Patricia* sits across from me on a lovely spring afternoon. Wearing a floral dress, she orders a plate of nachos and answers my questions in a calm, collected manner - lucid in all respects.
"I'm not going through a depressive period at the moment but I thought I'd like to take something to even things out a bit."
We're meeting to discuss microdosing, something she's been doing for three months. She first heard about microdosing from a friend who put her in touch with their supplier and, so far, she says it's going well.
She describes herself as someone who is highly strung and gets stressed out easily. She's also suffered from depression and insomnia in the past. "It is hard to measure the effects but I do feel calmer in general. I've found I'm less inclined to get worked up into an emotional state."
While there have been many recent changes in her life, she says she's able to manage better compared to this time last year. "I was on anti-depressants before. I think the medication dulls things so that you lose your spark whereas I haven't found that [with microdosing]", she says.
Microdosing involves ingesting small amounts of psychoactive drugs, typically LSD or psilocybin, the active compound found in magic mushrooms. A microdose can be as small as one-tenth or -twentieth of a standard recreational dose, small enough to trigger the drug's effects on the user's mood or creativity levels without sending them on a hallucinogenic trip.