10 min read
May 4, 2021
Who Is the Microdoser?
Despite the stigma attached to psychedelic substances, drugs like psilocybin and LSD are being evaluated for their promising potential to treat a variety of different health conditions. These benefits aren't being left to the labs, as microdosing, macrodosing, and lifetime use gains popularity.
Psychedelic Drug Users—Not Who You Might Think
Although considered to be "substances with no medical value," psychedelic substances like psilocybin and LSD are being evaluated for their potential ability to treat a variety of different health conditions. And while the research we have on psychedelics' therapeutic effects is promising, the psychedelic movement has many more challenges to face.
One of the greatest challenges associated with the psychedelic movement is the negative stigma associated with psychedelic use.
From the stereotype of psychedelic users as "hippies" to movies depicting psychedelic users as drug addicts and violent criminals, it's easy to see how these cultural beliefs took over.
But just how much truth is there to such a negative stigma, anyway? Are all psychedelic users pot-smoking hippies? Do psychedelic users have jobs? Are they criminals? Addicts? Something more?
The real answer tells us that psychedelic drug users are far more complex—and more prevalent—than you might have been led to believe.
Psychedelic Use is Common & Expanding
One of the most prevalent assumptions about psychedelic use is that it's an "underground" activity, only enjoyed by young adults at raves or clubs.
The reality is, however, that far more people are trying psychedelics than you might expect.
Heck, everybody's doing it!
A 2013 research paper sought out to determine how many people across America were using psychedelics. Researchers found that there were nearly 32 million lifetime psychedelic users in the US in 2010. Authors of the paper also noted that the rate of psychedelic use among baby boomers is similar for people aged 21–49.
In 2018, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services released the results from their National Survey on Drug Use and Health. They discovered that a whopping 22.9 million people (8.7% of Americans) reported prior use of psilocybin.
The number of psychedelic users across America is also rapidly expanding. A 2020 report published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that use of LSD jumped 56.4% between 2015–2018. This was consistent across all age groups including people 26–34 and 35–49.
This data shows us that psychedelic use is far more prevalent than you might think. It also tells us that many different types of psychedelic users at all ages—not just millennials—exist. And since many of the people polled were lifetime users, we can safely say they benefit from reoccurring psychedelic use.
Anti-drug legislators are often quick to espouse the "dangers" of psychedelics. Many of them rely on anachronistic and outdated depictions of psychedelic users across movies and TV. Others may simply speak from a more abstract place, citing deeply ingrained cultural beliefs as reasons why psychedelic use should not continue.
The best way to tackle these outdated ideas about psychedelic users is to confront them head on—with plenty of data to support our argument, of course.
So what do psychedelic users actually look like? Who are they and what do they use psychedelics for?
One type of psychedelic user steadily growing in numbers is the microdoser. A microdoser is a person who microdoses (i.e., routinely ingests small amounts of psychedelics for therapeutic benefit). LSD and psilocybin are the most commonly consumed psychedelics here.
The idea behind microdosing isn't to "trip," but rather is based on consuming a non-perceptible dose—a dose so small you can't consciously feel any effects.
There are many negative stereotypes that can come to mind when thinking of a microdoser. Some people might assume a microdoser's continual use means they're a drug addict. Others might conjure images of wealthy Silicon Valley "tech bros" using LSD to enhance their productivity. And at the other end of the spectrum, some people may assume microdosers are unmotivated, lazy hippies that just don't want to grow up.
Stereotypes Associated With Micro & Treatment Dose Personas
Select individuals may enroll in psychedelic-assisted therapies. These users may also experience the cognitive biases that microdosers encounter. Unfamiliar groups might view these users as mentally unfit, or as lost causes. Films like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest may swim in their mind's eye, conjuring images of wild patients and unconventional therapies. These groups may even fear microdosers, believing them to be deranged, violent, or otherwise dangerous criminals in need of rehabilitation. Others may view psychedelic treatment facilities with the same contempt and fear they show for psychiatric facilities depicted in popular media.