In recent years, a new form of substance abuse is becoming increasingly common among stay-at-home moms and CEOs alike: microdosing LSD. Microdosing refers to taking a small fraction of what is considered a recreational dose of LSD or other Hallucinogen (like Psilocybin Mushrooms, also known as Magic Mushrooms). Microdosing certain Psychedelic drugs can reportedly improve mood, induce physical and mental stimulation, and encourage creative thinking. Emerging studies support the notion that Hallucinogenic drugs, taken in small doses or under the supervision and guidance of a medical professional, can be used to treat mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. However, taking consistent and frequent doses of any drug, especially one as potent as LSD, is by no means safe for all individuals and may put certain people at a high risk for developing addiction.
Given many Hallucinogens’ status as Schedule I drugs, it is difficult to conduct FDA-approved scientific studies. Moreover, most microdosing studies rely on reporting and statistics provided by self-proclaimed “microdosers” who would likely have a positive bias regarding the practice. Consequently, legitimate claims made regarding mental health treatment with Psychedelics remain rare.
Microdosing Origins: Shared Experiences Online
Microdosing LSD and other Hallucinogens initially gained popularity among drug users sharing their experiences on the internet. Practitioners used online community forums (such as Reddit) and Psychedelic information sites’ message boards (like Erowid) to boast about the “benefits” of microdosing.
While both LSD and Magic Mushrooms are illegal on the federal level in the US and in many other countries, more and more people are beginning to claim that small amounts make them feel more focused, creative, and productive. Testimonies of individual experiences with microdosing can be found from people of nearly every demographic: young tech industry employees, middle-aged parents with children, and even high-ranking corporate executives from prominent companies.
However, these testimonials don’t come from medical or psychiatric professionals. LSD and other Psychedelics are dangerous and illegal; their use can cause serious medical, social, and legal complications.
The Changing Stigma Of Hallucinogen Use
These claims online, despite having no scientific backing, quickly turned the practice from niche hobby to nationwide phenomenon. Yet, despite the claimed benefits, microdosing remains a form of substance abuse.
Notably, many users reported first trying microdosing as a substitute for Adderall (a Stimulant prescribed to treat ADHD). Adderall is also referred to as a “study drug” or “smart drug” by many college students and young professionals who misuse it, either by taking it without a prescription or by taking it in excessive quantities. Because of the perceived positive effects on work or school performance, many people who don’t consider themselves typical drug users may be attracted to microdosing LSD.
When it comes to the classic perception of Psychedelics users, the image that typically comes to mind is one of long-haired and colorfully dressed hippies attending Woodstock. Few would imagine that tech moguls and software geniuses in Silicon Valley have been using these drugs for years, citing their alleged performance enhancing properties. The microdosing trend in Silicon Valley has even been the subject of articles in mainstream and notable media sources including Rolling Stone and Forbes. Catchy titles garner ever more attention from the media and readers, describing LSD as “The Hot New Business Trip.”
Are things so dire in the workplace that some persons are now turning to micro doses of psychedelics in order to reach new heights in creativity?
While some writers took on a positive tone in regard to the trend, many medical and psychiatric professionals expressed concern at the lengths people would go to in order to enhance their productivity and creativity in today’s competitive job market.