The Growing Popularity of Micro-dosing for Mental Health in the UK

By Claire Tait and Beca Hayes © Capital Law July 27, 2023

​Micro-dosing is the practice of taking small, sub-hallucinogenic doses of illegal Class A psychedelic drugs such as LSD/acid and magic mushrooms. The practice of micro-dosing involves administering very small doses of these substances to induce positive effects on wellness and cognition. This article explores the recent rise of micro-dosing within the U.K. workplace.

Regardless of the size of the doses, possession of illegal Class A drugs carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison. So why has the trend emerged amongst professional people?

People who micro-dose share the idea that micro-dosing enhances one's mood, concentration, productivity and creative thinking, while reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges with minimal side effects. However, cynics consider that the benefits could be an "expectancy effect" which means that if micro-dosers expect to feel happier by taking the substance, they will feel like they are happier just from taking the substance, regardless of what is in it.

The popularity of micro-dosing psychedelics is growing, and there must be a reason for that. This however does not imply that the practice is safe or standard practice, especially if the effects of use happen within work hours.

Given its current illegality and lack of regulation, there is no safe way to know what dosage is taken. LSD is an extremely powerful and long-acting drug, meaning there is a clear risk of consuming more of the substance than intended. Psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD can produce physiological tolerance, which might suggest that, even if micro-dosing does help, there could be diminishing returns if one stays at the same dosage.

What Can You Do as an Employer?

Employers should be aware of the growing trend for micro-dosing and be alert to potential users in the workforce.

The possession of Class A drugs is illegal, and employers should take all reasonable precautions to prevent any crimes from taking place within your workplace.

Employers have a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their staff.

Employees must also take reasonable care of themselves and anyone who could be affected by their work.

Employers should consider:

  • Reviewing or implementing their organization's drug and alcohol policy to ensure that hallucinogenic substances, such as LSD and magic mushrooms are covered.
  • If an employee informs you that they have a drug problem, aiming to support them rather than instantly dismissing them. But equally, policies should highlight when disciplinary or other action will take place.
  • Adopting drug and alcohol testing policies if necessary for the work carried out in their business—for example, if drug use can cause clear health and safety risks. Any testing must be carried out properly and employees must consent to testing for practical and legal reasons.
  • Providing training to raise awareness among the workforce about the risks of consuming drugs, even in micro-doses, as well as compulsory training on identifying and managing common mental health challenges. Employers should regularly "sign-post" mental health services to direct employees that may be suffering toward various means of support.

Claire Tait is an attorney in Greater Cardiff, Wales, U.K. Beca Hayes is a trainee solicitor with Capital Law and achieved a distinction in her legal practice course at Cardiff University. © 2023 Capital Law. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission of Lexology.



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