Updated: Jan 9
Microdosing psychedelics for mental health is becoming more and more popular every day.
The unprecedented pressures of a global pandemic, high cost of healthcare, unpleasant side-effects of pharmaceutical drugs for mental health, and the overall low success rate of traditional psychotherapy in many cases has made alternative options for mental health treatment more attractive than ever before.
While scientific research has been predominantly focused on large dose studies, the positive results from limited microdosing studies, anecdotal evidence in support of a wide range of mental health challenges, and the destigmatization of psychedelic substances seem to inspire many to consider microdosing psychedelics for mental health.
As a Mental Health Integrative Medicine provider, every week I speak to multiple prospective clients who come to me with questions about whether microdosing can be a viable option for them. Many have a long history of pharmaceutical medication use, some have managed to get off the medications and are trying every treatment avenue possible in an effort to avoid medication and the terrible side effects, while others are hoping to find non-pharmaceutical avenues to find relief from mental health symptoms. In many cases, a pharmaceutical detox period and procedures are required to begin microdosing safely and effectively.
While pharmaceuticals can be helpful in the short term for some patients, unfortunately, long-term users of many antidepressants, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, and anti-psychotic drugs report various troubling effects including dependency, tolerance building, diminished efficacy, chronic digestive issues, heart conditions, and sleep disruptions to name a few. It is no surprise that many are desperately seeking safer alternatives.
It is imperative to note that under no conditions should anyone currently on pharmaceutical medications for mental health stop taking them or experiment with psychedelics without consulting their physician as the consequences can be extremely dangerous and even fatal.
What We Know So Far
Microdosing psychedelics for mental health is a fairly new phenomenon and very little scientific research has been dedicated to this space. With that said, results from a handful of studies appear to validate the mass anecdotal evidence by microdosers.
Here are the most common reasons individuals microdose for mental health:
Psychedelic microdosing for depression
Alleviating depression symptoms is the #1 reason most microdosers provide for engaging with the practice and the evidence so far seems to suggest that microdosing is beneficial for depression treatment. There are however serious counter-interactions between certain psychedelics and most classes of anti-depressants; close monitoring by both a psychiatrist and a microdosing expert is required to ensure safety and efficacy.
Psychedelic microdosing for anxiety
Many individuals report microdosing for anxiety and the limited research so far seems to support the validity of this use case. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many individuals microdose for social anxiety with great results while microdosing for general anxiety disorder (GAD) produces mixed results. The good news is that these variables seem to be related to body chemistry and can be easily tweaked to mitigate negative outcomes. You can book a free consultation with me here to design a personalized protocol to microdose safely and effectively.
Psychedelic microdosing for PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most underdiagnosed and under-treated mental health conditions and unfortunately, many traditional mental health treatment options have not been successful in treating this debilitating condition in a majority of the cases. While there has been limited to no research into the efficacy of microdosing for PTSD, anecdotal reports suggest that microdosing can prove potentially beneficial for trauma survivors.
It is important to note that large doses of psychedelics can be potentially problematic for individuals with PTSD and should only be consumed under professional supervision.
Psychedelic microdosing for substance abuse
One of the most common reasons for microdosing provided by the practitioners is smoking cessation and alcoholism amongst other substance abuse categories. There is some scientific evidence demonstrating the efficacy of psychedelics for addiction therapy so much so that the NIH recently funded research to explore the viability of psilocybin for smoking cessation.
While microdosing psychedelics for mental health is gaining momentum and proving effective for many, it is important to note that psychedelics are by no means "miracle cure" for mental health and require professional support to experience safely and effectively.
Approaching psychedelic microdosing in the same manner as pharmaceuticals; merely "popping a pill" is unlikely to deliver significant or lasting results. When it comes to engaging with psychedelics, approach, intention, and practice are just as important as dosage and frequency.
Another important factor to consider is that many mood-altering pharmaceutical drugs hinder the benefits of microdosing and in some cases can cause unwanted side effects. If you are currently taking any mood-altering medications, it is strongly advised that you consult your prescribing doctor as well as an integrative microdosing expert before beginning your practice.
It is also critical to consider legality issues as psychedelic medicines are still considered illegal in much of the U.S. and the world. While we advocate for decriminalization and believe that access to these medicines without legal constraints will alleviate suffering for many, the reader is responsible for making informed decisions for their own health and well-being with all risks in perspective.