Psychedelics in the modern-day are associated with hippies and burnout, but was it always this way, and will that stereotype continue? In this article, the author takes an objective perspective towards psychedelics as the trend of microdosing becomes more notorious for individuals exploring it to heighten their cognitive capabilities.

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Throughout history, humanity has dabbled with elements that kindle the confounding capacity of the mind through hallucinations induced by psychedelia enchantment. From the Ancient Greeks consuming kykeon for the Eleusinian Mysteries to the Native Americans expressing their spiritual traditions with rituals involving peyote, psychedelic cognitive alteration is a widespread cultural practice that is not unusual in the past, but somewhat in the present. Only recently, since the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971—a treaty signed by countries partaking in the United Nations—made most psychedelics receive the classification as controlled substances. Granted denominating anything as illicit has not stopped some from doing it, despite the consequences.


The most popular psychedelics would consist of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), magic mushrooms (psilocybin mushrooms), and MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine). As for a brief explanation on the listed items in the previous sentence, Chemist Albert Hofmann made LSD—meaning it is synthetic—in 1938, and mistakenly discovered the mind-altering properties of LSD in 1943 after ingesting it. Magic mushrooms, on the other hand, are a genus of fungus that anthropologist estimate is about 10,000 years old. Lastly, MDMA is a chemical compound appearing in narcotics such as ecstasy or molly, which are common street-drugs. Overall, all the items described in the paragraph provide a user with similar psychedelic cognitive alteration, namely auditory, visual, and sensational delirium.


Now, despite the astonishing intoxicating effects of LSD and magic mushrooms, the Global Drug Survey group suggests psychedelics are not lethal when compared to alcohol or methamphetamine—MDMA is similar to cocaine in terms of medical emergencies.4 However, experts speculate long-term abuse of LSD or magic mushrooms in regular-dosages can result in peculiar psychedelic cognitive alteration, like psychosis, although the detection of any permanent issues is still developing in scientific investigations and debates.


LSD and magic mushrooms may not be dangerous, but do these psychedelics have any favorable effects?


Microdosing is an intriguing concept that breaks the fallacy of individuals administering psychedelics for recreational enjoyment, instead of consuming it to increase positive features (e.g. imagination and proficiency) of the mind. For another perspective on microdosing, visit Neuroscience News.  


Microdosing, in conventional definition, is infusing subjects with minuscule doses of chemicals that cause a biologic reaction in a being without triggering substantial consequences, thus allowing scientists or other professionals to study the impact of the compound at a cellular level. Nonetheless, some daring folks partake in the microdosing of LSD and magic mushrooms with the intent for beneficial psychedelic cognitive alteration, but is there any validity for the assumed result?


One study led by Vince Polito and Richard J. Stevenson from the Macquarie University in Australia suggests microdosing can assist someone with their ability to focus uninterrupted by deviating thoughts, indicating an improvement in focus, meaning more productivity. Subjects in the study also reported enhanced optimism, along with neurotic emotions, implying an intensification of sentiments. Unfortunately, researchers could not locate any hints of improved creative abilities—gauging creativity is notably difficult. Even so, the psychedelic cognitive alteration in this study revealed evidence of temporary effects (lasting a few days at most), contrary to the acclaimed perpetual ramifications from microdosing.5 With a summary of the results from the study in the previous paragraph in mind, perhaps microdosing could have merit as an alternative medication for persons afflicted by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.


Unquestionably, microdosing necessitates additional inquiries before any occurrence of trials for medical therapy to ensure the certainty of the psychedelic cognitive alteration of the method. Overall, microdosing seems promising, yet currently obscured due to the lack of validity accumulated through evidence.


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