We’ve all done some crazy things to be more productive at work. But while most people’s wildest techniques stop at guzzling down a new type of coffee, there’s an extreme-sounding performance-enhancing trend sweeping Silicon Valley tech titans and beyond. Microdosing — specifically *LSD* microdosing — is widely reported to be growing in popularity throughout American workplaces. It involves taking a very small portion of the drug, and reports say that it can increase productivity as well as reduce mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Since we’re a little skeptical about testing out illegal substances just because the internet tells us to (and because there have been virtually ZERO legitimate scientific studies done on LSD microdosing), we thought we would ask Michael Brandt, co-founder of biohacking company Nootrobox, what he *really* thinks of the trendy productivity booster.
B+C: Can you briefly explain what LSD microdosing is?
MB: LSD microdosing involves taking a small dose of LSD. A microdose is about 10 to 20 percent as much as a full dose (think 10 micrograms versus 100 micrograms). Practically speaking, one way people do this is they’ll put a full dose tab into a measured amount of water and then measure and drink one tenth of the solution.
B+C: What are some of the side effects of taking such a small dose of LSD?
MB: People find it reduces anxiety and makes them more loose and creative. What’s novel about microdosing is that it doesn’t give you the trippy, tie-dye visuals of a full dose but rather leads to a “flow state,” where the mind is productive at forming new concepts and solving problems.
B+C: Why do you think Silicon Valley tech moguls are frequently cited as the most high-profile group that is experimenting with this form of the drug?
MB: Silicon Valley is all about being ambitious, questioning established dogma, and trying new approaches. This means two things — first, the personal barrier to try out something like LSD microdosing is relatively low for many people in Silicon Valley. Second, when you have this concentration of people all trying to think creatively about complex problems, they see LSD microdosing as a tool to that end. People are looking for that “a-ha!” moment that can lead to the next billion-dollar company, or even just a breakthrough on whatever project is top of mind.
B+C: It’s not hard to see that the LSD microdosing trend is having a very public moment — it’s even been openly discussed on talk shows like Chelsea and has been featured in publications from GQ to The New Yorker. Is this a trend that’s openly talked about in the biohacking community, or is the long-held stigma of “hardcore” drugs still making most people keep things hush-hush?
MB: LSD microdosing is being talked about with increasing openness in the biohacking community, especially when you consider that a lot of discussions take place online in anonymous and pseudonymous forums. Of course, there is still stigma around any illegal compound, which keeps it from truly being discussed out in the open.
What’s really interesting at the heart of the trend is biohacking itself. The human body is the next major platform for innovation, and people want to try out different ways of enhancing and measuring their body as a system. At Nootrobox, we stick to safe and effective compounds that are wholly under the FDA GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) designation, but we certainly notice and observe an uptick in biohackers experimenting more broadly with scheduled compounds like LSD.
B+C: It seems like it would be fairly difficult to actually go about purchasing a controlled substance. Is this a sort of barrier to entry that people struggle with, or is it relatively easy to get your hands on a microdose of LSD?
MB: I wouldn’t describe it as “easy,” but it’s certainly accessible if you’re motivated. There are many communities and groups where it’s completely normal and available — but it’s still kept under wraps within trusted circles, and it’s far from being mainstream.
B+C: What is the one thing you wish people knew about microdosing?
MB: I wish that people knew exactly how to source safe and accurate doses. Because it’s illegal, you don’t have name brands and established safety standards, so that can be a challenge. I would suggest doing A LOT of research ahead of time and/or microdose with someone who’s done it before and who you trust.
What kind of crazy ideas have you tried to increase your productivity? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)