OPEN Foundation

M. Barratt

Microdosing psychedelics: Subjective benefits and challenges, substance testing behavior, and the relevance of intention

Abstract

Background: Microdosing psychedelics is the practice of taking small, sub-hallucinogenic doses of lysergic acid diethylamide or psilocybin-containing mushrooms. Despite its surging popularity, little is known about the specific intentions to start microdosing and the effects of this practice.

Aims: First, we aimed to replicate previous findings regarding the subjective benefits and challenges reported for microdosing. Second, we assessed whether people who microdose test their substances before consumption. Third, we examined whether having an approach-intention to microdosing was predictive of more reported benefits.

Methods: The Global Drug Survey runs the world’s largest online drug survey. Participants who reported last year use of lysergic acid diethylamide or psilocybin in the Global Drug Survey 2019 were offered the opportunity to answer a sub-section on microdosing.

Results: Data from 6753 people who reported microdosing at least once in the last 12 months were used for analyses. Our results suggest a partial replication of previously reported benefits and challenges among the present sample often reporting enhanced mood, creativity, focus and sociability. Counter to our prediction, the most common challenge participants associated with microdosing was ‘None’. As predicted, most participants reported not testing their substances. Counter to our hypothesis, approach-intention – microdosing to approach a desired goal – predicted less rather than more benefits. We discuss alternate frameworks that may better capture the reasons people microdose.

Conclusion: Our results suggest the perceived benefits associated with microdosing greatly outweigh the challenges. Microdosing may have utility for a variety of uses while having minimal side effects. Double-blind, placebo-controlled experiments are required to substantiate these reports.

Petranker, R., Anderson, T., Maier, L. J., Barratt, M. J., Ferris, J. A., & Winstock, A. R. (2022). Microdosing psychedelics: Subjective benefits and challenges, substance testing behavior, and the relevance of intention. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 36(1), 85–96. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881120953994

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Well-being, problematic alcohol consumption and acute subjective drug effects in past-year ayahuasca users: a large, international, self-selecting online survey

Abstract

Ayahuasca is a natural psychedelic brew, which contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Its potential as a psychiatric medicine has recently been demonstrated and its non-medical use around the world appears to be growing. We aimed to investigate well-being and problematic alcohol use in ayahuasca users, and ayahuasca’s subjective effects. An online, self-selecting, global survey examining patterns of drug use was conducted in 2015 and 2016 (n = 96,901). Questions were asked about: use of ayahuasca, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and magic mushrooms; demographics, current well-being and past-year problematic alcohol use of past-year ayahuasca users and comparison drug users; and subjective effects of ayahuasca and comparison drugs. Ayahuasca users (n = 527) reported greater well-being than both classic psychedelic users (n = 18,138) and non-psychedelic drug-using respondents (n = 78,236). Ayahuasca users reported less problematic drinking than classic psychedelic users, although both groups reported greater problematic drinking than the other respondents. Ayahuasca’s acute subjective effects usually lasted for six hours and were most strongly felt one hour after consumption. Within our online, self-selecting survey, ayahuasca users reported better well-being than comparison groups and less problematic drinking than classic psychedelic users. Future longitudinal studies of international samples and randomised controlled trials are needed to dissect the effects of ayahuasca on these outcomes.
Lawn, W., Hallak, J. E., Crippa, J. A., Santos, R., Porffy, L., Barratt, M. J., … & Morgan, C. J. (2017). Well-being, problematic alcohol consumption and acute subjective drug effects in past-year ayahuasca users: a large, international, self-selecting online survey. Scientific reports7(1), 15201. 10.1038/s41598-017-14700-6
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Genie in a blotter: A comparative study of LSD and LSD analogues’ effects and user profile

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:
This study aimed to describe self-reported patterns of use and effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) analogues (AL-LAD, 1P-LSD, and ETH-LAD) and the characteristics of those who use them.
METHODS:
An anonymous self-selected online survey of people who use drugs (Global Drug Survey 2016; N = 96,894), which measured perceived drug effects of LSD and its analogues.
RESULTS:
Most LSD analogue users (91%) had also tried LSD. The proportion of U.K. and U.S. respondents reporting LSD analogue use in the last 12 months was higher than for LSD only. LSD analogue users described the effects as psychedelic (93%), over half (55%) obtained it online, and almost all (99%) reported an oral route of administration. The modal duration (8 hr) and time to peak (2 hr) of LSD analogues were not significantly different from LSD. Ratings for pleasurable high, strength of effect, comedown, urge to use more drugs, value for money, and risk of harm following use were significantly lower for LSD analogues compared with LSD.
CONCLUSIONS:
LSD analogues were reported as similar in time to peak and duration as LSD but weaker in strength, pleasurable high, and comedown. Future studies should seek to replicate these findings with chemical confirmation and dose measurement.
Coney, L. D., Maier, L. J., Ferris, J. A., Winstock, A. R., & Barratt, M. J. (2017). Genie in a blotter: A comparative study of LSD and LSD analogues’ effects and user profile. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. 10.1002/hup.2599
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Genie in a blotter: A comparative study of LSD and LSD analogues' effects and user profile

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:
This study aimed to describe self-reported patterns of use and effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) analogues (AL-LAD, 1P-LSD, and ETH-LAD) and the characteristics of those who use them.
METHODS:
An anonymous self-selected online survey of people who use drugs (Global Drug Survey 2016; N = 96,894), which measured perceived drug effects of LSD and its analogues.
RESULTS:
Most LSD analogue users (91%) had also tried LSD. The proportion of U.K. and U.S. respondents reporting LSD analogue use in the last 12 months was higher than for LSD only. LSD analogue users described the effects as psychedelic (93%), over half (55%) obtained it online, and almost all (99%) reported an oral route of administration. The modal duration (8 hr) and time to peak (2 hr) of LSD analogues were not significantly different from LSD. Ratings for pleasurable high, strength of effect, comedown, urge to use more drugs, value for money, and risk of harm following use were significantly lower for LSD analogues compared with LSD.
CONCLUSIONS:
LSD analogues were reported as similar in time to peak and duration as LSD but weaker in strength, pleasurable high, and comedown. Future studies should seek to replicate these findings with chemical confirmation and dose measurement.
Coney, L. D., Maier, L. J., Ferris, J. A., Winstock, A. R., & Barratt, M. J. (2017). Genie in a blotter: A comparative study of LSD and LSD analogues’ effects and user profile. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. 10.1002/hup.2599
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