An increasing number of people are microdosing – taking tiny amounts of drugs – to boost their alertness levels day to day. Does it work? And is it safe?
What is it?
Microdosing is taking very small amounts of a drug, usually a hallucinogen like LSD or magic mushrooms, on the regular. This isn’t ‘caning it at a festival’ levels of recreationals. The aim isn’t to get high, but to feel more alert and be more productive as a result.
Who's doing it?
Lots of people, it seems. It’s particularly popular in tech circles (apparently Silicone Valley types have been at it for years. Apple’s Steve Jobs and Microsoft’s Bill Gates were said to have experimented with LSD back in the day). Now people in high-pressure jobs or ones with loads of deadlines seem to be getting on board. People are also microdosing to combat anxiety and other issues.
Is it not just regular drug use then?
Not really. The difference is in the amount. While LSD can make users hallucinate, a microdose is about a tenth of what a recreational user would take. Users pop this small amount every few days and the smaller amount means it doesn’t usually come with hallucinations.
Why are they doing it?
Hallucinogens cause mind-altering effects on the brain by mimicking the happy-brain chemical, serotonin. Users have said popping a microdose helps them to feel more relaxed and focused. They are more productive in work as a result. It’s also said to reduce symproms of stress and anxiety.
What’s the verdict on it?
Fans are devoted and reckon it perks them up and chills them out. Some have said it’s helped them get to grips with anxiety, overcome stage fright and become more creative. It all sounds intriguing but there is the fact that the drugs involved are illegal. As well as the ‘can get you arrested’ issue, it’s hard to be sure exactly what you’re taking if it's not regulated.
And there is also one other, real danger (which would probably happen to us if we gave it a go, tbh). You might miscalculate your dose and end up off your box in the middle of an important work meeting. *Shudder*
Either way, it's interesting for sure... but we're going to stick to excessive levels coffee consumption for now.