Could LSD be the new Adderall?

Amid media reports that tech industry employees are using small doses of psychedelics to enhance their work performance, we investigated whether this actually happened—and how exactly it worked.

Steve Dean, a 27-year-old online dating consultant and startup founder, first "microdosed" on LSD while visiting a friend in the Bay Area who "swore by it." His Facebook feed had been blowing up with talk of the practice for a while, especially among the tech and personal development communities he belongs to, he told NTRSCTN over the phone.

"Microdosing makes you more emotionally lucid," he explained. "It made me feel like I was pregnant in my face."

via GIPHY

The drug was "like an emotional form of air- bending or water-bending—emotion bending," he said.

During his first microdose, Dean had to answer work emails, which he wouldn't recommend. He finds that the drug is not conducive to rote tasks. But he's done it four times since, and it's helped him be creative, plan, and "take a step back and appreciate what's been done so far and what's coming next."

Jason Kende, a 37-year-old self-described "bot maker," told NTRSCTN over the phone that he's microdosed six or seven times over the past 16 or 17 years. 

Like Dean, he described "a sharp increase in emotionality" as a result of the drug.

via GIPHY

"I was more prone to having my eyes tear up and having emotions catches in my lungs," he said. "For the most part, it feels like a strong cup of coffee, except with more emphasis on creativity—seeing things I would only see if I was well rested and super healthy-feeling."

Kende said he's experienced head pressure after microdosing but isn't sure if it was related. 

An anonymous 25-year-old graphic designer said she experienced shortness of breath and an increased heart rate after her third time microdosing on LSD and is hesitant to try it again after that. 

"It made me feel like I was pregnant in my face."

At the time, though, it had the desired effect. She first tried it while visiting a friend in New York, and she stayed up until 4 a.m. drinking without getting tired or drunk. "I believe the microdose kept me in control and energized," she said. When she tried it alone while working on graduate school applications, she was "able to focus intensely and work for hours."

​Are these people right to believe that LSD has helped them with work?

Dr. James Fadiman, author of The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, told NTRSCTN in a statement that psychedelics can indeed make people "able to be creative longer," "more emotionally comfortable," and "less distractible" with few side effects.

Chris Rice, founder of the Psychedelic Society of New England and author of On Culture: Small minds, big business, and the psychedelic solution, told NTRSCTN that Steve Jobs and Francis Crick​ have both cited LSD as an inspiration for their work. 

"Microdosing allows for some of this same boundary disillusion and increased focus without the hallucinations that psychedelic compounds are notorious for," he said.

I was more prone to having my eyes tear up and having emotions catches in my lungs.

But psychiatrist Dr. Jean Kim is skeptical. Any hallucinogenic can impede work performance, she told NTRSCTN in a private Facebook message, "since you would be distracted and internally preoccupied." She said psychedelics could help with creative pursuits, however, since they can "alter consciousness and cause unusual perceptual experiences."

Dr. Ronald L. Cowan, professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, told NTRSCTN in a statement that the side effects of a drug are proportionate to the dose, so microdosing should be less risky than full-fledged tripping. 

If you plan to try it, Rice recommended making sure you really are only taking a microdose so that there are no hallucinogenic effects. 

via GIPHY

Kende warned against any dose of LSD if you're not in a good mindset.

"It's not like an amusement park," he said. "You're seeing what's happening in your life in a slightly different light. It doesn't make what's happening better or worse. If you're not happy with what's going on in your life, look for better structures first."

If you can handle it, though, "experimenting with the way you perceive the world is almost always going to be valuable," said Dean. "Life is not particularly interesting when you're always confined to the same perspective."

This post originally appeared on NTRSCTN.com