Psychedelics: Overlooked Clinical Tools with Unexplored Ergogenic Potential

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Psychedelics are a stigmatized, under-researched class of hallucinogenic drugs with unprecedented boundless potential. Despite a historically widespread cultural use, these drugs were denigrated and prematurely banned before clinical trials could demonstrate their value. It is now known that through full or partial serotonergic receptor agonist activity, psychedelics impart positive effects on a broad spectrum of psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive- compulsive behaviors. Furthermore, extremely small, non-intoxifying microdosed psychedelics (1/10th-1/16th typical dose) may potentiate similar effects to full doses without undesirable side effects. These compounds are also unexplored for their potential role in physically active populations. A preponderance of subjective claims and fervent anecdote indicate psychedelics may enhance mental acuity and subsequent exercise performance. Through the same serotonergic-mediated mechanisms that invoke neuroplasticity, psychedelics possibly augment exercise adaptation and offer safer alternatives to current pain management strategies. Despite a wealth of promising clinical data and high drug safety, federal restriction remains a psychological barrier to research and general public acceptance. Therefore, the purpose of this short review is to 1) briefly demonstrate the clinical value of psychedelics, and 2) highlight the potential of microdosing as an effective alternative to full-dose psychedelics whilst emphasizing their latent ergogenic ability.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Exercise and Nutrition
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Hallucinogen
  • microdosing
  • Nootropic
  • Depression
  • Athletic performance
  • Pain management


  • Kinesiology

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