LSD Microdosing: What You Need to Know

By Taylor Davis

LSD brain researchTreatment for anxiety and depression can come in all shapes and sizes, including prescription medications, behavioral therapy and natural supplements. But one alternative to these traditional treatments is currently on the rise among young professionals in Silicon Valley: LSD microdosing.

Some people pursue LSD microdosing to better manage long-standing depression or anxiety unresolved by prescription drugs. Others have begun microdosing as a way to enhance productivity and gain a competitive edge in the workplace.1

So how does LSD microdosing work? Let’s take a closer look.

What Is LSD Microdosing?

LSD microdosing is when an individual takes a small dose of psychedelics a few times over several days. These doses are typically 10 micrograms, which is roughly one-tenth of a standard recreational dose. With this small dose, users do not experience a trip or a hallucination but can see increased levels of concentration to help improve their creativity and clarity.2 It has been likened to taking prescription medications such as Ritalin and Adderall for attention deficit disorders.1

Does It Work?

While there are many anecdotal reports of individuals taking LSD in small doses as a way to deal with anxiety, the jury is still out on its effectiveness. There has not been a single controlled trial or any hard data supporting LSD microdosing as a valid treatment. However, multiple studies are currently underway to determine if it improves brain connectivity or if it activates dopamine pathways.2

For example, at the Psychedelic Science 2017 summit, James Fadiman shared initial findings from a self-report study in which 418 volunteers detailed their results from microdosing over the course of a month. This study found that microdosing can aid productivity, as well as provide relief for treatment-resistant depression.3 While this anecdotal reporting sheds light on some of the positive impacts of LSD microdosing, it’s too difficult to make solid claims about how it affects the brain because each individual reacts differently to the drug.

How Dangerous Is It?

Because all reports of LSD microdosing effects are anecdotal and not based on hard data, the full extent of the associated dangers is unknown. The biggest risk is taking a dose that’s too high and experiencing a trip or hallucination. One user reported, “Sometimes it’s so intense you wish you could turn it off for a moment to relax.”1 Also, with no regulation over the manufacturing and supply of illegal drugs, the makeup of the substances can’t be controlled, and users aren’t fully aware of what they are taking.4

For individuals who have a history of substance abuse or addiction, LSD microdosing poses a threat to their recovery and sobriety. It can result in further abuse, which can then affect all areas of their life, including family relations, employment, physical health and societal engagement. While microdosing has provided benefits to some users, LSD remains an illegal substance with great potential to negatively impact an individual’s overall health and well-being.

What’s the Verdict?

There’s a lot left to be studied and discovered when it comes to LSD microdosing, especially as it gains interest in the scientific community. Because only minimal research has been conducted, LSD microdosing is not a sanctioned or proven treatment for anxiety and depression.

Additionally, even though individuals have taken LSD with the intent of improving their health, all use of the drug is illegal and has the potential to be dangerous. LSD microdosing is not a practice to be taken lightly, especially for people who have suffered from substance abuse in the past, as it can lead to serious, life-altering side effects.


1 Solon, Olivia. “Meet the Silicon Valley-ites taking tiny hits of LSD to boost performance.” Wired, August 24, 2016.

2 Brodwin, Erin. “Scientists are about to find out how Silicon Valley’s LSD habit really affects productivity.” Business Insider, May 9, 2017.

3 Grob Plante, Stephie. “LSD Microdoses Make People Feel Sharper, and Scientists Want to Know How.” The Verge, April 24, 2017.

4 Sahakian, Barbara, et al. “LSD ‘microdosing’ trend popular with tech entrepreneurs may be putting their lives at risk, claim Cambridge University scientists.” Daily Mail, February 17, 2017.