Will Burns
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Unleash Creativity Blog

Scientific studies that help us unleash our most human attribute: creativity.

More Evidence Microdosing Psychedelic Mushrooms Increases Creativity

 Super Mushrooms? Photo by  Geeky Shots  on  Unsplash

Super Mushrooms? Photo by Geeky Shots on Unsplash

Ever since 2015 when I wrote a Forbes piece about the need for more research into the positive effects of microdosing psychedelics (“LSD Microdosing Deserves More Serious Research”) I’ve been rewarded with exactly that. The Beckley Foundation told me they are in the process of spearheading a large study. But more recently a collection of researchers published more proof that, in this case, microdosing psychedelic mushrooms not only improves divergent thinking (creativity) but also convergent thinking.

Are ‘shrooms a wonder drug? And if so why aren’t they legal?

The study.

The method of the study was pretty simple. Have a group do a test for divergent thinking and a test for convergent thinking prior to taking the ‘shrooms, they take the ‘shrooms, and then test again. Or according to the research abstract:

We examined the effects of psychedelic truffles (which were later analyzed to quantify active psychedelic alkaloids) on two creativity-related problem-solving tasks: the Picture Concept Task assessing convergent thinking, and the Alternative Uses Task assessing divergent thinking.

Now, my understanding of “convergent thinking” is that it’s the opposite of “divergent thinking.” In that divergent thinking is about thinking laterally, “diverging” from what’s right in front of you to a notion that may be seemingly unrelated, but is still a possible solution to a problem. And “convergent thinking” is about gathering your faculties together for exactly what’s in front of you in order to find the correct answer.

That aside, the researchers claim that microdosing ‘shrooms improves both divergent and convergent thinking, while general intelligence levels do not change.

We found that both convergent and divergent thinking performance was improved after a non-blinded microdose, whereas fluid intelligence was unaffected.

The researchers acknowledge that more work still needs to be done with control groups and teasing out any placebo effect, which I have reported in this blog can be quite powerful when it comes to creativity.

But still.

Time to get over the taboo, don’t you think?

I think we now have at least enough anecdotal and empirical evidence to legalize psychedelics in the United States for further testing, if not at least legalize microdosing outright.

And if you’re worried about the harmful effects, don’t. According to a study out of the Netherlands, psychedelics are far less harmful than alcohol and cigarettes:

Based on extensive human experience, it is generally acknowledged that psychedelics do not elicit addiction or compulsive use and that there is little evidence for an association between psychedelic use and birth defects, chromosome damage, lasting mental illness, or toxic effects to the brain or other body organs.

And what I am lobbying for is microdosing. MICROdosing! Not full-on tripping, but tiny and imperceptible amounts in order to improve the performance of humanity.

Is that too much to ask? What is the government afraid of?

It’s time to shed the taboo. It’s time to move forward.

It’s time to legalize microdosing psychedelics.


WILL BURNS IS FOUNDER & CEO OF IDEASICLE, AND A FORBES CONTRIBUTOR.