Home LATEST NEWS HEALTH Psilocybin microdosing, a practice that has yet to prove itself

Psilocybin microdosing, a practice that has yet to prove itself


Today, Mike Brodeur walks the streets of Calgary with peace of mind, the city where he began his professional hockey career as a goaltender.

In 2010, a concussion put an end to the career of this rising star of the national league while playing with the Ottawa Senators.

Four years later, despite painkillers and antidepressants, he still does not see the end of the tunnel. I was desperate. I stayed all day in my bedhe says.

Mike Brodeur then discovers the microdosing of psilocybin on the Internet. This practice is now part of his daily life.

I take one capsule with my coffee every morning, Monday through Friday. The effects are mild, but it gives me energy, focus and optimism. Microdosing has changed my lifehe said.

Mike Brodeur sitting on an outdoor table tennis game in Calgary.

At 38, Mike Brodeur is back on the ice, but as a coach.

Photo: Andrés Saez

Why this trend

These capsules contain 50 to 300 milligrams of powdered magic mushrooms that contain psilocybin. It takes a dose 10 times greater to cause hallucinations.

Between 2018 and 2020, articles from New York Times and magazine Forbes introduced psilocybin microdosing to the general public. Previously, the word was only passed between Silicon Valley insiders and psychedelic aficionados.

On social networks, discussions on the subject have never been so lively. The number of forum subscribers on this topic has increased sevenfold since 2018.

Abroad and in Canada, the scientific community is studying these drugs as a treatment for psychiatric illnesses or mental health problems.

A microdose of magic mushrooms.

A microdose of magic mushrooms would be between 0.05g and 0.3g.

Photo: Andrés Saez

More and more Canadians are interested in this illegal practice. In the Google Canada search engine, searches with the keywords microdosing and shrooms (mushrooms) have doubled in one year.

It is no longer a hidden phenomenon. There are even companies that make a living from it, and that changes everythingexplains Balázs Szigeti, professor at theImperial College of London, one of the most renowned research centers in the field.

The floor of the sellers

Indeed, online stores are multiplying. TurnedNews.com spoke to the vendors hidden behind four of its sites. All affirm that the competition is such that the prices fall to attract the consumer.

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Most are based in British Columbia. They prefer to remain anonymous to avoid getting in trouble with the police.

Last April, after several years in the cannabis industry, Tally* embarked on the exploitation of magic mushrooms encouraged by the positive effect they had had on her state of mental health.

The close up of a variety of hallucinogenic mushroom.

The hallucinogenic mushroom is a psychotropic drug creating auditory and visual hallucinations when taken in high doses.

Photo: TurnedNews.com / Camille Vernet

We see an increase in our sales every month. Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia have the best numbers. There are even health professionals who come to ask us for informationexplains a saleswoman.

Trevor*, he has been in the industry for two years. Like Tally*, he manages his site from Vancouver. He has never tried microdosing and buys his products already packaged.

With his background in marketing, Trevor* mainly takes care of sending the orders by post and of properly referencing his shop so that it appears first on the search engines.

It was an economic decision. I wanted to get started before the market was saturated. Sales don’t dropsays Trevor*which estimates that its sales reach more than $40,000 per month.

None of the vendors interviewed consider themselves to be drug dealers. However, Health Canada confirms that violators of the law risk up to three years in prison.

Still a lot to discover

Improve morale, develop creativity and reduce stress: the promises of online stores have not yet been proven by science, recalls Claude Rouillard, neuropsycho-pharmacologist at Laval University.

In the scientific literature, there is not a lot of evidence so far, but in the gray literature, that is to say where people go to bring home effects, there are several people who report that this phenomenon of microdosing could have beneficial consequences on mental health in the short or medium term.

Matthew Johnson, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Maryland, USA, summarizes the situation in an email: Scientifically, the field has not been able to confirm any of the benefits claimed in the few studies conducted so far.

A strong placebo effect?

According to Claude Rouillard, clinical studies must be done on thousands of people of different ages, sexes and from various countries, in addition to research over several months to determine if the effect of psilocybin is stronger than the effect placebo.

If you expect to feel better with a treatment or procedure, you will feel betterrecalls Balázs Szigeti, professor at theImperial College from London.

According to him, the growing public interest could create this placebo effect in some consumers and participants.

The University of Toronto Mississauga will launch in the coming months a controlled study on nearly 100 people who will be followed for five weeks.

Psilocybin capsules on a table.

Even if online stores claim to test their products in the laboratory, it is difficult to verify the veracity of this statement.

Photo: TurnedNews.com / Axel Tardieu

a lot of hope

The team of Norman Farb, associate professor of psychology, will look into the effects of microdosing psilocybin on people suffering from persistent depressive disorder. This Canadian first delighted the head of the study.

Finding a new class of drugs that would help people on whom antidepressants don’t work, for example, would be revolutionary. We have very few available to treat anxiety and many of them are problematicexplains Norman Farb.

The idea behind it can lead us to major breakthroughsadmits Claude Rouillard.20 or 30years, in the treatment of mental health in neuropharmacology or psychopharmacology.”,”text”:”There has not been much innovation, in the last 20 or 30 years, in the treatment of mental health in neuropharmacology or in psychopharmacology.”}}”>There hasn’t been a lot of innovation in the last 20 or 30 years in the treatment of mental health in neuropharmacology or psychopharmacology.

* Fictitious names. Tally and Trevor did not want to publicly reveal their identities to avoid trouble with the police.

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