I hear people on LSD can see movements in slower frame rates. Looks like very helpful in martial arts! Do you suggest doing martial arts on LSD? Any experience?

  • 3
    Three possible interpretations of being "on LSD". First is actually being high on LSD while doing martial arts. Second is doing a micro-dose of LSD while doing martial arts (micro-doses don't cause you to be high). Third is doing LSD outside of martial arts practice, and gaining from whatever it does to reconfigure your brain and central nervous system (you're not high while doing martial arts). Which one are you referring to? Jan 24, 2019 at 4:28
  • @SteveWeigand I guess whichever works best =) Jan 24, 2019 at 4:40
  • I haven't found any studies, but there are a lot of anecdotes out there. Jan 24, 2019 at 11:42

2 Answers 2


Yeah, go ahead and put a sword in the hand of someone who sees dragons guarding the refrigerator. What could go wrong?

I'll say this about any drug, alcohol, or medication for anyone in martial arts. When your audio, visual, or tactile senses are compromised, you run the risk of injuring yourself (eg, you don't know when to tap out), or you can injure someone else (because you apply too much pressure or you do not recognize the signal to stop). Also, you are not training realistically, unless you happen to take LSD during your competition bouts, or in your daily life. Even if you did, as you can see some of the realities of psychotropics, there is loss of wisdom and muscle memory, since all of that development is based on a trip, and not from any particular reality. Will you ignore the perpetrator who has a knife, being perceived as an unnecessary stimuli? In other words, your training should match your reality. If your training includes LSD, your reality needs to include it. Except that with a psychotropic, nothing is real, so, you are - literally - training to fight what you perceive. We all do, really.

Yes, there are those who are on pot or steroids or cocaine, and seem to do well. But the danger is present nevertheless.

But to take an illegal hallucinogen is reckless. Suppose you survive the dragon during your training session; how will you get yourself home?

I'm well aware that you can take microdoses of LSD and other hallucinogens, but the warning is still everpresent: you need to get yourself home.

I'm also aware that there are off-label uses for LSD, but your question and commentary did not hint that was the case.

Anecdotal studies have shown several medicinal effects of LSD, leading to subjective results:

  • Patients with anxiety associated with life-threatening disease saw reduced anxiety for 2 months after only 2 doses of LSD. Maybe this is why you're asking? If so, be careful if you have a life-threatening illness, and you're engaged in martial arts.

  • LSD acutely induces bliss, audiovisual synesthesia, altered meaning of perceptions, derealization, depersonalization, and mystical experiences. This is where the dragons come from.

  • LSD impairs the recognition of sad and fearful faces, reduced left amygdala reactivity to fearful faces, and enhanced emotional empathy. This can effect your sparring or some practice drills in recognizing when to stop, slow down, or release a hold.

  • LSD acutely produced deficits in sensorimotor gating, similar to observations in schizophrenia. What this means is that the brain has less of a tendency to filter out repetitive or unnecessary stimuli. So, fakes and feints are unrealistically ignored, for example; or your tactile sense of where your opponent is is perceived more irrelevant to you.

  • LSD has weak autonomic stimulant effects and elevated plasma cortisol, prolactin, and oxytocin levels. Ok, this means a lot of things, most of which is irrelevant to martial arts. Oxytocin applies to womb contraction and lactation in pregnant women. If you are pregnant, LSD can affect that in that manner; but this has no martial applicability. As to prolactin, that's another hormone which is released to enhance breast development and initiate lactation . Ok, not relevant to martial arts here either. But as to plasma cortisol, that's another matter. A raised plasma cortisol hormone can induce flushed face, muscle weakness and easy bruising, which have direct martial implications. Other effects of increased cortisol is weight gain, acne, thinning skin, and slowed healing, which are not really martially related.

  • Resting-state functional magnetic resonance studies showed that LSD acutely reduced the integrity of functional brain networks and increased connectivity between networks that normally are more dissociated. Yeah... got nothing here. I'll include the links if you want to try to decipher this.

  • LSD increased functional thalamocortical connectivity and functional connectivity of the primary visual cortex with other brain areas. Ie, your hallucinations.

  • LSD increases feelings of closeness to others, openness, trust, and suggestibility. Think hippie movement, particularly at Woodstock. Yeah, really. See Wiki link.

As with any medication - psychotropic or otherwise - be sure you talk to a doctor about the wisdom of doing so in a martial arts context. Yeah, they won't prescribe it for you, but you can tell doc you've got a "pharmacy" that will "dispense without a prescription". He or she can give you the rundown on the effects. Your instructor/coach, on the other hand, has a vested interest in telling you to go away. The liability for injury to you or someone else because they allowed you to show up tripping is huge. Expect to be told to leave. Even taking cold medicine is grounds for being told to come back later.



Functional Brain Networks Are Dominated by Stable Group and Individual Factors, Not Cognitive or Daily Variation

Music history of the United States in the 1960s


How does training while on drugs help a person in a real-world attack? Should we assume that the person will be high when he is actually attacked on the street?

There is a recent movement in the US to smoke pot while training in martial arts. This may be the dumbest thing I've even heard of. Not just because it impairs your physical ability and your learning, but also because it goes against the pure mind / pure body philosophy of all martial arts.

  • I don't know that I'd want to get high before sparring, but CBD oil is non-psychoactive is a strong anti-inflammatory & does wonders for pain-relief & recovery. Plus it's a lot easier on the stomach than OTC painkillers.
    – admcfajn
    Feb 20, 2019 at 6:54
  • 2
    @admcfajn - Yes, I know martial artists who use CBD oil. But this discussion is about getting high before/while sparring, which is entirely different. Which I think is stupid. Feb 20, 2019 at 17:44

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