The Impact of Microdosing LSD on Brain Complexity and Consciousness

The Impact of Microdosing LSD on Brain Complexity and Consciousness

In a recent study conducted by researchers from the US and Germany, it was found that even small doses of LSD could have therapeutic benefits for mental health and task performance. Participants were given either a placebo or 13 or 26 micrograms of LSD, which are considered small doses that do not typically lead to hallucinatory effects. The results showed that the 26-microgram dose of LSD increased brain complexity by approximately 12 percent compared to the placebo, without altering consciousness.

Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, was originally discovered in the 1930s while researchers were searching for a drug to improve blood flow and breathing. The psychedelic effects of LSD have since gained more recognition, and it is now known to activate a specific type of serotonin receptor in the brain that leads to more complex patterns of brain activity. According to the “entropic brain hypothesis,” psychedelics like LSD achieve therapeutic benefits by increasing neural complexity, which can disrupt unhelpful thought and behavior patterns under the right conditions.

The Rise of Microdosing LSD

Microdosing LSD has gained significant attention in recent years, with many enthusiastic anecdotes about its wide-ranging benefits for mood, creativity, energy, and brainpower. While the science behind many of these claims is still inconclusive, the idea of using small doses of LSD as a therapy is appealing if the positive effects of higher doses can be achieved without the safety and ethical concerns associated with altered states of consciousness.

In randomized controlled trials involving healthy participants, low doses of LSD were found to enhance well-being in some ways, such as decreasing pain perception. Participants’ brain activity was recorded using electroencephalography during the peak effects of the drug, and they were asked to complete questionnaires to evaluate any changes in consciousness. The results showed that the 26-microgram dose of LSD had a significant effect on neural complexity, increasing it by approximately 12 percent compared to the placebo.

Despite the increase in neural complexity observed with microdosing LSD, participants did not report any significant changes in self-reported states of consciousness. This discrepancy suggests that changes in neural complexity and consciousness do not always align. Further research is needed to determine whether the increased complexity observed in the brain has cognitive, behavioral, or therapeutic outcomes. However, previous studies suggest that increased neural complexity can be a predictor for positive outcomes in psychiatric therapy.

The findings of this study shed light on the potential therapeutic benefits of microdosing LSD on brain complexity. While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind these effects, the results suggest that even small doses of LSD can have a significant impact on neural activity. Understanding the relationship between neural complexity and consciousness is essential for unlocking the full potential of psychedelics as a tool for mental health and well-being.


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