Microdosing is the practice of taking small doses of psychedelics such as LSD or psilocybin in order to treat conditions such as addiction, anxiety, or depression. The use of psychedelics originally began as a mental health intervention in the 1950s and ‘60s before it spread to the late ‘60s counterculture and caused a massive backlash, which largely pushed the use of psychedelics to the fringes of society. However, in recent years, the push to reestablish the therapeutic use of psychedelics has gained momentum. One sign that psychedelic therapy is poised to reenter the mainstream is the recent book How to Change Your Mind by best-selling author Michael Pollan. A recent sign that psychedelics are making progress in the establishment is that Denver recently decriminalized psilocybin. Is psychedelic therapy or microdosing something you should consider as part of your addiction treatment?
What is microdosing?
Microdosing is a specific use of psychedelics. It means taking a small portion of a normal dose, perhaps 1/10 or 1/100. The idea is that instead of having a full on trip, with distorted perceptions or hallucinations, you merely give yourself a mental boost. You can still function in daily life but you feel a little better, colors are a little brighter, and your ideas are bit more creative. Silicon Valley types have been using microdosing for years to give themselves an edge in a world that values outside-the-box thinking. If you’ve struggled with substance use disorder or mental health issues, the appeal of microdosing is probably clear. Any boost in mood or clarity is welcome, especially early in recovery.
It’s important to note that microdosing is not the typical protocol for psychedelic-assisted therapy, although researchers are now starting to study the therapeutic potential of microdosing. Normally, someone participating in psychedelic-assisted therapy will take a regular dose and have a psychedelic experience lasting several hours. The therapist or guide will help create a positive environment and help you through any difficulties you might encounter. After the session, the therapist will help you integrate the insights you’ve gained from the experience.
There is promising evidence that psychedelics may help with a range of problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, cluster headaches, anxiety, and addiction. In fact, AA founder Bill W. credits the psychedelic substance belladonna with helping him overcome addiction, to the point where he originally wanted psychedelic therapy to be part of AA. It seems that psychedelic therapy may relieve both addiction and several of the most common co-occurring mental health issues that drive addiction. Current evidence also suggests that there is almost no risk of addiction from psychedelics, although microdosers might feel a letdown if they stop the practice after getting used to the boost.
The biggest drawback is psychedelics are still not well studied compared to other forms of treatment. While the early decades of psychedelic research were promising, new research was effectively stamped out in the 1970s by the Nixon administration. Also, psychedelic therapy is currently not very accessible. Since it’s illegal in most places, you can’t just search for a psychedelic therapist in your area and it’s certainly not covered by insurance. You pretty much have to know someone. You can probably find a guide if you meet the right people and make the right connections but it may cost a significant investment in time, money, and travel. And you probably won’t get the same benefits from just using psychedelics on your own, otherwise no one who has used LSD or psilocybin recreationally would have depression or anxiety.
Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premiere men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138