World-first LSD microdosing study to go ahead at Auckland University

The “only take half” rule, normally reserved for Splendour In The Grass first-timers, may be getting clinical trials with the University of Auckland receiving final approval to test the effects of microdosing LSD.

Image by Alexander Pokusay

Normally reserved for Silicon Valley tech-heads and Father John Misty, microdosing LSD is now the subject of a government-approved trial; the first of its kind.

The research, led by scientist and psychedelic sommelier Suresh Muthukumaraswamy, aims to determine whether microdosing acid can have positive effects in relation to an individual’s mood, creativity, and awareness. Recently speaking to Newshub, Muthukumaraswamy said:

“Users report improvements in mood, wellbeing, improved attention and cognition, so those are the things we will be measuring… We’ll be giving microdoses on very tightly controlled prescriptions to take at home — it’ll be a more realistic assessment of what microdosing actually does.” 

Although enjoying a resurgence in popular culture, psychedelics are still considered a banned substance in most of the world. Despite the positive effects of microdosing LSD taking Silicon Valley by storm in recent years, the prohibition of the substance has meant clinical trials haven’t had an opportunity to flourish. Not that there hasn’t been any shortage of attempts.

Experts have espoused its benefits for decades, with it being touted as a safer replacement to standard anti-depressants, and scientists taking LSD in the sixties in an attempt to talk to dolphins. This was unsuccessful, and so far no one has been able to hold a conversation with a dolphin without waving a fish in its face.

The military powers that be have even attempted to weaponise it. But what with the notorious MK Ultra experiments of the sixties, and this little gem of a video courtesy of the British military, LSD has proven itself to be more flower-power than firepower.

In spite of its past inconsistencies, the University of Auckland has managed to secure funding for the first government-sanctioned research program into the benefits of microdosing LSD. What separates this experiment from previous attempts is that instead of remaining supervised by a researcher, the test subjects are sent home with an LSD prescription, so the effect it has on daily life can be fully explored. Microdosing LSD has been proven (unofficially) to have primarily positive effects that don’t intrude too harshly on daily life. That’s why it’s crucial the test subject’s dosage is carefully monitored so as to avoid a full-blown acid trip during the nine-to-five. An increased sense of concentration and mood elevation in the workplace could prove the trial successful, but the removal of clothes because “we’re all just animals, man” will surely get the groundbreaking research shut down.

With a sample group of forty single men, Muthukumaraswamy noted that the test subjects had to be male due to the variabilities in mood and attention that could accompany a woman’s menstrual cycle, therefore adversely affecting the cognition data in initial findings. If the trial is a success, however, female subjects will be accepted. So it’s crucially important the boys don’t fuck it up, so everyone gets a crack at the good stuff.

In spite of it being approved, the University of Auckland still has to work around the New Zealand government’s drug policy. That’s why the study is relying on donations and crowdfunding to support it. If you want to support a good cause, you can aid their research by donating here.