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The Benefits of Microdosing

Microdosing psilocybin for potential health benefits is gaining attention beyond the psychedelic community. Paul Stamets' study sheds light on the intriguing connections.
Thursday, February 15, 2024
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microdosing
Paul Stamets
psilocybin
magic mushrooms
mental health

Microdosing, the practice of consuming small, sub-perceptual amounts of psychedelics like psilocybin found in magic mushrooms, has been gaining attention for its potential health benefits. One prominent figure in the field, Paul Stamets, conducted a study that sheds light on the intriguing connections between microdosing and patterns of substance use, particularly in relation to alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis.

Stamets' study, a comprehensive exploration into the habits of microdosers, revealed a fascinating trend – those who engage in microdosing are less likely to turn to alcohol and more prone to complete abstinence. The data further hinted that microdosers exhibit reduced tendencies to use tobacco. Intriguingly, however, the study suggested an increased likelihood of microdosers embracing cannabis, a substance known for its lower addictive potential.

Building on Stamets' findings, other studies have corroborated the notion that microdosing may have a substantial impact on addictive behaviors. A 2016 study, in particular, unveiled that just two doses of psilocybin, the psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms, could offer an astonishing eight-plus months of relief from alcohol cravings. Dr. Michael Bogenschutz, the director of the NYU Langone Center for Psychedelic Medicine and the lead author of the study, expressed amazement at the potential clinical applications of these findings, emphasizing the need to harness this promising avenue.

What makes these results even more remarkable is the backdrop against which they unfolded. Participants in the study were, on average, consuming seven drinks per day before being introduced to psilocybin. By the conclusion of the trial, a remarkable 50% of participants had completely quit drinking, while 80% had significantly curtailed their alcohol consumption.

What sets Stamets' study apart from earlier research in the field is its holistic approach. Unlike studies that focused on one or two specific neurological mechanisms, this research delved into the broader implications of psychedelic therapy on the brain. The notion that microdosing, as a form of psychedelic therapy, can have widespread effects on the brain raises questions about its potential to influence not only behavior but also one's perception of self.

The holistic nature of psychedelic therapy is underscored by the words of an expert who suggests that the mystical experiences induced by these substances might have a transformative impact on how individuals perceive themselves. This idea implies that the benefits of microdosing extend beyond the alleviation of symptoms and may delve into the realms of personal growth and self-discovery.

To fully grasp the significance of these findings, it's essential to delve into the details of the studies. Stamets' study, for instance, drew its data from microdose.me, the largest microdosing survey globally. The study aimed to contribute to the growing body of literature on microdosing by providing a detailed characterization of microdosers and their practices. It included an assessment of the combination of psychedelic and non-psychedelic substances, a phenomenon known as "stacking." The study specifically explored differences between microdosers and control groups regarding depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms.

The vast scope of the study is reflected in the thoroughness of the survey, consisting of up to 123 questions. This extensive questionnaire allowed researchers to gather comprehensive insights into the experiences and habits of microdosers. The reported benefits included reduced anxiety, decreased depression, improved mood balance, heightened self-awareness, enhanced sensory perception, better learning and memory retention, improved motor skills, and increased sociability, empathy, and compassion.

The implications of these findings extend beyond the individual experiences of microdosers. In a world where substance use, particularly alcohol, has become a prevalent coping mechanism, the potential of microdosing to offer an alternative path is noteworthy. Notably, as the study unfolded against the backdrop of increased alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic, the discovery that microdosers are less inclined to use alcohol and more likely to abstain becomes particularly relevant.

The potential anti-addiction properties of microdosing, as highlighted by Stamets' study, align with broader discussions on the therapeutic use of psychedelics. The exploration of psilocybin as a potential remedy for alcohol cravings, as indicated by the 2016 study, adds depth to the conversation. Dr. Bogenschutz's assertion that there is "something going on here that has a lot of clinical potential" hints at the broader implications of these findings for mental health and addiction treatment.

While the anti-addiction properties are compelling, the holistic nature of psychedelic therapy introduces a dimension that goes beyond conventional approaches. The idea that a mystical experience induced by microdosing could lead to a different view of oneself introduces a spiritual or existential aspect to the discussion. This aligns with the broader cultural and scientific reevaluation of psychedelics as tools for introspection, personal growth, and consciousness exploration.

In conclusion, microdosing mushrooms has emerged as a fascinating field of study, offering a myriad of potential health benefits. Stamets' study, along with corroborating research, indicates that microdosers are less inclined towards alcohol and tobacco use, potentially displaying anti-addiction properties. The holistic nature of psychedelic therapy, as reflected in these findings, suggests that the benefits extend beyond symptom relief, possibly influencing one's perception of self. As research in this field continues to unfold, the conversation around the therapeutic potential of microdosing and its impact on mental health and addiction treatment is likely to gain further momentum.

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