Ioana Pop & Jannis Dinkelacker
Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Science
Powerful substances in tiny bits. The microdosing practice among Dutch students
Microdosing is defined as the ingestion of sub-threshold doses of psychedelic drugs in an attempt to enhance cognitive tasks, to boost physical energy levels, to promote emotional balance, and to treat anxiety, depression and addiction. In the present project, we examine how the microdosing practice manifests itself among the student population at a Dutch university.
We invited 20 students from any background, who already have experience in microdosing psychedelics, for a single interview of around 60 minutes. During the interview, we explored their motivations and the effects that the practice of microdosing has had on their life. Our observation is that at this moment there is little that we know about the subjective experience with this practice and that the accounts in the media are highly polarized, between very positive to very negative. We aim to provide an impartial account of the experience of microdosing and enable the voices of those engaged in this practice to be heard.
The microdosing practice reflects specific institutional pressures linked mainly to the academic life, e.g., performance / workload pressures. Such pressures play a role in the pursue of methods to enhance cognitive performance, and microdosing is one of such methods. Next, this practice reflects general a societal discourse around the concepts of “self-work”, “growth” and “healing”. Subsequently, this project directly links to the general topics of pharmaceuticalization and therapeuticalization in the specific type of a context, the university. Funding This was was supported by University Fund, TiU.
Ioana Pop is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Department of Sociology at Tilburg University (the Netherlands). Her research interests regard the social causes of disease, with a particular interest in mental health and wellbeing. She has an interdisciplinary theoretical focus and she approaches dynamics within societal, familial/communal, and individual levels both from a comparative and a life-course perspective, using quantitative as well as qualitative methods.
Jannis Dinkelacker received his Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Neuropsychology from Tilburg University, and he is currently pursuing a master degree in Positive Psychology. His interests include neurobiology of health, well-being & behavioral change. The collaboration with Ioana resulted in a data collection pilot on the practice of microdosing with psychedelics among (mainly) student population. In this project, they combine qualitative interviews with longitudinal quantitative data collection in the form of online cognitive testing and experience sampling methods.