Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy

  • Could LSD Microdosing Be Beneficial?

Could LSD Microdosing Be Beneficial?

Sep 22 2018 Read 1421 Times

Lysergic acid diethylamide, more commonly known as LSD, is a hallucinogenic drug associated with the likes of Woodstock and The Beatles. Now, a Silicon Valley research centre known as the Beckley Foundation is pushing preconceptions and investigating the potential of LSD microdosing to enhance creativity and productivity. The first ever trials on the effects are now underway, with the team maintaining that small amounts of the hallucinogenic drug could be strategically used to sharpen the mind.

LSD enjoys a Californian renaissance

Over the past decade, the use of psychedelic drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms have enjoyed a renaissance in the Californian digital tech world, which is largely based in Silicon Valley. Many professionals admit to incorporating a microdose, often as small as one-fifteenth of a tab, into their daily or weekly routine, which doesn't trigger a psychedelic high but does help to increase focus.

To learn more about the effects of LSD microdosing, the Beckley Foundation has launched a placebo-controlled study exploring the benefits of mind-altering substances. Head researcher Balázs Szigeti has pioneered a unique approach, explaining that because LSD is both illegal and expensive, the study will invite existing users to participate in a “self-blinded” study.

Placebo trial investigates benefits of acid

Over the course of four weeks participants will set up their own gel capsules, some laced with tiny tabs of LSD and others empty. They will also be asked to complete questionnaires, play cognitive games and monitor their level of focus. At the end of the trial the team will reveal whether participants were prescribed microdoses or placebos.

“The people who microdose right now are not an average random set of people from the street,” explains Szigeti. “They are very likely to have used psychedelics before and have preconceptions about them." Rather than experience the extreme hallucinogenic sensations associated with LSD, Szigeti explains it has emerged as a popular way for Silicon Valley professionals to boost creativity and productivity.

LSD hailed as "psycho-vitamin”

“I was interested in this and looked at the scientific literature. To my great surprise I found there were zero studies on microdosing. If you go online there are hundreds and hundreds of people expressing very positive outcomes but this is completely novel terrain in scientific literature.”

Beyond increasing focus, experts assert LSD actively improves the move and can even lift people out of depression. Some advocates have even described it as a "psycho-vitamin.”

While LSD has been popularised as a productivity and mood enhancing drug, it's also an illicit substance. For more information on how scientists identify unknown matter don't miss 'Determining Hazardous Substances at Arm’s Length', which introduces the concept of Raman spectroscopy.

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