By Josh Mur
There is a story making its rounds across the internet that is putting a grin on the faces of psychedelic enthusiasts. In an interview with Rolling Stone, a 25-year-old worker from Silicon Valley revealed that he, along with many other professionals in the tech industry, occasionally uses microdoses of LSD to increase workflow.
A microdose is generally about ten micrograms, or a tenth of a single dose. In his interview, the anonymous worker explains that he felt he was able to better solve problems, make good sales numbers, and communicate effectively with customers.
Needless to say, having workers trying to function in an office while high on LSD could easily lead to negative results ─ in regards to the workflow, anyway. However, this is the beauty of the microdose. According to Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, microdoses are small enough so the user does not experience any hallucinatory effects, but rather feels a “little bit of an energy lift.”
Critics warn the long-term effects of microdoses of LSD are unknown and could potentially be harmful. Truth be told, the data to confirm or deny long-term harmful effects of LSD doesn’t exist or isn’t accessible. Though, in 2011, psychologist and author James Fadiman released The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, which discusses the positive results he gathered from surveys taken by people who use psychedelics for performance enhancement.
While in-depth research behind microdoses is yet to be pursued, psychedelics being used as performance enhancers is nothing new. In 1966, Fadiman and his colleagues conducted the Psychedelic Agents in Creative Problem-Solving experiment. A group of 27 test subjects — an engineer-physicist, a furniture designer, two mathematicians, sixteen engineers, one personnel manager, a sales manager, one commercial artist, a psychologist, and two architects — were chosen for the study. Nineteen of them had no prior experiences with psychedelics and they were all asked to bring in a professional problem they had been working on for at least three months.
This research concluded that doses of psychedelics, including mescaline and LSD, can work both for and against performance enhancement. However, results were predominantly positive. A number of solutions were created during the sessions including commercial building and product design, a new conceptual look at photons, a new design for a microtome, and more. Test subjects also reported that they found their focus was heightened as well as their empathetic emotions and motivation to find solutions.
For over 50 years, psychedelic substances have been shunned by the general populace, mostly thanks to the fear-mongering propaganda people have been fed since their D.A.R.E. seminars in elementary school. People have long been convinced that the classic horror stories of the man losing his mind on acid and jumping off a roof or going on a homicidal rampage somehow discredits the amazing experiences and possibilities that these chemicals unlock.
Thankfully, a more positive light is being cast on psychedelic substances in modern times. Even CNN covered a story earlier this year about a man in Silicon Valley who uses microdoses in the same manner described here — painting him in a neutral, but positive light. In the same report, Silicon Valley investor Tim Ferriss states:
“The billionaires I know, almost without exception, use hallucinogens on a regular basis. [They’re] trying to be very disruptive and look at the problems in the world … and ask completely new questions.”
So it would seem that even some of the big suits upstairs have hopped on the perceptual expansion bandwagon. Hopefully, this is a sign that research into the potential of psychedelics will become more popularized in the science community and pique general public interest. Perhaps this growing acceptance and interest in these chemicals will lead to groundbreaking discoveries that further our species into a state of singularity beyond the imaginary boundaries our minds and societies create.
A guy can dream, right?