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Dr. Harriet De Wit on Amphetamines, MDMA, and Surprising New Microdosing Results

Does microdosing LSD affect depressed individuals differently than those with a more positive outlook?

Why is MDMA so effective at treating PTSD?

Does microdosing LSD affect depressed individuals differently than those with a more positive outlook?

Some of us have been waiting for answers to these kinds of questions about psychedelics for more than 50 years.

As a young academic in the 1960s, I had my own life-changing experiences with psychedelics, which set me on a new career path as a clinical psychologist. But like many of my generation, I watched with dismay as these powerful tools were demonized and criminalized in the decades that followed, driven underground by a combination of political backlash and cultural stigma.

Now, we find myself in the midst of a remarkable resurgence of interest in psychedelic medicine. From the halls of academia to the pages of mainstream media, there is a growing recognition that compounds like LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA may hold tremendous potential for treating a wide range of mental health conditions, from depression and addiction to PTSD and end-of-life anxiety.

Thanks to brave researchers like Dr. Harriet de Wit, we're finally getting more answers.

Dr. de Wit, a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, spent decades studying various drugs before focusing on the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.

However, when she first began exploring LSD microdosing, she was cautious about openly discussing her research. "I was very nervous about doing LSD research to begin with because of the stigma," she revealed.

To minimize attention, she referred to her first study as a "serotonin agonist" study, even though she still named it as LSD in the description.

The approval process for her study took nearly two years.

Her groundbreaking work has been published in prestigious journals like Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry.

In my latest interview, Dr. de Wit shares fascinating insights on:

  • MDMA's unique effects on our sensitivity to negative emotions in other people’s faces

  • The dose-dependent effects of LSD microdosing on mood and cognition

  • The importance of controlled research to maximize benefits and minimize risks

Dr. DeWit's research shows that these compounds have the ability to reshape neural pathways and facilitate deep emotional healing.

"MDMA is technically not a psychedelic, but it does have unique effects that make it useful in therapy."

But to fully realize this potential, we will need to do more than just demonstrate their efficacy in clinical trials. We will need to develop new models of care that integrate psychedelic therapies into the broader landscape of mental health services, while ensuring that they are delivered safely, ethically, and not just for the wealthy.

We may also need to challenge long-held assumptions about the nature of mental illness and the ability to consciously control the healing process.

"Microdosing LSD under controlled conditions allows for the study of its effects without the influence of expectations." – Dr. Harriet de Wit

For Dr. DeWit, this process of integration is not only necessary but inevitable. "I would like to go on forever," she told me with a smile. "It's fascinating to ask all these questions, and there seems to be an infinite number of them."

One of the most pressing needs is for continued funding and institutional support for rigorous, well-designed studies that can provide definitive answers to the many questions that remain.

This week, I’m inviting my listeners to share their most pressing unanswered questions about psychedelics. Please share them on YouTube, or send me a Direct Message on Instagram.

While you’re there, be sure to follow and subscribe so you don’t miss my answers.

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  • Harriet DeWit has a long and distinguished career in science, particularly in psychedelic science.

  • Her research has focused on amphetamines, MDMA, and microdosing LSD.

  • MDMA has unique effects, including increased sociability, empathy, and a reduction in the feeling of rejection.

  • Microdosing LSD at low doses has shown potential therapeutic benefits.

  • There are risks and limitations associated with these substances, including the potential for misuse and exclusion of individuals with cardiovascular issues from research studies.

  • Individual responses to microdosing LSD vary, with the subsensate cutoff point ranging between 10 and 15 micrograms.

  • Microdosing can lead to increased energy and arousal, but not necessarily distortions or emotional effects.

  • Microdosing has potential as an antidepressant, but further research is needed.

  • Measures used in microdosing research include self-report questionnaires and EEG.

  • Caution and responsible use of psychedelics are necessary due to their powerful effects.

Mind Body Health & Politics brings you exclusive interviews with leading scientists, researchers, and health professionals, exploring the frontiers of mind-body medicine and the politics of health. Get the latest insights in psychedelic science, integrative medicine, and beyond.

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Mind Body Health & Politics
Mind Body Health & Politics
Dr. Richard Louis Miller is an American Clinical Psychologist, Founder of Wilbur Hot Springs Health Sanctuary, and broadcaster who hosts the Mind Body Health & Politics talk radio program from Mendocino County, California. Dr. Miller was also Founder and chief clinician of the nationally acclaimed, pioneering, Cokenders Alcohol and Drug Program. Dr. Miller’s new book, Psychedelic Medicine, is based on his interviews with the most acclaimed experts on the topic. Mind Body Health & Politics radio broadcast is known for its wide ranging discussions on political issues and health. The program’s format includes guest interviews with prominent national authorities, scientists, best-selling authors, and listener call-ins. The programs offer a forum and soundboard for listeners to interact with the show and its guests. We invite you to listen to the latest broadcasts below or visit our many archived programs. We’d love to hear from you on political and health issues!