Three Cases of Reported Improvement in Microsmia and Anosmia Following Naturalistic Use of Psilocybin and LSD

J Psychoactive Drugs. 2023 Nov-Dec;55(5):672-679. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2023.2253538. Epub 2023 Aug 31.


Cultural awareness of anosmia and microsmia has recently increased due to their association with COVID-19, though treatment for these conditions is limited. A growing body of online media claims that individuals have noticed improvement in anosmia and microsmia following classic psychedelic use. We report what we believe to be the first three cases recorded in the academic literature of improvement in olfactory impairment after psychedelic use. In the first case, a man who developed microsmia after a respiratory infection experienced improvement in smell after the use of 6 g of psilocybin containing mushrooms. In the second case, a woman with anosmia since childhood reported olfactory improvement after ingestion of 100 µg of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). In the third case, a woman with COVID-19-related anosmia reported olfactory improvement after microdosing 0.1 g of psilocybin mushrooms three times. Following a discussion of these cases, we explore potential mechanisms for psychedelic-facilitated improvement in olfactory impairment, including serotonergic effects, increased neuroplasticity, and anti-inflammatory effects. Given the need for novel treatments for olfactory dysfunction, increasing reports describing improvement in these conditions following psychedelic use and potential biological plausibility, we believe that the possible therapeutic benefits of psychedelics for these conditions deserve further investigation.

Keywords: Anosmia; COVID-19; LSD; microsmia; psilocybin; psychedelics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anosmia / drug therapy
  • COVID-19*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hallucinogens*
  • Humans
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide
  • Male
  • Olfaction Disorders* / chemically induced
  • Olfaction Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Psilocybin / adverse effects


  • Psilocybin
  • Hallucinogens
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide