‘I’m no longer derailed by anxiety’: We spoke to the students microdosing through uni
‘My mood has massively lifted’
You’ve likely heard of microdosing. The internet is crammed with testimonials painting the practice as truly life-changing to a generation of people who are chronically unsociable, underslept and unenergetic – its supporters claim that taking just a small amount of a psychedelic every morning can lead users to become less depressed, less sensitive to pain, more sociable and more creative.
The idea is to take just enough to feel the unconscious effects without taking enough to give a noticeable “high”, with the user wanting to be able to function normally still reap the various rewards that come with the use of psychedelics.
However, it’s not often you meet someone who microdoses regularly, and although we only ever hear the success stories, there is an understanding on online microdosing forums that this kind of medication isn’t for everyone. So, we spoke to real students who have been microdosing their way through uni to ask them just how real the hype is.
‘My mood has massively lifted because of microdosing, and that’s just the start of it’
Andrew has been taking doses of LSD since last year, and feels that it has made a lot of positive changes in his life. “I microdose 25ug daily,” he told The Tab, “by placing 10 tabs of acid into a litre of distilled water, letting it sit for a week and then doing just less than a shot of water at the start of each day.
“My mood has massively lifted, and that’s just the start of it. I have more energy, it massively boosts my creativity which is good for my creative uni course, and I’ve found myself to be more sociable. Conversations flow with ease compared to before I started microdosing.”
LSD is a class A drug which means possession can lead to seven years in prison and an unlimited fine. On top of the obvious illegality, drugs are expensive, but this is a minor inconvenience for the positive effects that microdosing psychedelics can provide. Andrew orders LSD on the dark web at around three pounds per tab, something that he’s far happier to do than picking up from a dealer.
“Dealers tend to sell at £15 a tab which, in addition to being more expensive, is also incredibly unsafe as you never know if their LSD contains any NBOMes (another synthetic hallucinogen similar to LSD). These mimic similar effects to LSD but with a stronger and more dangerous potency that can kill someone with just one dose. Online you can be assured that you buy from credible sources with credible reviews.”
‘I thought microdosing would help me work through my issues but instead I end up crying because the thought of them is unbearable’
Unfortunately, not everyone’s experiences with microdosing is so positive. Chrissie started microdosing at the beginning of this year, taking 0.125 milligrams of psilocybin (magic mushroom). Although she found the first few times peaceful and calming, she became anxious and sick on the come up, moving up to 0.150 milligrams which seemed to help at first.
However, she soon started to reflect excessively on the past. “More and more frequently they were making me feel depressed and brought back a lot of things in my past that I’ve been obsessing over,” she told The Tab. “I thought it would help me work through the issues but instead I end up crying because the thought of them is unbearable.
“I thought it had to do with switching strains of mushrooms. The first set of capsules (.125mg) were Blue Meanies, which I thought made me feel better. The second set of caps (.150mg) were Golden Teachers, so I thought the emotional changes had to do with the strains. I decided to buy Blue Meanies and make my own in hopes it would bring back the initial feeling. I was wrong.”
Three weeks ago Chrissie took a couple of grams of the mushrooms and found herself obsessing over self-destructive thoughts that she has become antisocial and boring, leading to having no friends. “I’ve lost myself. And it’s a hard pill to swallow. I gave dosing a break for about a week, then tried again and was met with the same feelings. Every time I microdose recently my body feels tired so I’ll crawl into bed. My mind will then start torturing me with thoughts of loneliness and hopelessness, that there isn’t a point anymore.”
It’s generally known online that microdosing definitely works for some people, whilst for others it definitely doesn’t. Although Chrissie is suffering these undesirable effects, she hasn’t given up hope. “I don’t want to disregard microdosing, because I truly believe in it’s ability to open up your mind and help you heal. But right now I’m not sure if it’s helping me or harming me.
“In order for me to stay alive it made me realise that things need to change in my life, I just don’t know where to begin. I’m stuck inside my head again and I think it’s bringing to light these issues that need to be resolved. I will try it again in a few days and see how it makes me feel.”
‘I’m no longer totally derailed by my performance anxiety’
Emily, a mature student who has struggled with alcohol abuse for several years, started microdosing psilocybin to deal with various struggles in her life. Having tried medication, therapy and rehab for alcohol addiction, she has found that a year of dosing has mostly stopped her drinking alcohol altogether.
“People with substance abuse problems use the substance of their choice to either have good feelings or stop bad feelings,” Emily told The Tab. “Microdosing has allowed me to feel my feelings and be less attached or resistant to them. I understand more about how my drinking is hurting myself and others, and I generally feel better and happier – so why drink?
“It definitely hasn’t replaced alcohol as a feel-good substance, since I can go for weeks without taking a microdose, but I would say it helped me assimilate what I had learned already through therapy, meetings and rehab.”
Emily takes her microdoses of psilocybin in the morning with food, ensuring to do so after drinking tea as caffeine potentiates the dose and can make users feel higher than they want. “On microdose days I usually feel more energetic and calmer (I am a highly anxious person). I feel a bit more accepting of myself and compassionate towards others. It has been helpful because it creates some space around my feelings.
“I got off of antidepressants so I could try microdosing, and I’m now in school again as a mature student and having a much better time with meeting deadlines and putting in effort. I’m no longer totally derailed by my performance anxiety. It’s still there, but it’s not stopping me this time.”
All names have been changed to protect the identity of contributors