Menopause is a natural transition that affects millions of women worldwide. This period in a woman’s life is often accompanied by a variety of challenging symptoms, such as brain fog, low mood, and decreased cognitive function. While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a popular treatment, it’s not without risks and side effects, which has led many women to seek alternative solutions.
Today, I want to share some exciting research about a novel approach to managing menopausal symptoms: microdosing psychedelics. This practice involves ingesting sub-hallucinogenic doses of substances like psilocybin (found in “magic mushrooms”), LSD, or DMT, and it has recently gained attention as a potential therapeutic method for various mental health conditions.
There is not extensive research on the safety or effectiveness of microdosing psychedelics. This information is provided for educational and research purposes only. I do not condone the use or sale of illegal substances.
According to recent studies, microdosing psychedelics may offer cognitive and mood-enhancing benefits that could help alleviate menopause-related symptoms. One study found that microdosing LSD led to improvements in convergent and divergent thinking, which could indicate enhanced cognitive flexibility. Another study discovered that microdosing psilocybin resulted in improved working memory and sustained attention.
If you’re interested in diving deeper into the science, you can access my comprehensive review article here.
Moreover, research suggests that microdosing psychedelics can help alleviate mood disturbances often experienced during menopause, such as depression, anxiety, and irritability. Participants in one study reported significant reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety after microdosing psilocybin for six weeks. Similarly, microdosing LSD has been shown to decrease anxiety and improve mood.
When I began microdosing psilocybin truffles and mushrooms I was surprised to feel my mood was more uplifted and I noticed more equanimity and deeper meditation.
While the exact mechanisms underlying these potential benefits are not yet fully understood, it’s hypothesized that psychedelics may exert their effects through the activation of serotonin 2A (5-HT2A) receptors, which play a crucial role in regulating mood, cognition, and neuroplasticity. Additionally, these substances have been shown to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels, which could contribute to improved cognitive function and mood regulation.
For an in-depth exploration of how psychedelics may improve women’s health, check out this Masterclass.
Of course, more research is needed before we can fully understand and recommend this approach for managing menopausal symptoms. It is also beneficial for women to take estradiol and progesterone for brain health as they age, so microdosing alone isn’t recommended.
It is still advisable to engage in other non-pharmacological practices such as exercise, sleep, nutrition, and stress management. However, these preliminary findings are certainly intriguing and offer hope for those seeking alternative treatments to improve their quality of life during this challenging period.
Check out my blog post on 6 non-drug natural ways to manage menopause here.
Stay empowered and informed, my friends, and always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before embarking on any new treatment journey.
To your vitality,
Dr. 1Drea Pennington Wasio
PS: For my fellow research nerds, below are some references I used in my research.
1. Harlow, S. D., Gass, M., Hall, J. E., Lobo, R., Maki, P., Rebar, R. W., … & de Villiers, T. J. (2012). Executive summary of the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop + 10: addressing the unfinished agenda of staging reproductive aging. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 97(4), 1159-1168. https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2011-3362
2. Weber, M. T., Maki, P. M., & McDermott, M. P. (2014). Cognition and mood in perimenopause: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 142, 90-98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2013.12.004
3. Santoro, N., & Epperson, C. N. (2015). Treatment of menopause-associated vasomotor symptoms: position statement of The North American Menopause Society. Menopause, 22(2), 115-124. https://doi.org/10.1097/gme.0000000000000343
4. Fadiman, J. (2011). The psychedelic explorer’s guide: Safe, therapeutic, and sacred journeys. Simon and Schuster.
5. Kuypers, K. P., Ng, L., Erritzoe, D., Knudsen, G. M., Nichols, C. D., Nichols, D. E., … & Riba, J. (2019). Microdosing psychedelics: More questions than answers? An overview and suggestions for future research. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 33(9), 1039-1057. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881119857204
6. Weber, M. T., Maki, P. M., & McDermott, M. P. (2014). Cognition and mood in perimenopause: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 142, 90-98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2013.12.004
7. Ly, C., Greb, A. C., Cameron, L. P., Wong, J. M., Barragan, E. V., Wilson, P. C., … & Duim, W. C. (2018). Psychedelics promote structural and functional neural plasticity. Cell reports, 23(11), 3170-3182. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2018.05.022
8. Prochazkova, L., Lippelt, D. P., Colzato, L. S., Kuchar, M., Sjoerds, Z., & Hommel, B. (2018). Exploring the effect of microdosing psychedelics on creativity in an open-label natural setting. Psychopharmacology, 235(11), 3401-3413. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-018-5049-7
9. Cameron, L. P., Nazarian, A., & Olson, D. E. (2021). Psychedelic microdosing: Preclinical safety assessment and potential functional benefits. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 35(2), 126-135. https://doi.org/10.117
NOTE: This article was first published on the In8Vitality Magazine May 2023.