Microdosing psychedelics: Demographics, practices, and psychiatric comorbidities

J Psychopharmacol. 2020 Jun;34(6):612-622. doi: 10.1177/0269881120908004. Epub 2020 Feb 28.


Rationale: Microdosing psychedelics - the practice of consuming small, sub-hallucinogenic doses of substances such as LSD or psilocybin - is gaining attention in popular media but remains poorly characterized. Contemporary studies of psychedelic microdosing have yet to report the basic psychiatric descriptors of psychedelic microdosers.

Objectives: To examine the practices and demographics of a population of psychedelic microdosers - including their psychiatric diagnoses, prescription medications, and recreational substance use patterns - to develop a foundation on which to conduct future clinical research.

Methods: Participants (n = 909; Mage = 26.9, SD = 8.6; male = 83.2%; White/European = 79.1%) recruited primarily from the online forum Reddit completed an anonymous online survey. Respondents who reported using LSD, psilocybin, or both for microdosing were grouped and compared with non-microdosing respondents using exploratory odds ratio testing on demographic variables, rates of psychiatric diagnoses, and past-year recreational substance use.

Results: Of microdosers, most reported using LSD (59.3%; Mdose = 13 mcg, or 11.3% of one tab) or psilocybin (25.9%; Mdose = 0.3 g of dried psilocybin mushrooms) on a one-day-on, two-days-off schedule. Compared with non-microdosers, microdosers were significantly less likely to report a history of substance use disorders (SUDs; OR = 0.17 (95% CI: 0.05-0.56)) or anxiety disorders (OR = 0.61 (95% CI: 0.41-0.91)). Microdosers were also more likely to report recent recreational substance use compared with non-microdosers (OR = 5.2 (95% CI: 2.7-10.8)).

Conclusions: Well-designed randomized controlled trials are needed to evaluate the safety and tolerability of this practice in clinical populations and to test claims about potential benefits.

Keywords: LSD; Psychedelics; microdosing; psilocybin; substance use.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Hallucinogens / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Psilocybin / administration & dosage*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • Hallucinogens
  • Psilocybin
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide