I am too neurotic to ever become a drug addict.
Smoking weed leads to embarrassing coughing fits. Eating weed is unpredictable, either too weak and a waste of time, money, and perfectly good brownie mix, or too strong and absolutely terrifying. I'm so paranoid about having a bad acid trip that I'd probably have a bad acid trip. Crack was ruined for me after watching Robert Downey Jr. come down in Less Than Zero. Pills seem to have the most practical method of use but aren't enough bang for the buck. Heroin can kill me. Ecstasy can kill me. Meth — there goes years of expensive and painful orthodontia. And just thinking about coke makes my nose burn.
Why can't someone come up with an easier way to trip balls? Turns out someone did, or at least they think they did.
Also known as "digital drugs" or "binaural beats," an i-doser is, according to Huffington Post writer Catharine Smith, "'binaural, or two-toned, technology to alter your brain waves and mental state,' producing a 'state of ecstasy' for the user." They come in all sorts of flavors, from hallucinogens to pills to steroids. You can find them for sale on websites (particularly i-doser.com), and they'll only cost you a couple of bucks, depending on your "drug" of choice. The stingier among us can find free downloads somewhere else on the internet, and YouTube has a couple of clips.
The first time I tried i-Dosing, in my capacity as a CP writer, I broke all the rules. That's right, there are rules to i-Dosing, or at least strong suggestions to maximize your experience. The FAQ page on i-doser.com recommends that you lie down in a serene space (one that is quiet and dimly lit), use high-quality headphones, play the dose at a comfortable level, and clear your mind. They also say to listen to the dose in its entirety. Instead, I listened to YouTube clips through a laptop's speakers with three friends in one of their living rooms. We turned out all the lights and lounged on her ample seating, but we also let our two dogs roam the floor while we dosed — and they were not quiet. We tested a few bootlegs: nitrous, orgasm (yes, you can apparently get an orgasm, and even multiple orgasms), and one that we can't name because the description was in Spanish. None of us felt anything particularly notable. However, the dogs did react oddly to the orgasm dose, whining their way through it when they were mostly silent during our other tries.
After this failed attempt, I tried once more to give it a go. I downloaded the 45-minute "marijuana" track (I figured I should stick with a dose that I had some real-life experience to compare it to). I closed my blinds, got into bed, stuck my earbuds in my ears, shut my eyes, and got going. The ambient noises sounded like helicopters, waterfalls, the soundtrack of a David Lynch film. And then I started seeing all sorts of crazy stuff. But it wasn't anything drug related; weed doesn't really do that (unless it's really good weed). What was happening to me was the pre-dreams I have when I'm about to fall asleep.
Yep. I was definitely dozing, but not dosing. You could blame it on the fact that I tried to dose after a long day at work and that all that white noise is just so darn relaxing (a concept that Sharper Image has already exploited). Whatever. I got nothing out of it. When the dose ended, sure, I felt disoriented, but in the kind of way that waking up from an unintended nap makes you feel.
On Psychology Today's website, blogger Ron Doyle explains that, "Binaural beat therapy has been used in clinical settings to research hearing and sleep cycles, to induce various brain wave states, and treat anxiety." Doyle dismisses the more intense effects that teenage dosers have claimed as "controversial" and even dubious and says that it probably isn't a real drug. Smith adds, "Studies have shown that the binaural beats do not chemically alter the brain, but educators and law officials are worried that i-Dosing could be a gateway 'drug' to other illegal substances."
Kind of like how listening to the Jonas Brothers now will lead to harder stuff, like black metal. And who would want that for their children?