When it comes to cramming for an exam or banging out a project at work, Adderall is often casually thrown around as the de facto brain candy drug of choice. The new trend for biohackers looking to unlock maximum cognition and the true potential of their brain, however, is a drug once synonymous with the Grateful Dead and 1960s San Francisco: LSD.
According to GQ feature by Josh Dean, acid is gaining a reputation in some circles of Silicon Valley as the new productivity drug. It’s part of an ingestion method known as “mirco-dosing”, meaning you take just enough to supercharge your neurological cylinders without tripping your balls off like you’re at a rave:
Burke, the guy who organized the talk, told me that micro-dosing had made his thinking clearer, allowing him to make “better connections between his thoughts and words.” The difference was manifest in the way he wrote. With a micro-dose of LSD, he felt abnormally productive, quick, and clever in e-mails.
Obviously this should be taken with a grain of salt: You’re still altering your brain chemistry by munching on acid and trying to get work done. Here’s one cautionary tale:
In fact, a common problem for new experimenters, according to Fadiman, is that people are used to feeling the effects of drugs, and a micro-dose of LSD can sometimes be less perceptible than a cup of coffee. As a result, people increase their dosage until they can feel something—and then they’re actually tripping. One guy wrote Fadiman to say that 10 micrograms did nothing, so he tried 25. Then, he reported, “I realized at the sales meeting that I never cared about the stupid product we were selling, so I went home.”
Probably not good to be apathetic about your job and chalk it up to the acid. I can’t imagine employers think very highly of that behavior.
That said, it’s a good read on how the brightest minds in Silicon Valley and elsewhere will literally do anything to get a one-up in brainpower. So go read it.