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Study: Microdosing LSD for 1 month was followed by improved mood, productivity
Might microdosing LSD and psilocybin be a safe, effective way to treat depression and other disorders?
- A recent study collected the self-reports of more than 1,000 people who microdosed LSD or psilocybin regularly for about a month.
- The results showed that most people experienced more positive moods, less depression and increased productivity.
- These results are preliminary, and microdosing remains an under-researched area.
Microdosing psychedelic drugs on a regular basis might be a safe way to improve your mood and productivity, according to a new study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
Microdosing is a practice in which you take a very small or "sub-perceptual" dose of drugs in order to reap the benefits of the drug without experiencing too much of its consciousness-altering effects. In the recent study, researchers collected reports from more than 1,000 participants in 59 countries, most of whom microdosed once every three days for a month. (The researchers defined microdoses as between 7 to 13 micrograms for LSD; 0.1 to 0.4 grams for dried psilocybin mushrooms.)
This microdosing regimen was followed by "improvements in negative moods, especially depression, and increases in positive moods. Increased energy, improved work effectiveness, and improved health habits were observed in clinical and nonclinical populations," the researchers wrote. One participant reported: "Feeling productive, able to focus on what I choose, enjoying relationships, good energy, and not recalling that I took anything."
The preliminary results suggest that "microdosing has none of the classic exciting effects of psychedelics, is safer, and many people all over the world report taking these low doses to be beneficial," study author James Fadiman, who's been researching psychedelics for decades, told PsyPost.
Still, the researchers cautioned against attaching clinical significance to their statistically significant results, which came from self-reports.
"While statistical significance can give us information about a low-level change over a large population — for example, improving one point on the Beck Depression Inventory — this may mean little to people suffering from depression," they wrote. "However, many participants informed us that they found microdosing to be an effective antidepressant, or replacement for their antidepressants. For example, a 70-year-old man writes: 'For the first time in 31 years, I am off antidepressants' and includes descriptions of moments when his emotional range has clearly been expanded."
The researchers also mentioned that the positive results could be explained by the placebo effect. That possibility didn't matter to at least one participant, who wrote: "I don't care if it's a placebo or not, all I know is I haven't felt this good in decades."
Other research on microdosing
Microdosing is far from a new idea. Decades ago, Albert Hoffman, the first scientist to synthesize and ingest LSD, suggested that low doses of LSD might be a suitable replacement for Ritalin. However, like psychedelics in general, scientists still have much to learn about how taking regular small doses of psychedelic drugs affects the body over time. Fortunately, there have been some illuminating studies and reports in recent years that suggest microdosing LSD or psilocybin has the potential to:
- Boost divergent and convergent thinking, both of which are considered fundamental to creativity. (Note: The 2018 study that observed these effects also found that microdosing seemed to have no effect on fluid intelligence.)
- Alleviate anxiety and depression.
- Increase productivity, at least as reported by many in Silicon Valley who've turned to microdosing as sort of the ultimate productivity hack.
Of course, if you're interested in microdosing or experimenting with psychedelic drugs, you should approach them at your own risk. After all, they're not for everybody, as Fadiman told PsyPost.
"People whose major symptom is anxiety should not microdose. Although there are thousands of years of recorded use, there are no contemporary double-blind studies. Inform yourself."
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
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Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.