It has been many years since I experimented with controlled substances. Back in my carefree student days in Ann Arbor I may have occasionally had a hit from the bong. That was all, however, and I always took the Bill Clinton approach and never inhaled. Some of my fellow students may have actually inhaled and some may have even experimented with other drugs like LSD. I can’t really remember.

I do have dim memories of nights of hallucinatory experiences and intense discussions of important topics such as the awesomeness of Asimov’s Foundation series and that the University of Michigan should open a department of psychohistory. On the stereo in the background Bono was looking for whatever it was he couldn’t find or Van Morrison was rambling on about his bonnie boat. I definitely recall that such nights typically ended with everyone being incredibly hungry and that the next day was never particularly conducive to studying.

Against the backdrop of these wonderful memories I was surprised to learn that LSD microdosing – using tiny, repeated doses of LSD to facilitate a range of supposed psychophysiological benefits – has been a trending productivity hack for a few years now. Apparently, the practice is extremely popular among Silicon Valley professionals who want to improve their efficiency and enhance their creativity. Dr. James Fadimans  2011 book, The Psychedelics Explorer Guide – Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys, is a sort of user’s manual for microdosers.

Proponents claim that they enjoy physical, emotional, creative, and spiritual benefits from consuming small amounts of LSD. Whoa! Who doesn’t want that? YouTube videos with titles like Microdosing: Psychedelics for Leadership abound. They examine the purported advantages of microdosing and often cite Steve Jobs as an advocate of LSD consumption. However, new research suggests placebos work equally well in achieving productivity boosts as LSD microdosing.

In any case, I am not planning to incorporate LSD as a performance booster into my daily routine anytime soon. I’ll stick with coffee and beet juice. What performance enhancers do use? Do you have experience with microdosing? Leave a comment.

3 thoughts on “Acid trips as a productivity boost?

  1. No experience with LSD microdosing to report, but I have had similar results from taking an herbal extract, rhodiola rosea. It is claimed to be an “adaptogen” and said to help with focus and energy in small doses but to have the opposite effect of inducing sleepiness in large doses. In general, I’m pretty skeptical of such claims, and if I decide to try a supplement I’ll just try it for a few weeks (and usually decide that it isn’t doing anything other than lightening my wallet). But I have consistently found that rhodiola can help me get through particularly difficult weeks with lots of stress and a heavy workload. Placebo? Quite possibly. But I’ll still take it, because I like the feeling that it improves my mood and focus.

    Your post also makes me think of the whole “nootropic” movement, in which people seek out any and all cognitive-enhancing substances and develop their own personal “stack” of supplements for particular (perceived) benefits. (Of course, popular ADHD drugs figure in here as well.) I’ve wandered into a few of the forums over the years, and it’s surprising how much experimentation of the sort is going on.

    1. Hi Dawn,
      Thanks for your comment. Rhodiola rosea sounds interesting. I just looked it up and saw that one of the pharmacies here in Graz has their own brand. Maybe I will try it based on your recommendation. Are you buying a supplement or are you growing it in your garden? Growing your own would be cool. You could start a side business – or at least give it to your clients as a gift.
      Cheers 🙂

      1. I buy it. My favorite version is a liquid version that you can measure by drops, but right now I have capsules. Haven’t tried growing it, but I think it wouldn’t like our climate.

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