i-Dosing is a Thing Now?

This is an pretty old post from my blog, which has been preserved in case its content is of any interest. You might want to go back to the homepage to see some more recent stuff.

So, not only does October’s edition of Wired UK suggest 4chan in its list of unusual places to make friends online – yup, that would indeed be an unusual place to look – but it seems to have decided to enlighten its readers on the wonders of i-Dosing too.

Wait, what? i-Dosing is an actual thing now?

For anyone unaware, “i-Dosing” is purportedly a technique whereby teenagers listen to music that emulates the effects of taking drugs. There are a number of websites that claim to offer such music, and I suppose it’s possible that they actually existed as some kind of weird internet non-entity before the Daily Mail went fucking crazy (more so than usual) in July of this year. I wouldn’t, however, be surprised if the Mail article was a ludicrous prank on the reactionary truth-averse newspaper, and the websites sprung up in the aftermath.

(Somebody linked me to a couple of “i-Dosing” tracks back then. The first was a pretty minimalist early-Industrial kind of track, listenable but hardly trippy. The second was a poor mashup of early-2000s dance hits, which I turned off just for its abysmal production values.)

So congratulations to whoever gave the story to the Mail, it’s pretty hilarious in an “oh god the media sucks” kind of way.

To the i-Dosing kiddies, curse this new-fangled technology, grumble / pipe / slippers. What’s wrong with the good old two litres of Coke, some high-volume Prodigy and playing WipeOut 64 until it hurts to look away from the screen? (Or until your mum called you down for lunch, of course.)

And Wired, seriously, i-Dosing is not a thing. At least your sidebar item wasn’t a Mail-esque “OH GOD YOUR KIDS ARE ON DRUGS” piece, but please, can we all let this story die now?


Thomas Coton 09 October 2010

I tried it briefly a couple of years ago, apparently it works by putting a slightly different frequency into each ear, so the interference between them supposedly influences the frequency of your brain waves. Made me feel a bit odd, but on the whole I wasn't impressed.

Owen Thomas Perring 10 October 2010

I find that the best way to achieve a state of altered conciousness is sitting alone in a room by myself, thinking without external influence for a little while.

Ben Wheeler 02 November 2010


That software has been around for years, but the core ingredient, binaural beats, is far older. And it's not "music" in the conventional sense. What got the Mail all excited is that i-doser sells binaural tracks named after drugs, implying (but I think without actually claiming) that they replicate their effects. And, let's face it, anyone gullible enough to buy that is well-placed to get a good trip off a placebo.

Most reputable scientists claim that binaural beats causing any kind of "brainwave entrainment" is a load of pseudoscientific nonsense. I've never used i-doser but about 4-5 years ago I experimented with binaural beats using the free software <a 0="" href="http://uazu.net/sbagen/" rel="nofollow noopener">http://uazu.net/sbagen/</a>" rel="nofollow">sbagen</a> (which i-doser actually uses at its core: until 2007 it was violating the GPL by doing so) and found that they did seem to have an effect, albeit a mild one, and any beneficial effect from helping one drift off to sleep is rather cancelled out by nearly choking yourself to death on your headphone cable (it only works through headphones), so I gave it up. There were no withdrawal symptoms.

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