Microdosing may alter personality

People have reported that taking miniscule (non-psychoactive) doses of LSD, Psilocybin, or Mescaline improved their productivity, creativity and/or mental health. Microdosers often adjust the amount of the drug they take to hit their personal “sweet spot”, but a microdose is usually 1/20 to 1/10 of a recreational (psychoactive) dose (Kuypers et al., 2019).

High doses of LSD and Psilocybin have been used successfully to treat alcoholism, tobacco addiction, and depression in terminally ill cancer patients. However, most studies on microdosing have found effects that are less than significant.

Now, a study by Hannah Dressler et al. suggests that microdosing can alter otherwise stable personality traits. The researchers collected data from participants (N=76) using online surveys at the start and end of a 31 day period. Participants self-administered 3 to 30 microdoses during this time.

Participants reported a bump in focus and motivation to complete daily tasks. They perceived themselves as “more organized, responsible and determined” after microdosing. All the reported changes indicate an increase in trait Conscientiousness. The study also found that trait neuroticism decreased during this time. Moreover, prior experience with microdosing was correlated with decreased neuroticism in subjects. The other three of the Big Five personality traits (Agreeableness, extraversion and openness) were unaffected.

The study has many limitations. For example, the data is self-reported and there is no placebo control. But, it is hopefully a herald of serious investigation into therapeutic uses of psychedelics.

Read more about the study here.