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Psychedelic Mental Health

Mental Health

Choosing Psychedelics for Self-Treatment

From LSD to DMT, how the trend of microdosing is changing views and turning heads.

New York Magazine online reports that some drug sellers on the street are bringing scales to work. That may not seem surprising, but this is about customer service.  Like the grocer who will gladly splits a package of potatoes for customers, they’re willing to divide the product into smaller portions.

It’s called microdosing. The clients are purchasing illegal drugs. But they aren’t looking to get wasted on psychedelics. They’re using tiny portions of these drugs for self-therapy.

The trend began in Silicon Valley among coders around 2010. As New York reports, “The appeal of a drug regimen that allows for hours of uninterrupted focus and concentration was not lost on this crowd.”

A microdose is one-tenth to one-20th the normal dose. It brings some of the most sought-after benefits of the drugs without courting impairment. An LSD researcher told New York that microdosing became popular because “it has a small positive effect and it’s not scary.”

“If that was true, that could be a novel treatment to one of the world’s biggest medical disorders.”

Dr. Michael Mithoefer, is a Charleston psychiatrist who conducts MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD. He’s sympathetic to microdosing for pragmatic reasons. “Certainly not the ideal way to do it, but that’s one of the problems that happens when the regulatory and scientific community isn’t responding to the need for better medicines.”

But some scientists are paying attention: “It’s a very plausible question whether microdosing has antidepressant activity,” says Matthew W. Johnson, a Johns Hopkins psychologist who has published psilocybin studies. “If that was true, that could be a novel treatment to one of the world’s biggest medical disorders.”

While LSD and psilocybin are two of the most popular drugs for microdosing, the possibilities are multiple.  Here’s what microdosers told New York mag reporter Simone Kitchens they got from their mini-habits:

LSD—a boost in energy, focus and sense that life is meaningful. One user says, “It’s like a day when you got enough sleep and have eaten well.” Many microdosers use LSD this way to kick bad habits like drinking and drug addictions.

Psilocybin, a.k.a, magic mushrooms—short bursts of focus and energy about an hour after eating a ‘shroom. Some users find they have more empathy for others under the influence as well.

DMT—the fastest hit, takes just seconds. But the effect also wears off in 30 minutes or so. Makes the user feel more introspective, pushes outside interferences aside to “just enjoy being.”

Ayahuasca—increases sensitivity and openness. Great for feeling friendly, but not so good for work. Can make the user feel more passive and find mental and physical exertion harder.

Iboga—It may be a good thing that this substance is hard to get. One user found she become “too introspective,” completely lost in thought and “had no interest in conversing with others, because small talk seemed too tedious.”

Ketamine—even a microdose makes users feel high, but it may also make pain go away.

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