Motives and Side-Effects of Microdosing With Psychedelics Among Users

Nadia R. P. W. Hutten*, Natasha L. Mason, Patrick C. Dolder, Kim P. C. Kuypers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Microdosing with psychedelics has gained considerable media attention where it is portrayed as a performance enhancer, especially popular on the work floor. While reports are in general positive, scientific evidence about potential negative effects is lacking aside from the prevalence and motives for use. The present study addressed this gap by surveying psychedelic users about their experience with microdosing including their dosing schedule, motivation, and potential experienced negative effects.
Methods: An online questionnaire was launched on several websites and fora between March and July 2018. Respondents who had consented, were 18 years of age or older, and had experience with microdosing were included in the analyses.
Results: In total, 1116 of the respondents were either currently microdosing (79.5%) or microdosed in the past (20.5%). Lysergic acid diethylamide (10 mcg) and psilocybin (0.5 g) were the most commonly used psychedelics with a microdosing frequency between 2 and 4 times per week. The majority of users, however, were oblivious about the consumed dose. Performance enhancement was the main motive to microdose (37%). The most reported negative effects were of psychological nature and occurred acutely while under the influence.
Conclusion: In line with media reports and anecdotes, the majority of our respondents microdosed to enhance performance. Negative effects occurred mostly acutely after substance consumption. However, the main reason to have stopped microdosing was that it was not effective. Future experimental placebo-controlled studies are needed to test whether performance enhancement can be quantified and to assess potential negative effects after longer term microdosing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-434
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • psychedelics
  • microdose
  • motives
  • side-effects

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