LSD microdosing: is it a placebo or does it improve cognition function and wellbeing?

LSD microdosing: is it a placebo or does it improve cognition function and wellbeing?

The Beckley Foundation and Imperial College London, UK, are launching an experimental study on psychedelics microdosing to determine whether it has any effects on psychological wellbeing and cognitive function, or whether the reported effects of LSD microdosing are a placebo.

The study is being led by Dr David Erritzoe and is taking place due to numerous reports from individuals, including some highly successful Silicon Valley technology professionals, who claim that LSD microdosing improves various psychological and physical factors such as concentration, mood, creativity, and wellbeing. There is a gap in the current scientific literature, meaning that there is a need for scientific evidence in addition to the reports from individuals on the wellbeing benefits of LSD microdosing and the microdosing of other similar psychedelic drugs.

What is microdosing?

Microdosing is when a user regularly takes psychedelic drugs in small doses (meaning that the hallucinatory effects are not present) in an attempt to elicit other potential effects of the drug, such as a positive and creative mood.

Why is a study needed to support individual reports of microdosing?

While there have been many reports in the media about the positive effects which psychedelic microdosing has had on individuals’ career success and personal wellbeing, there has been no placebo control meaning it is unclear whether the positive benefits are a placebo effect or a genuine effect of microdosing.

Will any other psychedelic drugs be tested?

The study will include blotter-based psychedelics, but no plant-based psychedelics. Blotter-based psychedelics are LSD, 1p-LSD, and AL-LAD.

Who will participate in the study?

The study is not a conventional clinical trial, but rather an experimental investigation into the use of psychedelic microdosing and placebos by individuals who are already experienced in microdosing.
• The testing will be done online and will have participants from across the globe; and
• Anyone who is over 18, understands English well, has prior experience using psychedelics and agrees to follow the study’s manual can provide their email address to participate.

What are the implications of the study?

The Beckley Foundation and Imperial College London have stated that they are not encouraging psychedelic microdosing by undertaking the study due to the fact that the methodology of the study has a novel ‘self-blinding’ or DIY placebo design. The participants will microdose at home without supervision and implement their own placebo control.

The ‘self-blinding’ design is intended to increase the scientific merit of the study by encouraging users to enter the unknown by asking themselves whether or not they have just taken a micro dose of psychedelics or a placebo in order to establish whether or not the wellbeing benefits which have been reported are a placebo or an actual physical and psychological effect.

The final result of the study is expected to be reported in summer 2019.

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