lower mindfulness levels compared to those not on medication. But at the four-week mark, regardless of medication, both groups demonstrated improvements in mindfulness, indicating a leveling effect as a result of continued microdosing with psilocybin, Psychedelic Spotlight reports.
The study on microdosing, published in the Frontiers in Psychiatry Journal, analyzed data from 233 individuals, most diagnosed with ADHD or experiencing severe symptoms. About a third of the participants used ADHD medication daily. These include pharmaceuticals like Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta. Both groups, those medicated with such drugs, as well as those “untreated,” microdosed psilocybin mushrooms.
As High Times reported, it’s worth noting that for those people in the trial taking Adderall, getting their medicine may have been a struggle recently due to a medication shortage. The shortage of Adderall, which started in the fall of 2022, was initially expected to be a short-term issue. The FDA predicted a resolution within a month or two. However, this has yet to be the case. In August 2023, a joint statement acknowledged the ongoing shortage, describing it as ‘understandably frustrating’ for patients and healthcare providers.
The joint notice explained that the shortage began due to a manufacturing delay by one drug maker last fall. Although this issue has been resolved, its impact persists, exacerbated by an unprecedented increase in stimulant medication prescriptions. Over the past decade, from 2012 to 2021, there has been a 45.5 percent rise in the dispensing of stimulants, including amphetamine products and other similar medications in the U.S.
So, while the study in question looked at people microdosing and those microdosing in addition to taking such medications, there is also a potential role for psychedelics to step in when traditional pharmaceutical methods fail.
Researchers began the study with an initial assessment of mindfulness and personality traits of all study participants. The scientists continued the research with additional check-ins at two and four weeks. The research team anticipated that microdosing would enhance ‘trait mindfulness,’ which is the ability to be consciously aware of and attentive to present thoughts, feelings, and sensations without excessive reaction. They also expected improvements in traits such as conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and openness, coupled with a reduction in neuroticism.
Two weeks into the study, participants on traditional ADHD medication showed lower mindfulness levels compared to those not using medication. Yet, after four weeks of microdosing, this disparity went away, with both medicated and non-medicated groups having similar improvements in mindfulness.
Additionally, four weeks into the study, the microdosers with ADHD showed the average mindfulness levels of the general population. Specifically, they demonstrated increased mindfulness, excelling in areas like acting with awareness and non-judgmentally accepting their inner experiences. Additionally, these individuals exhibited a decrease in neuroticism, indicating reduced emotional instability.
PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other comorbid diagnoses had no impact on the study’s participant’s results.
Yet, the participants did not meet all of the researchers’ expectations. For instance, personality traits like agreeableness and openness didn’t change much, suggesting that microdosing may have a “ceiling effect;” in other words, it only helps so much.
The findings still hold important implications. Firstly, they indicate that microdosing has the potential to impact stable traits such as mindfulness and neuroticism for people with ADHD. The result showed that ADHD medication did not affect these changes, suggesting that microdosing could enhance existing treatment models and increase the quality of life for those with ADHD.
In the future, such findings could help people with ADHD plan a multi-faceted treatment approach that yields better results than traditional medications or even just psychedelic therapy alone.
And researchers are studying microdosing psilocybin to treat more mental health conditions than ADHD. In August of this year, scientists explored how psilocybin affects various brain networks and how it can potentially help people with depression, High Times reported.
According to the preprint study titled “Psilocybin desynchronizes brain networks” offers an in-depth analysis of the effects of psilocybin on the brain’s default mode network (DMN). Researchers closely examined how psilocybin interacts with and influences the DMN.
“Psilocybin-driven desynchronization was observed across [the] association cortex but strongest in the default mode network (DMN), which is connected to the anterior hippocampus and thought to create our sense of self,” the researchers noted in their findings.
The study highlights that the most significant impacts of psilocybin on the DMN were observed in areas like the thalamus, basal ganglia, cerebellum, and hippocampus. The researchers further elaborated in their abstract, “Persistent suppression of hippocampal-DMN connectivity represents a candidate neuroanatomical and mechanistic correlate for pro-plasticity and anti-depressant effects of psilocybin.”
Here’s to finding new ways to help psilocybin improve the lives of those living with mental health conditions.