A few days ago we stumbled upon this news report about i-Dosing, a new fad that is apparently catching on with teens. The idea behind i-Dosing is simple. You download an mp3 file, listen to it through headphones and, somehow, the sound file alters your brainwaves to simulate the high you get from certain illicit drugs. Never one to back down from the threat of a good time from questionable internet drug dealers, we decided to give i-Dosing a try to see what all the hubbub is about.
Is i-Dosing a crackpot scam intended to separate teens from their parents’ money, or are we about to travel down a path that ends with our iPod being wrestled away from us on an episode of Intervention? The Smoking Jacket investigates.
What Is i-Dosing?
Before diving head first into a buffet of audio drugs, we figured we should at least do a little research into exactly what i-Dosing is. Don’t ever let it be said that we didn’t learn anything from that time we were overseas and absent-mindedly tossed a chunk of hákarl down our unsuspecting gullet.
Less disgusting than ammonia flavored seafood but no less retarded of an idea, i-Dosing “works” by way of binaural beats. There is a wealth of science-y information we could share about binaural beats, but who are we kidding? You probably skipped right past this section and moved on to the part where we tell you if your mp3 player is capable of significantly reducing your monthly cocaine bill.
For those of you still with us, binaural beats are basically two different tones, one played in each ear, that the brain perceives as one pulsating sound when listened to through stereo headphones. Discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, binaural beats blah blah science and stuff. Read about it here if you give a shit. As for us, we’re here to party. Let’s move on.
Making the Buy
We sent an intern, armed with a canister of pepper spray for self defense purposes and a wad of cash, to the parking lot of a local 7-11 and instructed him not to return until he had secured the highest quality audio drugs our $25 would buy. An hour later, he returned empty handed after receiving our text informing him that it was all an elaborate prank. You can totally buy this shit right on the internet.
The available selection is far more extensive than we imagined it would be. There is literally an audio equivalent for any good time you can imagine, from cocaine to heroin to absinthe. We decided to go with a mix of things we’ve never heard of, things we’ve heard of but never had the courage to try and some stuff that we have a little more “experience” with. Here’s what’s on today’s sound drug menu:
- The Gates of Hades
Yeah, you read that last one right. There really is one called “The Gates of Hades.” It’s part of the “Sacred Simulations” package which also includes Genesis, Aftermath and the equally ominous sounding “Hand of God.” According to the description on the site, these files “help you feel the Big Bang, repercussion, angelic bliss, and hellfire.” Awesome?
The Set Up
As if our skepticism wasn’t already at off the meter levels, a quick read through of the i-Dosing “user guide” aroused all sorts of suspicion. Over the course of about 40 pages, the author spends 98% of the time reassuring us that we didn’t just flush $80 right down the toilet. As far as instructions go, it boiled down to basically two things:
- Use good headphones
- Lie completely still in a dark room
Sounds logical enough. Nothing is more synonymous with cocaine use than remaining calm and lying completely still, right? The thought of a cocaine high that doesn’t involve snorting a line off of a stripper’s chest is already harshing our buzz a little, but we’re trying to keep an open mind.
In what passes for our version of scientific control, we decided to conduct our experiment in the morning right after getting out of bed, when a person is usually at their most relaxed. We also decided to try all four mp3′s back to back, thereby exponentially increasing the chances that we’ll completely wig out and hurl ourselves from a top floor window, just like all those after school specials said we would if we ever dabbled in hard drugs. That way, you’ll get an entertaining story out of this ordeal either way.
With all of the tedious downloading and file converting and other ceremonial preparations that go into this sham out of the way, there’s nothing left to do but catch that buzz. Here goes nothing.
Marijuana - Completely worthless. If we’re judging on a scale that ranges from Ditch Weed to Afghani Kush, well, this wouldn’t land anywhere on that scale. The sensation was something like what we imagine smoking oregano would be like. But at least then we’d have something to do with our hands as opposed to lying completely still while electronic bloop-de-woops and white noise crackle in our ears.
Cocaine - More of the same. At one point, we could have sworn we had a little bit of the “Bobby Brown jaw” for a second. You know, that facial numbness that is a trademark of being coked up. But to call that sensation fleeting would be doing it way too much justice. For all we know, we’re just coming down with a sinus infection or something and it just happened to show itself for the first time while we were getting audio geeked. It certainly didn’t make us want to put on our best gold chain and hit the clubs or anything.
Heroin - Ditto. We’ve never tried heroin in real life, but we have an awfully hard time believing that countless music careers have been derailed by chasing a brief twinge in the nose that could just as easily have been an aborted sneeze.
The Gates of Hades - This was, understandably, the biggest let down of all. Granted, it’s set up in a way that you do experience a few jarring moments here and there, but so was Halloween IV, you know? That doesn’t mean it deserved a hyperbolic name like “Gates of Hades.” If you want to give it a listen for yourself, you can find about ten minutes of it at this link.
Despite being an obvious waste of money and a terrible sales pitch for the “horrors” that await a person who ends up banished to hell, there are tons of videos on YouTube of dunderheaded teens trying this one out and completely losing their shit. Like this dipshit, for example:
Placebo, it’s a hell of a drug.