Scientists say the notion of kids getting high by listening to MP3 files on their computers is more virtual than real.
The phenomenon of so-called digital drugs — or i-dosing — has been spreading like wildfire around the internet in recent weeks.
Apparently, a set of headphones and a trippy digitally crafted song is all you need to achieve a state of imaginary ecstasy.
Two-tone technology is created by playing a different tone in each ear to create the auditory illusion of a beat.
The claim is that the sounds serve to alter one's brain waves and, by extension, a person's mental state. But McGill neuroscience professor Robert Zatorre says that's not so and it really doesn't do anything to the brain.
It's unclear just how widespread the phenomenon is, but video file-sharing site YouTube is teeming with videos of teens trying i-doses. Some swear by its effects — while countless others mock the so-called users of digital drugs as naive.
Mark Woodward, an educational officer with Oklahoma's narcotics bureau, brought i-dosing concerns to the public's attention last month.
Woodward began investigating i-dosing after receiving complaints from several high school parents.
"We did some research online and did find that there's websites that advertise that if you download these tones, some of these tones mimic the effects of being high on marijuana, others cocaine," Woodward said.
After doctors told him the tones couldn't possibly mimic the effects of pot, and after testing the tones himself, Woodward was still worried about the websites.
"Our bigger concern is not kids listening to these tones," Woodward said.
"It is the traffic to these websites that certainly can lead to places where they can get drugs and get high."