How LSD Microdosing Became the Hot New Business Trip


Let’s call him “Ken.” Ken is 25, has a master’s degree from Stanford and works for a tech startup in San Francisco, doing a little bit of everything: hardware and software design, sales and business development. Recently, he has discovered a new way to enhance his productivity and creativity, and it’s not Five Hour Energy or meditation.

Ken is one of a growing number of professionals who enjoy taking “microdoses” of psychedelics – in his free time and, occasionally, at the office. “I had an epic time,” he says at the end of one such day. “I was making a lot of sales, talking to a lot of people, finding solutions to their technical problems.”

A microdose is about a tenth of the normal dose – around 10 micrograms of LSD, or 0.2-0.5 grams of mushrooms. The dose is sub-perceptual – enough, says Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, “to feel a little bit of energy lift, a little bit of insight, but not so much that you are tripping.”

At a conference on psychedelic research in 2011, James Fadiman, author of The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, introduced microdosing to the popular discourse when he presented the results of survey data he had collected from self-reporting experimenters. Ever since, he says, the number of people describing their experiences – or asking for advice – has been on a steady rise.

The reports come from all over the world, but Fadiman says there’s a steady, consistent stream originating in the San Francisco area. The typical profile there is an “übersmart twentysomething” curious to see whether microdosing will help him or her work through technical problems and become more innovative. “It’s an extremely healthy alternative to Adderall,” says Fadiman, referring to a drug popular with programmers.

For best results, Fadiman recommends microdosing every fourth day, taking the drug in the morning and then sticking to your usual daily routine. His correspondents have told him regular microdosing has alleviated a bevy of disorders, including depression, migraines and chronic-fatigue syndrome, while increasing outside-the-box thinking. “Microdosing has helped me come up with some new designs to explore and new ways of thinking,” Ken says. “You would be surprised at how many people are actually doing it. It’s crazy awesome.”

  • Exile1981

    ummm thats not going to help when your employer does a drug test and fires your ass.

    • BillyHW

      Are they allowed to give them after you’re hired? I now they do them during the application process. (I’m speaking of U.S. companies, never heard of a Canadian one doing it.)

      • Exile1981

        We have 2 clients who require anyone on their site have had one within the last 90 days. So I pee in a cup 4 times a year and have for over a decade now.

        Lots of places do them on hire and randomly after that. I know vokker the road .plow guys got randomly drug tested in our town last year and 2 guys got fired.

        • ntt1

          snow plow operators should not be thinking outside the box. psychoactive agents are the worst enemy of orderly plowed streets.

      • Justin St.Denis

        TD Bank drugtests employees, or did in the esrly 1990s. It was all over the papers at the time.

        In my work, I routinely had to submit to drug tests, security/background checks, etc. by various governments. It’s the price one sometimes pays in order to do what one does best. It never bothered me. It was, however, the principal reason why I have stayed away from all social media from Day One.

        • Ottawa Eyes

          Do you think that workplace drug tests will pick up microdoses of LSD? Or are they only for things like cocaine, opiates and marijuana?

      • tom_billesley

        The one time I’ve had a drug use screening test was when my employer was working on a railway infrastructure design contract. It’s a requirement of the rail industry in the UK, and applies equally if you visit the construction site or are wholly office based. There’s initial testing and then random test visits during the contract.

        • AlanUK

          Same with the nuclear power industry in the UK.
          I helped set up a policy on alcohol at a nuclear power station. I chaired a group that discussed and agreed a policy on alcohol – a drugs policy was already established.
          I had a representative from Personnel, a Union Rep., 3 others who represented a cross section of the staff and we sought evidence from major industries in the UK. This included the London Underground, major companies in the chemical industry and some others I do not remember (it was 20+ years ago).
          It was agreed that it was in nobody’s interest to have staff on a nuclear power station under the influence of drugs or alcohol!! Didn’t take long to decide that. A limit was set (half the legal drink drive limit) and it was agreed that it should apply to all staff, from top management downwards. Occasional random testing was introduced for a small proportion of the staff on arrival in addition to testing for cause e.g. following a major incident so that alcohol (along with drugs) could be eliminated from the investigation.
          The KEY point was to introduce a programme to aid those who wanted medical support if drugs or alcohol were a problem. Management was not there to “get” the staff but we were all working together to ensure safety of all staff and the public.

  • UCSPanther

    “Yow! Where did those snakes come from?! And why are there leprechauns singing and dancing on my desk?!


    *grabs keyboard and starts slamming it all over the cubicle is order to smush the googly-eyed spiders that do not exist*

  • Norman_In_New_York

    I would take this with a grain of cyanide.

    • ntt1

      it was usually strychnine,

  • ntt1

    This is pretty exciting, I remember some of my most creative bursts happened on low dose mushrooms and white blotter acid. although little was recoverable after the trips it helped clear the way , blasting away obstacles to enable creative “cascades”
    I believe it helped me to think outside the box ,a skill that supports me to this day.

    • Ottawa Eyes

      While the programmers may think that microdosing on a regular basis improves their creativity, Liberals know they improve their thinking and vision of the future with daily megadoses! That’s why Liberals know their mission in life is to save the planet though lots of carbon taxes and government regulations.

      • ntt1

        Progressives are just on a bad trip…. stay away from the brown acid man.

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    Well, how do I say this but not sound like a nut?
    Almost everybody should do LSD three times, and then never, ever again.
    I think that kind of experience is valuable for 98%-99% of people out there in complex technical or creative fields.
    The other 1%-2% don’t always fare so well and that is why you will never be able to buy LSD in the grocery store.
    I also think that chronic marijuana usage is far more damaging to your brain than a few LSD trips.

    Yes, LSD alters your thinking and can help you see many things in new ways, but that benefit is very limited in scope and many of those new ways of thinking are illusory, but they can lead you to new ways of problem solving, specifically in treating or viewing variables in complex problems.
    However, I think micro-dosing LSD for a protracted period of time could be very dangerous and is generally unwise.

    I don’t know if anyone routinely tests for LSD, so you likely could pass a drug screening.

    • El Martyachi

      I don’t know if anyone routinely tests for LSD, so you likely could pass a drug screening.

      Good to know, thanks.

  • Xavier

    Tolerance builds too fast for the recommended 4 day repeat.

    Pfft, amateurs. 😉

  • moraywatson

    Let everyone pick their own soma. Let everyone be responsible for the outcomes that follow from their choice.

    • AlanUK

      Not under the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act in the UK.
      All work is carried out only following a “suitable and sufficient” Risk Assessment. This means if there is a low risk then you don’t need to go overboard with a multipage document. Since much work is repetitive it means that a brief check to confirm this and a pre-written Risk Assessment is “suitable and sufficient”. It doesn’t take long to assess that someone who is high on drugs or alcohol is not safe to operate a lathe or run a nuclear power station!
      What someone does in the privacy of their own home and lives is fine by me. When it puts others at risk common sense dictates that reasonable preventative action should be applied.

      • moraywatson

        ‘It doesn’t take long to assess that someone who is high on drugs or alcohol is not safe to operate a lathe or run a nuclear power station!’

        You are begging the conclusion.

  • Brian Jones

    So, did Rolling Stone fact-check this one, or just run it anyway a la Erderly’s crap?

    Also, I’d like to hear the boss and coworker’s opinions of whether Ken does in fact perform better these days (wouldn’t even have to tell them why you’re asking). I’m sure there’s a time and a place for most things, but the guy I know best who insists that everyone should take psychedelics and how much better his thinking is on them is a bleeding heart liberal loser working a barely more than minimum wage sales gig at a Tom Lee, which might actually be just part-time at that, sharing a basement apartment with his girlfriend, and overall his chemical hobbies seem to not be doing him too many favors even if they don’t do him all that much harm.