Microdosing involves taking just enough of a psychedelic drug to boost productivity and creativity, without actually tripping. Its supposed benefits are well documented, and particularly among young startup types in Silicon Valley where microdosing became a bit of a thing.
But it isn't just for cool dudes at Google. Microdosing, if you believe the hype, can potentially help anyone think outside the box, even in bland corporate jobs. Or so it seems after we interviewed a guy who won a National Sales Award in corporate banking while dropping acid and shrooms.
Chris isn't his real name and for obvious reasons we won't mention where he lives.
VICE: Hey Chris, what work do you do?
Chris: I'm a corporate banker working in acquisitions. Last year, the bank acknowledged me as the country's best salesman and I won the National Sales Award while microdosing LSD and mushrooms.
How did this start?
I was going through a patch of feeling really unmotivated at work. I'd worked hard, achieved my goals, but then lacked the opportunity to grow any further. I was stuck in the paradigm where I was doing the same old thing and I was getting bored. So then I heard about microdosing and wanted to see what all the hype was about. It pretty much changed my life.
How did you measure your dose?
Initially, I was drawn to microdosing LSD because it was what I enjoyed taking and also what I had access to. I'd get one drop of acid, which is essentially 125 mics, and dilute it into 125MLs of water. So essentially I'd have one mil of water to 1 mic of acid. Then I could accurately dose myself.
Depending on the day of the week I'd have between 15–25 mics. I'd start with a smaller dose on Monday and then take bigger and bigger doses throughout the week as I'd build up resilience.
After a while I decided I wanted to start microdosing mushrooms. With mushrooms I take about 0.1 to 0.15 grams. Essentially it's one 10th of a dose. I take it five times a week, every morning before work, before I eat breakfast. This prevents it from being diluted by anything I've already eaten, so I get the complete effect.
Did you notice a difference between LSD and mushrooms?
Mushrooms are a lot softer. The acid is very clinical, very hard. At the end of the week I felt the acid tiring my brain. After doing some research, I found out you're only supposed to do it every three days or so. I was overdoing it a bit.
How did you feel generally?
Microdosing is below your level of perception. You're aware of it but not really aware of it. Your subconscious mind is geared like you're tripping, but you're actually not. It mainly affects the way I approach the day and the way I approach tasks. It turns the most mundane tasks into things that are easy to do. Some tasks I wouldn't be able to work on for more than 20 minutes without fidgeting and getting agitated. When microdosing, I can actually sit down for hours at a time without even realising it. Sometimes, I look up after 6 hours of work and go, "holy shit".
So a lot of your role involves bargaining over the phone. What's it like cold calling financial elites on acid, trying to win them over?
At first, I was a little bit nervous about cold calling but then I was like fuck, just let me do it. Now things roll off my tongue like you have no idea. When sober, I work at about 60 percent Wolf of Wall Street. When microdosing, I'm 100 percent Wolf of Wall Street. I'm so confident. Everything I say comes so much quicker. It's ridiculous.
It doesn't give you something that's not there. It just changes the way you do things and the way you look at things. It really does feel like the limitless pill. Obviously not that level of effect, but I feel like a corporate god. It is mind blowing that something that is so shunned by that echelon of society has such a powerful effect on what you can do in an environment like that.
Did you notice anything else?
Even after the day at work, when I come home I am still motivated to go out and eat healthily and go to the gym. I just feel like I have a little bit extra at the end of the day to do what needs to be done—you know if I need to go shopping, I go shopping. When microdosing I feel like a fucking wizard. I literally do exactly what I need to do and there is no problem with doing it. It really just makes me a productive human being.
Have you noticed any negative effects?
Not with the mushrooms. With the acid sometimes I'd come home at the end of the day and have a slight headache and still feel it. But nothing long lasting, there is no downer. And when I don't microdose I don't go through the days thinking shit I can't do this without microdosing. I don't even think about it.
Would you ever tell people at work you're microdosing?
I think in today's world there's a big stigma around drug use. People don't draw differentiations between weed, mushrooms, acid, mdma, or coke. To most of the population it's all grouped into one big bad thing. So no, if I told people at work it would completely change the way they see me. Until we live in a time when it is socially acceptable to take psychedelics, I don't think I would feel comfortable telling anyone.