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Micro-Dosing: The Latest Craze

Employees who need a midday pick-me-up are ditching their Red Bulls and Monster energy drinks in favor of taking small amounts of drugs to get them through the day. The practice is called "microdosing," and it involves taking a tiny, diluted amount of LSD with the belief that it will increase production, boosts creativity, and improves cognitive function.

The practice began in the 1960s with Dr. James Fadiman, who would give hallucinogens to scientists and mathematicians to see how the drugs affected their problem-solving skills. Fadiman published a book on microdosing in 2011, which discusses the "safe" and "therapeutic benefits" one can supposedly enjoy while embarking on a psychedelic drug experience.

However, LSD is one of the most powerful mind-altering drugs out there, and there is no accepted medical use for it in the United States whatsoever. Because it has not been approved medicinally in any way, the taking of any LSD at all, even in the tiniest of amounts, is considered to be abusing the drug. In addition to altering the user's reality, LSD also increases his heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Those who are on LSD have described an ability to "see" sounds or "hear" colors.

As with any drug, those who take LSD on a regular basis develop a tolerance to it, and they need more and more of the drug in order to feel the same effects. With microdosing, the user will typically take about one-tenth of the normal dosage that would get them high. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those who engage in microdosing tend to be younger businesspeople in their 20s, who see the practice as a shortcut to increasing their energy levels, boosting their moods, and ramping up their creativity.

Microdosing is especially popular with technical professionals working in Silicon Valley. They are drawn to microdosing because they find they can experience a temporary boost in their productivity by taking a small amount of LSD without experiencing the full-on "trip" that could result from a full dose. Some even microdose to alleviate the symptoms that they suffer as a result of migraines, depression, or fatigue.

However, assumedly because LSD is not an approved medicinal drug in any form, the practice of microdosing has not been studied in depth. Therefore, not much is known about the potential risks of the practice, save for the fact that abusing LSD in any amount over time can cause negative side effects. They can be as mild as having a short-term bad trip one day, or as severe as flashbacks that occur long-term.

Many have heard the term "bad trip" but don't quite know what one is unless they experience it for themselves. The fact is, LSD is a highly unpredictable drug and can affect different people in different ways. Like fentanyl, LSD is made in a lab, which means that you may not always know what you're getting. Bad trips can result from LSD being mixed with another drug, or just by itself. Bad trips typically involve such negative symptoms as paranoia, panic attacks, psychosis, and an intense fear of death.