Interest in the study of psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin has resurfaced in the last decade, and while the practice of microdosing – taking sub-hallucinogenic doses – is also growing, there is a paucity of systematic research on the practice of microdosing. Objectives: Tthis pre-registered study compared between microdosers and non-microdosers using five personality, well-being, and creativity variables: Open-Mindedness, Negative Emotionality, Dysfunctional Attitudes, Wisdom, and Divergent Creativity.
We recruited an online community sample from various online forums, consisting of 909 participants (65% had microdosing experience; 82% male, median age = 26). We used the Open-Mindedness and Negative Emotionality scales of the Big Five Personality Index, Second Version (BFI-II; Soto and John 2016), the short form of the Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale for Adults (DAS-17-A; De Graaf et al., 2009), the Brief Wisdom Screening Scale (BWSS; Glück et al., 2013), and the Unusual Uses Task (Silvia, 2011). We further developed a codebook of Microdosing Benefits and Challenges based on the grounded theory analysis of 278 qualitative reports from a real-world sample of 278 microdosers.
Current and former microdosers scored lower on measures of Dysfunctional Attitudes (p < 0.001, r = − 0.92) and Negative Emotionality (p = 0.009, r = − 0.85) and higher on Wisdom (p < 0.001, r = 0.88), Open-Mindedness (p = 0.027, r = 0.67), and Creativity (p < 0.001, r = 0.15) when compared to non- microdosing controls. In terms of qualitative findings, we found novel results, both in terms of beneficial outcomes, such as improved mood (26.6%) and focus (14.8%), and in terms of challenging outcomes, such as physiological discomfort (18.0%) and increased anxiety (6.7%). We also show parallels between benefits and drawbacks and
These findings provide promising initial evidence that warrants controlled experimental research to directly test safety and clinical efficacy. As microdoses are easier to administer than full-doses, this new paradigm has the exciting potential to shape future psychedelic Research.