Associate Professor at Maastricht University
Microdosing psychedelics as a future therapeutic tool?
Talk date & time :
Microdosing psychedelics has been receiving widespread attention from the nonprofessional and scientific community for the last few years. The practice of taking a small, non-psychedelic dose of LSD or psilocybin repeatedly over weeks to months to improve particular behavior, emotions, or a psychiatric condition is claimed to be effective by users. It is important to explore these claims as microdosing might have therapeutic potential in disorders that also show beneficial responses to full psychedelic doses, like depression. For example, the psychedelic experience associated with a full dose might not always be appropriate given the age of the person (e.g., adolescent or child), the ability to consent to and comprehend the experience (e.g., dementia), or the personality of a person (e.g., not able to surrender). Next to this, microdoses might serve as maintenance treatments after administration of full, psychedelic doses, to support specific psychological or biological processes when the person is undergoing psychological therapy or engages in therapeutic exercises. Placebo-controlled studies are needed in healthy populations to define the underlying biological and psychological mechanism of action of microdosing effects, and in psychiatric populations, to test its efficacy in symptom management. Current studies show that small psychedelic doses exert small, selective effects on pain perception, mood, neuroplasticity, limbic brain connectivity, and default mode network synchronicity; however, null effects are also shown on several parameters after single and repeated administration. With this presentation, I aim to overview where this young research field stands and which future directions should be explored.
Kim PC Kuypers is affiliated as an Associate Professor with Maastricht University, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience where she obtained her Ph.D. in 2007. Her research has three pillars. The main goal is to understand the neurobiology underlying flexible cognition, empathy and well-being. To accomplish this goal she use a psychopharmacological model, studying the acute, sub-acute, and longer lasting effects of psychedelics on these behaviors and biology. Next to that, she also conduct survey research to understand the motives underlying psychedelic use, and the experienced effects, and use patterns. Lastly, she develops new paradigms to study cognitive flexibility and empathy in a more ecologically valid way. Her future research efforts will go into conceptualizing online tools to assess aforementioned behavior in daily life and determining biological markers of positive responses to psychedelics. She wants to focus on ‘small data’ and precision medicine.