Features Mar 8, 2017 at 4:00 am

Some say taking small amounts of LSD or psychedelic mushrooms can decrease depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. I decided to give it a try, with one mis-measured dose along the way.

Tyler Spangler


no need to trivialize those insights from your experience. Something that may sound as banal as "we are all just meat puppets" could just be the pithy distillation of a moment of real clarity, stripped of its context. I'd encourage you to try to hold on to those. A lot of the most profound, elegant philosophy can be couched in language that strips it of its power. Even the more technical formulations such as E=mcsquared can be mocked by people who don't fully understand them or don't have the tools or patience to try to engage with them.
I microdosed as a young man back in the '70's and I am still grateful for many beneficial effects from those experiences.
I thought the point of microdosing was it was micro, nearly imperceptible trip?? You put 1 tab in a liter of water to make it 100 doses. I have experience with acid, seem like there would barely be anything to talk about with 1/4 or 1/8 of a hit let alone 1/100th.

Sounds like you were looking for an actual trip. This article is weird and anecdotal about something I don't think you even got right.
My experiences with LSD led me to the conclusion that the effect on the mind is to break down the normal patterns of thought. This allows for new conclusions to be reached from the same source material. Instead of your normal thought chain, A->B->C, you get A->Q->L->, where "Q" and "L" would seem to have no relation to "A". New connections are formed, which changes the perceptions of not just "Q" and "L", but also your ABC's. That's why psychiatrists were so intrigued by the possibilities of LSD as a therapeutic tool: they might be able to restructure a patient's troubled thinking patterns into something more "normal".
When I was a teenager, I heard horror stories about LSD: bad trips triggering severe, long-term mental health problems. I didn't believe it, but chose not to dabble in drugs for personal reasons (I'm skeptical of the validity of chemical-induced experience).

More recently, someone very close to me-- a teenaged relative-- experimented with LSD. He had a fantastic experience, which led him to experiment further... and then something went wrong. It happened all at once: he was perfectly fine, and then over a couple of days he spiralled completely out of control. Long story short: he had to be involuntarily commited for a period of time, and then his mom had to quit her job to be able to keep an eye on him full-time. He seems to be doing a bit better, but he's not out of the woods, and no one knows how long the road might be. He's very scared, and so is everyone who cares for him (including me). He's a fantastic, well-adjusted kid who never had any problems whatsoever before this. This is not where he wanted to be at 18.

It's possible he took something he thought was LSD, but was actually something else. No way of finding out at this point. I don't think there's really any way for the average user to really be sure what they're ingesting. Keep in mind that everyone's brain is different-- for instance, a friend of his had taken the same thing at the same time, with no ill-effects. Even the same batch might affect people very differently.

The thing I hate about anti-drug hysteria is this: once young people realize it's a lot of hype, they tend to wrongly conclude that there's no danger whatsoever, and throw caution to the wind. Our minds are fragile, and breaking them is much, much easier than putting them back together.

I'm not trying to sound like Nancy Reagan. Everyone has their own path to follow, and perhaps for some, LSD is the right way. But don't take it lightly-- and don't take it all unless you feel very, very certain that this is necessary for where you need to go in life.

By the way, I like the article. I just wanted to add my 2 cents.
Proceed with extreme caution.
Hey Monorail, keep in mind that a lot of major psychiatric disorders first manifest in the teens and early 20's, so it may be that there's no connection, or that it just turned up the volume on something that was starting to manifest.

I've seen it happen in a lot of friends and family members, some were completely straight arrow, others were not. Many self-medicated to try and drown out the symptoms.
"The world gets a little bit more...sparkly." --a friend
"I have experience with acid, seem like there would barely be anything to talk about with 1/4 or 1/8 of a hit let alone 1/100th."

I have experience with acid too, going back to the 70s. I'm particularly sensitive to it (and mushrooms), so for me the perfect dose was a 1/4 of a blotter, maybe 1/2 if I wanted to get really out there. Everyone is different.
It's certainly not for everyone. Still though, it sure seems like those tabs she obtained were *very* high quality and potent. Even at the "micro" doses of acid water she was ingesting sounded more like macro to me.
This is pretty irresponsible reporting despite the fact that it's just the writers personal experience mixed in with research. He took it twice. TWICE. Once with way too much, once days later with less, and once a full on trip. Unless I'm missing something that's all he did. And it didn't work. NO DUH. Try it every day for a couple weeks. Try it with powdered mushrooms. I really regret this article comes off like this is not an effective way to treat anxiety and depression because it can be very very effective and readers who need help may be deterred. Let me say that I've had hardcore PTSD for years and microdosing strait up cured me. At least I've felt cured for 4 months now which is 4 months of peace I haven't had since 2008. Please don't let this writers experience deter you if you think this method may help. Just do it daily and give it time.
oops, my mistake, the writer is a woman so please replace the "he's" with "she's"
She said it wasn't for her, not that wasn't for anybody else. Admittedly without exactly *trying* it. No haphazard dosing, folks, please.

(Actually, making your first (?) therapy appointment is a pretty big deal, so... maybe it kind of did. Anyway, good luck.)
@12 She started out with 4 tabs, and described diluting one into a water bottle and taking only 5 ml. Then later on only having 1 tab left. So I think it's likely she only described the interesting parts. But who knows.
For more adventures in microdosing, there was a good episode of the excellent podcast Reply All on it. This was a similar adventure, also ultimately unsuccessful. From this we learned: figure out the right microdose before heading to work (facepalm).
Sorry, you're a friggin idiot. LSD is damn dangerous and your implicit endorsement in experimentation is dangerous and irresponsible. Take it from someone who has had both good and bad experiences w/ the drug. The notion that you would experiment w/ LSD before "finally" exploring traditional therapy shows an amazingly poor lack of judgement, naïveté and immaturity.

Is that another substance only White folks get to used sans coppiggie haraSSment? -- http://www.copblock.org & http://www.copwatch.com & https://www.blacklivesmatter.com

I appreciate how the writer explains anxiety. It's hard to explain to other folks how a productive and successful person can have such incredibly irrational thoughts and still be self aware.
Ms. Herzog writes this:

"I read online that these drugs are no more effective than placebos. That was good enough for me: One article on Reddit and I quit everything, cold turkey, against doctors orders, and felt no difference at all."

immediately followed by this:

"But the anxiety was still there—and getting worse."

Maybe it started getting worse because she followed advice from Reddit against doctors' orders. Especially by quitting cold turkey. It certainly doesn't sound as if she "felt no difference at all."
Don't take drugs for mental health. Alcohol and Cannabis may temporarily relieve or reduce some symptoms, but psychiatric drugs and psychedelics just make things worse.
"Hallucinogens" is a term that is falling out of style. It implies that the substance is causing you to see something that isn't there, when in fact psychedelics ("mind-manifesting") open up your senses (and sometimes warp them). I like the description that they are "non-specific amplifiers".

Sounds like a few of the commenters have had experiences that have been difficult. When one takes a psychedelic and the boundaries between the acceptable parts of ourselves and the less acceptable parts begin to dissolve, that can be very painful. Most, if not all, people have invested a significant amount of energy, early on, into constructing our psyches in a way that allows us to feel okay about our vulnerabilities. Which is why one should be very careful with these substances - the whole house of cards may fall down. For some people, they are very dangerous. For others, it is a matter of being able to understand what is showing up for you in that open space. I've done a lot of work at the MAPS Zendo at Burning Man, holding space for people who are having difficult experiences on psychedelics. It often times really helps people to have someone caring and compassionate hold your hand while they are sifting through the silt of their psyche. Trauma, early wounding, old buried pain... these things can all surface. If you aren't ready for that, the old mechanisms of running away can really get activated and also fail, and that can be terrifying. In the right context, in a supportive, intentional container, those wounds can be healed.

Generally speaking, we're talking normal doses here. Microdosing is a different beast, to some degree. It can be great for enhancing creativity or boosting energy. And (as in the Katie's case), microdosing can be used to address psychological issues. Maybe someone will get lucky and it will resolve everything. But my advice is to get professional help *in conjunction* with microdosing (if you are inclined to microdose in the first place). The microdosing can make one more aware of the stuff that is coming up (similar to normal doses but not so overwhelming), and combined with what is learned in therapy, it can help with the integration of that material. I don't see psychedelics as a panacea, nor something to relieve symptoms, but as a tool to add to the toolbox which can deepen one's understanding of oneself. A very powerful tool, which, when used properly and with care and respect, can allow one to really resolve some of one's deeper issues.

I hope this helps.
This article scares the crap outta me!!!! Being on all those meds without therapy is negligent on the part of whomever was writing those scripts for you. Trying street drugs BEFORE therapy and because of reddit, is a major red flag that monitored mental health care is needed in some form. I hope you get the help it sounds like you really need. :-( And anyone reading this who thinks maybe they should follow suit, if you must, try mushroom micro dosing instead. You seriously don't know WTF you are getting when you buy Popeye acid from some friend of a friend, anything could be on that blotter and they use some scary things in it....she could have (and likely did) ingested an amphetemine along with the LSD for godsake. Now I have anxiety about the authors mental state and well being. Great.
For treating anxiety, PTSD, etc., how does low THC/high CBD Marijuana compare to microdosing with psychedelics? Have there been studies? Are there anecdotal reports?
The responses here are more interesting than the article. Everything from "don't take drugs (including medications)- which is ridiculous- you know those street people who talk to imaginary people, they don't take their meds for the same common-sense sounding reasons, refusing to believe they will go psychotic. On the other side, a commenter points out that only a couple of doses are described, including a "psychedelic" experience on 1/100 of a single dose, which sounds suspiciously like a placebo. I don't know what words on a menu "waving back at you" is supposed to mean, but I've taken 3 hits (~300mcg) and the letters wiggled a bit at most. It is a travesty that a therapeutic drug with scientific studies was suddenly, unjustifiably outlawed by both the US and UN. On the other hand, if you can't find an experienced professional to give some guidance, you are also playing with fire. For depression, I took 3 different SSRIs, an SNRI, Bupropion, and combinations including Bupropion, Cylexa and Trazadone (that's three ADs every day) and several different shrinks a good one is hard to find, and the good, less expensive ones leave for greener pastures), and 20 years after dosing on a hit in college, I decided to experiment. I'm still not convinced that micro-dosing isn't just a placebo
It was refreshing to read something that doesn't glorify LSD, which is the way that the wank usually goes when it's written about. And good luck with your therapy!
As a longtime counselor, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Katie Herzog's article, and I second Squirrel Dude's comment (#28).
This is a weird article. It is poorly structured. And you only made 2 attempts to microdose, and neither of those attempts was a microdose.
So instead of reporting on microdosing you report on scanty trips.

This strikes me as an article that exists just for the sake of being an article with a headline, it definitely doesn't strike me as a comprehensive or journalistic endeavor into microdosing.

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