Few studies have investigated the effects of microdosing directly. Furthermore, experts know little about the effects of long-term microdosing.
Another issue is that many studies to date have relied on self-reporting. This method often involves asking questions to people who have been microdosing or were already interested in it. As such, there may be a bit of bias in these studies, as the people may expect to have a good experience while microdosing.
There is not yet enough strong evidence, including comparative research using placebos, to make a case for microdosing.
However, users report a few different benefits, which generally relate to mental health and well-being. A study in Harm Reduction Journal categorized several possible benefits from reports by microdosers. These benefits include:
- improved focus, concentration, and mindfulness
- improved energy, wakefulness, and stimulation
- cognitive benefits, such as enhanced problem solving
- social benefits
- reduced anxiety
- reduced symptoms, such as stress
- improved mood, optimism, and life appreciation
- improved body functioning
- self-efficacy, including improved ambition, productivity, and motivation
People also reported other benefits and enjoyments of microdosing, such as the ability to control the dose and the general lack of side effects.
Improved mental health
Many of the reasons why people microdose involve some aspects of mental health, such as reducing stress and anxiety or alleviating symptoms of depression.
In a study in Psychopharmacology, researchers asked people their reasoning for microdosing.
21% of people responded that they primarily used microdosing as a therapy for depression, while 7% used microdosing for symptoms of anxiety. About 9% of people who responded used microdosing to help with other mental health disorders.
Overall, 44% of people who responded perceived that their mental health was much better as a consequence of microdosing.
Another study in Frontiers in Psychiatry used an online questionnaire to ask people who microdose to compare its effects with those of other treatments for symptoms such as depression and anxiety. The answers indicated that people found microdosing more effective than some other forms of treatment but less effective than higher doses of psychedelics.
In an animal study, researchers noted that microdose levels of DMT helped the subjects overcome fears and anxieties in a test that scientists commonly use to model issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and general anxiety.
More research in humans is necessary to support this early evidence.
Improved brain functioning
Anecdotal evidence shows that some people believe that microdosing helps improve their brain function by allowing their brain to operate at its fullest potential or making them more open to new ideas.
A study in PLOS ONE found that microdosing makes people report better brain function on dosing days, but these effects do not carry over to other days when the person does not microdose.
Creativity is a harder concept to quantify and validate, but many people who microdose claim to do so for its ability to boost their creative faculties. However, a combination of other factors, such as stress reduction or increased focus, may lead to this benefit. Again, evidence for this is anecdotal, and scientific studies are yet to back these claims.
Microdosing may also help with temporary focus, allowing a person to work on a big project without their mind wandering. One study suggests that microdosing led to lower levels of distractability.
Quitting other habits
Another claim is that microdosing helps people quit other habits, such as smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. Some people even feel as though they do not need to use simple stimulants such as coffee when they microdose.
Although some formal research explores the possibility of using psychedelics, such as psilocybin, to help people stop using other drugs, there is little scientific research or proof as of yet. However, anecdotal claims suggest promise.