Self-administration of very low doses of psychedelic drugs to improve mental health and wellbeing and enhance cognitive function, known as microdosing, has received recent media attention, but little research has been conducted. We conducted a content analysis of discussions about microdosing from the online forum Reddit. We examined motivations, dosing practices, and perceived benefits and limitations of microdosing. Motivations included self-management of mental health issues, improvement of psychosocial wellbeing, and cognitive enhancement. Self-reported benefits included cognitive and creative enhancement, reduced depression and anxiety, enhanced self-insight and mindfulness, improved mood and attitude toward life, improved habits and health behaviors, and improved social interactions and interpersonal connections. Perceived limitations included issues related to dosing, adverse physical effects, taking illegal substances, limited or no mental health or cognitive improvement, increased anxiety, unpleasant “off” days, only short-term benefits, and concerns about dependence and drug-related risks. Standard doses of psychedelic drugs provided in therapeutic settings have potential as novel treatments for some mental health conditions, but clinical research is needed to understand if this is also the case for microdosing. In the meantime, harm reduction resources should be developed and made available to provide the best available information on the safer use of self-administered psychedelics.
Psilocybin for Depression
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