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Science Speakeasy: Microdosing – Marvellous Medicine or Fickle Fad?

Seperate admission fees apply
Adults (18+)
Thursday 27 April, 8:00pm - 9:45pm
Female office worker with drug on the end of tongue with question mark symbol.

is the practice of taking tiny quantities of drugs, such as LSD or ‘magic’ mushrooms, to boost productivity and creativity. What started as an underground trend in Silicon Valley, has grown into a global phenomenon. So, what exactly is it, and why is it having a (micro) moment in 2023? 

Recent reports show that millennials are drinking less and giving cocaine a swerve, yet they’re embracing psychedelics in the way someone else might pop a paracetamol. Advocates say that if taken correctly, there will be no trippy side effects and the self-reported benefits are impressive: improved mood, better eating and sleeping habits, reduced need for caffeine or alcohol and increased productivity in the workplace.

Grab a drink, take a seat under Gaia (our mesmerising 7-metre recreation of planet Earth), and join our panellists for an evening of lively discussion.

Terms and conditons

An alternative night out just for grown-ups!

Ticket prices

Adult (aged 18 and over) £5.00
Carer (please bring proof) FREE
This event has now sold out.

We'll be debating:

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Is it ever okay to take illegal substances - even in tiny doses? 

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Can they become a gateway to substance abuse?

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What are the long term impacts of this relatively new practice?

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And are drugs that increase work-place productivity masking the issues of untenable workloads and expectations?

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Or should we all take a metaphorical chill-pill and see microdosing as a quick route to becoming our best selves - without the caffeine rush or the hangover?  

Meet the panel

Alistair Ford

Alistair Ford (Chair)

Alistair is a lecturer in Geospatial Engineering at Newcastle University, using mapping data and computer models to explore sustainable and resilience cities. He’s particularly interested in the way that land-use and transport planning can be used to adapt our urban areas to climate change. He loves chairing the Science Speakeasy events because he gets to have fascinating discussions with knowledgeable people about subjects he knows nothing about!

Maria Bălăeţ will be a panelist at Life's Science Speakeasy on Microdosing.

Dr Maria Bălăeţ

Maria is a computational neuroscientist at Imperial College London. Her work focuses on neurodegeneration, sleep and drug use. She specialises in using super scale cognitive testing and advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to understand how cognitive processes such as memory, attention, problem solving and language differ from the general population in those who suffer with either neurological or psychiatric conditions, or who use drugs (such as psychedelics) recreationally. Follow Maria on Twitter.

Anna Ross is a panellist at Life Science Centre's Speakeasy on Microdosing.

Dr Anna Ross

Anna has over 20 years experience of practitioner work with substance use, including cannabis, and identifies as a lived and living experienced researcher. She is passionate about the human rights-based approaches to drug regulation, and the developing research around drug use for, pleasure, therapeutic and medicinal application.  She is currently a Lecturer in the School of Health at the University of Edinburgh, and an Honorary Research Assistant for Drug Science. She is the secretary to the Scottish Cross Party on Medicinal Cannabis, set up the Scottish Drug Policy Conversations: a multi-stakeholder deliberative group exploring drug policy issues in Scotland, and is co-founder of both the Scottish Cannabis Consortium and the Scottish Psychedelic Research Group (

Mourad Wahba is a panellist at Life Science Centre's Speakeasy on Microdosing.

Dr Mourad Wahb

Mourad is a senior registrar in psychiatry, currently working with the Regional Affective Disorder team in Newcastle (part of the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust (CNTW)) Mourad has a special interest in mood disorders, substance misuse, and psychedelic assisted psychotherapy, and has dedicated his career to combining his passions. He is the lead for the psychedelic service in Newcastle which is currently in development after taking part in its first project investigating psilocybin for treatment of resistant depression, and which aims to facilitate the delivery of psychedelic therapy within the region, both through hosting further research trials and delivering teaching sessions on psychedelics and their potential applications, both to the public and fellow colleagues. Follow Mourad on Twitter.

David Luke is a panellist at Life Science Centre's Speakeasy on Microdosing.

Dr David Luke

David is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Greenwich. His research focuses on transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, especially via psychedelics. He has published more than 100 academic papers in this area, including ten books, most recently Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience. When he is not running clinical drug trials with LSD, conducting DMT field experiments or observing apparent weather control with Mexican shamans, he directs the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness salon and is a cofounder and director of Breaking Convention: International Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness. He has given over 400 invited public lectures and conference presentations; won teaching, research and writing awards; organised numerous festivals, conferences, symposia, seminars, retreats, expeditions, pagan cabarets and pilgrimages; and has studied techniques of consciousness alteration from South America to India, from the perspective of scientists, shamans and Shivaites.

Additional information

This event is part of Life Science Centre’s Science Speakeasy programme – a series in which important and often controversial topics are debated in a quirky and often irreverent way. No topic is taboo, so these events are not suitable for anyone who is easily offended!


We do, however, ensure that all discussion is based on correct science to avoid the spread of misinformation. Questions to the panel are encouraged, or you can just sit back and enjoy the event. Limited tickets available. Pay bar available on the evening.

‘The speakers were excellent and their collective knowledge of the topic was great. The debate was lively and interesting- enough to keep a non-science novice engaged. The atmosphere was relaxed and there were plenty of opportunities to ask questions.’

‘A very enjoyable event in a relaxed atmosphere. A well informed debate from very knowledgeable guests covering separate but related areas of expertise, without getting too “heavy”. A wide range of audience members provided a number of interesting questions.

‘The whole setup is excellent, and it’s lovely to be able to enjoy a night out that is original and not just another sweaty bar or expensive restaurant. It’s nice to connect with culture and knowledge.’

Getting here

Life is located in Times Square, just a two minute walk from Newcastle Central train and Metro station.

Driving? Times Square Car Park is just around the corner. The sat nav reference for the car park is NE1 4AD (opposite Jurys Inn hotel). Look out for Centre for Life and/or Times Square Car Park signage to direct you.

Times Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4EP