A first of its kind “self-blinded” trial testing the effect of psychedelic microdosing has found the anecdotally popular practice may be an example of a strong placebo effect. The research, led by Imperial College London, suggests there is little difference in reported benefits between a microdose and a placebo.
The key to microdosing is the belief that frequent low doses of psychedelics such as LSD can generate enhancements to productivity, creativity, mental well-being and energy. But most importantly, a microdose must be so small the user does not experience any perceptual or hallucinogenic effects.
Microdosing has managed to flourish in popularity despite very little empirical evidence showing it works. A small, but growing, body of science is only now subjecting the practice to the rigors of clinical research, but taboo and prohibition have stifled the ability to run a rigorous controlled trial actually testing whether it works.
So the team from Imperial College London developed a unique self-blinding protocol to solve the problem. Volunteers, who self-report personal microdosing practice, were directed to create their own collection of microdoses and placebos.