The results from a recent study of psilocybin microdosing conducted by a group of Canadian and Dutch researchers along with Paul Stamets and in consultation with Jim Fadiman demonstrated improvements across anxiety, depression, stress, and psychomotor performance measurements for the group that microdosed for one month vs the group that did not.
In the largest longitudinal study of its kind to date, researchers followed an observational design that included groups of psilocybin microdosers (n = 953) and non-microdosers (n = 180), the participants received a baseline assessment at the outset of the study and a follow-up assessment completed 22–35 days later. The assessments captured the past month's psychedelic practices, mood, and mental health, as well as tasks that measured cognitive and psychomotor processing.
The study also accounted for and monitored potential outcome variables in microdosers who microdosed with psilocybin alone, psilocybin and Lion's Mane (LM), and psilocybin with Lion's Mane (LM) and Niacin (B3).
Researchers were able to identify small- to medium-sized improvements in mood and mental health consistent across gender, age, and mental health history, as we all as improvements in psychomotor performance improvements in adults over 55 years old.
Microdosers demonstrated reductions across anxiety, depression, and stress scales in comparison to non-microdosers as demonstrated in Figure 1 below. Results for anxiety and stress were consistent across genders but females reported a more significant reduction in depression symptoms than males. No significant variations were observed for those microdosing psilocybin alone vs those microdosing a stack.
In addition to measuring anxiety, depression, and stress responses, researchers also monitored overall mood through the Positive And Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), a standardized self-report measure of positive and negative affect. At the one-month follow-up point, microdosers reported greater improvement in positive mood from baseline and greater reduction in negative mood from baseline in comparison to non-microdosers. There were no significant outcome variations amongst those who microdosed psilocybin alone or psilocybin + LM, or psilocybin + LM + B3.
Researchers also monitored psychomotor and cognitive performance. Psychomotor ability was measured using a finger tap test where participants tapped two adjacent circles on the screen of an iOS device in an alternating pattern for 10 seconds using the index and middle finger of their dominant hand. Spatial memory span was assessed with a test where participants recalled the placement of stimuli on a square grid over a time-limited series of rounds of increasing difficulty. Processing speed was assessed with a test that measured the iterative summing of alternating numbers.
The results showed that microdosers performed better on the finger tap test than non-microdosers. Amongst microdosers, there were no significant results variations between groups that microdosed psilocybin alone and the psilocybin + LM group. However, the psilocybin + LM + B3 group demonstrated improved performance over the psilocybin alone group. Upon further examination, the variable result was observed in participants older participants (55+ years old) and not in younger participants suggesting that the positive effects of stacking psilocybin + LM + B3 were more pronounced among older respondents as demonstrated in Figure 2 below.
Results of the cognitive assessments did not demonstrate a significant difference between microdosers and non-microdosers.
The study authors conclude that "in light of these methodological strengths, the comparability of our findings with those of prior research from diverse locations and with different methodologies suggests a relatively consistent association between microdosing and improved mental health". They go on to highlight that those respondents who reported mental health concerns at the time of baseline assessment reported an average reduction in depressive symptoms that resulted in a change from moderate to mild depression category following the approximate 30-day psilocybin microdosing.
Considering the rising numbers of individuals diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders, high costs of treatment, limited access to mental health services, and the inefficacy of traditional interventions in many cases, exploring the potential of microdosing psilocybin as a treatment option for these disorders warrants further study, investigation, and investment.