Polito et al. 2018 – Microdosing

Polito et al. 2018 is a new study of microdosing. It uses self-report surveys of microdosers, a methodology that doesn't tell us very much.

Still, the literature around microdosing is very slim and the hype is strong. So Polito 2018 is a welcome addition.

What did they find?

These results matched with participants expectations, except for creativity (which participants expected to increase).

So the microdosing didn't do precisely what the participants were expecting, though it did have positive-valence effects & the participants were generally expecting something positive.

Unfortunately, there was no blinding, so all of these results are vulnerable to placebo & expectancy effects.

Gwern's self-experiment with LSD microdosing (a) is the only blinded study of microdosing we know of, and that found a null result. (Do get in touch if you know of other blinded microdosing studies!)

Let's close with this story (a) about Sasha Shulgin & orange juice, to drive home the power of placebo effects:

His interest in pharmacology dates to 1944, when a military nurse gave him some orange juice just before his surgery for a thumb infection. Convinced that the undissolved crystals at the bottom of the glass were a sedative, Shulgin fell unconscious, only to find upon waking that the substance had been sugar. It was a revelatory, tantalizing hint of the mind's odd strength.