Review of the State of the Art for Microdosing Psychedelics

As of July 2019 the state of the art for microdosing psychedelics is best described as a collection anecdotal reports from people taking unknown amounts of unknown drugs at wildly variable intervals.

On July 14th, 2019, the Journal of Psychopharmacology published a review of the state of the art of microdosing psychedelics.  The review highlights how the chemical variability in existing psychedelic compositions makes it virtually impossible to conduct medical research with those compositions.

The study concluded that there is presently a lack of scientific support of microdosing. This lack of support is caused by the community’s longstanding uncertainty regarding the chemical composition of microdosing formulations. Without standardizing the drug administered, it is impossible to draw valid scientific conclusions about whether or not it causes a particular clinical effect.

Professor David Nutt, Chair in Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London explained:

“Despite so much interest in the subject, we still don’t have any agreed scientific consensus on what microdosing is – like what constitutes a ‘micro’ dose, how often someone would take it, and even if there may be potential health effects.”

Presently, there is no standardized “dose,” largely because the materials used to make microdosing formulations vary wildly in chemical composition.  For example, in the above cited review, the authors note that magic mushrooms are one of the most popular compositions taken for microdosing. They also highlight the variability in the chemical composition of magic mushrooms.  See also Commentary by Dr. Torsten Passie. (“Plant/fungal material is generally quite unreliable for calculating a dose.”)

In addition to problems arising from chemical variability, microdosing “research” also fails to control for the subjects’ dosing regimen:

in practice, frequency [of dosing] may vary widely – from a few consecutive days, to weekdays – as may strength and potency of substances depending on what it is and where it’s from.”

Conclusion: Need for Standardized Microdosing Formulations

The chemical variability in psychedelic drugs makes it impossible to conduct controlled scientific studies, which are standard in medical science. Future research into microdosing will require measuring the effect of a treatment against a control or placebo group.  Such research will require administering a consistent amount of a known drug treatment. See “Unmet Need for Precise Dosing.”  Within the context of microdosing magic mushrooms, such a formulation would benefit from combining particular amounts of specific psilocybin derivatives in order to optimize the Entourage Effect for purposes of microdosing.


Kuypers, K. P., Ng, L., Erritzoe, D., Knudsen, G. M., Nichols, C. D., Nichols, D. E., … Nutt, D. (2019). Microdosing psychedelics: More questions than answers? An overview and suggestions for future research. Journal of Psychopharmacology.

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