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Microdosing LSD means that the user takes a tenth of an active dose which is far too low to produce hallucinations. When you microdose LSD, the user takes it one day and two days off. So essentially, the user only takes a minuscule amount of LSD twice a week. Where an SSRI you must take daily.
The study involved 24 volunteers administered either a placebo or different doses of LSD — 5, 10, and 20 micrograms — every day for four separate days.
Two hours after taking the LSD (or a placebo), the patients were tested using a Cold Pressor Test to test their pain tolerance and then tried again at the five-hour mark.
A Cold Pressor Test involves volunteers putting their hands into cold water — the temperature of the water is two degrees above freezing.
Thus, the longer you can keep your hands in the water, your pain tolerance is more significant.
The scientist also had the subjects do self-reported measures of dissociation and other psychological factors, and vital signs were consistently checked.
The scientists discovered that, when volunteers were given the 20-microgram dose, the LSD was shown to “drastically increase the time that the volunteers could tolerate exposure to cold (2°C) water, also to decrease the volunteer’s subjective levels of pain experienced and unlikeness,” in comparison to how well the subjects did on the placebo and other doses.
The same effect lasted for a minimum of five hours after microdosing LSD.
So why did low doses work as an analgesic?
According to New Atlas, the researchers theorize that the LSD trip distracted people from their pain, although microdosing LSD would mean no trip or hallucinations.
The scientists offered a couple of theories, including LSD hitting brain receptors that alleviate the pain or activate hypertension-associated hypoalgesia. This means that high blood pressure can weaken the pain.