You may have heard about the new mind-altering method to improve productivity and creativity. It’s been written about by many of the fringe web sites (e.g. HighExistence.com), but is recently hitting more mainstream titles like Rolling Stone and even by Forbes Contributor, Robert Glatter, MD, in his recent post, “LSD Microdosing: The New Job Enhancer In Silicon Valley And Beyond?“ While Glatter is understandably cautious about microdosing LSD – he is a doctor, after all – I am quite bullish about its prospects.
The benefits of microdosing could far outweigh any potential risks.
Microdosing: an overview.
Dr. Glatter provides an excellent overview of microdosing from a medical perspective, so I encourage you to read his post. But the quick story is this.
Microdosing is a new trend in business where people take subperceptual amounts of a psychedelic substance like LSD or mushrooms (well short of a full blown trip) and experience subtle but seemingly superhuman strengths.
The effects reported include increased productivity, increased creativity, and a general feeling of “better living.” There are reports of people dramatically improving the work they do, the sports they play, and everything in-between. Martijn Schirp, an Amsterdam native who has been experimenting with microdosing put it this way in an interview with LiveScience:
It’s like the coffee to wake up the mind-body connection. When I notice it is working, depending on the dosage, time seems to be slowing down a bit, everything seems covered with a layer of extra significance.
Dr. Glatter warns us of the potential long-term negative health risks of even microdosing psychedelics. But I’d like to warn us of the potential long-term negative risks of not pursuing a therapy that could profoundly improve not just business, but humanity.
New research in psychedelics such as psilocybin, the main ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” aims for therapeutic uses, such as treatments for anxiety, headaches or quitting smoking.
Are the risks worth the benefits?
The job of a doctor is to improve the overall health of his or her patients. A noble vocation leading to longer and healthier lives. But I wonder what a medical doctor would do given the following hypothetical choice: with Product X you could increase the lifespan of your patients by 10 years, but it would also dumb the people down by as many IQ points to do so.
Would the doctor default to longer life since their life mission is bodily health and longevity? Or would they conclude that a shorter, smarter life is more valuable in the long run?
I would argue that living longer, but with less intelligence is the worse choice by far. It’s not living, it’s simply existing. I have made it my own life’s mission to understand intelligence in the form of creativity because I believe so fully that creativity is not just fun, it’s not just interesting, and it’s not just important. To me, creativity is the whole point of our existence.
Individual creativity leads to the collective benefit of humanity. Not just the giant breakthroughs like those from Tesla, Einstein, and Newton. But all the little ones that happen every single day, the effects of which are thankfully magnified these days through social media. Little and big ideas are constantly sweeping through the social spheres inspiring anyone who takes the time to notice.
On a corporate level, imagine how microdosing could improve product development, marketing, and advertising. Let alone how a company is structured, how it makes money, and how its people work together.
To flip my hypothetical question above, if we could increase the creativity of individuals by a significant amount but in doing so potentially cause some long-term (and unknown) side effects, should we do it?
Isn’t the power of increased creativity worth a potential health risk?
People do unhealthy things all the time with zero benefit to humanity.
Some people choose to drink too much, drive too fast, abuse drugs, smoke, eat too much, get too little exercise, work too hard, bully people, worry too much, and countless other choices that are proven to negatively affect our health.
Yet we still make those choices knowing we will not benefit at all from them.
So, should we be worried about the potential negative effects of microdosing LSD when its positive effects could be exponential? And not just to the individual, but to humanity?
We could accelerate the invention of important new technologies, cures to various diseases, political solutions where there was none before.
We could evolve our species more rapidly and for the better. Ironically, the risk we take with microdosing LSD could lead to cures that prolong the average lifespan by far more than the LSD would everpotentially reduce it.
I’m not suggesting we all just start microdosing. But I am suggesting that more pharmaceutical companies and universities should be researching it to better understand its risks and rewards.
Researchers, sign me up.
There has been some research done in the area of microdosing LSD, most notably by Dr. James Fadiman, a pioneer of psychedelic research. His research led to his book, “The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys.”
It’s a start. And I’m sure there are others that are under the radar or not taken seriously. But we need more and we need to shine a light on this topic. The subject of improving human creativity is far too important. We’re not talking about entertainment here, we’re talking about human progress.