I-Dosing Music’s New Drug


Last week, I smoked a blunt with a friend before entering Seattle’s Experience Music Project (EMP). The EMP is incredible for a number of reasons, but while stoned and lounging on a circular sofa it dawned on me that I was sitting in what could be the world’s largest i-doser. The combination of blue light, ambient music and colorful images took me out of my marijuana stone and into an opiatic haze, I was unknowingly being “i-dosed”.

News of i-dosing hit the mainstream soon after organic-drug-deprived teenagers in Oklahoma began downloading their highs at school. Authorities in Oklahoma are now railing against i-dosing as a gateway to harder substances, “Kids are going to flock to these sites just to see what it is about, and that can lead them other places,” says Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and dangerous drugs spokesman Mark Woodward.

But i-dosing is nothing new: people have always used music to make themselves happy, sad, horny or energetic. Downloadable i-doses simply are concentrated ambient sounds- binaural beats- coupled with complimentary imagery to trigger the pleasure centers in your brain—the same ones triggered when feeling a drug high or an intense emotion.

Pay sites such as i-doser.com and idose.us offer a range of tracks that mimic legal and prescription drugs, as well as human experiences. You can listen to a track to lose weight, quite smoking, acid trip—even experience an orgasm.

I-dose sites recommend dosers close their eyes, relax, and listen through headphones for maximum effectiveness. Dosers and casual experimenters provide conflicting reports on dosing, some remain skeptical while others will swear by it. While many people prefer organic drugs, binaural beats could provide audio drugs that would eventually replace high-cost pharmaceuticals.

While paying for a digital high may seem ridiculous and unnecessary (after all, real drugs aren’t free either), the difference is that you can continue to listen to the track over and over again. Many drug purists also turn their nose up at the digital high.  Additionally, the biggest element of drug and music culture is lost in the i-dose—human interaction. While the doses are meant to be an individual high, most people prefer to experience music and drugs with their friends.

So when all is said and done, that blunt was $20, the EPM ticket was $12 (which included my all access pass to the i-doser), but getting high with a friend under the space needle before learning about and listening to Jimi Hendrix– priceless.

-Angela Bacca