From Elon Musk smoking weed on Joe Rogan’s podcast to Steve Jobs dabbling in psychedelics, Silicone Valley is no stranger to drug use.
But a new report has laid bare just how rampant illegal and legal substance use has become in the tech world: with executives the creative edge over competitors, power through crazy shifts and partying all night. .
While cocaine use is synonymous with Wall Street, the report highlights how the drugs of choice in Silicon Valley appear to be more potent psychedelics such as LSD, MDMA (ecstasy), mushrooms and ketamine, as well as legal stimulants such as Adderall.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin is rumored to be a magic mushroom user, while Musk likes MDMA (ecstasy) and ketamine.
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk smoked cannabis at The Joe Rogan Experience in 2018, prompting NASA to conduct a safety review of SpaceX. His drug use has since increased, reportedly to regularly include ketamine, MDMA and mushrooms.
Ketamine is a medical-grade anesthetic used to euthanize animals and sedate people in hospital settings. It is also reputed to be a party drug because it induces psychedelic experiences in high doses. Recent research has shown it to be promising for the treatment of depression.
But drug use extends far beyond the boardroom. Even Rank-and-file workers have reported “microdosing” small amounts of psychedelic drugs during work hours to improve their concentration and creativity, claims that have only anecdotal evidence to support them.
Some tech figures like Thiel have also invested heavily in psychedelic medicine.
Silicon Valley’s elite nod to this research and echo the language of psychedelics as medicine when describing their drug use.
But insiders paint a different picture: drug-filled sex parties, doses at work and professional repercussions for refusing to participate, according to the report.
This trend has raised concerns among investors and board members at some of the tech giants, the report said, as senior staff have reported resigning due to their discomfort working in an environment where drug use It’s the norm, not just after work, but during work. work day too.
In many cases, tech leaders have reported using psychedelics such as LSD, MDMA, magic mushrooms, and ketamine. In other cases, people around them have shared their habits.
A Tesla board member declined to seek re-election due to concerns about Musk’s drug use.
In addition to openly smoking cannabis on Joe Rogan’s podcast in 2018, Musk has been open about his use of the powerful psychedelic tranquilizer ketamine, which has been “causing alarm” among other Tesla and SpaceX board members.
Others in the Valley have let drug use keep them away from technology.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin has gone on record in the past using small amounts of “magic” psilocybin mushrooms.
Psilocybin mushrooms, also known as “magic mushrooms,” are now decriminalized in Colorado and Oregon, meaning people can possess a small amount without fear of arrest. The California cities of San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland have also decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms.
Digital marketing startup founder Tim Sae Koo told Ynet that after having a transformative experience with psychedelics in 2014, he realized he had only started his business to get his mother’s approval.
“As I explored the psychedelic realm, I gained clarity that my entrepreneurial journey had originated from a place of personal wounds,” he said.
After this revelation, Sae Koo sold his company.
But he hasn’t strayed far from technology and now hosts psychedelic retreats for tech entrepreneurs in Costa Rica, where they ingest ayahuasca, a drink containing DMT.
For others, mixing drugs with work hasn’t been so easy.
Musk’s Tesla reportedly has a lax attitude toward drug use at work, including some employees who come to work high on cannabis or psychedelics.
Former California Tesla factory employee SO Svensson was reportedly enjoying his off-hours freely, but was fired after trying to sell drug-infused brownies to a co-worker who turned out to be an undercover drug agent.
He received no support from Musk or the company, Ynetnews reported.
The dark side of this drug use has also come into public view in several notable incidents.
Reports suggest that former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s death in 2020 was linked to his prodigious use of ketamine and nitrous oxide.
Before CashApp founder Bob Lee was stabbed to death, he was known to be part of a sex and drugs swinger party lifestyle in San Francisco. His autopsy revealed cocaine and ketamine in his system.
The late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, spoke openly about his use of LSD. Jobs said it was one of the most important things he had ever done in his life.
Tim Sae Koo founded a digital marketing startup in Silicon Valley, but in 2014 a deep psychedelic experience led him to sell the company.
Tim Sae Koo now runs Reunion Ayahuasca Center in Costa Rica, where tech entrepreneurs come to drink the powerful psychedelic drink ayahuasca, which contains the chemical DMT.
The man accused of her murder, Nima Momeni, was a technology consultant who seemed to blame Lee for involving Momeni’s sister, Khazar, in this world of sex and drugs.
Khazar did not show up for his DUI court hearing this week.
Psychedelic drugs have stolen the spotlight in recent years, away from the former drug of choice of the Silicon Valley elite: stimulants.
For years, ADHD stimulant medications like Adderall and Ritalin have fueled marathon workdays for coders and programmers working under brutal deadlines.
These habits persist, according to a 2023 study that showed 80 percent of tech executives surveyed used medication, either with or without medical supervision.
thirty four percent They were using stimulant drugs.
Although “mind-expanding” psychedelic drugs have become the Valley’s substances of choice, the reasoning behind it is the same: investors demand big returns, which means not only hard work but also creative thinking.
“Investors don’t want a normal person or a normal company,” BuildBetter.ai CEO Spencer Shulem told Ynetnews. “They want something extraordinary, but you are not born extraordinary.”
Substance use is not limited to public figures.
As Ynetnews and other outlets have reported, there is a culture among the tech elite of pressuring people to take drugs.
Sometimes that pressure is not external, but rather a clear, unspoken message that this is what needs to be done to be considered trustworthy at the higher levels of power.
As Emily Chang reported in his book BrotopiaDrug-fueled sex parties among Silicon Valley’s elite have a double standard when it comes to gender.
In previous reports about some of Silicon Valley’s sex parties, women who work in the tech industry have described an environment in which they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
Refusing to participate in private parties where MDMA and other drugs are offered risks being labeled a prude.
This has serious professional consequences also, in terms of lost job opportunities.
When male executives attend, they are applauded. Men in the technology sector have compared attending these parties to a day on the golf course, in terms of professional networking.
When women do it, they lose respect. But if they don’t attend, they risk being seen as untrustworthy.
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