New Zealand’s Ministry of Health has approved the world’s first randomized, controlled trial on microdosing LSD. Specifically, the study will be gathering data to understand better if and how microdosing has positive effects on a person’s mood, awareness, and creativity. The study is lead by Dr. Suresh Muthukumaraswamy, an associate profession at the University of Auckland’s School of Pharmacy.
Designing the Study
The study will use 40 men, some who will receive a placebo and others LSD. Dr. Muthukumaraswamy makes it clear that they are not ignoring women in their research. They are taking into account the fact that female hormones affect some of the variables they will be measuring. If this study goes well, another will be planned using only women.
Studies that examine the effects of psychedelic drugs on mental conditions such as depression and addiction typically take place in a clinical setting. Because this study is focusing on the effects of psychedelics in everyday life, it is designed differently:
What separates this experiment from previous attempts is that instead of remaining supervised by a researcher, the test subjects are sent home with an LSD prescription, so the effect it has on daily life can be fully explored.
The study will be run under strict conditions. The subjects will take doses of LSD at precise times. The researchers will measure the effects on their mood, awareness, and creativity at precise times, too.
Although they have secured research funding for the study, the university is accepting donations to help offset the costs of working around the New Zealand government’s drug policy and dealing with the red tape. LSD has been outlawed in New Zealand since 1967.
When it Comes to the Benefits of Microdosing, the Jury is Still Out
In the past, PSR has written about the current state of microdosing psychedelics such as the article Microdosing Psychedelics: Does it Work? The evidence for microdosing’s beneficial effects on everyday life is mostly anecdotal. It also has several uncontrolled variables, including dose and set and setting. Microdosing with psychedelic mushrooms (aka magic mushrooms) has even more variables than LSD because of the multiple compounds present in them (aka the entourage effect).
There is a need for standardizing doses of psychedelics to achieve predictable, effective, and optimal results, whether for medical or everyday use. There is too much variability introduced into the anecdotal reports of microdosers to be a wise place to start creating formulations. Placebo-controlled studies such as this administering precise and accurate amounts of known compounds will answer many questions.