These Beats Supposedly Get You High: We Test Them

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Your brain on (virtual) drugs
Acquiring drugs takes a lot of effort. You've got to source your connect, arrange an exchange, drive somewhere inconvenient or sketchy, and then have a vaguely uncomfortable interaction with a dealer before handing them your money. And the stuff you get might be bunk. It's a crapshoot out there.

By Katie Bain

But there's another option for getting stoned, and you can download it. Binaural beats are precisely-designed audio tracks that claim to get you high by inducing the brainwave associated with particular controlled substances. It's totes legal.

Predicated on the notion that binaural brainwaves are responsible for every conceivable state of consciousness, the tracks supposedly sync brainwaves to make you feel fine.

Here's how it purportedly works: Different frequencies enter the head through the right and left ears, meet in the middle of the brain (approximately), and create a new, third frequency vibration -- the binauaral beat. These synchronized brainwaves are associated with a variety of meditative and hypnogogic states.

But, can they really get you high?

To find out, I headed to, where a variety of binaural beat-laden tracks are available for download. The website's extensive online catalog offers packages including "prescription doses," "sexual doses," "sports doses" and loftier experiences like "sacred doses." (Also available are auditory knockoffs of absinthe, ayahuasca and oxycontin.)

Veering away from the "overdose" option, I selected the "quick hits" package that included marijuana, cocaine, peyote, ecstasy, acid and orgasm, which, considering the number of people who go to rehab for sex addiction, is now apparently considered a drug. The package was $13 and the accompanying informational guide was $10.

The manual stressed that, just like most drug experiences, the environment in which one listens to the tracks is fundamentally important in creating their intended effect. The recommendation was to find a quiet space free from distractions and lie down comfortably with your eyes closed while listening to the beats on headphones. The headphones are fundamentally important, as they are the only way to properly deliver the two distinct beats into each ear.

So, in the middle of the workday, I closed the curtain, turned off my phone, got comfortable on the couch, closed my eyes and went on sonic bender. It went like this:

Acid: Each track is layered with the beats -- which are barely perceptible because of their ultra-low frequencies -- and accompanied by a sort of white noise and a layer of either music or other sound effects.

The acid track featured the sounds of a moon landing, complete with two guys talking over radios about stuff like geo-samples, "sailing into the sun" and other trip-type double entendres. The effect of this ten minutes of ambient noise was a mellow, meditative, and slightly spaced out feeling of deep relaxation. Physically, the track made me feel slightly dizzy. While there was no visual element, there were a few times when I thought, "Oh wow, this is so beautiful." Just like while on actual acid.

Cocaine: This track produced a very pleasant all over tinging sensation in my body and kind of made me want to dance, which seems approximately correct in terms of mimicking the effects of actual cocaine. The second half of the audio slowed down into a sort of sexy synth groove, which didn't take away the overall energized sensation, but did create a sort of "late night coke den" vibe. All of these sensations went away the moment the track ended.

Ecstacy: This most noticeable (and somewhat distracting) element of this track was the sound of two people having sex, complete with eventual climax and what sounded like spanking. A lot of spanking. Did I get the feeling of all-encompassing universal love and cosmic interconnectedness generally facilliated by good MDMA? No, not really. Was it sexy? For sure, but less in the way that deep, meaningful intimacy is sexy and more in the way that watching porn is sexy. If there was a track to get addicted to though, this would be it.

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