Exploring Psychedelics & Sports: The Quest for a Higher Frontier

“LSD can increase your reflex time to lightning speed, improve your balance to the point of perfection, increase your concentration…and make you impervious to weakness or pain.” – James Oroc, renowned athlete and author of Tryptamine Palace

Psychedelic drugs have played a powerful and permeating role in mainstream society–and the world of professional sports is no exception. Not only do psychedelics offer robust therapeutic benefits that athletes can greatly benefit from today, but they also have the potential to be uniquely used as “performance enhancers”. Indeed, the infamous acid-fueled  no-hitter” pulled off by the legendary Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis highlights this sentiment incredibly well. As we prepare to launch our bold new series, Psychedelics &, this review will explore the dynamic impact psychedelics have on the exciting world of professional sports.

The Current State of Play Surrounding Pain Management in Professional Sports

When it comes to the fast-paced world of professional sports, the issue of pain management is a significant one. This is particularly true for high-impact sports, such as football, where players are constantly getting physically battered out on the field. This has led to the increased need of pain management for these professional athletes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has resulted in widespread overprescribing of opioids in the NFL, as described by former Ravens left tackle, Eugene Monroe. Given the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic, it is clear that the need for new pain management solutions extends to professional athletes as well. Interestingly enough, psychedelic drugs may be a novel solution in the treatment of difficult to manage pain.

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Beyond Opioids: Shifting the Modern Pain Management Paradigm

The risk for injury in professional sports is undoubtedly high and current pain management treatments, which rely heavily on opioids, are seriously falling short. Groundbreaking new clinical research has shown small amounts of LSD can reduce pain perception to a similar degree as opiates. Considering the safety profile of LSD is remarkably greater than that of opioids, these findings are instrumental in establishing a new, more successful paradigm for pain management. Additionally, the dissociative anesthetic ketamine has shown significant promise in the treatment of acute pain. In fact, researchers are starting to observe that patients who utilize ketamine for acute postoperative pain are significantly less likely to graduate to “chronic pain” afterwards–another dramatic discovery. When it comes to facilitating physical recovery for professional athletes, psychedelic medicine stands to make a major impact. 

Read The Evolution of Ketamine Therapeutics: Past, Present & Future Implications


Microdose is pleased to announce Universal Ibogaine will be our event sponsor for Psychedelics & Sports. We had the fortune of connecting with their CEO, Dr. Jeremy Weate, for this piece. Their dedicated efforts to providing ibogaine assisted therapy for addiction, particularly to opioids, is an important endeavor in the space. Here’s what Jeremy had to say about the current state of play regarding professional sports:

“The shadow side of many elite contact sports, such as the NHL and the NFL, is encouraged and excessive use of opioid pain medication in order to ride through the inevitable injuries. There’s a hidden epidemic of addiction among these athletes that is only now coming to light. Universal Ibogaine will be working with professional sports and player associations to raise awareness of the issue and provide information about ibogaine therapy as the only form of detox that is free from withdrawal symptoms in most cases.” ~Dr. Jeremy Weate, CEO Universal Ibogaine


Read PsyCap Recap: 3 Key Takeaways From The Universal Ibogaine Presentation at Psychedelic Capital 

The “Acid-Fueled No-Hitter”: A Radically Different Type of “Performance Enhancer” 

When people think of performance enhancing drugs and professional sports, one may, for instance, envision the classic major league baseball player using steroids. However, while it may come as a surprise to many, the “hallucinatory” compounds known as psychedelics have played an integral role in sports culture as “performance enhancers”. For instance, on June 12th, 1970, Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis accomplished the seemingly impossible: he threw a no-hitter against the Padres high as a kite on lysergic acid diethylamide, otherwise known as LSD or “acid”. The celebrated MLB player went on to work in anti-drug programs in his hometown of Los Angeles–an admirable addition to this historic tale.

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The Secret History of LSD & Extreme Sports


As unbelievable as it may seem, many individuals have in fact accomplished extraordinary physical feats under the influence of psychedelic drugs. In particular, the secret history of LSD and extreme sports is surprisingly rich in tales of humans pulling off truly monumental achievements whilst tripping. In an insightful newsletter by the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), humans under the influence of LSD are described as having scaled the greatest walls in Yosemite, heli-skied first descents off Alaskan peaks, competed in world-class snowboarding competitions, raced motocross bikes, surfed enormous Hawaiian waves, flown hang-gliders above 18,000 feet, and even climbed some of the biggest mountains in the world–all on LSD! Indeed, the MAPS newsletter goes on to state that patrons at any ski town bar will gladly regale many “fine tales” about sporting feats accomplished on psychedelics–truly remarkable. From the epic tales of Dock Ellis and his “acid-fuelled no-hitter” to the extreme sports players that perform while tripping, there certainly seems to be something uniquely “performance enhancing” about psychedelic drugs.  


Disclaimer: We do NOT condone playing sports, especially extreme sports (such as racing motorbikes) under the influence of psychedelic drugs! This article is simply an evidence-based account of the fascinating intersection between psychedelic drugs and professional sports meant to spark thoughtful conversation and not at all an endorsement of these activities in any way.

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The Benefits of Microdosing For Professional Athletes: From Treatment to Transcension 

Outside of full-blown tripping while playing sports, there is also a very interesting and relevant point to be made about the potential benefits of microdosing for professional athletes. Considering the incredibly positive results reported by microdosing Silicon Valley techies in terms of focus, creativity and energy alone, it’s no surprise to think microdosing magic mushrooms or LSD could stand to seriously benefit athletes. Indeed, as discussed earlier in this piece, new research has shown microdosing LSD can be effective to manage pain as well. Furthermore, the ability of drugs like magic mushrooms and LSD to induce neuroplastic changes at their full doses, bodes well for potential therapeutic mechanisms at microdose levels. Given the level of physical trauma many athletes subject their body to, such medicines could be instrumental in facilitating their recovery off the field in addition to enhancing their performance on it.

Read Microdosing Psilocybe Cubensis: A Scientific Review in the Modern Psychedelic Renaissance

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Looking Ahead to the Intersection Between Psychedelics & Professional Sports


As the psychedelic renaissance continues to unravel the myriad therapeutic benefits of this powerful medicine, it’s impact on various facets of mainstream culture are undeniably fascinating. In the world of professional sports, psychedelics have and likely continue to play a significant role. Furthermore, the revival of psychedelic science stands to greatly benefit professional athletes in their recovery and maintaining good health even after they’re no longer still professionally playing. As the cultural stigma around these drugs continues to dissolve, it is quite likely more riveting tales of psychedelics will be offered up by sports icons of our time.

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Psychedelics & Sports Is a Bold New Series Featuring an All-Star of Athletes

If you find the topic of psychedelics and sports as fascinating as we do, make sure to catch Psychedelics & Sports, our inaugural episode of Psychedelics &, a bold new live series exploring the intersection of psychedelics and mainstream culture. This first event features all-star athletes such as two-time Stanley Cup Champion, Daniel Carcilo and NHL legend, Riley Cote. Additionally, it also features USA Women’s Premier League (WPL) rugby player, Anna Symonds. Make sure to get your tickets today to this dynamic live event on November 18th! 

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Partial Proceeds From “Psychedelics &” Will Be Put Towards MicroDonations

At Microdose we believe in the power of incremental change to catalyze collective action towards a brighter future. We are pleased to announce that partial proceeds from our exciting new series, Psychedelics &, will go towards our Microdonations program to help achieve this goal.

MicroDonations is our centralized donation platform where 100% of donations are contributed to organizations promoting mental health in the psychedelic space. 

Additionally 25% of all revenue generated for Psychedelics & Sports will be donated to:

Thank you for your generous support!

Microdose Psychedelic Insights

Microdose Psychedelic Insights

Your Guide to the Business of Psychedelics. Our mission is to shift the world's perception of psychedelic medicine.