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Microdosing with psychedelics like magic mushrooms and LSD has rapidly grown in popularity over the last few years because of anecdotal evidence that it helps boost creativity while treating anxiety and depression and other mental health issues.
The actual science to prove these claims is lacking. However, a new study sheds some light on convincing preliminary evidence that microdosing LSD may increase crucial brain growth factors.
Microdosing is the process of taking small amounts of psychedelics that do not cause any hallucinogenic effects, but some people claim it can increase cognition and change brain connectivity patterns. Boosting brain growth factors allows for more flexible thinking, making it simpler to form new ideas or stop negative thinking.
If it turns out to be accurate, it is plausible that factors such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) might be involved. This essential protein aids neurons’ development, growth, and maintenance. It is vital for creating new neuronal connections. Likewise, it allows for neuroplasticity, which means the brain can rewire itself.
Neuroplasticity is important to depression and disorders such as dementia, which is connected to decreased brain growth factors with a subsequent loss of cognitive flexibility. Therefore, the researcher of this study decided to look at the potential of microdosing LSD to boost BDNF.
The researchers gave 27 people a microdose of LSD and a placebo on different days as they measured their blood plasma BDNF levels every three hours.
They published the results in the journal ACS Pharmacology and Translational Science. They showed that a 5-microgram LSD dose increased BDNF, which peaked at around four hours, at 20 micrograms of LSD caused the brain growth factors to peak at approximately six hours.
Strangely, a 10-microgram dose of LSD created no increase in BDNF levels, which suggests that the matter is a lot more straightforward. The researchers claim that the results show a positive connection between low-dose LSD and increased brain growth factor concentrations. However, the researchers accept that much more research will be necessary before such a claim is made.
The researchers said that this study only evaluated the severe effects of a single microdose and didn’t give any information about the long-term microdosing effects on neuroplasticity or brain growth factor levels.
The results show that while there might be something to microdosing, it is still very early to make any definitive report about what it does or does not do to the brain.