People microdose for many reasons; ranging from increasing their productivity and creativity to finding relief from pain, or to combat specific medical complaints. From the early days of the Microdosing Institute, our team has been mapping the benefits of microdosing. Since 2017, we have been coaching and guiding people during their microdosing journeys and have assisted scientists in their microdosing research.
Throughout that time, we’ve seen first hand many of the reported benefits in our community of microdosers. This has helped deepen our understanding of how and under what circumstances these benefits can be obtained. We’ve also learned a lot about some unwanted effects that might occur while microdosing.
We always highlight that microdosing is not a magic bullet but a tool you can use to accelerate your process of awareness, maximize your healing, and take charge of your own life. It’s also important to not that because psychedelics are so-called “non-specific mental amplifiers”, the benefits reported below won’t apply to everyone all the time or with all microdosing substances.
Some benefits of microdosing are now scientifically investigated, but it is important to recognize that microdosers experience greater benefits when microdosing with proper preparation, intention, and integration. In all cases, the responsibility to actively integrate the gained insights into our lives lies with each one of us but a (microdosing) coach can certainly help with that process.
Below, we’ve compiled the most commonly reported mental, physical, and spiritual benefits experienced by microdosers.
Mental Benefits of Microdosing
- Improved concentration and focus—particularly in ADHD
- Getting into the flow more quickly—at work, hobby, or study
- Increased creativity
- Increased productivity
- Improved problem-solving capability
- Increased overall awareness
- More balanced mood
- Better decision-making ability
- Making more conscious choices about health, lifestyle, well-being
- More positive mindset
- Decrease in depression (in a range from mild symptoms to clinical depression)
- Less procrastination
Physical Benefits of Microdosing
- Improved sleep
- More physical energy
- Enhanced sensory perception
- Reduced premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Decreased pain levels
- Less stuttering
- Support in quitting smoking and other addictions
Spiritual Benefits of Microdosing
- Increased emotional awareness
- Greater emotional connection with people
- More presence
- Increased Open-mindedness
- Increased sense of wonder
- Increased sense of belonging
- Increased sense of unity
- Increased connection with spirituality and/or life mission
- Increased gratitude for life
Microdosing and the placebo effect
Skeptics attribute the benefits of microdosing to the placebo effect, stating that the stories about the benefits of microdosing are due to people thinking it affects their productivity or creativity and, therefore, become more creative. Matthew Johnson, a researcher who works with psilocybin and other hallucinogens at Johns Hopkins University, states that the scientific basis that microdosing is more than a placebo effect isn’t very solid right now; “the reported benefits of microdosing are credible and very interesting. But the claim that everything coincides and goes well, and you’re in a good mood, and you’re in the right flow, well, we all have those kinds of days. Even without pharmaceutical help”, he adds. “If you expect to get days like that, you’re more likely to get that,” he continues. “It’s actually not that different from the feeling you get from a very low dose of amphetamine or some other stimulant.”
Scholars like Dr. James Fadiman argue that Johnson is a conscientious skeptic for thinking that microdosers may have a placebo-like reaction, but agrees that further research is necessary. Fadiman believes there is more than a placebo after analyzing the 1850 microdosing reports he has received so far. The majority reports major benefits—both psychological and medicinal—and their experiences are very similar to one another. These people come from allover the world, have never spoken to each other, nor have they influenced each other in their experiences. For him, this is enough proof that the benefits of microdosing are more than just a placebo effect.
Read more on our blog: Microdosing and the Placebo-effect — What do we really know?
What are the disadvantages of microdosing?
Out of the more than 1850 reports Dr. James Fadiman and Sophia Korb have analyzed for their published paper “Might Microdosing Psychedelics Be Safe and Beneficial? An Initial Exploration”, 75 people claim not to have had a positive experience with microdosing (that’s less than 4%). The reasons mentioned most leading to quitting microdosing were consequences of the positive effects. The disadvantages of microdosing mentioned include:
- Fatigue – potentially because of a change in physical needs or as an indicator to address underlying emotional and/or physical needs
- Tolerance (needing more of the substance each time to get the same effect) – It has not been scientifically proven yet, but Fadiman’s findings show that people report tolerance when microdosing every day instead of following one of the established microdosing protocols
- Dealing with changes in your consciousness and your sensitivity can be challenging
- Other risks of microdosing include nausea, headaches, or increased anxiety among others.
Even if you don’t experience negative effects from microdosing, we recommend taking a break from microdosing after four to ten weeks. It’s necessary to (re-)experience existence and daily life without a “microdosing tool”. After a break, you can always start again or consciously choose to do so when you feel the need.
Participate in microdosing research
- Szigeti, B., Kartner, L., Blemings, A., Rosas, F., Feilding, A., Nutt, D. J., & Erritzoe, D. (2021). Self-blinding citizen science to explore psychedelic microdosing. Elife, 10, e62878. ISO 690
- Fadiman, J, Korb, S (2019). Might Microdosing Psychedelics Be Safe and Beneficial? An Initial Exploration. J Psychoactive Drugs. Apr-Jun 2019;51(2):118-122. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2019.1593561. Epub 2019 Mar 29.