Needed Improvements in “Microdosing” Education

Simple Improvements in Microdosing Education

  • For a variety of excellent reasons, many people are ingesting psilocybin (and “drugs” like LSD and cannabis) in amounts that don’t cause hallucinations.
  • Taking therapeutic amounts of these  drugs appears to help many people alleviate a variety of mood disorders without some of the side effects of prescription drugs.
  • A variety of educational resources and “experts” have started offering advice on “how to microdose psilocybin and other drugs.”

In this article we make two requests of the microdosing experts and advocates:
(1) Please use the correct language when describing the quantity of your prescribed dose; and
(2) Please consider referring to your suggested “dose” as “one dose” or “a dose” instead of implying that the drug is inherently intended for inducing hallucinations.

Current “experts” on Microdosing use the term “micro” incorrectly.

Standard SI Units. See “micro-” 5th from the bottom.

The term “micro,” represented by the Greek letter mu (µ), refers to 1/1000,000 of something (aka, 0.000001 or one millionth).  One microgram is 0.000001 grams; One micrometer is 0.000001 meters; etc..  The entire scientific community agrees that “micro” refers to 1/1000,000 of something.

Presently, experts and authorities in “microdosing” incorrectly use the term “micro” to refer to about one-tenth of “a dose.”   This may seem like a trivial point.  It is not.

First, incorrectly describing the quantity of a dose discredits the author’s advice about dosing. 

Second, referring to a prescribed dose as a tiny fraction of a full dose assumes that the drug is inherently meant for inducing hallucinations.  Describing one dose of the drug as a mood enhancing substance would present a better message.  Following that logic, caution users that taking 10x the advised amount (ten doses) could lead to intoxication, such as hallucinations.

Don’t Say “One Millionth” when you mean “One Tenth.”

If the amount of the “dose” is the whole point of your message, please describe the amount correctly.  If your reference “dose” is between 1 – 5 grams, don’t describe 0.1 – 0.5 grams as a “micro-dose.”  Using the 1 -5 gram reference dose,  a “micro-dose” would be 0.000001 – 0.000001 grams –  or one-millionth of the reference amount.

Presently, the expert advice for “microdosing” directly contradicts the plain meaning of the term. Micro-dose means one-millionth of a dose.  To be clear, those numbers are off by a factor of 100,000.  Many people might find such a contradiction confusing.  Imagine asking for a cup of coffee and receiving 100,000 cups of coffee.  That seems like a big mistake.  It’s worse.  This big mistake is directly related to your field of expertise.  How can someone trust “experts” in the field of microdosing when they incorrectly describe dosing?

Why not refer to the “therapeutic amount” as one dose?

Wouldn’t it be better to refer to the therapeutic dose as “one dose”?

Contains Psilocybin;
Useful for treating depression and anxiety in some people;
Exactly 100 mg per tablet;
Serving Size = 1 tablet.
** Caution: taking multiple servings may result in psychedelic effects

Referring to the suggested therapeutic dose as some tiny fraction of a “full” dose sends the wrong message.  This description implies that the drug is somehow “a psychedelic” or a “hallucinogen.”  It assumes that the drug is meant for inducing hallucinations; and that taking less than a full dose might provide some sort of off-label benefit.  This is not a good way to frame the conversation.

Instead, maybe describe psilocybin as an excellent therapeutic substance.  And, maybe taking 10x the advised amount causes intoxication or psychedelic effects.  This story seems consistent with other substances that have gained mainstream acceptance.  Drinking 1-2 servings of beer provides a social, relaxing benefit but drinking 10-20 servings of beer gets you intoxicated.  The alcohol industry does not teach people that beer is meant to be consumed 10-20 cans at time…. but that drinking one-tenth of that amount would provide some benefits without getting the “full effects.”

2 thoughts on “Needed Improvements in “Microdosing” Education

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