Why microdosing is a worrying trend, and how HR can protect the business from it’s effects

According to Wikipedia, Microdosing (or micro-dosing) is a technique for studying the behaviour of drugs in humans through the administration of doses so low (“sub-therapeutic”) they are unlikely to produce whole-body effects, but high enough to allow the cellular response to be studied.

Unfortunately, it seems to be emerging as the latest trend as some professionals take a ‘little something’ to start the day.  LSD and magic mushrooms are illegal Class A drugs, which carry a sentence of up to seven years in prison for possession, so why are some otherwise professional people taking small doses of them as part of their morning routine?

Wired reported on the growing trend emerging from Silicon Valley that is now finding it’s way to the UK – publicist ‘Lily’ told them:

“It helps me think more creatively and stay focused,” she says. “I manage my stress with ease and am able to keep my perspective healthy in a way that I was unable to before.”

Danny Clarke, Operations Director for the ELAS Group, explains that it is a growing problem with potential consequences:

“Microdosing is reported to be on the increase amongst entrepreneurs and those who work in creative industries such as marketing, PR or software design, who often see these psychedelic substances as part of their daily routine and key to giving them a creative edge within their industry.


“People who micro-dose are known to report higher levels of creativity, increased mood and energy levels, but it’s important to understand that there are health risks associated with these substances that also need to be considered. Substances such as magic mushrooms and LSD are known to amplify existing mental health conditions and bring some unwarranted emotional baggage; magic mushrooms, for example, tend to amplify your current mood whether that’s good or bad rather than acting as a stimulant or numbing agent. Additionally, research has suggested that repeated daily doses of psilocybin which is found in magic mushrooms could cause heart problems.


 “We’ve also heard of increased use of LSD and magic mushrooms by people suffering from conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression. However, there is evidence that suggests microdosing is ineffective at treating depression in the long-term.


So how much is too much? What constitutes a microdose and what happens when the size of these doses has to increase to get the desired effect?  Clarke explains:

“Taking even a microdose of these drugs over a period of time could mean your body becomes accustomed to them, leading to the risk of normalizing a very powerful substance in order to achieve the desired effects and people eventually finding themselves taking higher doses in order to get the same effects as is found with other substances. Take for example the use of coffee. If you drink coffee every day in order to stay awake and energized, over time you find you need to increase the amount in order to get the same effect – one cup of coffee quickly turns to four or five, which then becomes a vicious circle as the increased caffeine dose keeps you awake when you want to sleep.


Clarke explains that employers need to keep a careful eye on the trend:

“Employers should be aware of the growing trend for microdosing,” he says.  “We recommend taking this opportunity to review or implement your company’s drug and alcohol policy to ensure hallucinogenic substances such as LSD and magic mushrooms are covered.


“Employers should also review any testing and training programmes to ensure awareness is raised amongst the workforce in relation to the risks of using such drugs, even in so-called microdoses.”

Author: Editorial Team

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