LSD microdosing

I have read about LSD microdosing. What is the right dosage and frequency? Does it have real health benefits?

Originally posted in The Hub 15/5/17 . Reviewed 20/2/22

LSD microdosing refers to taking small, sub-perceptual doses of the psychedelic drug LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide). The idea behind microdosing is to experience the potential benefits of LSD, such as increased creativity, focus, and productivity. But also avoid the intense psychedelic effects associated with a typical recreational dose.

So, a microdose of LSD typically ranges from around 5 to 20 micrograms, generally around 10-20% of a recreational dose. Microdosing is used on a schedule, with individuals taking a small amount every few days.

In fact, the effects of LSD microdosing are still a subject of research. But some anecdotal evidence suggests that it can lead to improvements in mood, focus, creativity, and social interactions. However, it’s important to note that LSD is still a powerful drug. Even at low doses, it can have side effects such as anxiety, paranoia, and changes in perception.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that LSD microdose may improve mood, creativity and social interactions.

Early data come from surveys of people who use LSD microdoses regularly and report improvement in mental health-related symptoms or «increased general well-being.»

One of these studies analyzed data from an online survey of 98 participants who had experience with microdosing. The study’s results suggest that microdosing with psychedelics may have potential benefits for treating specific health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. However, it is essential to note that the study has limitations, including small sample size and the potential for self-selection bias.

There are also anecdotal reports suggesting a possible effect in enhancing creativity

 A clinical trial published in 2020 aimed to investigate the effects of low doses of LSD on mood and cognitive performance in healthy volunteers.

The study involved 24 randomly assigned participants to receive a single dose of LSD or placebo, with the amount of LSD ranging from 5 to 20 micrograms. Results showed that a low dose of LSD (5 and 20 mcg) enhances sustained attention, affects mood state in a positive direction. But it also increases confusion, and reduces the speed of information processing.

In another study, volunteers used 6.5, 13, or 26 micrograms of LSD once a week for four weeks. The results of the study showed that participants who received microdoses of LSD reported slight changes in their subjective experience, including increased positive mood, increased attention, and enhanced sensory perception. However, these effects were subtle and did not significantly impact behavior or cognitive performance. 

So the available data suggest that small doses of LSD may have a different effect from the psychedelic effects of high dosages. But we cannot recommend or provide guidelines for its use as the number and quality of available studies are insufficient. We can highlight the following:

  • Doses above 20 micrograms may produce effects that are hardly compatible with daily activity, at least for some people.
  • Estimating such low doses from commercially available LSD can be very difficult. Scientific research uses pharmaceutical-grade LSD.
  • The appropriate frequency of use is unclear. User surveys indicate that some users take it «every day,» «every 48 hours», «once a week»… It should be borne in mind that, at least at usual doses, LSD produces pharmacological tolerance within a few days.
  •  The role of set and setting (user’s mindset and environment.) in the case of microdosing is also subject to study.
  •  It is also unclear whether microdose LSD is helpful to alleviate symptoms of illnesses (depression, anxiety…) or whether the possible effect would also benefit healthy people.