Self-blinding citizen science to explore psychedelic microdosing

Spread the love
. 2021 Mar 2;10:e62878.

doi: 10.7554/eLife.62878.

Affiliations

Item in Clipboard

Balázs Szigeti et al. Elife. .

Abstract

Microdosing is the practice of regularly using low doses of psychedelic drugs. Anecdotal reports suggest that microdosing enhances well-being and cognition; however, such accounts are potentially biased by the placebo effect. This study used a ‘self-blinding’ citizen science initiative, where participants were given online instructions on how to incorporate placebo control into their microdosing routine without clinical supervision. The study was completed by 191 participants, making it the largest placebo-controlled trial on psychedelics to-date. All psychological outcomes improved significantly from baseline to after the 4 weeks long dose period for the microdose group; however, the placebo group also improved and no significant between-groups differences were observed. Acute (emotional state, drug intensity, mood, energy, and creativity) and post-acute (anxiety) scales showed small, but significant microdose vs. placebo differences; however, these results can be explained by participants breaking blind. The findings suggest that anecdotal benefits of microdosing can be explained by the placebo effect.

Keywords: citizen science; expectations; human; medicine; microdosing; neuroscience; placebo; psychedelics; self-blinding.

Plain Language Summary

Psychedelic psychotherapy, therapy enhanced with psychedelic drugs such as LSD or psilocybin (the active ingredient of ‘magic mushrooms’), has been suggested to improve psychological well-being. For this reason, trials on psychedelic therapy for the treatment of depression, addiction and other conditions are ongoing. Recently, ‘microdosing’ – a way of administering psychedelics that involves taking about 10% of a recreational dose two or three times per week – has gained popularity. Unlike taking large doses of psychedelics, microdosing does not induce hallucinations, but anecdotal reports suggest that it yields similar benefits as psychedelic therapy. A key feature of modern medicine are ‘placebo control’ studies that compare two groups of patients: one that takes a drug and another that takes inactive pills, known as placebos. Crucially, neither group knows whether they are taking drug or placebo. This control ensures that observed effects are due to the drug itself and not to unrelated psychological causes. For example, in trials of mood medicines, participants often expect to feel happier, which in itself improves their mood even when taking a placebo. This is known as the placebo effect. Restrictive drug policies make placebo-controlled studies on psychedelics difficult and expensive, in particular for microdosing, which involves taking psychedelics over a longer time period. To overcome this problem, Szigeti et al. developed a new citizen-science approach, where microdosers implemented their own placebo control based on online instructions. The advantages are the low cost and the ability to recruit participants globally. The experiment was completed by 191 microdosers, making it the largest placebo-controlled study on psychedelics to-date, for a fraction of the cost of an equivalent clinical study. The trial examined whether psychedelic microdosing can improve cognitive function and psychological well-being. The team found that microdosing significantly increased a number of psychological measures, such as well-being and life satisfaction. However, participants taking placebo also improved: there were no significant differences between the two groups. The findings confirmed positive anecdotes about microdosing improving people’s moods, but at the same time show that taking empty capsules, knowing they might be microdoses, have the same benefits. This result suggests that the observed benefits are not caused by the microdose, but rather by psychological expectations. The study’s innovative ‘do-it-yourself’ approach to placebo control may serve as a template for future citizen science studies on other popular phenomena where positive expectations and social factors could play a role, such as cannabidiol (CBD) oils, nootropics and nutrition.

Conflict of interest statement

BS, LK, AB, FR, AF, DN, RC, DE No competing interests declared

Schaka

Related Posts

Synthesis, characterization and stress-testing of a robust quillaja saponin stabilized oil-in-water phytocannabinoid nanoemulsion

Aurora Cannabis Faces Class-Action Lawsuit, Closing of Edmonton Facility

North Carolina Lawmakers May Postpone Vote on Medical Cannabis Legislation Until 2022

Dried matrix spots in forensic toxicology

Signez la pétition !!!

 

846 signatures

Pétition ASBL Cannabis Belgique

Pourquoi une pétition ?

Nous sommes des personnes qui en avons assez de devoir aller dans la rue et avoir affaire à des réseaux criminels sans savoir où cela va nous conduire par après.

Nous sommes des personnes ayant des maladies, qui pour certaines sont rares, et utilisant pour médication le cannabis sous diverses formes (CBD,THC,THCv,CBDa,,,) sous l'accord de notre médecin.

Nous sommes des personnes responsables et honnêtes qui avons une vie épanouie et sans problèmes de vie ou sociaux.

Nous avons également une passion pour la plante de cannabis en elle-même et la cultiver est notre bonheur. De plus, nous pouvons nous soigner avec notre médication sans avoir peur des produits ou autres additifs contenus dans une plante que l'on peut trouver autre part.

Nous souhaitons pouvoir avoir notre médicament dans les normes de la santé publique, car un cannabis sain aide à réduire les frais de santé parfois conséquents pour la collectivité et le malade lui-même.

Nous sommes également des personnes responsables avec un rôle dans la société qui en avons assez d’être considérés comme des « hippies ou autres drogués », nous avons juste choisi notre médication et celle-ci a apporté les preuves de son efficacité dans le monde.

Nous connaissons déjà les produits dérivés comme le CBD et le THC que nous maîtrisons pour nous aider dans notre maladie « Je précise que nous ne sommes pas médecin et que nous nous basons sur 20 ans d’expérience médicale du cannabis des membres de notre ASBL et l'avis du médecin de famille ».

Nous désirons simplement ne plus nous cacher, et pouvoir aider les autres personnes le souhaitant.

Nous somme soucieux des ados et de la prévention à leur égard. Effectivement, nous sommes les acteurs parfaits pour répondre aux questions qu’ils se posent vu notre expérience cannabique et, de plus, nous pourrons leur expliquer les risques qu’ils encourent en achetant du cannabis dans la rue.

Le projet complet peut être demandé via mail " info@mcb.care " et sur le site internet : " http://mcb.care "

@ASBL McB

**votre signature**

Partagez avec vos amis

Articles récents

Catégories