As microdosing becomes more widely practiced and talked about, like anything, it risks becoming a trend once the opportunity to make money from it arises. Unfortunately, I sense that might be where we are heading.
By this, I’m not talking about profits from the sale of psychedelics by drug companies, but the inevitable online ‘influencers’ and self-help gurus who latch onto whatever the latest happiness craze might be to keep their followers hooked and searching.
Microdosing is not about searching, fixing problems, or taking a drug to feel better. It’s not about happiness or working out how to be happy. It’s not about concepts. I’m the first to admit that small doses of LSD or psylocibin can help us be more creative in our work, enjoy working more, and increase the energy we have enabling us to ‘get more done’. Whilst this is not where the greatest potential of microdosing LSD or psylocibin lies, if there’s anything that will make governments consider legalisation of any kind, this could likely be it. The positive effect on symptoms of depression may also be a factor, especially considering the huge reduction in the long-term cost of treatment compared with talk therapies.
We now live in a world where the masses seek instant gratification in all aspects of their lives. Up until recently, those most interested in microdosing were those who had experience with taking larger doses and perhaps therefore have seen through the illusion of happiness or fulfilment, for the empty concepts they are, and recognised the transient nature of everything. Recently though, I get the feeling people are interested more in the tangible effects rather than the more subtle changes that may occur, and ask the question: “How can it help me?” By beginning with such an ego-centric approach, surely we can also expect ego-centric effects.
Mindfulness is a recent example of western repackaging of eastern philosophy into something palatable, and beneficial for the establishment (which still engineers and requires willing obedience from the population). The more it became popular, the more the original perspective was lost. As with any trend, by the time it’s exposed for what it truly is, we’ve moved onto the next thing and the tricks and commercial drivers are not of much interest to anyone.
Will the popularity of microdosing help lead to legalising LSD or psylocibin?
Part of me is starting to hope not, and I never thought I’d say that.
There was a talk Terence McKenna once gave in New York, where he was asked a question about the legalisation of marijuana. In his answer he spoke about the pitfalls of cannabis becoming commercialised as opposed to being grown by small growers – it’s worth listening to but I cannot locate the link unfortunately. Now I think he might be right about that, despite my full support for the legalisation of all drugs, regardless of their proven or unproven medical efficacy. However, with legalisation, and the benefits it will bring to the new establishments of our future societies, I fear the spirit of the psychedelic community may not come with it, and neither will a shamanic approach to working with these important medicines.
Of course, all of us with an interest in psychedelics may well believe that the compounds themselves will be enough, and I hope it’s true – I just have my doubts about the powers that be. The doctors who will prescribe it, the therapists who’ll be licensed to treat clients with it, and whichever new gurus emerge. The gurus are riding higher than ever, and under the bullshit radar, even if they have been repackaged in hipster attire.
Despite all this, a sweet spot surely exists between the point something is so underground that very few have heard of it and the point where it trends. Perhaps that sweet spot is now.
This could be the best of both worlds for a short while. With the sharing of knowledge, ideas, experiences and methods, all through the subcultural and countercultural community rather than through mainstream media, marketing and advertising, we will truly get the most out of each other’s contributions at this time. Recently I’ve met therapists, students, everyday business people, and others who have discovered the wide-ranging benefits of microdosing. I’ve met these people in the most random places, in various countries, and through real conversations, without being connected through the internet.
People who are genuinely open, do talk to each other, and this sharing of our experience in real life, and not on social media is where the real value lies. I don’t look forward to the day when I’m reading an account of a mindless celebrity, selling their microdosing story to the Daily Mail.