Microdose, Microdosing lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) involves taking a very small dose of the substance. Advocates of LSD microdosing claim the practice has numerous health benefits, such as improving cognition and mood and reducing pain. However, there is currently not enough scientific evidence to prove these claims are true.

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Three years ago Downs began microdosing to prepare for certain situations, such as when she had to stay later at a social event than she might want to. The drug soothed her angst and made her a better conversationalist, she says. Six months ago, she began a more structured routine, taking a tincture of microdose psilocybin every three days. It has made her calmer and more accepting, she says, especially when her six- and nine-year-old daughters argue with one another or push back on her requests. “Before I was more reactive—getting angry or irritated—but now I respond more evenly,” Downs says. “The general atmosphere of our home is more positive.”

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Microdose, Joseph started microdosing psychedelics five years ago to try to improve his mental health. “I was just kind of in this depression, in this rut,” he said. “I was unhappy and angry and agitated all the time, and it went against the way that I saw myself.”


While microdosing refers to a common process in developing medications, it also involves taking low doses of psychedelic drugs. In pharmacology, microdosing is a practice that aids in drug development and drug selection, where an individual takes a very small dose of the proposed medication. Researchers can then assess its pharmacokinetics, or how it interacts with the body.

In a pharmacological context, microdosing typically involves taking around 1% of a drug’s potential pharmacological dose. In the context of psychedelics, such as LSD, microdosing involves someone taking 5–10% of the dose that elicits psychoactive effects.

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Microdosing is a concept that has been talked about for over a decade. The concept assumes that key pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters of a new chemical entity (NCE) that is being sought to be developed as a drug can be measured or estimated in PK studies that use very small “micro” doses of the investigational product.

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Psychedelics are a class of drugs that cause complex psychological, behavioral, and physiological effects by activating the serotonin 5-HT 2A receptors. Serotonin is a hormone that causes feelings of happiness and well-being and helps stabilize mood. Examples of psychedelics include LSD, magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, and N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, commonly known as DMT.

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