Microdosing psychedelics: personality, mental health, and creativity differences in microdosers

Abstract

Rationale

Microdosing psychedelics—the regular consumption of small amounts of psychedelic substances such as LSD or psilocybin—is a growing trend in popular culture. Recent studies on full-dose psychedelic psychotherapy reveal promising benefits for mental well-being, especially for depression and end-of-life anxiety. While full-dose therapies include perception-distorting properties, microdosing mayprovide complementary clinical benefits using lower-risk, non-hallucinogenic doses.

Objectives

This pre-registered study aimed to investigate whether microdosing psychedelics is related to differences in personality, mental health, and creativity.

Methods

In this observational study, respondents recruited from online forums self-reported their microdosing behaviors and completed questionnaires concerning dysfunctional attitudes, wisdom, negative emotionality, open-mindedness, and mood. Respondents also performed the Unusual Uses Task to assess their creativity.

Results

Current and former microdosers scored lower on measures of dysfunctional attitudes (p < 0.001, r = − 0.92) and negative emotionality (p = 0.009, r = − 0.85) and higher on wisdom (p < 0.001, r = 0.88), openmindedness(p = 0.027, r = 0.67), and creativity (p < 0.001, r = 0.15) when compared to non-microdosing controls.

Conclusions

These findings provide promising initial evidence that warrants controlled experimental research to directly test safety and clinical efficacy. As microdoses are easier to administer than full-doses, this new paradigm has the exciting potential to shape future psychedelic research.

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Correspondence to Thomas Anderson or Rotem Petranker.

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Anderson, T., Petranker, R., Rosenbaum, D. et al. Microdosing psychedelics: personality, mental health, and creativity differences in microdosers. Psychopharmacology 236, 731–740 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-018-5106-2

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Keywords

  • Microdosing
  • Psychedelic
  • LSD
  • Psilocybin
  • Creativity
  • Dysfunctional Attitudes
  • Wisdom
  • Open Mindedness
  • Negative Emotionality
  • Preregistered