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Microdosing: Work Performance Enhancement Via Psychedelics

Yithian

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Micro-dosing: The Drug Habit Your Boss Is Gonna Love
Photo Illustration by Chelsie Craig
BY
JOSH DEAN
5 days ago

What started as a body-tinkering, mind-hacking, supplement-taking productivity craze in Silicon Valley is now spreading to more respectable workplaces, maybe even to your office, where the guy down the hall might already be popping a new breed of brain-boosting pills or micro-dosing LSD—all in the name of self-improvement. Can you afford not to keep up?

Maybe the weirdest thing about dropping acid at work, as I did one day just after breakfast, is the faith required.

The small brown vial came to me via a chain of custody that shall not be discussed and with the assurance that the clear liquid therein was, according to some guy who told the guy who gave it to me, a precise dilution of LSD. If the stories I'd heard were true, taking a tiny bit of it, a micro-dose, had the potential to make my workday more productive than ever. At least that's the pitch as delivered from a growing horde now using acid to boost creativity and cognitive function. I squeezed the dropper gently, putting a clear drop into a mug of water on my desk, and drank it all in a single gulp. Then I began to worry that I was about to trip balls.

The idea that illicit drugs may enhance my output at work is but one of the many tricks, counter-intuitive therapies, dietary modifications, and behavioral tweaks that have lately been seized upon by self-styled biohackers, human tinkerers eager to sharpen focus and attention, boost productivity, and improve wellness and longevity.

These young, overwhelmingly male technologists are dabbling in, say, holotropic breathing or cryotherapy; they try fasting for days at a time; and increasingly they pop supplements that target brain chemistry—so-called nootropics, a category that includes everything from the off-label use of prescription drugs like the biohacker favorite modafinil to pills they make themselves by stuffing powdered bulk chemicals bought from Chinese websites into capsule cartridges. At the heart of it all, biohacking is being driven by one of Silicon Valley's prevailing sentiments: that anything can be optimized to run better, so why should the human body be any different?

Continued:
http://www.gq.com/story/micro-dosing-lsd
 
Micro-dosing: The Drug Habit Your Boss Is Gonna Love
Photo Illustration by Chelsie Craig
BY
JOSH DEAN
5 days ago

What started as a body-tinkering, mind-hacking, supplement-taking productivity craze in Silicon Valley is now spreading to more respectable workplaces, maybe even to your office, where the guy down the hall might already be popping a new breed of brain-boosting pills or micro-dosing LSD—all in the name of self-improvement. Can you afford not to keep up?

Maybe the weirdest thing about dropping acid at work, as I did one day just after breakfast, is the faith required.

The small brown vial came to me via a chain of custody that shall not be discussed and with the assurance that the clear liquid therein was, according to some guy who told the guy who gave it to me, a precise dilution of LSD. If the stories I'd heard were true, taking a tiny bit of it, a micro-dose, had the potential to make my workday more productive than ever. At least that's the pitch as delivered from a growing horde now using acid to boost creativity and cognitive function. I squeezed the dropper gently, putting a clear drop into a mug of water on my desk, and drank it all in a single gulp. Then I began to worry that I was about to trip balls.

The idea that illicit drugs may enhance my output at work is but one of the many tricks, counter-intuitive therapies, dietary modifications, and behavioral tweaks that have lately been seized upon by self-styled biohackers, human tinkerers eager to sharpen focus and attention, boost productivity, and improve wellness and longevity.

These young, overwhelmingly male technologists are dabbling in, say, holotropic breathing or cryotherapy; they try fasting for days at a time; and increasingly they pop supplements that target brain chemistry—so-called nootropics, a category that includes everything from the off-label use of prescription drugs like the biohacker favorite modafinil to pills they make themselves by stuffing powdered bulk chemicals bought from Chinese websites into capsule cartridges. At the heart of it all, biohacking is being driven by one of Silicon Valley's prevailing sentiments: that anything can be optimized to run better, so why should the human body be any different?

Continued:
http://www.gq.com/story/micro-dosing-lsd

Depends on your definition of 'better' perhaps. I mean the world is a lot more interesting on acid - for a while. Until the horrors get you. First bad trip and if you've any sense you never go near the stuff again. And while it may sharpen 'focus' it destroys 'overview'.
 
Micro-dosing: The Drug Habit Your Boss Is Gonna Love
Photo Illustration by Chelsie Craig
BY
JOSH DEAN
5 days ago

What started as a body-tinkering, mind-hacking, supplement-taking productivity craze in Silicon Valley is now spreading to more respectable workplaces, maybe even to your office, where the guy down the hall might already be popping a new breed of brain-boosting pills or micro-dosing LSD—all in the name of self-improvement. Can you afford not to keep up?

Maybe the weirdest thing about dropping acid at work, as I did one day just after breakfast, is the faith required.

The small brown vial came to me via a chain of custody that shall not be discussed and with the assurance that the clear liquid therein was, according to some guy who told the guy who gave it to me, a precise dilution of LSD. If the stories I'd heard were true, taking a tiny bit of it, a micro-dose, had the potential to make my workday more productive than ever. At least that's the pitch as delivered from a growing horde now using acid to boost creativity and cognitive function. I squeezed the dropper gently, putting a clear drop into a mug of water on my desk, and drank it all in a single gulp. Then I began to worry that I was about to trip balls.

The idea that illicit drugs may enhance my output at work is but one of the many tricks, counter-intuitive therapies, dietary modifications, and behavioral tweaks that have lately been seized upon by self-styled biohackers, human tinkerers eager to sharpen focus and attention, boost productivity, and improve wellness and longevity.

These young, overwhelmingly male technologists are dabbling in, say, holotropic breathing or cryotherapy; they try fasting for days at a time; and increasingly they pop supplements that target brain chemistry—so-called nootropics, a category that includes everything from the off-label use of prescription drugs like the biohacker favorite modafinil to pills they make themselves by stuffing powdered bulk chemicals bought from Chinese websites into capsule cartridges. At the heart of it all, biohacking is being driven by one of Silicon Valley's prevailing sentiments: that anything can be optimized to run better, so why should the human body be any different?

Continued:
http://www.gq.com/story/micro-dosing-lsd
lEpiwd6D0fN4ebSpRruAjzloVqYpoe9-Z27xSr7Q3eQ.jpg


:(
 
This is the first serious revew of the microdosing phenomenon I've seen to date ...
Science of microdosing psychedelics remains patchy and anecdotal, say researchers

The practice of taking small, regular doses of psychedelic drugs to enhance mood, creativity, or productivity lacks robust scientific evidence, say scientists.

The process, called microdosing, has been lauded by some, with high profile proponents in Silicon Valley. But to date, scientific evidence to support or even fully explore claims of the benefits and safety, has been lacking.

Now, an international group of researchers, led by Imperial College London and Maastricht University, has approached the issue in a wide-ranging review paper, published today in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, to tackle some of the key questions -- including what is microdosing? Is it safe? Is it legal? And are the claims of benefits from taking small amounts of psychedelics even plausible?

According to the researchers, their review aims to present evidence around several themes of microdosing psychedelics, such as LSD or psilocybin (magic mushrooms), including discussions of concerns around impacts on cardiovascular health, as well as to providing a framework for future research in the area.

"Despite so much interest in the subject, we still don't have any agreed scientific consensus on what microdosing is -- like what constitutes a 'micro' dose, how often someone would take it, and even if there may be potential health effects" said Professor David Nutt, Edmond J Safra Chair in Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and senior author of the review.

Professor Nutt and the team define microdosing as the practice of taking repeated, low doses of psychedelic substance -- at doses that do not impair a person's 'normal' functioning (a fraction of 'recreational dose') -- in order to improve well-being and enhance cognitive or emotional processes.

However, in practice, frequency may vary widely ... -- as may strength and potency of substances depending on what it is and where it's from.

The review explains that while most reports on microdosing to date are anecdotal and have focused on positive experiences, future research should be expanded to focus on the potential risks.

Focusing on psilocybin -- the active compound in magic mushrooms -- ... the team presents the available evidence on several aspects of microdosing.

Chief among the issues raised is the lack of controlled scientific studies, the standard measure in medical science ... The authors also cite a lack of certainty around the doses used in previous trials, as well as where the substances came from, and their potency.

Regarding safety, they claim evidence for long-term, repeated dosing of psilocybin is lacking in humans and animals, and that there is some evidence to highlight cardiovascular risks.

Similarly, the authors describe how data on the behavioural effects of microdosing, such as increased concentration or creativity, remain patchy. ...

The team hopes that the evidence laid out in their review will go some way to focus the attention of the research community in order to answer some of the major remaining questions in the field. They write "rigorous, placebo-controlled clinical studies need to be conducted with low doses of [psilocybin] to determine whether there is any evidence for the claims of microdosers." ...

FULL STORY: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190715103307.htm
 
And, of course, if a micro dose will make you work a bit better, just think of what a macro dose will enable you to do.

Is there no end to stupidity ?

INT21.
 
And, of course, if a micro dose will make you work a bit better, just think of what a macro dose will enable you to do.

Is there no end to stupidity ?

INT21.
Same reason drinking a cup of water is better for you than drinking 100 liters.
 
Or that drinking a cup of coffee might help you with work but injecting a ton of caffeine probably wouldn't.
 
And, of course, if a micro dose will make you work a bit better, just think of what a macro dose will enable you to do. ...

The reasoning behind attempting microdosing was exactly the opposite ... The hypothesis was that if a macro dose stimulated imagination and creativity while rendering a person dysfunctional, there might be a lower threshold or level at which the mental stimulation could be obtained without inducing functional incapacitation.

The microdosing movement primarily developed among higher-tier knowledge workers in Silicon Valley - people for whom imagination and creativity (i.e., "thinking outside the box") were critical skills.
 
Or that drinking a cup of coffee might help you with work but injecting a ton of caffeine probably wouldn't.

That's a relevant analogy. The US military conducted multiple studies decades ago on optimum levels of coffee consumption during shift work under duress. As I recall, the optimum dosage was on the order of 1.5 cups of coffee every 2 - 3 hours. Higher levels of consumption reduced work performance in most aspects (focus; vigilance; time-on-task; reasoning under pressure, etc.).
 
Basically another 'standing up your desk' style silicon valley fad?
 
That's a relevant analogy. The US military conducted multiple studies decades ago on optimum levels of coffee consumption during shift work under duress. As I recall, the optimum dosage was on the order of 1.5 cups of coffee every 2 - 3 hours. Higher levels of consumption reduced work performance in most aspects (focus; vigilance; time-on-task; reasoning under pressure, etc.).
Hm... I've been drinking ever increasing cups of coffee since I was 6. Might be interesting to roll it back to that recommendation.
 
Basically another 'standing up your desk' style silicon valley fad?

Co-workers and I (particularly in Sweden) were experimenting with and prescribing alternative desk / seating configurations 30 years ago. I used alternative desks / workstations at which I could stand until 6 years ago. That's no passing fad - it's a set of options that can make a big difference depending on your physical state, work environment, and personal work patterns. (In my case it also relates to working in or with the human factors / ergonomics community.) In any case, alternative workstation configurations aren't new, and they're not just a fad (though I suspect that's how a lot of the Silicon Valley nimrods treated it).

One exception ... The workstations that allow you to walk a treadmill while working are inherently idiotic, IMHO.

As to the microdosing ...

At its inception - more than just a fad. As it spread, I suspect it was merely a fad to some. Depending on the personal style, work type, and type of buzz being induced I can easily see how a low-level amount of "sideslipping" could facilitate certain people in certain tasks. The particular drug used would have to fit the task profile and the worker's personal style.

For example, hallucinogens tend to induce a sort of ADD while cannabis tends to induce a sort of narrow focusing. The former might positively affect brainstorming, but I wouldn't think it could help in a task requiring deep and constant attention to details.
 
Or that drinking a cup of coffee might help you with work but injecting a ton of caffeine probably wouldn't.
Exactly that. Caffeine is a drug with a known performance increase when consumed in limited amounts, but goes on up to fatal. The question with other drugs would be "does it produce a performance increase", and "if it can do so, at what dosages?"

I don't think this is "damned science" as much as it's an idea that's unexplored but has evidence of potential effectiveness because other drugs show effectiveness (eg caffeine).
 
At what dilution does it become homeopathy ?
 
At what dilution does it become homeopathy ?
My tomatoes are downhill of our cesspit, so by eating them I am probably getting homeopathic concentrations of caffeine...
 
And other 'trace elements'.
 
That's a relevant analogy. The US military conducted multiple studies decades ago on optimum levels of coffee consumption during shift work under duress. As I recall, the optimum dosage was on the order of 1.5 cups of coffee every 2 - 3 hours. Higher levels of consumption reduced work performance in most aspects (focus; vigilance; time-on-task; reasoning under pressure, etc.).
These studies prove useful for determining the greater trend. However results can be a bit misleading in regard to the individual. This can effect the useful dose - peak for specific individuals. Thus making the conundrum of determining optimal levels a bit trickier since it's individualistic.
On the other hand I could be an underachiever since I often drink ~ 5 cups in the morning.
 
Exactly that. Caffeine is a drug with a known performance increase when consumed in limited amounts, but goes on up to fatal. The question with other drugs would be "does it produce a performance increase", and "if it can do so, at what dosages?"

I don't think this is "damned science" as much as it's an idea that's unexplored but has evidence of potential effectiveness because other drugs show effectiveness (eg caffeine).

I'm tending to come around a bit on this subject. Need to do a it more exploring though.

The caffeine analogy is swinging my view.

INT21.
 
Generally my own point of view.

I am interested in why here is no apparent psychedelic effect up to a certain dosage, and if that is the same for all the people using the microdosage.
 
... I am interested in why here is no apparent psychedelic effect up to a certain dosage, and if that is the same for all the people using the microdosage.

The basic effect induced by psychedelic drugs is mental / cognitive / psychological rather than perceptual (e.g., visual distortions / outright hallucinations). These most basic effects include a sense of (e.g.) lucidity, enhanced focus, accelerated reasoning abilities, and enhanced imaginative / creative thinking.

The potentially extreme perceptual distortions and hallucinations have been overblown in popular accounts and interpretations of the psychedelic experience - mainly because such effects are the ones most readily described and conveyed to others.

This misapprehension had a recursive effect on the past (e.g., Sixties / Seventies) era user population as well, in that otherwise significant doses of pure hallucinogens didn't induce significant discernible perceptual effects. This is one of the reasons early street hallucinogens were often deliberately adulterated with other compounds to enhance perceptual (somatic; visual) effects - the actually "dirtier" versions of the drug seemed to more obviously afford the naively expected results, and these adulterated versions were taken to be more powerful and hence "better."

Take away the adulterants and reduce the dosage, and the fundamental subjective mental / cognitive / psychological effects remain. This is the basic rationale behind the microdosing concept.
 
The basic effect induced by psychedelic drugs is mental / cognitive / psychological rather than perceptual (e.g., visual distortions / outright hallucinations). These most basic effects include a sense of (e.g.) lucidity, enhanced focus, accelerated reasoning abilities, and enhanced imaginative / creative thinking.

The potentially extreme perceptual distortions and hallucinations have been overblown in popular accounts and interpretations of the psychedelic experience - mainly because such effects are the ones most readily described and conveyed to others.

This misapprehension had a recursive effect on the past (e.g., Sixties / Seventies) era user population as well, in that otherwise significant doses of pure hallucinogens didn't induce significant discernible perceptual effects. This is one of the reasons early street hallucinogens were often deliberately adulterated with other compounds to enhance perceptual (somatic; visual) effects - the actually "dirtier" versions of the drug seemed to more obviously afford the naively expected results, and these adulterated versions were taken to be more powerful and hence "better."

Take away the adulterants and reduce the dosage, and the fundamental subjective mental / cognitive / psychological effects remain. This is the basic rationale behind the microdosing concept.

Enola can you clarify this post as I'm not getting you at all.

The first and second paragraph you are jut talking about microdosing?

The third you are suggesting that dealers, (from the 60's and 70s era), added other compounds to enhance drug effects? Have you got links foir this?
 
Enola can you clarify this post as I'm not getting you at all.
The first and second paragraph you are jut talking about microdosing?

No. I'm talking about psychedelics in general.

The third you are suggesting that dealers, (from the 60's and 70s era), added other compounds to enhance drug effects? Have you got links foir this?

I was there (then), I was surrounded by and personally acquainted with users ranging from serious "psychonauts" to casual recreational users, and I was trained / involved in crisis / drug intervention programs with doctors, psychologists and even law enforcement personnel.

Two examples from experience illustrate this particular aspect of that bygone inaugural period.

The claim that trace amounts of strychnine were added to LSD, ostensibly to enhance somatic effects (i.e., "body rushes"), is no more than an urban legend today, but back then there were batches of confiscated acid that tested positive for strychnine. Back in the very early Seventies a law enforcement professional and co-volunteer at one information / intervention center was challenged on this widespread rumor, and he provided photocopies of lab reports listing strychnine among the detected chemicals. Fortunately, the trace amounts of strychnine were at sub-toxic levels - i.e., just enough to make the motor nerves twitchy and more prone to fire off. I've also seen lab reports identifying amphetamines in the mix, but IIRC those were from labs performing tests on voluntary user-submitted samples.*

* Yes, as recreational drug use exploded back then, some info / intervention centers successfully negotiated with authorities and services to set up and provide precautionary testing with submitter anonymity.

The second case is something of an inverse / reverse example. The least commonly encountered (but not incredibly rare) hallucinogen was clinical LSD manufactured by Sandoz and available under tight controls to (e.g.) psychiatrists and researchers. This was as pure as it got. Naturally, a certain fraction of this supply made it way to the streets. It was a running in-joke that the only hallucinogen users who highly valued the clinical Sandoz stuff were artists and musicians who appreciated its lack of "woo-woo" side effects, whereas the recreational users who tried it griped that it wasn't worth the premium price or it must be fake because it didn't induce the strong "visuals" they'd naively expected.

I don't recall encountering any claims or evidence of adulteration / additives anywhere in the supply chain other than the original manufacturing source, though I suppose it might have been possible. I don't think it could be easily done until the widespread emergence of (paper) blotter media, which didn't happen until the mid- to late-Seventies, by which time I was no longer doing volunteer work or knew anyone who still used acid.
 
The claim that trace amounts of strychnine were added to LSD, ostensibly to enhance somatic effects (i.e., "body rushes"), is no more than an urban legend today, but back then there were batches of confiscated acid that tested positive for strychnine.

Forty years ago before the widespread availability of 'blotters', one could obtain yeast tablets impregnated with LSD. These were very good for producing colours (and paranoia) but I always had terrible stomach cramps on them - 'oh that's just the strychnine' said my mate. He said it was added to the tabs to boost the effects - ('common knowledge' was that drinking pure orange juice had the opposite effect). I remember thinking 'FFS why am I taking strychnine - that's STUPID' and stopped soon after.
 
Strychnine! Holy tish...
 
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