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Can one take a small amount of LSD(acid) and not trip but still benefit from the intended purpose? It was said the military experimented with it for extra sensory abilities. It has also been said it could increase your hearing or sight?

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    $\begingroup$ What is the source of this rumor? Could you link it here? $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Apr 14, 2017 at 6:24
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    $\begingroup$ LSD was developed by the chemist Albert Hoffmann. Please have at least a look into the relevant Wikipedia article, which gives you a lot of information. It can be found here. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Apr 14, 2017 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris I have seen a documentary on it. I stated the reason it was developed. All I can site that it was om the discovery channel. $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Apr 15, 2017 at 7:44
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    $\begingroup$ The acute mind enhancing effect of an LSD microdose is less than running off 1000 calories. LSDm acute effects are mood related, it's not racily imaginative. Einstein didn't microdose, nor do most great scientists. Physical fitness, mental effort and cerebral tasks and challenges increase IQ. Microdosing enhances serotonin and is appreciated for depression and positivity. it doesn't score for creativity. If the person has a very healthy, interesting and energetic research lifestyle, they could try a drug for imaginative dizzyness. High drug lifestyles often correlate with demotivated people. $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2019 at 8:59
  • $\begingroup$ There is no evidence so far that this is the case. Try reading en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… and especially peerj.com/preprints/1202.pdf $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2019 at 21:23

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The phenomenon you are referring to is called microdosing. It was brand-new in terms of research focus when you initially asked your question, and it is still a fairly novel and little-studied subject.

A lot of interest in this phenomenon stems from anecdotal evidence by microdosing users, who report beneficial effects. This is however not necessarily an indicator of neuroenhancing potential, since psychopharmacological agents are known to modulate subjective evaluations of performance more than constrained objective measures of it (compare tables 3 and 4 in this article, which does not discuss LSD or microdosing per se, but illustrates this psychopharmacological phenomenon).

Anecdotal findings regarding LSD are substantiated in an article, which found that microdosing LSD improved the self-reported mood of participants. Additionally, this article showed an improvement of vigour (as per the POMS scale) at the highest dose. This is, however, still not a behavioural effect, as POMS is a psychometric assessment method. Still, this further substantiates the mood-enhancing effects beyond direct self-reporting.

Another article reported increases in creativity, focus, and well being, though again, it should be noted that all of these metrics were assessed using participant reporting, and not evaluated based on behaviour.

So to conclude, there is to date no convincing evidence that microdosing LSD improves “mental ability”. There is however a growing amount of evidence that LSD microdosing improves mood, which in and of itself can be a desirable effect, and can further be argued to contribute to improved “ability” in more complex behaviours such as sustained deductive reasoning or social interaction. Conjecturing from the first cited article on methylphenidate, modafinil, and caffeine, it is conceivable that a similar effect:

In conjunction with results from neuropsychological testing we conclude that modifying effects of stimulants on complex cognitive tasks may in particular result from more reflective decision making processes. When not under time pressure, such effects may result in enhanced performance.

as the one seen with modafinil and methylphenidate could be present with LSD microdosing. Appropriate data to address such complex evaluations is however very scant in general, and to date wholly absent for the emerging phenomenon of LSD microdosing.

TL;DR

No but maybe.

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  • $\begingroup$ There was UK program interviewing people that microdose and they appeared slightly/considerably insane. $\endgroup$ Jan 19, 2022 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ @LifeInTheTrees that hardly sounds rigorous. People willing to experiment with currently-unproven cognitive supplements might not appear to be the most "sane" people, even if their actual experimentation is minimal. The perceived sanity of self-experimenters in a documentary is no indicator of the pros or cons a substance might offer when used in a scientifically-optimized manner. $\endgroup$ Jan 23, 2022 at 5:35
  • $\begingroup$ Aldous huxley was a famous psychadelics experimentor who took quantities that most scientists would consider high, since he was 40-50. He did appear cognitively able and a bit disctracted, fairly on the ball in his later days. Carlos Castenada, on the other hand, told one of his disciples, a little blonde girl, to drive to the middle of Mojave desert and walk to meet him in the center, after he had died, and they would both dissapear together in a ball of light everywhere in the univese, and so she go there. That is not sane advice. $\endgroup$ Jan 23, 2022 at 8:00

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