THE LAST TIME I heard this much about LSD, it was the spring of my sophomore year in high school and my then boyfriend, a longhaired Deadhead who went everywhere barefoot, had procured a stash for us. We took it at the Indiana Dunes, where I counted every glittering grain of sand, and again in my wood-paneled basement a few days later, where I stood before a mirror observing my face as it flickered and changed shape like flames.
I didn’t try it again after that, affected as I’d been by years of antidrug propaganda. If you took LSD more than seven times, you would end up legally insane. (Who came up with that number?) Or you could have a bad trip and imagine that you’re crawling with worms, Go Ask Alice–style. (That book, catnip for inquisitive teens, was written not by an anonymous 15-year-old drug addict but by a Mormon youth counselor.) In the following decades, I came to view LSD as a fringe thing—not the substance of choice for anyone I knew.
Suddenly, though, it seems that everyone, from software engineers to “power women,” is dabbling in it, according to a spate of recent articles. Not in large, consciousness-altering amounts but rather in infinitesimal “microdoses” said to have an array of desirable effects: balancing moods, increasing focus, enhancing creativity and problem-solving abilities, even heightening empathy. After reading the breezy, well-researched new book A Really G