Report: ‘Tech Bros’ are Microdosing Psychedelics in Droves

Big Tech is a hotbed for psychedelic microdosing—especially among the highest ranking thought leaders. So-called “tech bros” are gulping down microdoses of psychedelics, be it LSD, ketamine, psilocybin, 5-MeO-DMT, or other drugs, and the trend is spreading like wildfire throughout Silicon Valley. Microdoses of psychedelics aim to improve mood and wellbeing without inducing hallucinations and strong psychoactive effects.

The Independent reports April 26 that what began as a turning point for Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, the use of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes, now extends to the top tech magnates in the world today. 

A “tech bro” is someone, usually a man, who works in the digital technology industry. They are also sometimes called “brogrammers” or “technocrats.” Tech Bros are gravitating towards psychedelics in order to survive the daily grind in a highly competitive industry.

Many of the top tycoons in the industry are openly sharing their experiences with microdoses of psychedelics. They’re also experimenting with psychedelic retreats, meditation, weird diets and even food deprivation (see Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.) In 2022, Wired called the phenomenon “The ‘Shamanification’ of the Tech CEO.” These approaches to well-being are being explored more often in the industry.

SpaceX founder and billionaire Elon Musk opened up about his experiences with ketamine in June last year. He argued that the psychedelic is better than the alternative, which is antidepressants that often cause side effects such as even worse depression. “Depression is overdiagnosed in the US, but for some people it really is a brain chemistry issue,” Musk tweeted. “But zombifying people with SSRIs for sure happens way too much. From what I’ve seen with friends, ketamine taken occasionally is a better option.”

He’s also open to the benefits of other psychedelics. “A lot of people making laws are kind of from a different era,” Musk said at the 2021 CodeCon conference. “As the new generation gets into political power, I think we will see greater receptivity to the benefits of psychedelics.”

A few years ago, billionaire and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel backed psychedelic start-up Atai Life Sciences which makes ketamine-based drugs.

Then Google co-founder Sergey Brin opened up about microdosing psilocybin. Psilocybin microdosing is the repeated self-administration of mushrooms at doses small enough to not induce hallucinations but with reported effects on feelings of wellbeing. It’s being explored for the treatment of conditions like depression.

“There really is a critical mass of intelligent people collectively coming together to say that we need to change policy around mushrooms—that we need to take them from the underground and put them into the mainstream in a safe and responsible way,” Dennis Walker, a mushroom podcaster and business adviser, told The Independent. “Because these are profound and effective treatments for many indications, and they’re also the birthright of human beings.”

Tech Bros Have Been Doing This for Decades

The late Apple tycoon Steve Jobs and billionaire Bill Gates—arguably the OG “tech bros”—paved the way by openly discussing their experiences in the past with LSD

Jobs especially liked talking about the world’s most potent hallucinogen, and suggested it played a role in the invention of personal computing and other innovations. “LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin,” Jobs said, adding “and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it.” 

This aligns with a recent analysis of psychedelic drug use among American adults that has indicated that business leaders and managers seem to be dropping more acid than their subordinates

The study, published last October in the peer-reviewed journal Substance Use and Misuse, analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and looked at trends related to use of LSD.

Researchers looked at data from over 168,000 adults over the course of the years 2006-2014 and found that people who identified themselves as managers in their field had experienced a notable increase in LSD use in the last year of the study, significantly more so than other full-time employees who did not identify as managers. 

“The results suggest that the prevalence of past year LSD use increased over time at a greater rate among business managers than non-managers and that this difference cannot be accounted for by changes in business managers’ perceived risk of LSD use or general substance use relative to non-managers,” the study said. 

Study participants self-reported their own drug use which included information on psychedelics including LSD. Researchers used this information to form correlations and they found that business managers and leaders experienced a .07% increase in LSD use over the last year of the study whereas other full time employees who were not in a leadership position only increased by .02%.

Trends show that tech billionaires are helping to normalize the use of psychedelic microdoses for therapeutic purposes.

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