Why college students should consider microdosing psilocybin
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Astrodose

Why College Students Should Consider Microdosing Psilocybin

Being a college student is one of the most exciting yet intensive periods of a person’s life. You’re young, you’re surrounded by new people — and you’re there primarily to expand your mind and learn. It’s no wonder that for some people it can be pretty difficult to focus — to achieve that perfect balance between work and play. Sometimes campuses seem to be split down the middle, with half the students partying to oblivion, and the other half locked up in their rooms slaving over their coursework. 

It’s certainly true that there are far more distractions around for students these days. Can you imagine a time when studying was just going to a library, reading a book, and writing on a notepad? And, that notepad had no ability to connect with the internet, send photos to your friends, or tell you what the Kardashians are up to? Or even to let you watch cute videos of dogs? It’s pretty hard nowadays for a person to think, let alone do algebra!

However, canny students, of course, have always found ways to enhance and ‘hack’ their study regime. Microdosing is currently that hack. Microdosing — the practice of taking a teeny-tiny sub perceptual dose of a psychedelic, most typically magic mushrooms or truffles — is fast growing in popularity with the student crowd. In this article we will explore why college students should consider microdosing psilocybin.

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What is Microdosing?

Microdosing is a wellness practice associated with improved mood, productivity, and creativity. The general routine consists of taking magic mushrooms or truffles at such low dosage that the characteristic psychedelic effects are not consciously felt. This is called a subthreshold dose. The key thing about microdosing is that you reap benefits while being able to function totally normally — ideal for students going about their student-y business. 

What are the Benefits of Microdosing?

The benefits of microdosing are uniquely well-suited to students. These include;

  • Improved focus and concentration
  • Getting into the ‘flow state’ more easily — at work, study, or hobbies. 
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased creativity
  • Improvement of problem-solving ability
  • Increased overall awareness of self, environment and others
  • Overall mood is more balanced
  • Improved decision-making abilities 
  • More positive mindset in general
  • Reduced depression (ranging from mild to clinical forms of depression.)
  • Less prone to procrastination

All perfect to enhance the collegiate experience, if you ask us! But it’s not just as a focus-enhancing study aid that a psilocybin microdose shines. It can also help students to fully embrace their new environment and all the opportunities on offer. The friendship bonds we make at college can last a lifetime — and a microdose can make you feel just that bit more at ease with a new group of peers, helping you to take that first social plunge. Here are some more microdosing benefits that could enhance overall experience for students;

  • An increase in emotional awareness
  • Greater emotional connection with others (empathy) 
  • More present in the moment
  • Increased openness
  • Greater sense of wonder
  • Increased sense of belonging to a wider reality
  • Increased sense of unity with the world
  • Deeper connection with spirituality/ life goals/ beliefs
  • Increased feelings of gratitude

Traditional ‘Study Drugs’ Are Falling Out of Fashion

Typically, the study aids associated with students were drugs such as Adderall, Ritalin and Modafinil. These medications are all traditionally prescribed for conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although they do keep you alert and pinging off the walls all night (giving you time to finish that essay) the negative side-effects are vast. These include;

  • Feeling jittery or anxious
  • Physical discomfort, including nausea, stomach and digestive problems.
  • Increased anxiety or worsening of mental health
  • Losing sleep, insomnia, feeling fatigued
  • Risk of accidental overdose due to counterfeit or ‘Dark Web’ pills that may be cut with unknown dangerous substances
  • Risk of seizure and cardiac issues, especially if dosing isn’t managed by a healthcare provider
  • Increased irritability
  • Focusing on the wrong things (e.g. tidying your room instead of studying)
  • Becoming dependant on, or addicted to, amphetamines
Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash

Microdosing Psilocybin is a More Holistic Way to Balance Work and Play

Of course, microdosing psilocybin isn’t going to keep you awake for 24 hours. It’s not going to help you hyper-focus (at least not in the same way). It’s not going to have you fizzing and wizzing about your room. But it can be part of a new more holistic way to enhance a study routine, and calibrate a work/life balance. Microdosing psilocybin can help students to focus, create, and feel present in their experience. To help them learn, and absorb, and think rather than rush towards deadlines in a maniacal fugue state. Both education and psilocybin help to expand and broaden the mind — twin beams of enlightenment! 

Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

Studying the Students who Microdose

So, what about the studies that are studying students on this very matter? Tilburg University recently published the results of research helmed by sociologist Iona Pop. It explored a group of student volunteers’ reasons for, and experiences of, microdosing. It was an observational study — so the students were already independently microdosing. Routine, dosage, or any other guidelines were not imposed upon them. They continued their self-established practice.

The participants were asked to report on their moods five times a day. These were then placed within a framework known as ‘emodiversity’. Emodiversity means a wide variation of emotions — similar to what we would call biodiversity in relation to the environment. Pop explained;

“In the professional literature, there is evidence that microdosing makes you more aware of your emotional circumstances and that you also experience these emotions more strongly. So we thought that microdosing might result in an increase of emodiversity. Getting more insight into that was a goal of this study.”

Why College Students Should Consider Microdosing Psilocybin

Students Use Microdosing Psilocybin as a “Self-Work Tool”

The study found that emotions, such as “awe, wonder and amazement” were felt more strongly by the microdosing students. However, happiness and joy were not necessarily felt more intensely. This, Pop suggests, could be because students who microdose are using it as a “self-work tool.”

They are using it because they “want to be more disciplined, work harder, achieve their goals, or be more present.”

She adds;

“If you’re going through a process in which you’re actively working on yourself, it’s not always easy. Those fewer positive feelings can be an indication that they are really working hard on themselves. It may not be the happiest time of their lives, but the final outcomes can be beneficial.”

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Most of the students, Pop noted, did not list higher grades as the primary reason that they chose to microdose. The majority explained that it was to be more mindful and present overall (something that could, of course, increase academic performance in the long term as well!) And, Pop did find that the students reported increased satisfaction and enjoyment in their activities — ranging from studying, to cooking, to going to the park — on their microdose day. 

The Takeaway: Why College Students Should Consider Microdosing Psilocybin

  • Microdosing — the practice of taking a sub perceptual dose of a psychedelic such as psilocybin — is becoming more, and more, popular with students. 
  • Microdosing psilocybin can enhance focus, productivity, positive mood and general well-being — all things that benefit students. 
  • Drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin, are falling out of fashion with students due to their unpleasant side-effects and risk of addiction. 
  • Microdosing psilocybin marks a new, more holistic way of optimizing the student experience both academically and socially.  
  • A study from Tilburg University found that students chose to microdose to improve mindfulness and well-being overall. 
  • The research also found that microdosing improved students’ enjoyment of various activities; from studying and working, to cooking, playing sports, and other hobbies.

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