Microdosing psychedelics: personality, mental health, and creativity differences in microdosers

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2019 Feb;236(2):731-740. doi: 10.1007/s00213-018-5106-2. Epub 2019 Jan 2.


Rationale: Microdosing psychedelics-the regular consumption of small amounts of psychedelic substances such as LSD or psilocybin-is a growing trend in popular culture. Recent studies on full-dose psychedelic psychotherapy reveal promising benefits for mental well-being, especially for depression and end-of-life anxiety. While full-dose therapies include perception-distorting properties, microdosing mayprovide complementary clinical benefits using lower-risk, non-hallucinogenic doses.

Objectives: This pre-registered study aimed to investigate whether microdosing psychedelics is related to differences in personality, mental health, and creativity.

Methods: In this observational study, respondents recruited from online forums self-reported their microdosing behaviors and completed questionnaires concerning dysfunctional attitudes, wisdom, negative emotionality, open-mindedness, and mood. Respondents also performed the Unusual Uses Task to assess their creativity.

Results: Current and former microdosers scored lower on measures of dysfunctional attitudes (p < 0.001, r = - 0.92) and negative emotionality (p = 0.009, r = - 0.85) and higher on wisdom (p < 0.001, r = 0.88), openmindedness(p = 0.027, r = 0.67), and creativity (p < 0.001, r = 0.15) when compared to non-microdosing controls.

Conclusions: These findings provide promising initial evidence that warrants controlled experimental research to directly test safety and clinical efficacy. As microdoses are easier to administer than full-doses, this new paradigm has the exciting potential to shape future psychedelic research.

Keywords: Creativity; Dysfunctional Attitudes; LSD; Microdosing; Negative Emotionality; Open Mindedness; Preregistered; Psilocybin; Psychedelic; Wisdom.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / drug therapy
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Creativity*
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Depression / psychology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Emotions / drug effects*
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Female
  • Hallucinogens / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Mental Health* / trends
  • Perception / drug effects
  • Perception / physiology
  • Personality / drug effects*
  • Personality / physiology
  • Psilocybin / administration & dosage
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Hallucinogens
  • Psilocybin
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide