Rotem Petranker, MA

Psychedelic Studies Research Program, University of Toronto

Microdosing Results from the Global Drug Survey 2019


Objectives: this pre-registered observational study examined a population of microdosers as part of the most recent Global Drug Survey. We had four hypotheses. H1: The three most common benefits of microdosing will be enhanced focus, better mood, and increased creativity. H2: The three most common drawbacks of microdosing will be concerns about legality, physiological discomfort, and impaired focus. H3: The majority of participants who microdose will not have tested the substance they used to microdose. H4: Participants who report an approach-motivation will report significantly more benefits than participants who report an avoidance-motivation. Methods: we recruited an online community sample from various online forums, consisting of 8,477 participants with microdosing experience. We used the single-item questions to assess benefits and drawbacks, and also whether participants tested their substances. Microdosing intention was measured using different framing for a few commons motivations. One example for an approach motivation is “to improve mood”; one example for an avoidance motivation is “to escape negative feelings”. Results: some of our hypothesized benefits and drawbacks were supported by the data. The three most commonly reported benefits were improved mood, creativity and energy. The three most commonly reported drawbacks were none (i.e., no drawback), restlessness/fatigue, confusion, and reduced energy. As hypothesized, most psychedelics users reported not testing their substances, but a surprisingly large proportion did test their substances. Finally, contrary to our hypothesis, approach-motivation to microdosing was predictive of fewer benefits than avoidance-motivation.


Rotem is a Clinical Psychology PhD student with John Eastwood’s lab at York University. His main research interests are sustained attention, emotional regulation, and creativity, all of which are ostensibly affected by psychedelics. Rotem is passionate about establishing a rigorous framework for the study of psychedelics using the principles of Open Science. His clinical interests include disorders amenable to psychedelic psychotherapy, including mood disorders and OCD.