“Drugs” have garnered quite a negative reputation over the years. Indeed, taking it in large doses at irregular timings is a surefire way to negatively affect your physical and mental health, perhaps even permanently. Because so many people are prone to unhealthy consumption of these substances, they tend to develop disorders and psychological issues over time. The good news is that microdosing psychedelics has become more mainstream in recent years.
However, that does not mean that the substance itself is harmful. What is dangerous in this case is the way that it is consumed. Any item taken in unhealthy dosages will prove detrimental to one’s health; such an effect is not limited to the supposed “harmful” substances and drugs.
For centuries, our ancestors have incorporated alcoholic substances and drugs into their diets and medicines to improve one’s health. Because these amounts and frequencies are so controlled, they’ve only improved the health of the ill or injured instead of worsening it as we commonly assume these days. Although this technique has been used for centuries beyond the present, it has only recently gained a proper term to define it and increased popularity.
All you need to know about microdosing
Taking substances or drugs generally involves consuming them in larger quantities. In such cases, the reason for consuming is recreation or leisure, so it makes sense why one would want to ruin such substances in increased amounts. However, in contrast to this approach to substances, many have begun employing the technique of microdosing.
Unlike usual intakes, microdosing involves taking minimal doses of a particular substance, which, in this case, is psychedelic mushrooms. As suggested by the name, people who engage in microdosing may consume up to 10% of any given substance.
A guide to microdosing on psychedelic mushrooms
As mentioned earlier, microdosing involves taking a tenth of the regular amount of substance. Generally, mushroom users intake about one gram a day. This means that microdosing would only require 0.1 grams or 100 milligrams.
High doses of psychedelic mushrooms taken for leisure and recreation may result in a highly altered psychological and physical state. People who regularly abuse this drug may suffer from an altered sense of perception and self, a changed state of mind, and extreme hallucinations. These effects are a result of the psilocybin within the mushrooms, which is one of the most potent ingredients within this substance. The psilocybin stimulates specific receptors within the brain that boost serotonin. Taken in extremely high doses, it eventually leads to altered minds and perceptions.
Hallucinogenic effects may be the primary reason an individual tends to use these mushrooms for recreation. However, as expected, such an amount will not produce the chronic effects of intaking psychedelic mushrooms. When microdosing, the minimal amount intake by an individual does not result in hallucinations or any effect of the sort. In contrast, rather than completely altering one’s state of mind to forget the existence of adversity, it reduces the pain caused by such symptoms. In other words, it acts like pain relief and may even improve one’s cognition.
These findings are not innovations by any means. As mentioned earlier, substances like mushrooms have long since been used for healing unhealthy minds. However, recently, this method has been increasingly gaining traction.
Does it help?
It is almost always better to microdose rather than abuse a substance in larger quantities. At this point, one may wonder: does microdosing even help?
One of the most significant benefits of microdosing is improving your mood. Psilocybin leads to an increased amount of serotonin regulated within your body. As the “happiness booster,” it makes sense why your mood may improve. Psychedelic mushrooms generally lead to a euphoric state, but that is only the case if the quantities taken are more significant than the recommended amount. In the case of microdosing, the ecstatic state will be numbed down to an improvement in mood and perhaps even focus.
With the improvement in mood comes improved mental health. The state of your mind is directly proportional to your disposition; if your mood is sour and upset for long periods, you’ll find that your mental health is relatively poor. In contrast, improved mood directly leads to improved mental health – this is also a result of the serotonin boost you receive from intaking psilocybin.
All that said, there is no doubt that more research is needed. Despite its apparent health benefits, it is common knowledge that substances such as psychedelic mushrooms are still largely illegal worldwide. Even if some regions have legalized the substances, a significant problem still stands: who controls the distribution?
Unfortunately, there is no formal body that controls the regulation of drugs. Whether or not an individual intake the recommended amount for microdosing or not goes unnoticed. Therefore, it is impossible to confirm whether the health benefits result from microdosing or whether the data is inherently skewed.
Because of the strict laws and regulations surrounding the consumption of these drugs yet the absence of regulatory authorities in areas where consumption is accepted, the actual effect of these drugs goes unnoticed. There is not enough scientific research to confirm whether these drugs can be used in therapies and treatments today. Furthermore, due to the lack of experiments, it is also challenging to reaffirm the accuracy and reliability of the self-reports that show that the drug is indeed helpful.
Lastly, keep in mind that different people react to other drugs in different ways. There is no way to say what effect a microdose of psychedelic mushrooms may produce on a person who is addicted and a person who is trying it for the first time. In any case, the target population for microdosing includes those who are unhealthy. Because this population is already vulnerable, it is essential to ensure they are not being put at risk for an experiment that can potentially harm their lives permanently.
Everyone on the Today Show was amazed after Saannah Guthrie’s interview with Iraq War veteran Jon Lubecky. In the interview, Lubecky talked about how he used to want to end his life and suffered from a severe level of post-traumatic stress disorder. This was before he participated in three eight-hour MDMA-assisted therapy sessions led by a group of experts from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).
“Every single day, no matter how good or how bad the day was, my brain was trying to figure out how to kill myself,” Lubecky informed Guthrie. He also mentioned in the interview that in his 2014 therapy sessions, he was able to give voice to things he never shared with anyone.
When he was asked if he was still living with the symptoms of PTSD, he mentioned that he no longer does and is fully healed.
The other participants in the pioneering MAPS clinical trial also shared similar experiences to Lubecky. The trial revealed that MDMA had no significant side effects and had healed more than half of the participants living with PTSD.
Dr. Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of MAPS, mentioned that if the study flourishes in the second Phase-3 study, it will prove the whole field of psychedelic psychotherapy in one initial go. Furthermore, Doblin mentions how revolutionary this study is and anticipates a full FDA approval for MDMA and DEA rescheduling by 2023.
“This treatment is why my son has a father instead of a folded flag,” Lubecky mentioned to Guthrie when asked what he would say to other veterans suffering from PTSD. “I want all of you to be around when this is FDA approved. I know you can make it; I know what your suffering is like. I will tell you, and it’s all gone.”
Keeping notes in a journal has been a vital way to integrate psychedelic experiences into our everyday lives. It has also proven to be an effective way to realign our lives amidst all the chaos brought about by the digital world.
With everything happening online nowadays, the best way to start a new chapter in life may be to put the phone down, pick up a pen, and start journaling for a happier and healthier tomorrow.
Wakeful Travel is a start-up that is a few thousand dollars away from reaching its Kickstarter fundraising goal to create the first group of psychedelic integration and travel journals with guided prompts to help thoughts and feelings flow from the mind to a page.
“When I first started working with plant medicine, I stared at a blank notebook for so long,” founder Jenalle Dion told Psychedelic Spotlight. “Because I wanted something to prompt me and ask me questions. And I think that the questions are really what help you tune into that wisdom that you already have within you.”
Journaling is not just for psychedelic explorers.
Dion believes this is an effective way to unplug the current day-to-day technology to reconnect with yourself.
“We are constantly on our phones. We are addicted as a society,” Dion mentions. “We’re on our phones to work, we’re on our phones to socialize, we’re on our phones to do our banking, and to date. Screen time is all of the time, and we’re overwhelmed by notifications.”
The hit Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma has brought to light this very concern. The documentary highlighted Silicon Valley insiders raising concern about the harmful effects social media has on our society. It has also brought into light the many questionable tactics employed by the biggest corporations to trap users into these social platforms while influencing and manipulating their behavior.
A study made by the Addiction Center showed that almost 5-10% of the entire American population fit the benchmark for social media addiction. This addiction has been defined as “being overly concerned about social media, driven by an uncontrollable urge to log on to or use social media, and devoting so much time and effort to social media that it impairs other important life areas.”
The Impact of Social Media
Even though video-based platforms such as Tiktok, Snapchat, and Twitch are now dominating the whole space that Facebook and Twitter once ruled, social media is still the 21st-century version of journaling, whether typed or recorded on a video. However, this model is not perfect – your thoughts and feelings will be judged, and it may cost you more than your followers.
In the 15 years since Twitter’s inception in 2006, we’ve collectively witnessed countless relationships, reputations, and careers burn to the ground due to carelessly shared thoughts and feelings on the platform. This reactionary domino effect has been dubbed “cancel culture,” It has become a rallying cry for pundits, politicians, and celebrities who believe they are unfairly held accountable for simply expressing ideas that others do not agree with.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution may prohibit congress from enacting laws restricting the freedom of speech of its citizens and the press. Still, it does not shield individuals from the personal judgment of others. And because communication is faster than ever, those judgmental opinions spread faster and furiously than ever before. Although public outrage is not new, the channels through which we express it are. And they’re all at our disposal, round the clock tempting us to interact.
This may be the best time to go old school with your deepest thoughts and write them down in a safe place to be read only by you. After all, venting can be very healthy and beneficial in dealing with difficult situations.
“Honestly, I started journaling when my parents divorced,” Dion says. “That’s how I would process my emotions.”
You can debate all you want on the internet, but you’ll never find that peace of mind you would need to get through conflict. Real work for personal growth is done internally. Dion joined an ayahuasca ceremony with the intent to heal some of her childhood wounds. There she discovered the capacity journaling has to empower that internal work.
“Things just started pouring out of me, and the emotions were being released differently. It was like I didn’t need to suffer in my body, and I could process these things on paper,” she explained. “As I continued to write, the heaviness started to lift, and then I started getting downloads of my childhood, and my family, where I could forgive, and where I could let go of anger.”
That was a “pivotal moment” in her healing journey, she says. “Journaling is a medicine in itself, and pairing it with ayahuasca, or whatever medicine you choose, was very powerful for me. Because when we use these tools, we go on a deeper integration journey. We make it a commitment to ourselves to actually change, instead of ‘rushing our healing,’ trying to sit in a ceremony every single weekend, without taking the space to really reflect and go inward.”
How Journaling Changes Your View
Journaling has also altered her link with social media and has mentioned that if she did not have a business, she would no longer be on it.
“It’s almost like once I started doing the internal work, I didn’t need to be so loud externally on those platforms,” she explains. “There’s a lot of preaching going on on the internet, and now, for me, it’s easy to see who is really looking at their shadow side and devoting themselves to being of service and who might not be.”
Dion also points out that anything we place on social media is not fully under our ownership. So given that these platforms store enormous amounts of data, there would be instances that the platform would lag and even seize up. She recalled losing a treasured inventory of beautifully edited photos and those she will never return. So with journaling, there is no big risk of losing everything.
“I mean, I guess you can forget your journal somewhere,” she explains. “But there’s a page at the beginning of the Wakeful Travel Journals where you can write down all your information. You can have an address there in case the journal gets lost, and I also encourage people to take photos of the journal often so that you have a backup.”
The short answer is NO!
A new study from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, in association with COMPASS Pathways, has demonstrated that psilocybin can be securely managed at portions of either 10mg or 25mg in healthy people.
The study, distributed in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, is a fundamental initial phase in exhibiting the security and plausibility of psilocybin — a hallucinogenic medication disconnected from the Psilocybe mushroom — for use inside controlled settings close by talking treatment as a likely treatment for a scope of psychological well-being conditions, including treatment-safe sorrow (TRD) and PTSD.
Current treatment choices for these circumstances are inadequate or successful for some individuals, coming about in a huge neglected need. Early research has shown potential for psilocybin treatment to treat these gatherings, yet no preliminaries have been embraced at the scale required for administrative endorsement to make the treatment accessible.
The test is the first of its sort to examine the concurrent organization of psilocybin completely. 89 healthy members with no new (in no less than 1 year) utilization of psilocybin were enlisted. 60 people were haphazardly picked to get either a 10mg or 25mg portion of psilocybin in a controlled climate. Furthermore, all members were furnished with coordinated help from prepared psychotherapists. The leftover 29 members went about as the benchmark group and got a placebo treatment, likewise with mental help.
Members were firmly observed for six to eight hours following the organization of psilocybin and afterward followed up for 12 weeks. During this time, they were evaluated for various potential changes, including sustained attention, memory, and planning, as well as their capacity to handle feelings.
National Institute for Health Research Clinical Scientist Dr. James Rucker, the review’s lead creator from King’s IoPPN and privileged advisor specialist at South London, and that’s what Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust says “his rigorous study is an important first demonstration that the simultaneous administration of psilocybin can be explored further. If we think about how psilocybin therapy (if approved) may be delivered in the future, it’s important to demonstrate the feasibility and the safety of giving it to more than one person at the same time, so we can think about how we scale up the treatment. This therapy has promise for people living with serious mental health problems, like treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and PTSD. They can be extremely disabling, distressing, and disruptive, but current treatment options for these conditions are ineffective or partially effective for many people.”
Throughout the review, there were no cases of anybody pulling out from the concentrate because of an unfriendly occasion and no steady patterns to propose that both of the psilocybin portions had any short-or long haul adverse consequences for members.
Teacher Guy Goodwin, Chief Medical Officer, COMPASS Pathways, says that “this study was an early part of our clinical development program for COMP360 psilocybin therapy. It explored the safety and feasibility of simultaneous psilocybin administration, with 1:1 support, in healthy participants and provided a strong foundation to which we have now added positive results from our phase IIb trial in 233 patients with TRD and our open-label study of patients taking SSRI antidepressants alongside psilocybin therapy. We are looking forward to finalizing plans for our phase III program, which we expect to begin in Q3 2022.”
The specialists have since finished Phase II of the review, which has investigated the adequacy and wellbeing of psilocybin in individuals living with TRD and PTSD, and are breaking down the information.
Stay tuned for the results!
The Dell Medical School at the University of Texas has broadcasted the launch of their Center for Psychedelic Research and Therapy. This is just six months after Governor Greg Abbott approved legislation that would require the state to research the risks and benefits of psilocybin, MDMA, and ketamine for military veterans. The center launched by the Dell Medical School is the first of its kind within the state of Texas.
Scientists working at the center will run various clinical studies with the goal of probing the capacity of psychedelic-assisted therapy to treat depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD with the help of different substances like psilocybin, MDMA, ibogaine, and ayahuasca. As per the Center’s co-lead Charles Nemeroff, the center’s “research will bring further scientific rigor and expertise to study psychedelic therapy.” Nemeroff is a professor and the current chair of Dell Med’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
The first focal point will be on military veterans suffering from PTSD. This is a huge population that the senators were particularly eager to assist when the Texas State Senate approved the bill mentioned earlier. With approximately 1.6 million veterans, Texas has the nation’s second-largest veteran population. The past research and testimonies that have exhibited the ability of psychedelics to remedy their past trauma in the state this has undoubtedly powered the generally conservative state’s dedication to this progressive bailiwick.
Heroic Hearts Project
A non-profit organization, The Heroic Hearts Project, has been working tremendously on a forefront psilocybin research program to treat veterans living with a traumatic brain injury with the use of psychedelics. This will be among the center’s initial program partners. This is together with The Mission Within, a clinical psychedelic retreat facilitator in Rosarito, Mexico. The Mission Within specializes in developing treatments for PTSD, mTBI, depression, anxiety, and even personal growth.
“This work has the potential to change the paradigm in mental health and firmly stamps UT Austin at the forefront of psychiatric innovation,” said UT alumnus Paul Barnhart III. He is one of the first donors that have supported the center, which would also accommodate individuals with prolonged grief disorder or depression together with those who have experienced some form of childhood trauma.
Greg Fonzo will co-direct the center with Professor Nemeroff. Fonzo is an assistant professor in Dell Med’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. Fonzo will look into how psilocybin and transcranial magnetic stimulation work together to provide long-term relief for stress-related depression and anxiety. This is possible now that the center has received funding to begin its initial work.
“A key ingredient in how psychedelic therapies promote mental health may be their ability to enhance neural plasticity, the process that allows the brain to adapt to new experiences – which when combined with brain modulation therapies may promote maximum benefit” Fonzo mentioned. “The potential implications are far-reaching for people with these conditions and their families, and also for the future of mental health treatment and care.”
The Movement is Gaining Steam
The Center for Psychedelic Research and Therapy is one of several academic institutions sprouting up across North America in response to renewed interest in psychedelics, which were first presented to mainstream attention and study in the mid-1950s before America’s War on Drugs drove research underground by the early 1970s.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy became the first in the country to offer a master’s program in psychedelic medicine. It then established the UW-Madison Transdisciplinary Center for Research in Psychoactive Substances to harmonize its ongoing study and education on psychedelic compounds. Meanwhile, the University of Ottawa in Canada has a psychedelic studies program as well as a master’s program.