What do Eminem, Angelina Jolie, and Steve Jobs all have in common? They are all hugely famous and successful people, who have also all done LSD. LSD, also known as acid, is a chemical that leads the user into a trip that completely disconnects them from reality and they are able to see visions that they would not be able to see sober.
Besides LSD other psychoactive drugs have been known to be used by highly respected people. Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, William Shakespeare, George Washington, and Chinese Emperor Shen Nung are known to have smoked cannabis. Drugs have been a crucial part of human existence.
This got me thinking about the correlation between intelligence and drug use. As a young adults I’m sure you have all been told that doing drugs is stupid, it will deteriorate your mind and the addiction will ruin your life. If this is so then why have so many successful people done it?
This graph shows that bright people are more likely to consume drugs than dull people. Data was collected from users of cannabis, ecstasy, amphetamines, LSD, amyl nitrate, mushrooms, cocaine, temazepan, semeron, ketamine, crack, heroin, and methadone.
My hypothesis is that if you have reached a certain level of success where you feel like you cannot get any further, then you will turn to drugs to seek that next level. You could only test this in an observational study by asking people of their experiences and the data collected just would not be accurate enough to come up with a solid conclusion.
So intelligent people are more likely to use drugs but can drugs make people more intelligent?
Terence McKenna is an ethnobotanist who constructed the Stoned Ape Theory. In this video he explains his findings. The Stoned Ape Theory suggests that magic mushrooms should be accredited for human evolution. Within a 2 million year period the ape’s brain doubled in size therefore becoming human and McKenna believes this is due to diet. At one point in history, primates were forced to change their nutrition and resided to finding mushrooms under cow dung, these mushrooms are what is known today as a psychedelic drug. They kept eating these mushrooms because it would enhance their vision which increased hunting skills. The mushrooms also increased their desire to have sex, they reproduced and evolved faster.
People are known to have created some of their best work while being under the influence of drugs. For example Steve Jobs learned that making beautiful objects was more important than money while taking LSD (lucky for him he acquired both) . So does our future lie within the hands of psychoactive drugs? Only time will tell.