Beckley Foundation Announces LSD, Microdosing Research

A series of three new research projects announced this week will seek to illuminate our understanding of microdosing LSD.

The research is being spearheaded by The Beckley Foundation and its founder, the experienced psychedelics researcher Amanda Feilding.

“The first study will assess the brain changes that take place during the mystical experience—that is, a profound sense of connection or unity that can occur following ingestion of high doses of psychedelic compounds and which is proving to be associated with the benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy…The second study is a collaboration between Feilding and physicians at the University of Basel—the city in which Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD. This study will examine the therapeutic potential of microdosing LSD for the treatment of apathy and depression in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions…A third study co-led by Beckley and Cornell University will use advanced optical imaging to investigate how LSD alters cerebral blood flow and the connection between neurons and their associated network of blood vessels,” according to Benzinga

The first study leans on research “developed by Feilding and neuroimaging experts from King’s College London and UCL, [and] seeks to expand understanding of the neurobiology of consciousness,” Benzinga reported. All three projects “are part of a larger multi-armed research program developed and led by Feilding and are focused on the use of the latest generation of neuroimaging technologies.”

Microdosing psychedelics has exploded in popularity over the last decade, as many have adopted the approach to alleviate depression and other conditions. 

As such, research into the practice has also blossomed. A study published this past summer found that “psilocybin microdosers demonstrate greater observed improvements in mood and mental health at one month relative to non-microdosing controls.” 

The study, authored by researchers at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Psychology, examined more than 1,100 subjects over a two year period. Researchers observed “small- to medium-sized improvements in mood and mental health that were generally consistent across gender, age and presence of mental health concerns … improvements in psychomotor performance that were specific to older adults.”

Founded in 1998 by Feilding, the Beckley Foundation “has been at the forefront of global drug policy reform and scientific research into psychoactive substances.”

“We collaborate with leading scientific and political institutions worldwide to design and develop ground-breaking research and global policy initiatives,” the group says on its website

Feilding, meanwhile, is an authority on psychedelic research. 

According to her biography on the Beckley Foundation website, she “has been called the ‘hidden hand’ behind the renaissance of psychedelic science, and her contribution to global drug policy reform has also been pivotal and widely acknowledged.”

“Amanda was first introduced to LSD in the mid-1960s, at the height of the first wave of scientific research into psychedelics. Impressed by its capacity to initiate mystical states of consciousness and heighten creativity, she quickly recognised its transformative and therapeutic power. Inspired by her experiences, she began studying the mechanisms underlying the effects of psychedelic substances and dedicated herself to exploring ways of harnessing their potential to cure sickness and enhance wellbeing,” the website says. 

Through the Beckley Foundation, she has “initiated much ground-breaking research and has co-authored over 80 scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals.”

“She collaborates with leading scientists and institutions around the world to design and direct a wide range of scientific research projects (including clinical trials) investigating the effects of psychoactive substances on brain function, subjective experience, and clinical symptoms, with a focus on cannabis, the psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, DMT, 5-MEO-DMT) and MDMA,” the website says. 

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Woman’s Breast Cancer Returned Immediately After Dropping Treatment With Cannabis, Shrooms

One woman is living proof that medical cannabis and psilocybin-assisted therapy work. According to a case report published September 22, a woman’s breast cancer returned after stopping treatment with cannabis and psilocybin mushrooms.

LAD Bible reports that an anonymous woman in the U.K., 49, was living with advanced stages of metastatic breast cancer and stopped traditional drugs to treat it with medical cannabis and psilocybin mushrooms. The reasoning was due to the woman’s grim prognosis: her cancer metastasized and spread to her bones, liver, and lymph nodes.

Doctors told her to immediately launch a ketogenic diet and undergo a 26-month regimen of chemotherapy.

However, the woman also embarked on a journey including psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, using psilocybin in microdoses to repair her emotional wellbeing. She also took high doses of cannabis rich in THC and CBD.

When she combined THC/CBD and psilocybin microdoses with the chemotherapy—the cancer went into remission. At first, the results were astounding: After a five-month treatment period, researchers found no evidence of metastatic disease, and her chemotherapy treatments were canceled. The woman remained disease-free for 18 months while treating it with cannabis and psilocybin. But when she got confident and drastically lowered her cannabis in psilocybin intake, scans revealed that the cancer returned quickly.

The Woman’s Personal Testimony

The woman provided a personal testimony of how well cannabis and psilocybin work compared to conventional drugs like chemotherapy.

“In September 2018, I was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer,” the woman wrote in a personalized perspective included in the study. “My first thought was, ’what am I going to tell my mother?’”

In September 2019, scans indicated that the cancer didn’t return, and the patient lowered her cannabis regimen. However by June 2020, tests revealed the cancer was back.

“This brings up the possibility that withdrawal of the cannabinoid and psychedelic therapies may have contributed to the return of the cancer,” researchers wrote in the case study.

The woman continued, “I immediately began incorporating cannabis into my daily treatment plan. By January 2019, I was found to have no evidence of disease according to my scans. This was absolutely unexpected. When one is diagnosed with cancer, the mental, physical and emotional events which consume and slowly chip away at one’s humanity become a daily routine.”

“Everything changes in a heartbeat, and suddenly death becomes your daily counterpart. It’s dehumanizing, demoralizing, and just plain horrific. Cannabis changes all of this. It will ease the suffering of so many, as it eased mine. Cannabis provides hope. It provides help when you feel you can’t go on. I was able to eat. I was able to sleep. The nausea was almost non-existent. I could function. I could work. I was no longer slave to my disease. Imagine a world that embraces cannabis as a true medicinal plant that heals those afflicted with illness. That is the hope cannabis provides. It heals. It restores. It gives life. And access should NEVER be in question.”

Researchers appear to agree with the woman:

“The overall picture of the case presents the strong possibility that cannabinoids and psychedelics have played an important modulatory or additive role to standardised treatment, which warrants further exploration,” researchers concluded.

The case study provides a rare glimpse into what happens when people living with cancer start and stop cannabis and psilocybin-assisted therapy.

Fortunately, there’s a happy ending to this story. After the woman learned that her cancer returned, she immediately reintroduced psychedelics and raised the dose of her cannabis regimen, which doctors say stabilized her condition.

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New Study Suggests Expectations May Drive Effects of Microdosing Psilocybin

The purported positive effects of microdosing psilocybin could be driven by the expectations of those taking the drug, according to the results of a recently published double-blind study conducted by researchers affiliated with the University of Buenos Aires.

The authors of the study, which was published last month by the journal Translational Psychiatry, note that microdosing psilocybin has gained popularity in recent years. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the practice, which entails taking small, sub-hallucinogenic doses of the psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms, has several benefits. Those who microdose psilocybin often say that the drug can improve concentration, mood, creativity and cognitive function. However, there has been little scientific research conducted on the benefits of microdosing psilocybin or other psychedelic drugs.

“Ample anecdotal evidence suggests that microdosing can improve mood, well-being, creativity, and cognition, and recent uncontrolled, open-label observational studies have provided some empirical support for these claims,” the authors wrote. “While encouraging, these studies are vulnerable to experimental biases, including confirmation bias and placebo effects. This is especially problematic in the case of microdosing, since users make up a self-selected sample with optimistic expectations about the outcome of the practice.”

To conduct the study, researchers recruited 34 participants who already had plans to begin a psilocybin microdosing regimen using their own mushrooms. Study participants agreed to adapt their dose and schedule to the protocol designed by the researchers.

Participants were studied over a two-week period. During one week, they were given two half-gram doses of dried psilocybin mushrooms in a capsule. During the other week, participants were given a placebo of the same preparation and weight. The study was double-blind, meaning neither the participants nor the researchers knew which dose contained psilocybin and which was the placebo.

Participants completed questionnaires in which they self-reported any acute effects they experienced with each dose, such as distortions in time or space, and completed psychological measures including anxiety, positive and negative affect, well-being and stress. They also completed several tasks to measure creativity, perception, and cognition and were given EEGs to measure their brain activity. Additionally, participants reported their expectations for how their mental state might change in various areas including positive emotion and anxiety.

Effects Higher Among Those Who Knew They Were Taking Shrooms

The results of the self-reported questionnaires revealed significantly higher acute effects from psilocybin compared to the placebo. However, the effect was only significant among participants who had correctly identified whether they were taking psilocybin or the placebo, suggesting that the subjective effects of the drug were influenced by their expectations.

Although the results of the EEG tests showed altered brain wave rhythms, the research did not find any positive effect of psilocybin on creativity, cognition or self-reported mental well-being. In fact, a trend identified in the data suggested that taking psilocybin may have hampered the participants’ performance on certain cognitive tasks. The authors noted the trend is consistent with previous research that found that high doses of serotonergic psychedelic drugs can hinder some cognitive functions such as attention and decision-making.

In their discussion of the research, the authors of the study noted that popular perceptions of the benefits of microdosing might be influencing the experiences of those who try a low-dose psilocybin regimen.

“The reported acute effects were significantly more intense for the active dose compared to the placebo, but only for participants who correctly identified their experimental condition,” they wrote.

Overall, the findings did not support the anecdotal evidence that microdosing psilocybin improves well-being, creativity, or cognitive function. The researchers identified several limitations of the study, however, including the short-term length of the two-week dosing regimen. They also noted that the study cohort was made up of healthy subjects and that microdosing might have the strongest effect on those with mental health issues. The authors recommended further research to determine if microdosing psilocybin has mental health benefits, including the effect a longer microdosing schedule may have on participants.

The study, “Microdosing with psilocybin mushrooms: a double-blind placebo-controlled study”, was published in July by the peer-reviewed journal Translational Psychiatry.

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Unlike Rose in Titanic, Shrooms Offered Comedian Jessimae Peluso a Door

Comedian Jessimae Peluso has had cannabis filling her lungs long before she took the stand-up stage at age 19. She actually got into the “weed game” by accident while in the back of a Geo Tracker in high school, but marijuana ended up being a running theme in her life. Throughout her career on shows like MTV’s Girl Code, The Joe Rogan Experience, Netflix’s Tattoo Redo, and on her own Sharp Tongue Podcast, Peluso is always advocating and always stoning.

She recently entered the world of microdosing psilocybin and credits it for helping her deal with grief and recognizing and releasing past trauma. It’s been an epiphany-filled journey for Peluso, and one she vows to delve further into in order to work on herself. Before heading cross-country on her “Gyrl Tour” with fellow comedian (and ex-castmate on Girl Code) Carly Aquilino, Peluso talked with us about her BFF MJ, her intentions of slowing down with the help of microdosing, and how she learned to breathe again thanks to a little magic mushroom.

High Times: Let’s start at the beginning. When did you pop your Mary cherry?

Jessimae Peluso: The first time I remember smoking weed, I was a freshman in high school and it was a “second-hand scenario” because I was in the back of a Geo Tracker with about 32 people. I’m not sure if that’s the exact number or a result of being second-hand high and my brain’s inability to count, but one of the people weighed north of 250 pounds and I was inside of him somehow. I was engulfed in his lovely mass. That was the first experience I ever had with weed. In a car, filled with friends, clearly stoned, and driving the streets of upstate New York listening to The Notorious B.I.G’s Ready to Die. It was amazing and I didn’t even put a blunt to my lips. I just felt something that made me want to go further. I still had my hymen and those days were great! A hymen and a blunt? I’d kill for that and I’m almost 40!

Courtesy of Jessimae Peluso

It’s sometimes still mind-blowing that weed is everywhere and I got grounded by my parents for it.

I experienced those things back in New York where you are like, oh, this is illegal. But then you take a hit and you’re like, let’s talk about legality of the soul. And it’s still a topic that’s divided only by people who haven’t realized the medicinal value of the plant. They seem to be the ones who make the biggest judgements about it. I’ve realized its value as a medicine in my healing with letting go of trauma and being able to process trauma and grief. It’s been an amazing tool for me.

The irony is that the people screaming the loudest could probably benefit from it.

Yes! There’s plenty of science now! We know what it’s good for and we know that it’s being used to help people with PTSD. I mean, men and women from the military who are sent home with terrible PTSD are being administered marijuana as a medicinal implementation into their healing. It’s so interesting. Look at alcohol and what it does to people, it’s an outward expression. There’s a lot of anger that can come out and you can express yourself in a way that can be regretful the next day. I mean, you’re calling exes! You’re just belligerent! On weed, I can’t lift my fingertips to press send on a text that is literally all t’s. Just one big row, TTTTTTTTTTT. Alcohol takes, and medicines like marijuana and psilocybin give. They even teach you to give because of how insightful they are. I’ve had some of the most life-changing epiphanies on a blunt. Oh my god, the irony of it all.

Celebrity strains are all the rage so I know you’ve tried at least one. Name drop.

I have! A friend of mine, Jaleel White, and one of the greatest companies in California, 710 Labs, did a collaboration called, Its PurpL. Jaleel’s an amazing human, a really great friend, and if you know, you know. I mean, it’s fucking Family Matters. Hello? I’m a supportive friend regardless, but I gotta tell you, the weed is legit. He sent me a welcome gift when he launched his product and it came with a fucking cast iron waffle maker and infused syrup!

No part of me hated that story. Shout out to Stefan. Now tell me the story about how you got into mushrooms. It was pretty recent, right?

Oh, let me tell you, I did mushrooms in high school and they were the shitake! No, it wasn’t that long ago. Microdosing psilocybin was introduced to me through the process of grief. I dabbled a little after my dad passed away, and then shortly after, my mom died and I microdosed almost daily after that. It was almost like that door that Rose was greedy with in the movie Titanic. She had enough room for Jack! Rose was a greedy bitch, but shrooms offered me the door. Shrooms were like, you’re drowning in this cold ass water, just come on out of the water for a minute and catch your breath. When it comes to microdosing, it’s such a gentle introduction into what psilocybin can offer. From my experience, I entered low and slow. I always go low and slow with anything in my life now. I realize the value of just slowing down and letting things inform me. That’s the thing about psilocybin, it’s a very informative medicine, especially if you let yourself be introduced to it on a microdosing level.

Photo by Rebecca Perry

Did you take a tour guide with you on your first walk with psilocybin?

My friend Jackie, who is like one of my soul sisters, has been somewhat of a psychedelic guide for me in helping introduce me into that world and to enter it with caution while being mindful. I’ve been really fortunate to be introduced by people who have a lot of experience and understand its value as an evolutionary tool for an individual. I’ve also been mindful of its implementation into my life and done a lot of research because I’m a fucking Virgo and I like to know things. I like to know what I’m putting in my body because if it’s a dick I’m like, ok. But a mushroom? Wait a minute now! 

Guilty. And we’re light years away from shrooms dipped in ranch in high school. What were we even doing?

I feel like it’s a great space to get into after your brain is developed and you’re an adult. Being experimental with something that can provide a real holistic and honest experience, that would add to your life. With psilocybin, your feet are on the ground. You’re just allowing your mind to pixelate a little. You’re allowing your mind to unravel those tethered vines that are ancestral, traumatic, and consequential. We have such a hold on ourselves. We’re functioning from a place of survival and most of us have a story that has a traumatic experience or event that we haven’t fully healed from. Although we’re able to navigate life beyond that, it doesn’t mean that the effects of it haven’t been detrimental. Emotional stress causes physical stress in our bodies, and mushrooms are the key to healing from our emotional Pandora’s box. That’s what I truly believe, and that’s just from a microdosing experience. I haven’t gone fully into the void, but I am for my 40th birthday this year. I wanted to make it special and be with certain people who have helped me through the hardest times of my life. I got a whole bunch of shrooms, I got a whole bunch of avocados, and I got a whole bunch of teddy bears. We’re hoping for the best.

Wait, is that a thing to have avocados and teddy bears?

Bitch, I don’t know! But they’re all mushy and soft and that’s what I need to hold on to! I need healthy fats! This is my journey!

Follow Jessimae Peluso on Instagram.

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Microdosing Psychedelics: Benefits & Detractions

Microdosing is quite the buzz term these days, and for good reason. Microdosing psychedelics is gaining popularity, and the practice seems to offer great benefits to users. What’s the difference between microdosing psychedelics and taking a full dose? And what benefits and detractions does it come with? Read on to find out more.

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The art of the microdose

Microdose’ is certainly a buzz word these days, but what exactly does it mean? And does it only apply to psychedelics? A microdose is akin to taking a very small dose of a medication. In the world of psychedelics, somewhere between 1/10-1/20 of a standard dose. Most psychedelics deal in very tiny amounts. A standard dose of LSD is about 100-200 micrograms, which makes a microdose about 10-20 micrograms. A microdose of magic mushrooms is about .1-.5 grams. The concept of microdosing is used for all psychedelics, including LSD, MDMA, mushrooms, DMT, and mescaline.

The pharmaceutical definition is a bit different, as it doesn’t apply specifically to psychedelics. This definition makes the stipulation of “Less than 1/100th of the dose of a test substance calculated (based on animal data) to yield a pharmacologic effect of the test substance with a maximum dose of 100 micrograms.” In science, “This very low, subtherapeutic dose is used to study cellular response of substances.” Of course, using psychedelics isn’t the same as undergoing scientific research. For our purposes, a microdose is the 1/10-1/20 amount.

There’s nothing specific to psychedelics when it comes to the concept of microdosing, but whereas many drugs don’t offer benefits when taken at lower levels, psychedelics do. With psychedelics, a user can have a different experience entirely depending on the amount taken. This does apply in other places, like with cannabis, which is also gaining prominence for its microdose capabilities. Other drugs might provide a similar situation. Since a microdose is simply a small dose, so long as a drug has effects at the dose level, then a microdose is possible.

Microdosing mushrooms

A microdose is not meant to have the same effects as a standard dose. For some people who are all about big trips and powerful effects, this probably isn’t desired. Microdosing psychedelics is a way to get a minimal response. This is beneficial for people who have a harder time taking larger amounts because of bad trips, or for people who want to gain effects without getting completely blasted. There are a lot of reasons why a microdose is preferred, and a lot of them have to do with the effects that a microdose produces.

What happens when you microdose?

Why are people opting for a tiny, barely-perceptible dose, rather than a nice large dose that’ll have them seeing colors and tripping out? For exactly that reason. Not everyone wants to completely trip out. Not everyone wants their experience to include messing with their perception or cognition. Microdosing psychedelics comes with separate, and more subtle, effects.

A regular psychedelic trip causes all kinds of hallucinations, and makes it hard for a person to follow what’s actually going on in life. Plus, psychedelics come with a strong enough stimulant effect to create bad trips in some users, and to keep a person up for many hours. Microdosing offers the ability to consume a small amount of the same substance, but without the massive hallucinations, cognition or perception alterations, and without as much physiological response.

Microdosing is eyed for improving mood and focus in users, as well as increasing creativity, and promoting better mental health. But it should be remembered, psychedelics are not preferred by everyone, and even microdosing comes with detractions that are experienced by some users. Reading only headlines might indicate that microdosing is the new cure-all, but in fact, it comes with some of the same issues as standard doses.

What research says about microdosing psychedelics

The first thing I noticed when looking at research into microdosing psychedelics, is that clinical trials tell a different story than the glowing headlines that speak of microdosing like the answer to all things. And this makes sense. Almost nothing is ever as good as the hype. Though it might offer benefits to some, like with anything else, it does come with issues to be wary of. Whether you’re microdosing just for funsies, or microdosing for the treatment of depression or PTSD, there are things to consider.

In this study from 2019 called Psychedelic microdosing benefits and challenges: an empirical codebook, researchers took a look at benefits and detractions of microdosing different psychedelic substances. To do this, researchers took reports from 278 people that microdose in the real world.

Microdosing
Microdosing

They found that there were certainly positive benefits experienced. For 26.6% of users it improved mood, and for 14.8% it increased focus. On the other end, a large 18.0% experienced physiological discomfort, with 6.7% reporting increased anxiety. Some write-ups on microdosing like to say that the doses are too small to experience physiological effects, but this study shows that’s not the case. And even at such small doses, 6.7% experienced anxiety.

Yet another study from 2020 backs up the idea that microdosing psychedelics can have great benefits, but can also have detractions. Called Mood and cognition after administration of low LSD doses in healthy volunteers: A placebo controlled dose-effect finding study, this investigation was “to determine the minimal dose of LSD needed to affect mood and cognition.” To do this, researchers created “A placebo-controlled within-subject study including 24 healthy participants,” which “was conducted to assess the acute effects of three LSD doses (5, 10, and 20 mcg) on measures of cognition, mood, and subjective experience, up until 6 h after administration.”

They measured cognition and subjective experience using the following scales: Psychomotor Vigilance Task, Digit Symbol Substitution Test, Cognitive Control Task, Profile of Mood States, and 5-Dimensional Altered States of Consciousness rating scale.

The results showed that between 5-20 micrograms of LSD increased positive mood (63% after 20 micrograms), friendliness, arousal, and attention (59% after 10 micrograms) for most subjects. It also caused negative experienced for some in the form of increased confusion at 20 micrograms, and increased anxiety as low as 5 micrograms. After 20 micrograms, the majority (63%) showed a decrease in concentration.

In their conclusion, researchers state, “analyses showed inter-individual variability in LSD effects on mood, cognition and subjective drug states.” They also point out that in terms of benefits for depression and anger, numbers were “based on half of the total observations, as only 48% of the observations showed a change from placebo after LSD administration.” And then they go on to say, “Furthermore, an increase in confusion (10 mcg) and anxiety (5, 20 mcg), and reduced feelings of concentration (20 mcg) and productivity (20 mcg) was found in the majority of the observations that were affected by LSD.”

They sum it up that their study “showed individual variation to the effects of the different LSD doses on mood. For instance, LSD increased positive mood (20mcg) but also induced unwanted effects such as increased anxiety (5 and 20 mcg), or confusion (10 mcg) in the majority of observations.” And that “Nevertheless, the present study showed that a low dose of LSD can have positive effects on mood, suggesting that anxiety induced by a low LSD dose does not notably interfere with other activities.”

Microdose
Microdose

What does this mean?

It’s hard to know when something comes out in the press, who exactly it applies to. A lot of great things are said about psychedelics these days, but that doesn’t mean the results apply to everyone, or that the story itself is told correctly. If you’re reading a purely glowing report on psychedelics that says anyone can benefit, and which doesn’t include the negatives, it’s nothing more than a fluff piece.

The reality is the same as it always was, things affect people differently. Psychedelics are stimulants, and stimulants cause anxiety and other feelings of discomfort in some users. Leaving this out in place of saying psychedelics can help everyone, is missing the point. Same as assuming that taking a smaller dose can’t come with similar detractions as a bigger dose. Understanding who psychedelics might help, and who they might not help, is important when it comes to treatment.

No, microdosing psychedelics isn’t a cure-all, and no, it won’t be effective for everyone. However, for people they work for, psychedelics seem to have positive benefits attached. In that sense, microdosing does offer a great way to access benefits of psychedelics, without going all-in. One of the biggest takeaways of the studies, however, is that microdose or not, psychedelics might not be best for everyone, and perhaps, could even create a negative experience. If you’re someone very reactive to stimulants, it might be best to look into a hallucinogen that won’t increase anxiety or cause discomfort.

Conclusion

Microdosing psychedelics is definitely the new thing, and for many people it offers tons of possibilities for mental health improvement. Having said that, everyone should be careful going in, as not everyone has the same experience.

Welcome all! You’ve made it to Cannadelics.com, a prime news source for independent coverage of the cannabis and psychedelics spaces. Join us frequently to stay updated on current events, and head over to the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, so you’re never late on getting the news.

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Microdosing Cannabis – The Keurig of Concentrates

Is microdosing cannabis even a thing? Who wants a single milligram of THC? The THC limit on edibles and concentrates is a common complaint with Canadian legalization. If anything, consumers wish for higher THC concentrations. But there is a market for microdosing cannabis. And a Toronto-based company is filling that niche. Djot, a division of […]

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New Study Shows Mood, Mental Health Improved by Microdosing Psilocybin

A study published in Scientific Reports on June 30 has presented evidence that psilocybin mushrooms have a noticeable effect on the mood and mental health of participants.

The study, called “Psilocybin microdosers demonstrate greater observed improvements in mood and mental health at one month relative to non-microdosing controls,” analyzed 1,133 subjects between November 2019 to May 2021. Baseline assessment was conducted at the beginning of the study, and then again between 22-35 days later.

Researchers analyzed the results of psilocybin microdosing combined with either lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus, or abbreviated as HE) or niacin (vitamin-B3) to identify “small- to medium-sized improvements in mood and mental health that were generally consistent across gender, age and presence of mental health concerns … improvements in psychomotor performance that were specific to older adults.” The study refers to these combinations as “stacking.”

The study abstract notes that combining psilocybin with HE or B3 “did not impact changes in mood and mental health,” however, older participants did experience psychomotor improvements through either just psilocybin, or psilocybin and HE.

The research was written by numerous authors including Paul Stamets, as well as Joseph M. Rootman of University of British Columbia’s Department of Psychology. According to an interview with Forbes, Rootman is certain that the work being conducted now will help lead to more revelations in the future. “This study is an extension of our earlier manuscript published in the same journal, and we have further publications in preparation that are based on this same study,” said Rootman. “Our team has also been working hard to develop the next version of the study which will be used to generate findings related to psychedelic microdosing for years to come.”

Rootman also clarified that the study did not require just one type of mushroom variety. Rather, researchers simply observed the patient’s recorded experiences, which ranged between low, medium, or high microdosed amounts of mushrooms (0.1 grams, 0.1-0.3 grams, or more than 0.3 grams, respectively). “We found that about 10% of our microdosing sample in this study reported high dosages, 72.6% reported medium dosages, and 16.8% reported low dosages,” Rootman added.

The study description shares the authors’ collective belief that this is one of the first studies of its kind, but requires more research in order to build up a foundation to showcase how psilocybin can benefit human participants. “Further research with control groups and large samples that allow for the examination of potential moderators such as mental health status, age, and gender are required to better appreciate the health consequences of this emerging phenomenon,” the authors concluded. “In the present study, we aim to extend this literature by examining prospective changes associated with microdosing psilocybin as compared to a non-microdosing control group on domains of mental health, mood, and cognitive and psychomotor functioning. To our knowledge, this is the largest prospective study to date of microdosing psilocybin, the first to distinguish between microdosing admixtures (i.e., stacking), and among the few prospective studies to systematically disaggregate analyses according to age and mental health concerns.”

Gradually, more evidence is being collected in studies such as this one. However it is not yet enough to convince those who oppose the use of medical psilocybin. At the end of June, Linn County, Oregon announced the approval of a voter’s initiative to ban psilocybin therapy and treatment centers (even though the rest of the state will embrace the voter-approved psilocybin therapy program that is slated to begin in 2023).

Earlier last month, a South Africa-based study found that psilocybin can help treat women with HIV and depression. Another study from April also discovered that psilocybin has potential as a treatment for depression. In May, activists from Right to Try organization recently protested outside of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s headquarters in Virginia to bring attention to patients who could use psilocybin to improve their quality of life.

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The Industry’s Identity Crisis: Our Escape Has Gone Corporate

Remember when weed was fun? We used to love it here. Now it sometimes feels like a chore. The fuck’s up with that? Well friends, here’s the sad truth: pot ain’t what it used to be, for a lot of reasons.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s go over how many of us got here:

Cannabis has long been a vibrant subculture – or counterculture. A plant that seemingly brought people together, helped them forget their problems for a while, and gave many of us outsiders – or weirdos, if you will – a way to find our tribe, hooked us all – though maybe not in the traditional ‘addictive’ sense. From the love of the plant, a community grew. And while much of the world laughed at us, we championed each other, and as a result, we flourished.

But good times don’t last forever, and I’m sorry to say, our inside joke got out, and now everybody’s in on it.

Early Days

Keeping an eye on ‘who we were’ for a sec, and before we get into some harsh realities, it’s important to note just how attractive we actually are. Many, if not all, of the most fun people I know, came to me through the plant – long before I was some High Times guy that people wanted to talk to. There’s a cool factor that comes with doing your own thing, and our community exudes that in spades. Some call it not giving a fuck, but to me it’s that search for originality – the act of finding yourself – that’s largely provided to us by the plant. While people often say things like ‘weed makes people friendly’, I think the truth is it actually just makes you more comfortable with who you truly are – and that’s a beautiful gift.

One of the most common things I hear when interviewing those I consider real heads – from cultivators, to trappers, to lifers – is that they got into the industry to fund, or grow their habit. While maybe they were also attracted by what they believed to be ‘riches’ at the time, it was the ability to make their own way that sealed the deal. We all wanted to blaze our own trail, and invest in this thing we truly loved. Most of us knew nothing about taxes, or compliance. We were outlaws, rebels.

It’s hard to say it was always easy, and we had more than our fair share of casualties. From fighting the federal prohibition and avoiding jail time to ducking into alleys to light up, it hardened us, and we had earned our places in this growing economy.

Now flash forward a few years, a piecemeal legalization, an insane tax structure in pretty much every state, and a whole lot of new, clean faces – what the fuck happened?

Coming of Age

Say what you will about where shit’s gotten, it’s hard to deny that things have largely worked out for us so far. We’re not getting locked up as much. We can be more open about our passions. Cannabis brands are worth billions of dollars, and many of our icons have become kings; fans still mob Cheech and Chong meet & greets, the Dead’s still touring – and with one of the biggest mainstream pop stars of our time, no less. Now Netflix is making shows about us, FOX News is talking about edibles – and with that, friends, we’ve jumped the shark.

Flash forward to today and the THC rat race is killing us, and publicists have decided microdosing is the wave. No one’s making the money they’re used to, and I know how frustrating it is to see a slew of new products coming to market that seem designed for anyone but you.

One of the most common misconceptions about legalization is that it was going to create more space for us. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but what we were actually making room for was them. The outsiders. Those NOT in-the-know. Now while that may seem scary, it’s important to note that this is part of the process. Growing up is uncomfortable, but one of the first things you realize in your journey to maturity is that the world is a lot bigger than you. Creating space for something you love doesn’t mean you get to just clone yourself a dozen times to enjoy it 12x as much. It means you’re introducing your love to the world, and the world might not see her the same way you do. That’s a scary thing!

But recall, we were once on the outside too, and we did alright.

An even scarier thing perhaps is all the new players flooding the field. Not consumers, but VCs and executives from other ‘restrictive’ industries telling us how to sell our products. There’s no shortage of new money and new interest coming in to get a slice of the pie.

In order to get to the next level, we should acknowledge a basic truth: in almost all situations, people fear change. While that’s far more a mental hurdle than an actual object to jump over, things are changing in a BIG way right now. It’s natural to feel uneasy. Hold fast, and keep in mind that despite the turbulence, we’re moving in the right direction. We’ll have to learn some new tricks, and we’re not out of the fight, but pressure makes diamonds, and no one changes the world by staying comfortable. (Remember, we weren’t for a LONG time…) And don’t forget, we have home court advantage here.

All Grown Up

While I might’ve already turned most of you off by refusing to sugarcoat the reality we’re facing, the original intention of this piece was to offer some suggestions that may help with this changing landscape. I’m no scholar, and I’m not running your business, so take this as a guide more than commandments – I’m not Moses – but I’ve got a few ideas that I believe will help ensure you see the next level of this tower we’re building.

First, I know we all think ‘corporate’ is code for the Deathstar, but remember, if you do anything well for long enough, you eventually become the man. I know we all grew up saying damn that guy, but there are very real reasons why once your success reaches unmanageable heights, people hire a team. You’ve already done this, you’ve just got to take it to the next level now, and that’s what going corporate means. We’ve largely created the stigma we’re worried about. You probably don’t know the best tax loopholes, and compliance shortcuts – that’s why you hire an expert. A corporation, when built properly, is just a well-staffed group of experts with the support structures necessary to tackle bigger problems. A lot of cooks will enter the kitchen, and there will be many more conversations before taking action, but it kinda sounds like the dream not to have to worry about filing your own paperwork, no?

Next, and an example I make often, is that I’ve never had a problem taking money from rich kids. They usually don’t value it as much as you will, and they can afford to take more shots if they screw up so they’re not as worried about failure – utilize their blessings to get your goals accomplished, whatever that may be.

We will often need them to surpass the compliance hurdles legalization has placed on us. That said, be careful not to let the money dictate the conversation. You see, in MOST of these situations, the money is coming to you because you know what’s up. As long as you don’t let them forget that YOU are what they’re investing in, money’s helpful for a lot.

Another important thing to remember is that we’re in a race to the bottom right now. As all the new money tries to ‘achieve scale’ trying to make every step in the process as bottom-line effective as possible – which largely seems to mean in their minds ‘be so big we can tell the market what it wants’, they are losing hundreds of millions learning the market doesn’t want to buy boof, and values quality. As a real consumer, you know this. They largely don’t. That will change with time, and the only thing that will retain its value through this process, that they will eventually have to acknowledge and PAY FOR, is your experience. Your expertise. Now that may mean we’re in for a few rough years, no question. It might also mean some of you who have run your own businesses forever will go from owners to employees – that’s a hard pill to swallow.

The thing to keep in mind is, you can build a much bigger ship when you don’t do it alone, just focusing on your strengths. There’s an old adage ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, build a team’, and that holds especially true here. It’s the corporate point again, right? Would you rather make $5 million by yourself, or collect 10% of $500 million? I’ve written a lot about the successes of players who have succeeded largely off of the strength of the network they’ve built. You don’t have to say you learned it from them, but please, take note. There’s an important lesson there. We’re not playing the same game anymore, and you’ve got to evolve to survive.

Maturity

This last point may lose the rest of you, but try to stick with me, we’re almost there. Remember what I said earlier about that beautiful gift? Well the thing is, while showing us and helping us accept and appreciate who we are individually, it actually doesn’t always make us the most accepting of others who don’t fit a similar mold. Try not to take that as a slight, but as something to open your eyes to. It’s not an accusation, just something you should look for in your own actions, before you tear down the ideas of others. We don’t all have the same perspective – this is the root of why diversity is so important.

While I am absolutely not saying these new guys know what they’re doing, I am saying our overconfidence can sometimes be a turn off to outsiders who don’t get us yet, and that can hinder us more than benefit. Just think about how polarizing social media has gotten. We can’t even mention Sexism without a thousand individual and unaffected perspectives trying to tear down the basic notion based on their personal experiences. It gets visceral.

We need to remember to look outside ourselves, and when necessary, help them see your perspective from a place of understanding, not judgment. This is something I definitely need to work on myself, but I know will help many of you as well. Ego should be all of our biggest enemies.

If there’s one thing us lifers have in common, it’s that we’re here for the long haul. We’re not going anywhere – we couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. While most of these fair-weather fans will head for the new wave once the next billion dollar opportunity comes along (thanks Web3), we’ll still be here. But let’s not make the party we’re having unattractive to outsiders, because we’ll always need customers.

Finally, I often joke that most of the industry’s problems stem from the fact that not enough people involved in the supply chain are smoking. That’s especially true for all the new faces joining us to take advantage of the supposed ‘gold rush’. But a lot of the ones that are, also typically ain’t high enough (trust, I’m going to get to the withdrawal conversation at some point…) and we can all use each other’s understanding as we navigate through this trying time. I don’t know about you guys, but my love of weed is one of the only things in my life I’ve never had to fake, and we are finally in a time where we can celebrate that around the clock basically anywhere. Don’t forget how many people died, and went to jail, for this luxury (or basic human right, whatever). Things COULD be looking better than ever before, it’s just a matter of perspective. We’ll get there.

The post The Industry’s Identity Crisis: Our Escape Has Gone Corporate appeared first on High Times.

The Great Cannabis Microdosing PR Conspiracy

They’re Out To Get Us

Let’s go to Costco and get the big tinfoil guy. We’re not making hats, we’re making suits of armor as we decide whether microdosing in cannabis is a PR conspiracy to make a little bit of pot worth a lotta bit of money, or at least a lotta bit more.

“Jim, what is this madness?” you ask as you peel back your aluminum face shield.

Defining the Conspiracy

The most fundamental idea of the conspiracy is that microdosing was never about consumer safety. Consumer safety was a Trojan Horse hiding an artificial bar for competition in the marketplace played by Brad Pitt. The premise being if you can only put 100mg of cannabis inside of an infused product people won’t be purchasing based on value anymore and the little guy that wants to create a product for you can’t anymore.

The financial aspect of it is pretty sad. In the process of preventing consumers’ access, they also blocked a wave of operators who based their sales model on value for being competitive in the marketplace. Overnight it turned into a battle of flavors and suckers since everything had the same dosage.

Worse off than our pockets? The patients!!!

Clear Evidence

I’ll use Korova’s 1000mg Black Bar as an example; it was predated by their 500mg 51/50 bar. Both were wildly popular with patients, I may have sold six figures worth myself in Berkeley at CBCB where I still work to this day. 

Korova first burst onto the scene in the early 2010s with a lineup of a few cookies and the 51/50. While Bhang Chocolates would get the nod on the earliest lad testing data on their edibles for potency, Korova was right there on their heels as the first baked goods company of note to do it.

Patients loved it. For $20 they could get a 51/50 bar and cut it into squares. The 500mg would go a long way for people on a fixed income that used cannabis as medicine. Korova saw the popularity and launched the 1000mg Black Bar a year later. They became attached to that quality of life they could more readily afford.

Then it all changed on January 1, 2018. The Black Bars went into the freezer the night prior. Patients and advocates thought there might be some fix. But now over four years removed from that day, we know they were unfortunately wrong.  

Smoke & Mirrors

Nothing has ever really come along to fill the high dosage gap that was left by the quest for the almighty dollar. Because how could it have been about safety? Today, as you read this, around 29 people will die in a car collision that involves a drunk driver. So the idea we have to deny the sick access to affordable medicine under the guise of public safety while people are dying over recreational substances is gross.

The sheer economics those patients face now is horrendous. That $40 for 1000mg could now easily run over $100. With that $100 figure based off $10 per 100mg. While probably below average for anything decent to be fair, you’re still talking about a number that is 150% higher than four years ago.

And while it’s easy to focus on the patients. Don’t forget the small farmers. How many people would love to be making high dosage edibles? The dosage cap pushes the industry further towards mass production because you’re making so many more products with the same amount of pot. Again making it difficult for the little guy that may want to do low-dose edibles. How is their standard operating procedure supposed to be competitive with the industry’s monsters?

It’s not. It never will be. At this point, the mom and pops that strayed in on the edible side are surviving off the reputation they built in years past. Sure the big dog can pump out their gummies a few bucks cheaper and ride those lowest costs all the way to shelves but what did they ever do for the game?

In Conclusion

For all these reasons, it’s easy to understand why people get a little skeptical of the 100mg THC cap on edibles. But even once you take the tinfoil off, it’s certainly fair to ask questions. Who is benefitting from it? Are we any safer? Who isn’t able to afford the same quality of life because of it? When you run down the answers to those questions it’s hard to understand why we’re not talking about getting rid of at least a little.

The idea of reform is weird. We all agree the merger of Proposition 64 and California’s forthcoming medical marijuana regulations at the time was a shit show. Yet we refuse to go back and talk about the biggest mistakes that impacted the sick and not just the industry.

The conspiracy in psychedelic microdosing is even scarier. The theory there is that everyone is trying to convince us to microdose, instead of macrodose, so it’s trickier to talk to God. Wild.

The post The Great Cannabis Microdosing PR Conspiracy appeared first on High Times.

Psychedelics: Silicon Valley and Microdosing

“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money.” – Steve Jobs

When we think of the modern, booming technological industry it’s hard not to think of the hard working brainiacs that occupy an area of southern san francisco in california that is now nicknamed silicon valley. Hosting some of the most famous tech companies, including Google, Apple and Netflix headquarters, the silicon valley is the place to go for all aspiring tech folk. But, what’s the secret behind the seemingly endless inspiration and productivity found behind those walls? Well recently, many tech folk have come out and said that they are indulging in the practice of microdosing to increase their productivity. Recent interviews and surveys have brought to light the seemingly symbiotic relationship between tech companies and hallucinogens.

Many Silicon Valley workers have come out and said that they frequently microdose shrooms and LSD to help them think outside of the box, as well as making them more productive. But what’s the reasoning behind this? Is there any science to back up these claims of increased creativity and productivity? And who are the silicon valley tech workers using this new method of psychedelia? 

Psychedelics are becoming increasingly mainstream with each passing day, even for the tech giants of Silicon Valley, and beyond. For more articles like this one, remember to subscribe to the Psychedelics Weekly Newsletteryour top source for everything related to this growing and important industry.


Silicon Valley 

Before we delve into the world of microdosing and its effects on productivity, let’s first glance back over the history of the silicon valley. Silicon Valley first became linked to technology in the 1950’s when the transistor was manufactured there. William Shockley developed the first transistor in 1956 in Santa Clara. The transistor is a device that allowed electrical signals to be amplified and switched in circuits, they are very important and are mainstays in all electronic circuits.

The transistor invented by William Shockley was particularly important as it used silicon, a very conductive metal. Shockley was part of a company he’d founded called Bell Laboratories (now part of Nokia). Shockley and his team won a nobel prize for their work and Santa Clara became the new hub of technological advancements, picking up a nickname from the metal Shockley had used, Silicon Valley.

Silicon valley then became home to many naval developments in the 60’s and 70’s as the US pumped money into the region for technological development in an attempt to beat the USSR in a technological arms race. As the 80’s and 90’s came in, silicon valley moved from naval and governmental developments and became a hub for independent technological companies. Apple inc, Google, Facebook all set up their headquarters in the bustling technological centre of the United states.

Steve Jobs & Drugs

It’s pretty widely known that Steve Jobs, one of the most recognisable Silicon Valley celebrities, was an advocate of getting high. In multiple interviews he was quoted as saying that taking LSD was one of the most important experiences of his life. From an interview in Network World about his life in the early 70’s, Jobs said “Throughout that period of time I used LSD approximately ten to fifteen times. I would ingest the LSD on a sugar cube or in a hard form of gelatin. I would usually take the LSD when I was by myself.

I have no words to explain the effect the LSD had on me, although, I can say it was a positive life changing experience for me and I am glad I went through that experience.” Jobs claimed that the LSD was crucial for his creative processes. Many of these quotes came from interviews Jobs had to give to the pentagon, who ran the interviews as they were worried he would be blackmailed due to his role with Pixar’s Image Computer, used for rendering information from high security reconnaissance flights.

It’s clear that Jobs was a big fan of tripping to access higher levels of creativity, but it’s hard to imagine a modern day tech worker taking a large dose of Acid before a shift, so how can they follow in Steve Job’s footsteps without tripping too hard at work? Well, the answer may be microdosing.

What is Microdosing?

Microdosing is the consumption of a small dose of a drug, small enough that you don’t feel any of the explicit psychoactive effects of the drug, but enough to reap the benefits. When it comes to the amount of drug used in a normal microdose, it can vary depending on what drug is being used. In Vince Polito and Richard Stephenson’s comprehensive review of Microdosing, it’s stated that: “Typical doses can be as small as one twentieth of a typical recreational dose, sometimes even less.

So, for example, a microdose of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) might be 6–25 micrograms, or a microdose of psilocybin might be .1 to .5 grams of dried mushrooms”. As you probably can tell, this really isn’t much. A macro dose of LSD and psilocybin can result in altered perceptions of the world as well as feelings of connection to nature and clearer thought processes. In microdosing, these effects are felt at a smaller, or micro, level.

Many perceived benefits of microdosing are reported by users, including: increased creativity, vitality, social ability, mood and the list goes on. Modern Microdosing gained popularity through the work of one researcher in particular, James Faidman. Faidman wrote a fascinating book called The Psychedelic explorer’s guide, in which he discusses the potential benefits of taking small amounts of psychedelic drugs in day to day life, again reporting benefits to creativity and productivity. Faidman is indeed a vocal supporter of microdosing, and his book is well worth reading for an in depth discussion on the topic.

The Benefits of Microdosing

So, we know what microdosing is and the supposed benefits, but where’s the research. As Microdosing involves the taking of illicit subjects such as LSD and Psilocybin, both schedule 1 drugs and with a large amount of taboo around them, there is actually very little laboratory research on their benefits. However, research is changing and now labs are taking psychedelics seriously, there is a growing amount of evidence in support of microdosing’s benefits on mental health. A large amount of earlier research was done on macro-dosing, showing the benefits psychedelic drugs have on disorders such as depression.

A fantastic study showed that psilocybin reduced depression in terminally ill patients more strongly than antidepressants could. This study was double blind, meaning that the participants and researchers had no idea who was in placebo and who had the psilocybin, showing that the effects were indeed due to the drug. When it comes to research on microdosing, there is certainly a smaller pool to choose from. A set of interviews by Petter Johnstad found reported benefits in self proclaimed microdosers in their creativity and productivity. Another study by Prozchazkova looked at changes in creativity in an intelligence task before and after microdosing. They found increases in creative thinking after the microdose.

However we must be cautious. This study, though promising, had no control group, no placebo. It is therefore impossible to truly know whether or not the effects recorded were from the microdose or a placebo effect. In fact many researchers dismiss any positive effects from microdosing as placebo effects generally. I believe though, that the research is there and the benefits are clear to see. So, how do workers in silicon valley harvest these benefits?  

Microdosing & Silicon Valley 

Silicon valley was one of the original hubs for microdosing. In the high intensity, competitive environment researchers and technicians needed an extra edge to get ahead creatively. Following in the footsteps of Steve Jobs, many people took to psychedelics for inspiration. The creative benefits are clear to see and so it makes sense that some tech folk still swear by microdosing. In an excellent article by Rolling Stone, a young worker in a tech startup in San Francisco is quoted as saying that he uses microdosing in the workplace “to feel a little bit of energy lift, a little bit of insight, but not so much that you are tripping.”

In the same article, James Faidman claims that silicon valley in particular attracts people to microdosing because it’s full of “übersmart twentysomething curious to see whether microdosing will help him or her work through technical problems and become more innovative.” Perhaps that’s true, that the type of person who is drawn to the hyper competitive, creative world of tech is more willing to experiment with the avenues of expanding their cognitive abilities.

Conclusion 

So it’s pretty clear to see that many people based within the silicon valley swear by microdosing. The benefits are beginning to be studied scientifically and of course, many of the original celebrities of silicon valley (Steve Jobs) swore by it, so maybe it’s worth giving it a try. My one word of advice is to make sure that if you are going to microdose hallucinogens at work, make sure it’s a microdose. Though  macro-doses of LSD and psilocybin have their benefits, they’re probably not best used at a morning conference call surrounded by peers and your employers.

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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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