Microdose or Placebo?

Here’s an interesting question that I’m probably as good a person to contemplate publicly as anyone. In fact, I should actually pitch this to a legit publication because this stuff has become all the rage these days (which I didn’t really see coming when I wrote about it years back), but I’ve now been microdosed on psilocybin for what, like a year and a half at least at this point? It’s very subtle and this experiment has in total cost me roughly 15 bucks maybe. For a year and a half. I can’t imagine why this stuff is illegal. I just can’t imagine. I will say that if you take a wee bit too much, you definitely feel it and it has the opposite effect of making me focus (just like drinking too much coffee), but in very small doses every few days it’s pretty subtle. Sometimes you definitely feel it, other times you don’t.

The one argument I’d make on the non-placebo front is that on a few occasions I’ve just forgotten to dose, and I’ve noticed. I’ll be at work and just slightly more tired than usual and it hits me: oh yeah. Other than that it’s hard to say. I’ve had less bouts of sudden depression than I have in previous years, but that could be attributed to a lot of factors (like the drastic cuts to my drinking for instance). All my way of saying, I don’t really know if taking it at this low a dose is doing much more than making me think it’s doing something at this point. Good idea for an article Third Wave:

Microdosing is a treatment unlike any other. Take a tiny dose of a psychedelic twice a week for several weeks and you’ll barely notice a difference – until you start to realize how much better you’re feeling at the end of each day.

Microdosing requires careful self-reflection, miniscule doses, and barely-noticeable effects. Naturally, such a subtle treatment is bound to become subject to cries of “Placebo!” almost as soon as it hits the mainstream.

Despite the cynicism, current evidence supports microdosing as having a legitimate physiological effect. And considering the amazing healing benefits people are reporting from microdosing… should we even care if it’s a placebo?

A typical microdose of LSD is 10 micrograms. This is tens of thousands of times lower than a normal dose of modafinil. How then are people reporting similar effects from these very different doses?


A recent study investigating the way in which LSD binds to receptors in the brain could shed light on this question. Researchers found that when a molecule of LSD binds to the serotonin 2A receptor, it gets “hugged” into a molecular lock that has the potential to keep the receptor activated for several hours.

This supports the idea that such tiny doses of psychedelics could still have a physiological effect – they’re sticking around in the brain for much longer than normal substances.

Additionally, we know that 100ug of LSD is sometimes all it takes to propel people into a life-changing, ego-destroying psychedelic headspace – so it doesn’t seem unlikely that a tenth of that will still have some sort of effect in the brain.

Of course, they’re talking about LSD and I’m talking about mushrooms, but same difference I imagine. Much research needs to be done on this front.


Thad McKraken

Thad McKraken

Thad McKraken is a psychedelic writer, musician, visual artist, filmmaker, Occultist, and pug enthusiast based out of Seattle. He is the author of the books The Galactic Dialogue: Occult Initiations and Transmissions From Outside of Time, both of which can be picked up on Amazon super cheap.
Thad McKraken