Elon Musk, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and other top Silicon Valley executives regularly do ketamine and shrooms, according to the Wall Street Journal. Some industry leaders are reportedly microdosing psychedelics to help inspire creativity or battle depression, while others are tripping balls at invitation-only private parties.
The phenomenon is so popular that even some of the industry's highest-paid CEOs have been known to partake. Anonymous sources told reporters that Google co-founder Sergey Brin uses psilocybin mushrooms, and billionaire Elon Musk has reportedly told people that he microdoses ketamine for depression. Other sources have even claimed they've seen the Twitter CEO snort full doses of Special K at parties.
Musk hasn't openly acknowledged his purported ketamine use, but he did post a telling tweet shortly after the WSJ published their story. “Depression is overdiagnosed in the US, but for some people it really is a brain chemistry issue,” Musk wrote, according to the Daily Mail. “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.”
“There are millions of people microdosing psychedelics right now,” said Karl Goldfield, a former San Francisco sales and marketing consultant who now helps advise his friends on ideal psychedelics dosages, to the Wall Street Journal. Goldfield believes that psychedelics are “the fastest path to opening your mind up and clearly seeing for yourself what’s going on.”
Some executives have left the country in search of psychedelic medicine. Tim Sae Koo, founder of a San Francisco digital marketing startup, has spent the last 5 years hosting tech-focused ayahuasca retreats in Costa Rica. Sae Koo said that over 500 people have visited his retreat since then, including several founders of startups worth more than $1 billion apiece.
Not all tech bros have such a health-minded focus, though. Psychedelics have recently overtaken alcohol and cocaine as the drug of choice for parties. Venture capital firm Founders Fund, who have invested in SpaceX and Facebook, have reportedly thrown some psychedelics-fueled parties, and private invitation-only parties have become a thing as well. Some of these events reportedly require attendees to pay hundreds of dollars and sign non-disclosure agreements to ensure the confidentiality of the party's guests.
“A few years ago, talking about psychedelics in Silicon Valley was a big no-no,” said Edward Sullivan, CEO of corporate coaching business Velocity Coaching to the Wall Street Journal. “That has really changed.” Sullivan added that about 40% of his clients have recently discussed their interest in psychedelics with him.
A handful of companies outside of Silicon Valley are dreaming up ways to incorporate psychedelics into their workplace as well. Rick Doblin, founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelics Studies (MAPS), has developed a list of “smokable tasks,” like brainstorming or using Excel, that employees can do if they're high at work. And organic soapmaker Dr. Bronner's has established a health insurance program that covers the cost of legal ketamine therapy for its employees.