Silicon Valley CEO fired for microdosing LSD at work

Image of Image via Pixabay / Victor Tangermann

The CEO of a Silicon Valley-based startup has been fired for taking LSD at work.

The executive, Justin Zhu, of the $ 2 billion marketing platform Iterable, didn’t take crazy psychedelic trips to work. Instead, he microdosed – taking a tiny amount – of the psychedelic drug in an apparent effort to boost his focus, according to Bloomberg.

Company co-founder Andrew Boni told employees Zhu was fired for unspecified violations of the startup’s “Iterable Employee Handbook, Policies and Values”.

“Zhu’s behavior also undermined the board’s confidence in Justin’s ability to run the business going forward,” Boni wrote in the memo, obtained by Bloomberg.

Microdosing LSD or other psychedelic drugs like magic mushrooms has become a booming trend among entrepreneurs in recent years. Its supporters argue that the drug can stimulate the brain and increase productivity or creativity.

The science behind the microdosing trend, however, is far from conclusive. There have, however, been several small studies that have shown that LSD microdoscing can actually improve mood and cognition.

In a 2019 study, doctors gave nearly 50 elderly Alzheimer’s patients low doses of LSD to see if it impacted their cognition or balance. They found that the treatment could be used to prevent or treat inflammation in the brain, slowing neural deterioration.

But research published this year found that the effects of microdosing did not outperform those of a placebo, suggesting that the benefits may be psychosomatic as well as pharmacological.

Psychedelics, however, can have other uses in medicine. Last year, a team of Dutch researchers also discovered that microdoses of LSD could be used as an alternative to opioids like morphine.

“The magnitude of the analgesic effect appears to be comparable to the analgesic effects of opioids in the same pain model,” said Press release read at the time.

Either way, Zhu’s ousting illustrates an intriguing new culture war in business – and it will be interesting to see if another employer has cracked down on the practice.

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