Exploring the Potential of Microdosing: Using Psychedelics to Treat Depression and Anxiety

Lorenzo Bown
 min read
Microdosing by definition, involves consuming sub-perceptual doses of psychedelics- most commonly LSD and psilocybin- in a set protocol, typically two or three times per week for one to two months.
Unlike macrodosing, microdosing is not a “special occasion” event. Instead it integrates psychedelic consumption into your daily routine to boost creativity, improve energy and health, increase mental focus, and help you better connect with others. Especially alongside a mindfulness practice such as meditation or yoga.

The full range of benefits offered by microdosing include the impact it has on mental health. Already, so many people are turning to microdosing for anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, ADD/ADHD, and a range of other conditions, as well as for weaning off conventional medications.

(Disclaimer: If you plan on going off your medications, it is best to do so under the supervision of a physician).

Depression and Anxiety:

Numerous studies have suggested that substances like LSD and Psilocybin can help treat and alleviate mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, helping people confront and move past their suffering, even when conventional methods of treatment and pharmaceutical interventions such as SSRI’s have failed. One study found that certain SSRIs such as Paxil and Prozac had the same effect on depression as giving patients a sugar pill; failing to outperform a placebo.

By contrast, psychedelic users report that rather than having a numbing effect, psychedelics often jumpstart a catharsis and profound personal reckoning that helps them heal the root of their problem, having the potential to be a long-term cure. For those interested in using psychedelics for general relief to treat depression and anxiety It is important to understand that the experience and process may be harder, as psychedelics force us to confront challenging emotions like sadness, grief and anger. But it is only through catharsis that healing can begin, as courage will be required to go into the darkness and meet whatever needs to be faced.

James Fadiman, a psychologist and author of “The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide,” in conjunction with his co-researcher, Sophia Korb, presented some of the preliminary results of a new study on microdosing at the multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies's conference, Psychedelic Science 2017, (MAPS). “The largest group of people who write to us are people with depression and treatment resistant depression” Out of an initial 418 respondents, 35% cited depression as the reason they began microdosing, 27% cited anxiety and 58% were motivated by a combination of both depression and anxiety

At the same time, a study published in November 2021, looked at microdosing practices, motivations and mental health among a sample of over nine thousand people. In this sample, psilocybin was the most commonly used substance, often “stacked” with other substances such as lion's mane,  cordyceps, niacin, ashwagandha, rhodiola and others. The core finding of this study was that most of the participants who microdosed showed lower levels of depression and anxiety and were motivated to take responsibility for their health and well-being.

Taking responsibility for one’s well-being is an operative concept here. Microdosing isn't a magic pill, even though it can be used as a catalyst to weave in new behavioural change. Any microdosing protocol must be rooted with intention and outcomes and making sure you support yourself in four core areas: a healthy diet, adequate sleep, exercise, and practices for emotional well-being, such as meditation or therapy.

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