We sat down with Conor Murray, who’s a neuroscientist at UCLA, and among the first researchers who found placebo controlled evidence that microdosing acts powerfully on the brain. For new research, Conor sends people at-home EEG bands to track their brain activity while they microdose (you can participate in this research too!).
About Conor H. Murray
Conor Murray is a neuroscientist specializing in psychedelics and altered states of consciousness at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His doctoral thesis centered on neuroplasticity mechanisms underlying cocaine and methamphetamine addiction. At UCLA, he is continuing this work now with psilocybin-assisted therapy for individuals with cocaine use disorder. Conor’s published work also includes the neuroscience of very low, or microdoses of psychedelic compounds, specifically LSD.
His placebo-controlled studies, conducted with Harriet de Wit at the University of Chicago, have shown that despite microdoses being indistinguishable from placebo on most subjective measures, the microdose acts powerfully on the brain, replicating findings from higher doses of psychedelics, while improving brain responses that are blunted by depression and other psychiatric disorders.
Conor’s neuroscience of psychedelics extends from the microscopic to the macroscopic level, with a citizen neuroscience project poised to tackle questions related to microdosing on brain health around the world.
Microdosing Table Talk Episode 15
Conor Murray studied the effects of LSD versus placebo on resting-state EEG and event-related potential (ERP) responses in healthy adults.
The results constitute the first evidence that low doses of LSD increase reward-related brain activity in humans. These findings may have important implications for the treatment of depressive disorders.
In addition to discussing these findings, we talk about:
- How Conor got into microdosing research
- Finding out how much is a microdose
- Two microdosing LSD studies that shed light on the accute effects in people
- Internal monologue and the default mode network
- Citizen neuroscience: measure your own brain activity while microdosing
- Measuring brainwaves: cognition, emotion, anxiety, awareness
- Using technology AND our increased awareness to better the world
- Cool new frontiers in psychedelic science
- Psychedelics for brain repair
Sources and studies we talked about:
- Alan watts – Psychedelics and Religious Experience (1968)
- Repeated low doses of LSD in healthy adults: A placebo-controlled, dose-response study.
De Wit H, et al (2022). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35106880/
- Low doses of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) increase reward-related brain activity
Glazer J, et al. (2023). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36284231/