The Working Man's Guide to Microdosing

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The Classic Psychedelic: LSD
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The Classic Psychedelic: LSD

Studies have shown that acid may help treat depression, alcoholism, and PTSD. Some think LSD can be an everyday booster, like a supplement.

The Dose

Start with 10 micrograms, says James Fadiman, a psychologist and author of The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide. That's one-tenth of a full hit. Fadiman recommends a three-day cycle. So if you microdose on a Monday, you'd take the next dose Thursday. "The effect lasts two days, and then you take the third day off so that you can tell a difference," he says.

For those of us in the square community, the first hurdle will be to simply find LSD. You have to ask around. Maybe your stoner friend has a pot dealer who can do a special order. Check with everyone you know who followed the Dead. If you're just not comfortable fishing publicly for a Schedule 1 narcotic, you can turn to the Web. Start by consulting an LSD board like reddit.com/r/LSD/, where you'll get experienced microdosers' advice. You'll probably want to use an encrypted browser like Tor to access a dark-Web marketplace like AlphaBay, an Amazon-esque site that even includes user reviews of drugs. However you get it, make sure you test the purity. Simple drug-testing kits, like those from TestKitPlus.com, cost around $25 and come with detailed instructions.

The last hurdle: fine-tuning your dose. If you get blotter tabs that are, say, 100 micrograms each, it's not only impossible to cut them into 10 microdose squares, but the LSD won't be evenly distributed. Instead, measure five ounces of distilled water (I used a cocktail jigger), drop in your 100-microgram tab, and leave it overnight. Now each half-ounce of water will contain one-tenth the original dose.

What to Know

LSD is, of course, illegal, but it isn't particularly dangerous. When researchers asked nearly 300 addiction specialists to rank 19 recreational drugs in terms of self-harm potential, acid was fourth safest — slightly riskier than pot, but a helluva lot safer than alcohol or tobacco. It's also not chemically addictive, and overdose cases are rare. Plus, says Fadiman,"as far as we know, there hasn't been a single death from microdosing LSD. There may have been attempted homicides, however, due to excessively playing Phish.

What It Feels Like

I procured tabs from a friend who never shuts up about the benefits of LSD. An hour into my first 10-microgram dose, I felt focused and in a good mood, and I experienced waves of pleasant body highs, like I'd just finished hot yoga or a green-juice cleanse. Work was fantastic.

I was scheduled to meet my wife at our accountant's office and was prepared to flake. But with a touch of the psychedelic flu, taxes sounded too fun to pass up! I rode my bike there and was acutely aware of the air's fluidity, how it parted and flowed around me as I pedaled. I captured some of the fluidity in my lungs — it felt refreshing, nourishing. (Sober people, I am told, call this breathing.)

In his book, Fadiman notes that small doses of LSD can make it easier to access flow states, akin to what an elite athlete experiences when he's "in the zone." Flow can make you lose track of time, and it coincides with feelings of competence and achievement. That's exactly what I felt: lost in my work and simultaneously grateful I had work to do.

I microdosed LSD for two more three-day cycles, and each time I felt creative and productive. I was eager to chat with co-workers, and my wife said I was more affectionate.

Verdict

I still felt like myself — just a better, Zen-er, more appreciative version.

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