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Microdosing psychedelics could help those with ADHD

A new study shows that consuming tiny amounts of LSD or magic mushrooms can improve mindfulness in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Following decades of demonisation and criminalisation, psychedelic drugs are being proved to have profound implications for a field that’s seen few pharmacological advancements since the 60s.

I’m talking, of course, about the treatment of intractable conditions such as depression, PTSD, and addiction, which time and time again these mind-altering substances have shown genuine promise in alleviating the symptoms of.

Now more than ever before – amid a mental health crisis that has care services bursting at the seams – there’s a great body of evidence about their enormous medical potential as well as a recognition that we are in dire need of new therapeutic tools.

Thankfully, the psychedelic renaissance is well underway, regardless of the complications the status of hallucinogens as controlled compounds brings, such as making it bureaucratically challenging and expensive to progress them through clinical trials.

In recent years, we’ve seen universities race to set up research centres, investors pour millions into the market, US states begin to loosen restrictions, and advocates argue psychedelics could help us solve seemingly intractable crises like environmental destruction and economic inequity.

More recently, a study by the Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology at Maastricht University, published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, has revealed that consuming tiny amounts of LSD or magic mushrooms could help people with ADHD.

According to the findings, microdosing psychedelics can improve mindfulness in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Mindfulness is defined as the ability to be present and allocate attention to what you’re currently experiencing, which is difficult for ADHD sufferers.

‘We found improvements in all facets of mindfulness after four weeks of microdosing,’ says lead author, Eline C.H.M. Haijen. ‘Their average mindfulness score at the four week time point was comparable to mean mindfulness scores of general population samples.’

Affecting around 2.6 million adults in the UK, those with ADHD have issues with feeling impatient, restless, or impulsive, and struggle to cope with stress, concentrate, and focus on completing tasks.

With its pool of 223 participants, the study uncovered that 80 per cent indicated having practiced mindfulness during the four-week period of ingesting small, non-hallucinogenic doses of psychedelics.

‘Trait mindfulness, specifically description and non-judging of inner experience, was increased, and neuroticism was decreased after 4 weeks of MD compared to baseline,’ reads the research.

‘Using conventional medication and/or having comorbid diagnoses did not change the MD-induced effects on mindfulness and personality traits after 4 weeks.’

The discovery comes after pharmacists across the globe expressed that they are facing anger and aggression from patients over a shortage in supply of Adderall and Ritalin, which are proven to be highly effective at treating ADHD.

‘Over the past few years, we are seeing medicines all of a sudden just not being available at all,’ says Dr Leyla Hannbeck of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMP).

‘We see first-hand the stress that it causes our patients with regards to, for example, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) medicines or HRT (hormone replacement therapy).’