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UBCO study shows link between microdosing psychedelics, reduced anxiety and depression

University of British Columbia Okanagan researchers published study on Nov. 18
Psilocybin producing mushrooms. (File photo)

While there’s no magic cure for anxiety and depression, a new study shows microdosing psychedelics can help those struggling with mental illness.

The study was led by University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) researchers and published Nov. 18, in the journal Nature: Scientific Reports.

On Nov. 23, UBCO media relations wrote the study “demonstrated fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, and greater feelings of well-being among individuals who reported consuming psychedelics in small quantities, or microdosing, compared to those who did not.”

Microdosing is the self-administration of psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin or LSD, in amounts small enough that cognitive function is not impaired.

Joseph Rootman, lead author of the study, said its results are encouraging.

“…We followed more than 8,500 people from 75 countries using an anonymous self-reporting system… about half were following a microdosing regimen and half were not,” said Rootman. “…There was a clear association between microdosing and fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress…”

Kalin Harvey was a co-author of the study and said it highlights the potential of citizen science.

“The use of citizen science allows us to examine the effects of behaviours that are difficult to study in the lab due to regulatory challenges and stigma associated with the now discredited ‘war on drugs’,” he said.

Zach Walsh, a psychology professor who works with Rootman, said there’s an epidemic of mental health problems and existing treatments don’t work for everyone.

“We need to follow the lead of patients who are taking these initiatives to improve their well-being and reduce suffering,” he said.

Walsh added the study’s findings highlight the need for further investigation into microdosing.

Read more: Vernon-based magic mushroom company sprouts mental health treatment

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