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The Impact of Psychedelics on Autism with Aaron Orsini

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This week’s episode of the Plant Medicine Podcasts features guest Aaron Orsini, co-founder of the Autistic Psychedelic Community and author of Autism on Acid: How LSD Helped Me Understand, Navigate, Alter & Appreciate my Autistic Perceptions. In this interview, Aaron gives an overview of his own experiences with autism and how psychedelics changed his relationship with his condition, while also providing fascinating insights into some of the neuroscientific research on both autism and psychedelic experiences. Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) later in life, Aaron describes the features of his condition as a dissociation from both his own inner experience and that of others (alexithymia), as well as a predisposition to getting lost in mental reflection and rumination. Four years after his diagnosis, Aaron tried LSD for the first time, and this experience helped him gain crucial insight into his condition and provided him with a different, more emotionally engaged and embodied sense of life. His improved quality of life following his explorations of psychedelic medicines inspired him to write a book detailing his experiences as someone with ASD. However, Aaron stresses that everyone’s experience of autism is unique, similar to how psychedelic experiences can differ from person to person. So in the overlap of psychedelics and autism, there is a wide variety of responses as these compounds come into contact with the unique brain chemistry of autistic individuals. As Aaron connected with other individuals with ASD who have explored psychedelic medicine, he realized this was a topic that deserved more attention, especially with how little information was available. As a result, he co-founded the Autistic Psychedelic Community, which is an online co-learning community for neurodivergent individuals who are interested in connecting on the topic of psychedelics. In this episode: How people with ASD experience psychedelics differently The intersection of trauma and ASD and how psychedelics impact both of these Quotes from people with ASD about their unique psychedelic experiences and the impacts What scientific research has been done on psychedelics and autism How ketamine differs from other psychedelics for people with ADS Quotes: “It’s not a cure for autism spectrum, I think it’s another vantage point to see. I call it a contact lens for my sensory awareness.” [10:09] “I’ve had experiences with other individuals who aren’t on the spectrum taking similar dosages and they’ll enter a much more hallucinogenic state, whereas I’ll enter more of what feels like home or an embodied state.” [19:40] “These changes are far more remarkable than the currently available pharmacotherapies for autistics.” [34:11] “The idea that these are hallucinogens exclusively is really being challenged by my story in terms of taking that dissociative state and bringing it into a point of awareness.” [41:25] Links: Get 20% off everything at Octagon Biolabs with coupon code ‘plantmedicine' Aaron’s book Autism on Acid Autistic Psychedelic Community Psychedelic Medicine Association Porangui