People have long claimed that certain recreational drugs can enhance the creative process and increase our focus and productivity. For example, many young people abuse ADHD drugs like Ritalin and Adderall because they think it will help them study and retain facts. It’s not just kids looking for that burst of inspiration, however. In Silicon Valley, a region in the southern San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California that’s famous for being the home to many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations, there is a trend of microdosing with psychedelics like LSD. It’s so popular that it’s being called the “life hack du jour,” and the trend is spreading across the country.
Microdosing is what it sounds like – taking tiny doses of a drug. Usually, people incorporate these doses into their daily lives. For example, some say that taking a microdose of LSD first thing in the morning can lead to mental clarity and help with depression. Using psychedelic drugs for anxiety and depression is common, and users say that they can also give you higher levels of creativity, more energy, increased focus, and improved interpersonal skills.
There’s not much research into whether microdosing actually works (largely because the drugs are illegal and can’t be tested on humans), but researchers in the United Kingdom are about to launch one of the first ever placebo-controlled trials of microdosing. A team supported by the Imperial College London and the Beckley Foundation (a U.K.-based think tank that funds psychedelic research) want to find out whether microdosing LSD actually has any benefits or if it’s merely a placebo effect. They recruited adults who already microdose or intend to start, and the participants have to procure the LSD for themselves. The researchers plan to send the subjects eight envelopes with QR codes (a type of two-dimensional barcode) on them. The participants will then have to fill these envelopes themselves with either empty pills (the placebo) or capsules with LSD microdoses in them. The participants will then mix the envelopes up and choose four of them, with each to be used for one week during the four-week trial. They’ll take one pill every morning, after which they will complete a set of online questionnaires to test their psychological state and play games that measure cognitive performance.
One of the benefits of this kind of study is that they can easily reach a large number of participants, since everything is done at home. On the other hand, the researchers have no way of knowing whether the subjects have actually followed the instructions or reported back to them correctly. The researchers behind the study say that they aren’t encouraging people to microdose or use LSD at all, but that they simply want more information on its effects.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.