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Microdosing: A “New Wave” Investment?

Jon Brown Jon Brown, Stockhouse
1 Comment| August 20, 2019

Working through that “mental fog”, at one point or another, everyone wishes there were some easy fix to unlock a well of creativity reserved deep within our minds. For some, a nice small hit of a psychoactive substance is said to be enough to blur the line between effort and achievement to accomplish a task.

It is called microdosing and its proponents hail it as a means to uncover an efficient version of yourself hidden within your own mental roadblocks. People who have followed this method report feeling a heightened sense of productivity, sharpness and general elevated mood.

Is it safe? Legal? Useful?

Microdosing isn’t quite mainstream yet, though its use among Silicon Valley biohackers to progressive wellness enthusiasts is well documented. A few emerging companies are also working to roll out products  related to this method to capitalize on the market early.
What is microdosing?

Studying the behaviour of drugs administered in doses so low, they aren’t likely to produce “whole-body effects”, but just high enough to be observed in the brain, microdosing can include a wide variety of drugs:

  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) – The most widely-known substance, believed to yield greater focus and productivity
  • Psilocybin (“magic” mushrooms) – Studied to treat depression, users report greater empathy and emotional elevation
  • Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) – Studied to relieve anxiety
  • Ayahuasca – Contains DMT and has similar properties
  • Cannabis – Has been researched to heighten focus and relieve anxiety
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) – Also relieves anxiety while potentially promoting calmness
  • Caffeine – Essentially believed to be like a shot of coffee, minus the crash

While clinical studies are still in their very early stages, an average hallucinogenic dose of psilocybin (found in “magic mushrooms”), is around 3.5 grams; a microdose is roughly 1/10th to 1/5th of that dosage.

One of those Silicon Valley pioneers, Dr. James Fadiman, has been researching psychedelic drug usage for creative problem solacing since the 1960s. He published his findings in his book “The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide”.

His recommended doses were said to not be enough to trigger a “trip”, but just enough to push an internal shift, be it to a better mood, higher productivity, or even reliving depression and headaches in some reported cases. His recommendation: Dosing early in the morning, once every three days.

Fore more on the “how-to” application, visit Healthline’s medically-reviewed article Microdosing: ‘Smart’ Psychedelics Explained.

What does microdosing feel like?

“Like Adderall, but without the side effects.”

In Huffington Post’s interview with Dr. Fadiman, he stated that those who wrote to him on their experience “feel better”, be it an improved mood to anxiety or some other type of bodily relief. He has worked with hundreds of people in his studies and has reported similar results across the board – keep the dosage low and results are generally positive.

Is there any accredited research?

Due to the illegality of the substances involved (more on this below), microdosing’s history lies mostly written in anecdotal (and overwhelmingly positive, yet biased) stories.

Imperial College, a public research university in London, has initiated its own research with licensed professionals. Noting the lack of controlled scientific studies, the university found some evidence to highlight cardiovascular risks and noted that data on the behavioural effects of microdosing, (increased concentration or creativity), remain “patchy”, at best.

However, its resident neuroscientists did see that psilocybin targets specific receptors in the brain which bind to serotonin – a chemical messenger in the brain tied to happiness, learning and memory. Researchers speculate that this altering of the brain’s cellular network could explain some of the reported therapeutic benefits of microdosing.

In a similar vein, the University of British Columbia has been conducting research into the controlled use of MDMA (ecstasy) to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

Is it legal?

Researchers agree that the legality and regulation of these substances is the most significant barrier to advancing studies. Psychedelic research is seeing its own renaissance, but the main drugs in these studies, psilocybin LSD and DMT, remain illegal.

In Canada and the United States, a type of LSD can be purchased as a “research chemical”, labeled “not for human consumption.” It is completely illegal in Europe (including the UK).

For more on the legal status on LSD, click here.

On May 8th, 2019, Denver voters approved Initiative 301, a measure that prohibits the city's government from deploying resources to impose criminal penalties relating to the consumption and possession of psilocybin by adults over 21 years of age. 

As mentioned earlier, microdosing includes a wide swath of substances that are entirely legal, such as caffeine, nicotine and cannabis (in some jurisdictions). This is where some companies have chosen to build their businesses.

A microdose marketplace

Despite the legal status of the more intense drugs involved in microdosing, there is a market emerging in the “health” and “medicinal” area of the industry.

A newcomer to the game, craft mushroom distributor and product formulator Champignon Brands Inc. has developed proprietary formulations for three mushroom-extract-infused tea blends. The private company recently received a $150,000 (CAD) investment from Roadman Investments Corp. (TSX-V: LITT). This is expected to give the company direct exposure to the burgeoning mushroom-infused consumer packaged goods marketplace.

For a product already on the shelves, Denver, Colorado-based Koios Beverage Corp. (CSE: KBEV) is a producer of  “functional beverages” with a distribution network of more than 4,300 retail locations across the United States, which includes Walmart and GNC. Its line of beverages and powders are designed to energize and enhance the brain in a more fullfilling fashion than sugar-laden energy drinks.

Koios also develops a CBD-infused product blending supplements with organic compounds designed to enhance productivity by increasing blood flow, oxygen levels and neural connections in the brain. The company also produces one of the only drinks in the world infused with MCT oil, which is considered by some researchers as a "nitrous boost" for the brain without the burnout associated with coffee.

A worthy investment?

While the use of illegal substances isn’t something any publication can outright “endorse”, there is an undeniable market emerging with potential value yet to be fully understood. As it stands there are several companies using the microdosing philosophy to introduce consumers and patients to some intriguing new products.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Roadman Investments Corp. is a client of Stockhouse Publishing.

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August 21, 2019

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