Tune in and trip out online?

2010-07-24 00:00

WHILE downloading the newest Black Eyed Peas track and updating Facebook statuses, computer-savvy users can now get a hit of their favourite drug — and even have a sexual experience — without leaving their PCs.

I-drugs, the newest Internet sensation, promise to deliver the powerful highs achieved by taking narcotics without the hassle of pesky laws and shady dealers.

That’s because i-drugs are audio tracks which apparently alter the listener’s brain waves to create feelings of euphoria or calm.

“Mood pills” and “legal hash” are among the tracks available for download on a popular site.

In the last week, videos have flooded Youtube showing young people experiencing the effects of mood-enhancing tracks.

In one video, a young man is lying on a couch listening to a “cocaine” track; his body convulses as the sounds allegedly take effect.

The MP3 drugs also offer quick fixes for a variety of problems.

Need to quit smoking? There’s a track to help smokers kick the habit.

Insomniacs, comfort eaters and caffeine addicts are all provided with a simple audio solution to their problem — at a price.

Each download sells for around $20.

A particular favourite is the “Quick Hit Simulations” CD, which promises to provide six experiences: cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, orgasm, and peyote (a cactus derivative known to cause hallucinations).

While i-dosing, as it has become known, is a trending topic on Twitter and social networking sites, psychologists say the idea behind audio drugs is not a new one.

“Binaural beats” were discovered by Prussian physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove in 1839.

He discovered that the human brain responds to certain sound patterns in certain frequencies, and that those patterns and frequencies would be used to curb anxiety and control pain.

Leading KZN therapist Kirsten van Heerden has a keen interest in neurofeedback therapy; she said music and sound have an undeniable effect on a person’s brain waves.

“Music has a powerful influence on human emotions. Sound certainly affects neuroactivity,” she said.

Van Heerden added, however, that she remains sceptical of claims that binaural beats can assist in weight loss and curb nicotine cravings.

Experts were unable to offers an opinion on the safety of i-dosing as a substitute for narcotics, stating that not enough research has been done on the topic.

 

WATCHING kids squirm and giggle while supposedly getting “high” from i-dosing via YouTube seemed an inadequate way to determine the audio-drug’s efficacy.

So I gave it a try.

I plugged in my headphones and chose a track called Breakfast Sizzle — it promised to provide an energy boost and, according to the site, could be listened to at any time of the day.

The 11 megabyte MP3 file played back 10 minutes and 18 seconds of an ongoing sizzling sound.

If anything, I felt like I was in a Wimpy kitchen.

After listening to the track my stomach growled (probably because I had been thinking of bacon for 10 straight minutes), but I had no renewed energy.

I thought I was losing my mind when I could actually smell bacon, but my kind colleagues assured me they could smell it too — it was wafting down from the Witness canteen.

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