Digital Drugs: Are Binaural Beats the New Gateway Drug?

November 16th, 2010

Young people around the country are listening to mp3s online that claim to invoke a sensation of being high. This relatively new phenomenon is known as digital drugs, or I-Dosing. I-Dosing mp3s typically consist of long, droning sounds and use binaural beats — two external frequencies presented at once — to supposedly alter the listener’s brainwaves. Websites hosting the soundbites advertise them as a safe and legal alternative to hard drugs.

Many offer mp3s that claim to replicate the effects of a variety of drugs including marijuana and LSD. Some parents are asking, however: are digital drugs really harmless?

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Parents’ main concern is that I-Dosing is a gateway drug that will lead teenagers to pursue similar effects in the form of “real” drugs.  Some high schools have reacted by banning mp3 players from campus and sending letters of warning to parents.

While researchers note that binaural beats may have a positive effect on people with such psychological issues as anxiety, the drug-like effects of I-Dosing are under debate. Most experts assure that not only are digital drugs relatively harmless, they may actually do little more than produce a placebo effect.

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