Psychopharmacology research demonstrates how the 5-HT2A receptor–a protein that responds to the neurotransmitter serotonin–is responsible for many psychedelic effects, including the visual distortions associated with hallucinogens.
By stimulating 5-HT2A receptors, serotonin-boosting psychedelics like LSD also activate brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) molecules. BDNF molecules rebuild and form new nerve cells in a process called “neuroplasticity.”
In a 2020 study, researchers from the Beckley Foundation demonstrated the neuroplastic effects of LSD microdosing. Their findings revealed small doses (i.e., five micrograms) of LSD could increase BDNF levels in healthy volunteers four hours after administration.
Since neuroscience research has found that meditation can also increase BDNF and enhance connectivity between different brain regions, practicing meditation alongside microdosing could synergistically affect neuroplasticity, increasing the likelihood of cognitive and mood benefits.
Meditation and psychedelics may also synergize by decreasing activity in what is called the brain’s default mode network (DMN), which you can learn more about in this blog post.
Which meditation practices are best?
There are many different ways to meditate, but broadly speaking, meditation involves turning the focus away from thoughts somewhere else. This could include:
When deciding which meditation practice to incorporate into your microdosing journey, it’s important to consider your intention. What are your aims with microdosing?
For example, if you want to regulate your emotions, learning to direct your focus on the body or breathing could help reduce negative thoughts and feelings.
If your aim with microdosing is to improve your interpersonal relations, consider a compassion-based meditation, such as the Metta (loving kindness) technique, in which you imagine sending love to different people.
Whatever your aim, it’s essential not to limit yourself. By trying out different meditation practices, you’ll be able to find what works best for you.