Is Microdosing the New Productivity Hack In Silicon Valley?

According to BBC, microdosing magic mushrooms is all rage in Silicon Valley these days. The new emerging trend comes from the tech-heavy and success-obsessed culture to always stay young and relevant.

The Tech world is fixated on coming up with cutting-edge productivity hacks that mechanize its participants’ brains and bodies, using all of the tools that can be obtained. From chugging meals in the form of Soylent, or taking Adderall to biohacking, it is clear that the “übersmart twentysomethings” of Silicon Valley are ready to stuff themselves up in the name of the “ultimate productivity”.

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Steve Jobs, the almighty of technology and entrepreneurship, expressed that one of the most enlightening experiences in his life that also enhanced his creative process was when he was using LSD when he was young. No wonder then that others in Silicon Valley, where creativity and productivity are valued above everything else, are turning to microdosing. Taking psilocybin in that setting is less about recreation and more about optimizing your performance, whether it is to harness creativity or solve complex problems. The premise is simple: pop a mushroom pill. Focus more, work harder, work longer. Build the next Airbnb, Slack, Uber.

Entrepreneurs and others lately have been experimenting with microdosing — typically one-tenth or one-fifth of a regular dose for psilocybin — to push productivity or to level up their career. A microdose is usually taken every three to four days. The idea is to feel a little bit of energy lift, a little bit of insight but not to the point where you’re tripping.

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Psilocybin has recently received a “breakthrough” designation, which basically means that after showing promising potential in treating patients with mental health conditions, it’s now allowed to be clinically researched. Although there’s a lack of research on microdosing with psychedelics, the effects of macrodosing — i.e. taking a full or “trip-inducing” dose of the psychedelics — have been studied more thoroughly. Researchers have found some evidence that supports the benefits of taking psilocybin to treat mental health conditions, such as anxiety, addiction, and depression.

Most of the published research does not provide hard, scientific proof that microdosing at work can improve performance. Hence, self-assessed surveys in which participants report on how they feel after microdosing may not reliably reflect its effects. This might have something to do with the placebo effect, as a lot of people have preconceived notions about psychedelics that might also have an impact on what they report back.

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In order to gain a competitive advantage, tech industry of Silicon Valley is now using microdosing as a new productivity and performance enhancement hack. A quick Google search would show that there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence about the benefits of microdosing. However, these self-reported surveys may not be as reliable as they haven’t been backed up by scientific research yet.