Latest Psilocybin Microdosing Study Finds Improved Mental Health and Psychomotor Performance in Those Over 55 Years of Age
The second manuscript of the world’s largest microdosing study, facilitated by Quantified Citizen (QC) and formally titled “Psilocybin microdosers demonstrate greater observed improvements in mood and mental health at one month relative to non‑microdosing controls" has been published by Nature: Scientific Reports. The paper can be accessed here.
The paper shows how psilocybin microdosing is associated with general improvements in mood and mental health. Additionally, a finding specific to individuals over the age of 55 indicated that microdosing was associated with greater improvements in psycho-motor performance relative to non-microdosers. Further, older adults exhibited an even larger improvement in psychomotor performance for those over 55 when psilocybin is stacked with lion’s mane and niacin ("Stamets Stack") compared to psilocybin alone. Of note is that these results may help inform the design of human clinical trials involving psychedelic substances.
One of the common criticisms of observational studies of this kind is that they are uncontrolled and are unable to parse apart placebo effects from those related to the true pharmacological effects of psychedelic substances. Observational research’s purpose is to observe behaviors as they occur naturally in the world, and draw conclusions without interfering with those natural practices. Although an expectancy effect cannot be ruled out for depression, anxiety and stress, the reports on subjective benefits are complemented by improvements in the study’s psycho-motor task (the Finger Tap Task), which adds some robustness to the reported results.
“The tap test results are interesting. Although a placebo in this type of observational study is not appropriate, the tap test results with microdosing combining psilocybin, niacin and Lion’s Mane over baseline, and in comparison to psilocybin taken with any other combination, stands out as a strong signal of significance for psychomotor performance. The QC app was designed for just such a purpose: to find improvements which can further inform clinical study design – with double blinded placebo controls. It is hard to imagine that expectancy would be selective using this stack in improving the tap test in an older population. We are excited to test this clinically.” notes Paul Stamets.
Some of the novel insights from this new publication include:
- From baseline to Month 1, microdosers systematically report larger decreases in mental health-related symptoms than non-microdosers.
- Adults over 55, who microdosed with psilocybin mushrooms in the Stamets Stack showed the largest (about 40%) increases in the total number of taps after about one month relative to non-microdosers and those that microdose psilocybin alone.
The study, informally called Microdose.me has over 19,000 participants from all over the world and has been presented at numerous conferences, including Exponential Medicine, SXSW, Summit LA, From Research to Reality, and TED and Life Itself. The study was conducted in partnership with the University of British Columbia, Maastricht University, Paul Stamets and Dr. Pamela Kryskow, among others.
“I am proud of the constant effort being put into improving the study design by taking into account feedback that we have received from our participants, supporters and other scientists. Together with fellow citizens and researchers, we are developing versions of the study that will be used to generate discoveries related to psychedelic microdosing for years to come," shares Quantified Citizen Director of Research Maggie Kiraga.
The Quantified Citizen and Microdose.me team are currently recruiting participants for the second version of the study, which will contain new active tasks and questionnaires that will examine connectedness to nature, psychedelic craving and mindfulness, among others. This study is open to both psychedelic users and non-users.
Quantified Citizen is a citizen science-powered health research app. It has a growing library of studies on interventions like psychedelic microdosing for mental health, tracking alcohol consumption and its connections to mood, sleep, productivity, and more. The app is available on iOS and Android.
A recent update offers visual redesign, new tasks and activities, and the ability to connect Apple Health or Google Fit. New studies have also been announced:
- Code Red: Tracking and Understanding the Menstrual Cycle - Led by Mia Cosco, Dr. Molly Maloof and online community Psychedelic Salons
- Impact of COVID-19 - Exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on various aspects of mental health and social relationships.
- Mental Health Tracker - Does mental health fluctuate with the seasons? Is it affected by a new routine or treatment regimen like a new medication?
- Sobriety and Well-being Study - How abstaining from alcohol for one month affects sleep and well-being?
- Personality and Drug Use - Do drugs play a role in altering our personalities?
To fuel further growth and development of new study capabilities, Quantified Citizen is currently in the process of raising its Series A round of funding.
Nikki Paqueo, Product Marketing Manager
Eesmyal Santos-Brault, Co-founder & CEO