There is a new trend in business, especially in the booming Silicon Valley. Professional business men and women with degrees from prestigious colleges are using something to get them through the work day and help them get the “creative juices flowing,” small doses of hallucinogens, like LSD and magic mushrooms. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that LSD was found in 1938 with its active ingredient being lysergic acid from the ergot fungus or mold found on rye and other grains. LSD is the most potent hallucinogen known to man, and is most often sold as tiny pieces of decorative absorbent paper on which the liquid form of the drug is dropped. The user can then place the paper on or under their tongue. It can also be sold in capsule or tablet form. It is colorless, odorless, and tastes slightly bitter. The user’s high or “trip” can last up to 12 hours or more and when it goes bad, which is often, it is called a “bad trip.”. LSD affects the neurotransmitter serotonin causing the user to lose touch with reality and even have a blending of the sense such as hearing colors. LSD can cause tremors, euphoria, anxiety, paranoia, mood swings, sweating, hypothermia, increased heart rate, cardiac arrest, dilated pupils, horrifying thoughts they can’t work through, and/or severe injuries or death from bad judgement while high. The long term effects of LSD mostly involve the brain and psyche than the body. Even if a LSD users hasn’t used in months or years they still may succumb to flashbacks that can last for a minute or up to a few hours, these may cause users to need medical therapy similar to that for schizophrenia. These flashbacks are known as “hallucinogen persisting perception disorder,” or simply HPPD. Mushrooms contain psilocybin and psilocin which are chemically similar to LSD. Users report a state where sounds, colors, and sensation seem more vivid. However, mushrooms can cause nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. Peyote can cause anxiety, sweating, increased heart rate, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and flushed skin. People who use mushrooms may unknowingly ingest toxic mushrooms. Compared to other drugs, hallucinogens are not as addictive but they do affect the brain’s ability to maintain normal bodily functions with frequent, ongoing use. Users can become tolerant to the drugs and need more to feel the same effects. Hallucinogen addiction is a psychological dependency that develops over time by affecting the brain chemical functions.
Businessmen and women claim that by using such small doses of these hallucinogens, they are able to maintain normal behavior but allow their brain to think more creatively while also managing stress better. They claim that it allows them to focus better, become better problem solvers, and reduce anxieties. People are constantly trying to improve themselves and perform better throughout school and in the workplace. It used to be that people, even without ADHD, would take medications like Ritalin or Adderall without prescriptions to help them focus on school work or business work. Microdosing hallucinogens is simply just the new fad. People claim that because these drugs can be found naturally they are safer than many of the prescription drugs people use for the same result. People in all types of work are starting to use these, people in technology, mathematicians, doctors, hedge fund managers, and more. It is not a singular business, singular type of person, or even a singular area. Employees all over the world are starting to use these microdoses to help them have a creative edge over the others and as they see it, excel in their profession. Some even claiming it is better than a cup of coffee in the morning.
However, not everyone’s body responds the same and getting the dosage right can be complicated. Many people have also claimed negative effects and found work to be difficult to get through with some of the negative effects being too much. There also haven’t been any long-term studies on microdosing with hallucinogens to know how this will actually affect people. In 2011, David Nichols, a professor of pharmacology at Purdue University, performed an experiment on rats with 0.08 to 0.16 mg/kg of LSD every other day for three months and saw hyperactivity, aggressive behavior, and what resembles human psychosis in the rats. People still claim that since there is no solid scientific proof that microdosing is dangerous, there is no harm. However, just as with any other drug the body can build up a tolerance to the drug and more will be needed to feel the same effects. At what point does microdosing not work anymore is not known, but when that point comes will these people simply stop using or up the dose to maintain their “competitive edge?” If they do up the dose who is to say that they won’t experience the full hallucinogen effects? Until more research and long-term studies can be done to know the full scope of using these drugs in this way, it is a gambling game for the user. Even in small doses any possession of hallucinogens is still illegal and can be prosecuted by law. If you know someone who is addicted to hallucinogens, it is important for them to receive help as soon as possible. With therapy and life changes they can recover and use things such as a healthy diet, healthy sleep pattern, exercise, and education to maintain their cognitive performance at work.