LSD’s power to take the mind on a journey to uncharted territories from which it often doesn’t come back is hardly a novelty. Though growing research suggests it has more value than being just a party drug. People who do use claim it boosts their intelligence, athletic prowess, and in some cases, allows them to "become" another being. 

Wait, what?

In research that explored LSD as a psychotherapeutic tool from the 1950s, psychiatrist Stanislav Grof stumbled upon something fascinating. While intoxicated, one of his female patients became convinced she was a type of female prehistoric reptile and described the male of the species as having an arousing patch of colored scales on the side of its head.

What makes this case bizarre is that the patient had no prior knowledge of any of this. After the test, Grof consulted a zoologist who revealed to him that, in certain species of reptiles, colored areas on the head do indeed play an important role as triggers of sexual arousal. The case wasn’t isolated, either, as other patients “inhibiting” various species also described their experience in specific zoological details — which were later confirmed.

The research reveals the effects of LSD go beyond mental illusions and spill into actual substance.

Some works of fiction recreate this concept within different narratives and contexts. The video game (and now movie) Assassin’s Creed is based around the belief that people can extract their ancestors’ memories and abilities still rooted somewhere deep in the vast galaxies of their DNA. In the story, characters use a device called “Animus” to tap into that genetic memory and relive whole periods of history. Who’s to say LSD isn’t our real-life Animus?

M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film Split explores the mind’s real-life manifestations within darker, yet strangely inspiring frames, too. The movie (SPOILER ALERT) follows a schizophrenic character’s last personality as it materializes into the “monster” — which was disregarded as nothing more than a boogeyman throughout the plot. The film even finishes with one of McAvoy’s personalities saying, “We are what we believe we are.”

In sports, a version of this idea is known as “Sound mind, Sound body” — training the most basic of movements over and over again in order to encode them into muscle memory. As the time comes to use them, instincts are subconciously triggered. Many state the more they embed certain practices, the clearer the mind becomes and the slower time seems to flow during the chaos of competition.

It’s really no wonder athletes believe LSD serves as an alternative performance-enhancing drug, something like a form of steroids for the mind.

An athlete behind a Reddit post even describes LSD as the perfect working-out partner. “My body seems to just take over control and react on instincts,” says user NanookTheDrunk. “Helps me recognize physical pain, as just physical pain and seemed to make mentally pushing through it easier."

Jeffrey Radice, the director of No No: a Dockumentary — about the pitcher Dock Ellis who threw a no-hitter for the Pittsburg Pirates while tripping on LSD — states, “I think hallucinogens, with the right kind of mental focus, allow you to really just get into the groove and rely on your muscle memory.”

LSD’s potential benefits have also spurred a microdosing practice in Silicon Valley, or the of dropping of small and measured drops of acid on a relatively regular basis. Just like high-performing athletes take supplements for their muscles, these professionals reinforce the natural capabilities of their brains with a little bit of LSD.

Testimonials of how acid helps bring out a mental A-game are posted all over the Internet:

“It makes me work in such a focused way… It gets your brain out of its regular grooves and helps you snap out of unproductive trains of thought.”  

“I work with theoretical computer science and cells, and the microdose makes me more productive and gives me outside-the-box thinking.”

“My mind became a supercomputer. It allowed me to visualize ideas, shuffle them, put them into multiple combinations… Maybe I could have got to the same results on my own, but it comes faster with the drug.”

Don’t count on LSD turning anyone into a math genius overnight, or an NBA pro with only a long weekend to train. However compounding evidence and personal theories suggest LSD may be the closest thing to a magic wand anyone will ever hold.

One that will turn the brain into the strongest "muscle" of all.