Could the iPhone have been born from the depths of an LSD trip? Steve Jobs tripped on acid a lot in college. It very well could be possible. But pairing drugs with any sort of productivity often receives pushback. Open up a little bit, and let your conceptions be shaken. It may very well be the case that many modern silicon valley innovations may be coming from psychedelic microdosing.
By Max Bibeau | United States
Since its first dose in 1943, countless people have used lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) for intense, life-changing “trips”. While many studies explain the impacts of these large trips, there is a shocking lack of scientific research on the other side of LSD: microdosing.
LSD microdosing, the practice of taking small amounts of LSD during the day (between 10ug and 20ug), is becoming increasingly common in tech communities like Silicon Valley. Microdosing is said to have a multitude of positive effects. For example, it treats depression and anxiety and increases cognitive ability. However, there has been little to no actual research on LSD microdosing. Therefore, all of these claims are anecdotal, not conclusive.
The Beckley Foundation, working in tandem with Imperial College London, is looking to change that. By crowdsourcing participants around the world, the organizations are creating the most expansive study yet on microdosing.
LSD is still widely illegal. Thus, the study has made it clear that participants will not be sent any substances. Instead, they will need to obtain and handle all doses independently.
LSD Microdosing: How to Participate
To participate in the study, one must be at least 18 years of age, have had prior experience with psychedelics, and be willing to follow the study’s manual in order to ensure accurate data. Given the relatively low barrier to entry, the groups hope that the study will garner many participants around the world.
The study will be self-blinding and placebo-controlled in order to ensure the best results. Participants must create their own doses and placebos and not know which they are taking each day. They also must self-report the results on a daily basis.
While there are obviously many sources of error (impure street LSD, inaccurate self-reporting, difficulty in self-blinding) the study hopes to pave the way for future clinical studies of LSD microdosing. From the study’s page:
“[The study is] neither a conventional clinical trial nor plain personal experimentation. Rather, it is somewhere in between and as such the strength of the resulting evidence will be also somewhere in between.”
Thus, this study will not conclusively prove anything regarding microdosing. Rather, it will provide backing to advocate for future clinical studies. However, given the dramatic lack of information on LSD microdosing, the psychedelic community will likely welcome any research on the practice with open arms.
To sign up to participate in the study, and to receive more information, you can go to the organization’s website HERE.
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By Francis Folz | United States
Like most presidents of the 20th century, Richard Nixon was a statist. His policies reflected this throughout his troubled presidency. This, of course, includes the elimination of the gold standard, the institution of wage and price controls, and the creation of unconstitutional federal programs. Most, notably, Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
A History of Harm
Since he created the agency, it has been the most prominent overlord of personal responsibility. America has a long-held claim that it is the land of the free. However, the DEA has usurped every American’s sovereignty, spending millions of dollars on arresting and detaining Americans. What for? Nixon and the DEA claimed that “subversive substances” were a public enemy.
Another adverse quality of the Drug Enforcement Agency is their stifling of medical research on prohibited drugs. From cannabis to LSD, they restrict the ability to research clear health benefits. Here are a few examples of how the DEA restrains medical progress, despite the potential to assuage many Americans’ suffering.
Cannabis and the DEA
The United States has recognized cannabis as a medicine since 1996. Despite this, the DEA’s resistance to reefer and science has been robust. While numerous studies over the past few decades have proven the benefits of marijuana, there is still much more ground to cover.
For example, it took until 1990 for scientists to discover cannabinoid receptors within the human brain. Cannabis’s designation as a schedule one substance since 1971 has been the most formidable obstacle to delving into marijuana’s myriad of health benefits. Interestingly, the state prohibited the drug far before they even knew of these receptors.
All schedule one illicit drugs, according to the DEA, are dangerous for consumption, highly addictive, and possess no medical value. First of all, it is unconstitutional for the federal government to even create a ranking such as this. But going beyond that, it is absurd for them to consider marijuana a schedule one narcotic.
More than half of all states have some form of medical marijuana, and even the federal government holds a patent for medical marijuana. Furthermore, 85% of Americans believe cannabis should be medically legal. Thus, many wonder why the state still refuses to recognize the drug’s health benefits.
Though hard to believe, magic mushrooms, like cannabis, have possessed medicinal and cultural merit for quite a while. However, in the 1970’s, Timothy Leary, a prominent member of the 60’s counter-culture movement, conducted a study called the Concord Prison Experiment. In his study, he distributed psychedelic mushrooms coupled with assisted group therapy to prisoners. He then measured recidivism rates to test the effects of psilocybin-induced treatment. Initially, the results were fruitful, reducing the recidivism rate by 50 percent.
Another trailblazing psilocybin study conducted in the 1960’s is the “Good Friday Experiment”. Led by doctorate student Walter Pahnke, two groups of theology students attended Good Friday service. Pahnke gave one group the mushrooms and left the other as a control. The objective was to assess whether or not psilocybin could deepen the religious experience.
As theorized, all members of the psilocybin group reported a substantially more profound experience than the members of the control. These results, as well as others, further discredit the DEA’s claim that psilocybin is a dangerous, addictive substance with no health or therapeutic benefit.
LSD: Lost Past and Lost Potential
In 1938, Swiss scientist Albert Holfmann successfully separated the molecule lysergic acid diethylamide while studying ergot in his laboratory. Ever since his bicycle ride home transformed into a trip of a lifetime, scientists have experimented with LSD, eager to learn of its usefulness. Scientists aren’t the only ones intrigued by the compound. Some historians believe LSD may have been at the crux of the Salem Witch Trials. One plausible explanation is that the women may have ingested ergot, a fungus found on wheat, which contains the LSD.
Although the DEA continues to categorize acid as a perilous substance with no benefit, health or otherwise, to our well-being, the scientific community continues to prove otherwise. Acid is infamous for its ability to stimulate the imagination and to make users more creative and insightful. Other studies conclude that LSD alleviates anxiety, especially amongst the terminally ill.
But perhaps the most appalling aspect of the DEA’s tyrannical stronghold over the substance is that bromine, a compound identical to acid without the psychedelic-induced trip, has repeatedly reduced cluster headaches, which are intensified migraines notorious for their painful nature. However, since bromine closely resembles LSD, researchers are often unable to further tests bromine’s inexplicable ability to relieve the agony of the horrendous headaches, leaving sufferers helpless and in excruciating misery.
The DEA, through regulation, is a great threat to the well-being and freedom of Americans. Ending this agency, and Nixon’s failed drug war along with it, would bring a new age of research and medicinal gains. Only through abolishing the DEA can we reap these clear health benefits.
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By Andrew Lepore | United States
For thousands of years, Aboriginal people have been using natural hallucinogenic substances to induce altered states of minds, for spiritual and medicinal purposes. Despite a growing counter culture, and with Western medicine finally starting to recognize the legitimate medical benefits, these substances are still stigmatized by a large part of the population.
Scientific research from recent years showing the ability to treat and even cure ailments From PTSD to addiction to anxiety. Some substances have even been proven to stimulate NeuroGenesis (the growth of brain cells). With promising new research coming out seemingly every day, and the proven benefits for ailments across the board, why are these substances so stigmatized?
A stigma and fear of these substances has existed in the west for hundreds of years, and its roots can be traced all the way back to the colonization of the new world. When the first westerners encountered and conquered the cultures who used these substances as religious ceremonies, the missionaries followed. These missionaries, backed by the power of the state, were attempting to convert the aboriginal people, forcibly if necessary.
They wanted to use religion as a means to corral the various tribes. When the missionaries witnessed the strange rituals undertaken by the locals and heard of their ability to “contact” the gods and dead ancestors through the consumption of substances, they were viewed as heresies and abominations.
The goal of the church also was to be the medium between the individual and god; if the natives believed they could contact the gods simply through the medium of a substance, there would be no need for the church. As the state and the church were intertwined, the interest of the church is the interest of the state; therefore resisting the church was resisting the iron fist of the state.
“Missionaries who followed the explorers into the new world inevitably tried to stamp out local religions and replace them with Christianity. When the Spaniards first encountered Peyote in the new world, they associated it with the aztecs bloody sacrificial rites and called it ‘the devil’s root.’ The holy office of the inquisition enacted the first anti drug policies in the new world, and the use of Peyote was condemned as being superstitious behavior contrary to the Christian beliefs. In attempts to stop use of the Cactus, the Spaniards tortured and killed many natives. Though In some cases, the natives were able to resist the missionaries and some non-christian religions remained.”
Excerpt from The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances: Magic In Bloom
This played out in many theatres across the globe, From North and America to Africa. in most cases, the Missionaries got what they wanted. Thousands of years of accumulated knowledge on native substances were wiped out with the extinction of certain peoples and their culture.
Though some cultures were, at first, either inaccessible to westerners or resisted conversion and the traditional use of these substances continue for them to this day. These are the cultures which have provided us the knowledge on the substances which we now know most about, such as the South American cultures who use Ayahuasca, the African Bwiti tribe who use Iboga, and some Native American religions who use Peyote Cactus.
This stigma surrounding hallucinogenic substances has taken many forms since the times of colonialism. In the early stages of the United States and in the 1800’s, the use of these substances was associated with Native Americans, who at the time were viewed as “savages”.
Aside from conquest, the West had little contact with hallucinogenic substances. This was until the 40s and 50s when there were breakthroughs in the understanding and cultivation of these substances, namely the discovery of the hallucinogenic effects of LSD and isolation of psilocybin from mushrooms.
These discoveries led to the growth of the counterculture 60’s and 70’s that glorified the use of hallucinogens as party drugs, and the substances quickly started becoming associated with hippies, drug abuse, and doing dumb stuff. This added stigma resulted in the sweeping psychedelic bans of the late 60’s when consumption and distribution of many of these substances was made illegal.
The cause of the stigma is no longer due to religious implications, or differences in culture with those we are conquering, but has manifested itself in the form of drug prohibition. Most people don’t know this, but drug prohibition doesn’t just stop people who are using hallucinogens recreationally from getting it, it makes any treatment and most research on the effects on humans illegal. This long-lasting stigma has had a lasting and impacting effect, as even hundreds of years later, mainstream western medicine is only recently coming around the corner to recognize the benefits.
Over the last decades, some amazing abilities of these substances have been coming to light.from their unique ability to stimulate neurogenesis (the growth of the brain cells is cells) and the formation of new neural pathways. To their ability to treat, even to cure addiction. And to their ability to reboot the brain in depressed and anxious people, even to the point of curing PTSD.
With more and more promising research coming out of the woodworks, many are starting to look past the stigma that has surrounded these substances for almost 500 years. The stigma surrounding these substances is not only logically unjustified but morally unjustified, as it has led to the imprisonment of thousands of innocent people simply for the possession of benign substances.
By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial
In the past, I have discussed how the leading innovators in the nation are currently using the schedule one drug Lysergic Acid Diethylamide to get ahead of the game and change the world. What I did not explore, though, is if LSD was actually assisting these Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
Is the use of very small amounts of LSD just some sort of fad without a real effect? Are these entrepreneurs experiencing a placebo high that is doing nothing to actually boost their performance?
Can LSD really make you smarter?
To find out, we need to look at the bit of science we have on LSD. Of course, LSD is illegal in most places across the world, making scientific evidence on the drug very scarce. However, the little bit of science we do have, along with plenty of anecdotal evidence, is enough to show that there may be some fruit to pick from this psychedelic compound.
Reason TV profiled George Burke:
George claims that taking small amounts of LSD (between 10 and 15 micrograms) has assisted him in both business and climbing, but is he experiencing confirmation bias? Is his expectation of a certain enhancement from LSD triggering a boost in mental confidence, meaning that all the help he’s getting come from himself?
To answer this, we should look into the work of James Fadiman, who was mentioned in the video. Before LSD was banned in the United States, Fadiman was blessed with government sponsorship so that he could study it.
In 1966, Fadiman and his team conducted the psychedelic problem-solving experiment. 27 males in various fields were given either 50 micrograms of LSD or 200 milligrams of mescaline. They were all able to tackle professional problems they had been stuck on. Their enhanced functioning took many forms: low inhibition and anxiety, capacity to restructure problem in larger context, enhanced fluency and flexibility of ideation, heightened capacity for visual imagery and fantasy, increased ability to concentrate, heightened empathy with external processes and objects, heightened empathy with people, subconscious data more accessible, association of dissimilar ideas, heightened motivation to obtain closure, and visualizing the completed solution.
So the 1966 experiment shows that LSD can help, but it was still unsure how it could assist cognition. Further research has revealed that LSD activates the serotonin 2A receptor in the brain. This receptor has various functions, but the important one to us is the role it plays in higher cognitive and integrative functions.
LSD activates a receptor in the brain that boosts our cognition. The breakdown of the science shows that LSD activates proper receptors to prove the anecdotal evidence of George Burke and the experiences of those in Fadiman’s experiments. LSD makes us able to think better.
So why microdosing? Why not just shovel as much Lysergic Acid down our gullets as we can fit? There is a pretty clear reason: hallucinations. If you are working on an important project, the floating and warping geometric shapes will probably get in the way of your work.
Another study found that there is a positive correlation between the cognitive enhancements of LSD and blissfulness and depersonalization. If you begin to cognitively leave your body and get swamped in the euphoria, you can’t work. That is why these entrepreneurs are finding the sweet spot by microdosing. By taking only 10 to 15 mcg every few days (to avoid building a tolerance to the non-addictive substance) they can skirt by the hallucinations and engage in high cognition activity better than their sober peers.
The only real danger to microdosing LSD is the United States Federal Government. Drug policy is archaic and based off of Nixonian racism, yet contemporary politicians want to keep up their role as some sort of nanny to the population. But this is not a policy article, this is an article about cognitive enhancement.
And we have the verdict: LSD makes you smarter.