Psychedelic drugs such as LSD, MDMA, and Psilocybin (the chemical that makes “Magic Mushrooms” magic) have been used for decades, in some cases even centuries. They’ve become illegal for a variety of political reasons. Studies have shown them to have positive benefits for addiction, resolving traumatic experiences, and depression.
But could they be a part of your stack? Can we consider these drugs nootropics? That’s what Smarter Nootropics has set out to answer.
Micro-dosing psychedelics for nootropic benefits
When you normally think of psychedelic drugs you think of the 60s, hippies in crowds, hallucinations and stumbling, incoherent people. That’s entirely normal when we talk about normal-sized doses. In fact, doses back in the 60s were, on average, twice as high as modern ones.
Yet there’s a trend towards even lower consumption. It’s called micro-dosing. The idea is you take a dose so low that you don’t get any of the trippy effects. You can function at work, act normally. Meanwhile, the tiny dose is stimulating the right parts of your brain.
Psilocybin as a nootropic
Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, has been tested in micro-doses. Psilocybin triggers serotonin receptors in the brain which results in an elevated mood. Mushroom use has also been linked to a general “opening” of the mind. New neural pathways are formed which improve introspection and self-criticism.
A dose of 2-3 grams of dried mushrooms is typical for a proper “trip”. In a micro-dosing scenario, you might just use a teaspoon of crushed plant material.
LSD as a nootropic
Perhaps the most-studied psychedelic of all time, LSD has been shown to have massive benefits for people in micro-doses. Government regulation makes it difficult to publish new studies these days, but that hasn’t stopped people from doing their own science.
Jim Fadiman gathered over 400 “micro-dosers” and recorded data on them. His research showed that the people who micro-dosed reported increased feelings of “determination, alertness, and energy.”
Users agree that a micro-dose of LSD improves mood and concentration. Odd considering that a large dose of LSD would have your mind scattered about. A typical LSD micro-dose is a tenth of a square from blotter paper.
MDMA as a nootropic
Another one that’s been studied, banned, and back in science vogue. MDMA shows the greatest potential in clinical settings for depression and addiction. However, its mood-enhancing effects and its ability to improve one’s social anxiety highlight its potential for micro-dosing.
The Australian PRISM organization, which stands for Psychedelic Research in Science and Medicine, has been actively testing MDMA and LSD in micro-doses. They mainly focus on PTSD patients. Doses are taken every 3 days, in amounts much smaller than the average raver would.
However, some individual users have posted negative reports. MDMA is known to drain the brain of 5-HTP, so pre-loading and post-loading 5-HTP could be a good idea.
Can psychedelics be used as a nootropic?
The answer is probably. This depends largely on you and your response to the drug in question. Though most clinical results seem to show small improvements over placebo, informal trials are very promising. The lack of research on micro-dosing means we have no choice but to become guinea pigs ourselves.
As far as safety is concerned, the three drugs mentioned have an excellent track record at much larger doses. A micro-dose should be perfectly safe, though it’s best not to combine them with SSRIs, a type of anti-depressant that can cause a negative effect called serotonin syndrome.
If you’ve tried micro-dosing these chemicals please let us know and leave a comment behind. Would you classify them as nootropics?