A new Internet fad called i-Dosing allows people across the country to get their fix with a simple download.
I-Dosing uses downloaded audio files, played through headphones, to supposedly give the listener a drug-like effect.
I-Doser.com is the most popular of the sites that offer such services as downloadable “highs.” The website offers audio tracks, claiming each has different effects. Some of these tracks include “Marijuana,” “Cocaine,” “Peyote,” “Gates of Hades” and their top-seller, “Orgasm,” according to i-Doser’s website.
Their doses range anywhere from 10 minutes to up to an hour of audio play. The prices are typically $3 to $6, but can be as expensive as $200 for premium tracks such as “Gates of Hades” and “Hand of God.”
According to Larry Feth, a professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at Ohio State, the technology used to have an effect on listeners is very real, though Feth doubts the effects.
“It’s a phenomenon that is well known and has been for a long time,” Feth said.
The phenomenon Feth is talking about is the use of binaural beats. First discovered in 1839, binaural beats occur when one tone is put through one headphone and another tone is fed to the other ear. Using different frequencies and types of sounds, the beats can affect brainwaves. This technology only works if it is used through headphones, as there needs to be two distinctly different sounds, according to an article in Scientific American Magazine.
James Nestor, author of “Get High Now (Without Drugs),” details this more simply.
“Your brain is not evolved enough to understand two frequencies at once, thus the brain recognizes this as one frequency,” Nestor said.
Nick Ashton, founder of i-Doser.com, advocated the effects of the downloads.
“Some may consider it a placebo, but binaural brainwave entrainment is a proven, scientific and safe method of achieving a simulated mood or experience,” Ashton said in an e-mail. “
Only a very low percentage of users feel no effects at all. We don’t release a product until we see 80 percent satisfaction in our question-and-answer studies.”
Feth is quick to refute this when asked whether binaural beats can have a drug-like effect.
“I suspect this is often called the placebo effect,” Feth said.
Sam Lundquist, a fifth-year in civil engineering, tried a sample track from YouTube and had similar thoughts to Feth.
“It didn’t do anything for me,” Lundquist said. “If you want to feel something from it you can probably make it work.”
Lundquist also opposes the notion that binaural beats can simulate drugs.
“I wouldn’t suggest it. It’s a complete waste of time. I don’t think you can get anything from sound waves,” he said.
The matter still had school officials concerned in the Mustang Public School District in Mustang, Okla. Last year, several high school students reported having physiological effects after listening to one of the doses. To combat the issue, the schools had parents notified and started to crack down on the use of phones and iPods while on school grounds.
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs also got involved, claiming this could be used as a gateway drug before trying the real thing.
I-Doser.com has not seemed to take a hit in business. It has sold more than 100,000 doses and its i-Doser player has been downloaded more than a million times, Ashton said.
“They definitely work. What it does exactly is up for debate,” Nestor said. “The power of suggestion is extremely potent. It’s a great gimmick to get a bunch of bored teenagers to log on to their site.”