Taking tiny doses of lysergic acid diethylamide, LSD, to elevate mood and focus is all the rage these days. Despite being a relatively fringe practice, microdosing seems to have inspired every hip media outlet on the planet to make its own investigations on one key question: Will this really make work less of a grind?

Unfortunately, all of these experiments are pretty much bunk, because getting an accurate dose has proven to be all but impossible for microdosers, according to the most recent Global Drug Survey. The findings for the past year, released Wednesday, showed that two-thirds of microdosers say they used guesswork to measure out a dose.

A microdose of LSD usually means 10-30 micrograms — enough to feel a little different from normal but not enough for the walls to start swirling. The right microdose will vary quite a bit from person to person, owing to personal differences in tolerance, body weight, and age — so trial and error is a necessary starting point.

Still, turning drug use into a guessing game is probably not a good idea.

Unfortunately, LSD is notoriously difficult to dose, even at psychedelic concentrations. The drug is typically sold on tiny sheets of paper that have been impregnated with the chemical in solution. But the LSD doesn’t always distribute evenly, which means it’s possible to get quite a lot less — or sometimes more — than you paid for. A DEA document from the 1980s found that is was common for dosage to vary by plus or minus 100 percent.

That room for error compounds when you start cutting your already-tiny acid tab into eight or ten pieces. Savvy consumers posting on The Third Wave advocate a technique called “volumetric dosing,” which involves dissolving a larger dose into alcohol or distilled water, and then dosing the liquid by volume. This is more accurate than cutting, but ultimately users are still at the mercy of whatever darknet dealer they bought the stuff from — and even dealers may not be sure of their product’s chemical makeup.

The best advice is to research your drug source, be as meticulous as possible with your own dosing protocol, and start at a lower dose than you think you will need to see beneficial effects. Until LSD is available from regulated laboratory sources, guesswork will be a necessary part of it.

Photos via Flickr