Microdosing LSD to Measure Perceptual Changes to Athletic Performance [In Progress]

In my continued attempts to explore the ways by which hallucinogenic compounds can help improve physical performance capability, my latest endeavour has amounted to incorporating lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) into my athletic routines over the course of a one month trial period.

By microdosing this substance, I’m curious to examine the range of benefits or detriments that may become apparent over this four week timespan, specifically through a comparison to the numerous self-studies I’ve completed using psilocybin, also by way of microdosing.


Hypothesis

Whereas I’ve had personal experience with psilocybin and had previously employed several preconceived assumptions as to what I could expect, I have zero experience with LSD; accordingly, I’m pleased to be going forth with this examination having no personally-derived expectations as to what I should experience from a perceptual standpoint. 

That being said, I’m exceptionally weary of the placebo effect, which I’ve come to acknowledge (and go as far as to appreciate) as a necessary variable in the overall equation when undertaking such endeavours. 

Ultimately, I have no expectations except that the effects of LSD can possibly present themselves to be similar in kind to those of psilocybin: allowing some kind of shift in focus, perhaps offering a greater immersion into a particular activity, and maybe resulting in an improvement in various physical capabilities by displacing the minds usual areas of automatic focus (i.e. on discomfort and/or fatigue).


Methodology: Schedule / Dosage / Application 

Schedule

While familiar with the James Fadiman protocol, which suggests microdosing every fourth day (one day on, three days off) with increasing dosages after several weeks, I’ll instead coordinate my own schedule: one day on, one day off, with two days off at the end of every week, for one month. 

I’ve constructed this schedule for two reasons.

Primarily, I’m not after the kind of generalized shifts in thinking that James Fadiman had used to contextualize his proposed protocol; should I be interested in pursuing greater changes to my thought patterns (i.e. neuroplasticity), I would be more inclined to adopt his schedule. 

Secondly, what I’m specifically after is a contrast — athletic performance with supplementing LSD versus athletic performance without supplementing anything. Accordingly, a one day on, one day off schedule seems most simple and most conducive towards identifying potential effects or detriments through an immediate contrast within a 24-hour range.

I’ll also look to increase the dosage midway through the trial period — after two weeks, on the recommendation of Fadiman’s protocol to increase dosages after several weeks due to prolonged tolerance.

That being said, it’s wholly possible that I’ll come to idealize a better protocol (say, two days on, three days off or one week on, one week off) once I become more familiar with the tolerance curve, something that I understand to be more noticeable with LSD as opposed to psilocybin.

In short, my schedule will look something like this: 

1st day, 1ml — 15.5ug
2nd day off
3rd day 1.5ml / 23.25ug
4th day off
5th day 2ml / 31ug
6th day off
7th day off

It is worth noting that determining schedules, with respect to microdosing, is an immensely subjective enterprise and should be formulated based on personal experience above generalized recommendations. 

Dosage

With respect to the dosages, I’ll be consuming LSD suspended in distilled water at a concentration of 15ug/mL, incrementally consuming more every second day. 

I’ll be starting with 15.5ug and moving up to 31ug (increments of .5) before resetting for the following week.

During the last two weeks of the trial period, I'll increase my base-level dosage to account for a possible build up in tolerance. 

Accordingly, weeks 3–4 will look something like this:

1st day, 1.5ml — 23.25ug
2nd day off
3rd day 2ml / 31ug
4th day off
5th day 2.5ml / 38.75ug
6th day off
7th day off

*Please do not consider the above to be a suggested or recommended dosage schedule or dosage guide, as I’m experimenting with this regimen for the very first time and it’s specifically based around my experience with psilocybin. I wholly expect to eventually adjust the schedule as needed for future studies and may ultimately determine a suggested range based on my forthcoming experience.

Application

In terms of the activities that I’ve chosen to undertake for this initial trial, I’m simply continuing my regular gambit of exercises that I had been engaging with throughout the summer thus far. 

Admittedly, I had little time to prepare for this trial so I figure the best contrast will be one offered atop the foundation of the kinds of physical activities that I had already been engaged with (many of which I had used to study the effects of psilocybin with). 

These include: cycling (road cycling), running (trail running and jogging), jump-height training, isometrics, strength-training (weighted pull ups, free weights) and kickboxing (weighted bag training). 

Considerations for different types of activities will be idealized in due course for future studies, perhaps after identifying more suitable applications. 

Authors note: My previous research on LSD, as well as many of the interviews I’ve conducted, had often highlighted the popularity of this substance amongst the extreme sport community. As I have a familiarity with mountain biking, I plan to conduct a future study whereby I can observe the effects of LSD under such an application, specifically noting any potential effects on reflexology and technique refinement. 


This study is sponsored exclusively by Psychedelia.

Psychedelia is a distributed by a cohesive group of the most knowledgeable & experienced Psychedelic producers in Canada. Visit Psychedelia.io for laboratory tested LSD, DMT, Mescaline, and Psilocybin Mushrooms available via mail order to all of Canada. 


Results [Ongoing / In progress]

Week 1

1st day, 1ml — 15.5ug
2nd day off
3rd day 1.5ml / 23.25ug
4th day off
5th day 2ml / 31ug
6th day off
7th day off

While more specific results will be published at the end of this trial, through my first week, my findings couldn’t be more different from the expectations I had initially set forward with. 

Unfortunately, the placebo effect is proving rather difficult to circumvent given my unfamiliarity with such low doses of LSD, though I expect to overcome this as I continue to find my ‘sweetspot’ in terms of an ideal dosage. 

While still unverified, I’ve noted some perceptual changes that seem to be quite unlike psilocybin — changes that are hard to linguistically contextualize. 

With respect to jump-height training, I've observed a consistently higher result - along with an improved tendency to focus on my technique (planting my feet and thrusting my quads and hamstrings). It may seem trivial and obvious but this added level of thought culminated into a greater sense of focus that did allow me to achieve more consistent results. More testing will have to be conducted to fully disentangle the placebo effect. 

Similarly, with kickboxing, I've noticed a more attuned sense of focus that allows me to simultaneously assess my technique in real time - my posture, my flexion and abduction - and operate with a more fluid dynamic. Interestingly, the added level of thought had also motivated me to try new maneuvers or consider new possibilities whilst engaged with this activity. 

Perhaps adversely, the less technique-heavy activities I've engaged with so far (trail running and swimming) have not proven complimentary to the LSD, as my thoughts too easily wandered outside of my engagement with the activity, though there is much left to be tested after this short initial impression. 

I still have yet to try isometrics, strength training, and road cycling as these will be further examined in subsequent weeks. 

Week 2 (Updated Sept 13th, 2021)

1st day, 1ml — 15.5ug
2nd day off
3rd day 1.5ml / 23.25ug
4th day off
5th day 2ml / 31ug
6th day off
7th day off

Throughout this week, I simply aimed to achieve a base-level consistency in terms of my findings from my first three sessions (1st, 2nd, 3rd days) of active study. 

I'm inclined to confirm my initial results.

On the days whereby I microdosed LSD, I had experienced a noticeable change in my perceptions relating to whatever activity I had been experiencing. This perception culminated in a greater sense of awareness towards various means: spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, technique development. 

I have also noticed that a higher dosage leads to a decreased sense of motivation; very similar to that experienced with higher doses of psilocybin. My theory, yet to be validated through my forthcoming discussions with a neurologist or pharmacologist, is that the serotonin acts as a detriment to the other neurological components responsible for physically-oriented impulse control. 

My last take-away from the second week revolves around two new styles of exercise that I've experimented with: isometric holds and strength training. At this time, I have noted no perceived improvement (nor deficit) with respect to these activities. Potentially, at a higher dosage, the lack of motivation - as noted in my previous point - would serve as a discouraging factor. 


Discussion 

The best way that I can describe it is as such: LSD, taken in miniscule quantities for an athletic application, can benefit a participant through a deeper cognitive dimension that allows for a more prompted level of thought; in other words, an activity is infused with an added level of cognitive contemplation. 

This can go either way - culminating in a greater sense of focus that remains within the realm of engagement with an activity or resulting in a distracted mind that welcomes wandering thoughts. 

It’s as though LSD (as with psilocybin) interrupts the usual discussion between body and mind during an exercise. Whereas the typical discussion would often consist of observations about fatigue or progress, LSD seems to curate and provoke a greater sense of surface-level thinking — this thinking, in itself, need not be confined to the particular activity but, when it is, it proves complimentary towards performance enhancement or self-development. 

Ostensibly, it makes sense — one thing that LSD is known for is creating an excess in thought (I plan to eventually conduct an interview with neurologist about this point specifically); mixed with physical performance, these thinking processes can be applied in real time to consecrate desired effects, so long as the motivation is there. 

Accordingly, it’s no surprise that LSD is a prominent substance of choice amongst extreme sport athletes where the refinement of technique is crucial for their development and optimized performance — say, snowboarding as an example. Focus, amongst this style of sport, is wholly required to remain on the activity. 

Whereas psilocybin can promote an externalized focus (through, say, the constrained-action hypothesis, as I’ve written about at length), and help to deeper immerse an individual into an activity through a relative dissolving of inhibitions, LSD seems to allow a participant to employ what I would refer to as a more internalized sense of focus .

This can possibly be used and compounded through several aims: discipline, reflexology, technique refinement, focus, coordination. 

And so it’s here that LSD seems most distinguished as a supplement — its ability to create excessive thought can be harnessed for self-development or performance enhancement purposes. 


Coming soon:

  • Weeks 2–4 Summaries
  • Flow state considerations 
  • Interview with neurologist/pharmacologist regarding the specific serotonergic effects of LSD on the mind/body during sportive function
  • Discussion surrounding LSD and neuroplasticity
  • Preview of subsequent/forthcoming self-studies

Thank you again to Psychedelia for sponsoring this self-study. 

Visit Psychedelia.io for laboratory tested LSD, DMT, Mescaline, and Psilocybin Mushrooms available via mail order to all of Canada.