What if recreational drugs were legally available and, better yet, digitally downloadable? You'd plug in your headphones, hit play, and melt away in digital ecstasy. Welcome to the world of i-Dosing. It's the new musical drug craze fascinating Web-surfing kids these days.
Dosing sites claim to use harmless methods of brainwaves simulation via binaural beats to give listeners the same effect as recreational drugs. We tried a free sample at i-doser.com and all we heard was Bjork-esque soundscapes set atop incredibly loud waterfalls.
Sure, the cheap beats made us want to stab our ears, but you have a better chance of getting high on orange juice. Some of them sound like horns being blared repeatedly, which is just plain annoying.
The tracks have such intriguing names as "Peyote," "Hand of God," "Gamma" and "Orgasm," and are usually available in 10-minute "doses" for around $20. Binaural beats is based on an ancient technology that delivers two-tone sounds to headphones at different frequencies - one louder than the other. Dosing sites claim to simulate musical high this way.
The trend has parents of teenage kids going into a collective panic attack, especially in
the United States Oklahoma, where they've issued a warning against i-Dosing. Worse still, various YouTube clips show kids convulsing in their beds while hitting doses of binaural beats.
If you believe i-Dosing is real, we should also have you know that Bigfoot will be joining us for dinner tonight. In fact, scientists find the whole thing laughable.
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Dr Brian Fligor, Director of diagnostic audiology at the Boston Children's Hospital, told the BBC that there's nothing that backs up the concept of musical high, adding, "I found it to be a somewhat amusing story."
Not only is getting high off binaural beats laughable, it's impossible. Fligor says that what i-dosers are experiencing is "an auditory perception." In other words, they've tricked their brains into treating an imagined state of digital high as subversive alterations of consciousness. Placebo effect win.
But that's not exactly comforting news to those parents in Oklahoma. Their main concern is that kids exploring i-dosing as a "gateway" drug are more likely to seek out the real deal down the line. Unfortunately for parents, dosing sites have also anticipated these needs. Some of them offer links to real drug dealers, with everything from weed to Ecstacy ready to be shipped.
Thankfully, you have to be 18 to use their site. Phew!