People looking to get an extra edge at work are turning to an illegal drug to boost their focus and creativity. They are microdosing LSD, which involves taking small amounts of LSD about twice a week.
“It helped me with focus and creativity,” said Paul Austin, founder of the The Third Wave, which educates people about microdosing. “For creativity, to help with problem solving, to give them a little bit more energy, kind of to get another extra edge on what they’re doing."
traveled to Brookyln to meet with people using this practice and experts studying its effects.
Psychedelic music and swirls of color may be what comes to mind when you think of LSD, but some people in tech and entrepreneurs are using the illegal drug to boost their performance at work.
People who microdose told Huddleston it doesn't cause them to hallucinate but that doesn't mean it's without risk.
“It’s the classic acid trip that we worry about,” said Dr. Gaylord Lopez, Director of the Georgia Poison Center.
Lopez says the center has answered about 130 LSD calls in the past six years.
He said LSD can change your perception and behavior.
“I mean the symptoms can range anywhere from flashbacks to bouts of paranoia and delusional state,” said Lopez.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration warns:
"LSD is a schedule I drug and is illegal, regardless of the quantity. It simply has no accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse. It is a risky proposition when you obtain illicit drugs from any source."
Austin, who is not a doctor, says anecdotal evidence he’s collected suggests microdosing LSD can help people struggling with low levels of depression and social anxiety.
“It just made me less in my head and more present with people in the moment,” said Austin.
But he told Huddleston anyone with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, general anxiety and color blindness should not microdose.
As a coach, Austin does phone consultations in which he explains the basics of microdosing.
“I really help them to clarify what is your intention, why are you interested in this and then how can we utilize microdosing as a tool to accelerate that path of personal development,” said Austin.
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Lopez explained there are healthy ways to give yourself that extra edge.
“You can’t beat the old-fashioned getting a good night’s sleep and nutrition and exercise,” he
“I think it’s really relevant for this movement of self-optimization we’re seeing where a lot of people want to be their best selves,” said Austin.
Austin says he is not involved in helping clients get the LSD.
Right now, there isn’t much research about microdosing. Austin told Huddleston he wants to focus on raising money for research.
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