Microdosing Podcast w/ Aaron Orsini – Microdosing and Autism

In this episode with Aaron, we delve deep into the potential of psychedelics, and microdosing in particular, for the autistic population. Aaron shares a his personal experience, community insights and relevant  research. 

About Aaron Orsini

Aaron Orsini is an autistic psychedelic educator, author and researcher. He has published four books about his area of focus ‚ÄĒ Autism On Acid (2019), Autistic Psychedelic (2021), Introduction to Psychedelic Autism (2022), and Psychedelic Autism (2023) ‚ÄĒ and presently serves as a psychedelic autism research co-author collaborator to University College London and an advisor to an ADAPT drug education study funded by Organization for Autism Research. Aaron is also a lecturer on psilocybin facilitation for Alma Institute and SoundMind Institute in Oregon, Naropa University in Colorado, and the lead instructor for his first-of-kind facilitation-focused intensive offered via AutisticPsychedelic.com. He presently lives in Denver where he is focused on creating decentralized and affordable community care models that can offer psilocybin & other natural medicines through grow, gift, and get-together approaches.¬†

Microdosing Table Talk Episode 32

  • What is neurodiversity?
  • How to understand the autism spectrum?
  • Aaron’s backstory from being diagnosed with autism at 23 and onwards
  • How psychedelics have helped Aaron with love, forgiving, connection and embodiment
  • How Aaron decides on his dose, depending on the day’s context, activities and mindset
  • Do autistic people need different dosages to obtain the same effect from a psychedelic?
  • Psychedelics help with processing social information
  • Choose your psychedelic wisely if you have gastrointestinal issues
  • The potential of synthetic mescaline for the autistic population
  • Defining microdosing as a cure versus an aid – and what that really means
  • Do we need psychedelics all the time?
  • Neuroplasticity in the light of our daily life and habits
  • What needs to be researched sooner rather than later?
  • Towards risk-free access for people who deserve to use psychedelic medicines for their wellbeing
  • The Autistic Psychedelics Community and psychedelic music

Disclaimer: Microdosing Institute is an information platform and a community with the sole purpose of providing education on microdosing. We do not encourage the illegal use of psychedelics. Even though we discuss the many benefits of microdosing, we do not claim that microdosing is proven effective as a medicine, medicinal aid or supplement, or that it could be seen as a replacement for conventional therapies or medicines.

Watch the full Microdosing Table Talk on Youtube or listen via your preferred podcasting platform.

Additional Resources

Connect with Aaron

Instagram / TikTok: @autismonacid

Aaron is available for one-on-one consultations, advising positions, and other educational appearances at conferences and events, and can be reached anytime at Aaron[at]AutisticPsychedelic.com

Microdose with us

Transcript

We’ve been wanting to have you on the podcast for a while, really, just because you’ve been pioneering so much. And I think you’ve been a real like I think your work and your community, your books have been quite the game changer for people who are neurodiverse and or autistic and want to floor what psychedelics can do for them and what microdosing can do for them. So yeah, here we are.

Speaker 1
·
00:42
Yeah, thank you so much for having me and likewise, I’ve been following you guys and referring a lot of folks over to your community as well.¬†You guys are really uniquely positioned to be able to live in a country that has a certain level of access that allows people to speak more openly.¬†So you guys have also been teaching us from a little bit ahead in the future of the legal landscape too.¬†So it’s cool to connect with you as well.

Speaker 3
·
01:07
Yeah, thanks.

Speaker 2
·
01:09
Hopefully that level of access is going to be widened and in good ways that work for the community. But yeah, I wanted to set the stage a bit for this conversation and maybe because I really hope and I want to share this also with as many people as possible, not necessarily only people who are autistic themselves. So I think we could start maybe with neurodiversity. And can you share a bit what your understanding of neurodiversity is and where autism sits in that field?

Speaker 1
·
01:46
Yeah, I mean, neurodiversity in simple terms is just kind of paralleling the idea of biodiversity that there’s lots of different forms of life on Earth and there’s lots of different forms of intelligence and learning processing modes and sensory processings and all these different things.¬†And in an older model, something that might be kind of referred to as like a pathological model, it kind of places certain types of neurological presentations or learning styles as inferior to a sort of perceived typical norm.¬†And within the neurodiversity outlook it’s considering how can all of these different intelligences work together to form something of like a socially well whole.

Speaker 1
·
02:26
And so it’s important to begin there because a lot of this work that I do related to autism or any sort of predisposition is oftentimes oriented towards giving the person insight and understanding into their differences rather than trying to normalize them.¬†Because for some individuals that might not be the healthiest path for them might be healthier just to find how they fit into the grander whole.¬†And so that’s a lot of the work that I do within community with psychedelics and with this population.

Speaker 2
·
02:58
Yeah.¬†And can you explain to a person who doesn’t know too much about the autism spectrum, what should we know about that?

Speaker 1
·
03:09
Yeah, it’s defined by certain types of behaviors that can be observed by professionals who do the diagnosis.¬†Within the sort of community of self advocacy and the community that I serve in the Autisticspsychedelic.com group, we sort of have a relatively shared set of experiences to some level, but there’s a lot of variation within know, you could look to something like the DSM, the diagnosis manual, in order to kind of get a more clear understanding.¬†Some of these things are kind of having more rigid patterns of thinking, repetitive behaviors, differences in the way that we might present in certain kinds of social situations.

Speaker 1
·
03:51
But from there we’re kind of bending that definition a bit in how we’re looking at some of the psychedelic work and kind of getting people once again to kind of come into an understanding of those differences and not get so fixated on these individuals having permanent deficits or deficits in all contexts and trying to go further than that and really consider the context.¬†A lot of DSM conditions have to do with your ability to function in workplace settings, in school settings, but there’s so many other settings that an individual can place themselves into and potentially thrive without making major adjustments to their fundamental nature.¬†So it’s a really nuanced discussion but psychedelics present that unique opportunity to reframe how we care for these individuals and how they themselves view themselves as well.

Speaker 2
·
04:42
Yeah, and what did your path look like?¬†Can you just share with us and those listening a little bit what got you into this path and did you know you were autistic from a very young age or did that come later?¬†And then I’m also curious what happened when psychedelics entered the stage?

Speaker 1
·
05:07
Yeah, I mean, looking backwards I had a lot of the trait presentations that an autistic person would throughout my younger years, adolescence, early adulthood, but it wasn’t until I was 23 that I got my diagnosis.¬†And a lot of that had to do with the fact that I would have autism, but it would be a subtype wherein I don’t have an intellectual disability.¬†Like autism in and of itself is not an intellectual disability, it’s more often like a cognitive motor function difference.¬†And so because I was able to excel at school and work and things like that and my jobs were mainly productivity based, I was able to get by when I started to have the types of jobs like managerial.

Speaker 1
·
05:47
Jobs or other types of things that revolved around having more social acuity and the ability to understand the needs of others and harmonize in certain kind of social contexts or negotiate more often.¬†I started to have more breakdowns in my success in my professional life and that led to just this general feeling of like I can’t do this, I don’t know how to do this.¬†So I was seeking support for that and also co occurring depression and anxiety.¬†I was having difficulty really meaningfully connecting with other people.¬†So when I got my diagnosis it was illuminating, it helped me understand myself a bit, but I also perceived it through that pathological lens of like oh, I’m less than other people, I’m ashamed, I’m not going to ever be as good as other people, I’m doomed to a lifetime of not connecting with other people.

Speaker 1
·
06:35
And so I remained relatively suicidal for a number of years in my twenty s and until I tried LSD at which point I really went through this deep kind of feeling of deep love feeling kind of held by the universe kind of forgiving myself.¬†Having this experience of understanding myself through a sort of farther out lens that could give me perspective on my challenges.¬†And again some of that acceptance and forgiveness then became the foundation upon which I reframed what I was really even looking for.¬†And since then I’ve really cultivated a lot of deep and meaningful connections in my life.

Speaker 1
·
07:13
But they look different, they look like the types of connections that I can sustain, the types of relationships and the way that I connect with these individuals is more often like on a one one basis or something that’s less of a sensory intensive experience and things like this.¬†But psychedelics really awakened within me a sense of what was going on within my body and I was able to work with psychedelics to kind of work from that perspective of embodiment, of like okay, I’m hearing what my body is telling me and now I can make decisions based around that.¬†Whereas before I was in this sort of like constant fight or flight kind of experience where it was difficult to make any choices based on what I was going through.

Speaker 1
·
07:56
Somatically, so psychedelics have really helped me to understand my body, to make sense of it and to apply the messages that I’m receiving from my nervous system.¬†Whereas before it was just kind of this bombardment and chaos and so it wasn’t like I sat down with a bunch of textbooks and thought like this is going to work.¬†It was really just like an accident to be honest.¬†So that I discovered that these things could have this sort of useful and potentially therapeutic overlap and then I’ve spent these last ten years exploring that in community and with academic institutions and now we’re very close to being able to roll out more formal services through this newly allowed legal framework that’s upcoming.¬†So it’s been an evolution for myself personally and watching the broader field of psychedelics evolve at that same timeline.

Speaker 3
·
08:45
Wow.¬†Great.¬†Beautiful.¬†So your first experience was with a high dose and now what is more beneficial?¬†Higher dose once in a while or also micro dosing or what’s the average dose that autistic people?

Speaker 1
·
09:06
You know, within the autistic population we have a lot of heterogeneity.¬†In other words there’s lots of differences.¬†There’s actually some research that’s happening right now in the UK that’s focused on serotonin signaling and how something like psilocybin might interact differently not only between autistic individuals and non autistics, but also between individual autistics and trying to understand what really drives those differences in subjective drug effect and the dose amount that’s going to work for one individual over the other.¬†So as much as it’s research and a lot of my work is oriented around trying to find ways that we could potentially standardize some of this care, I’m of the outlook that the only thing I can safely say at this juncture is how I personally navigate.¬†A lot of it is what I refer to as context dependent.

Speaker 1
·
09:56
If I’m going into an environment where I have a lot of control over the light and the sound and how many people are there and I know very well what the activity is going to consist of, I can then make a more intelligent decision about how I might dose for that particular purpose.¬†So if it’s a day where I’m going to be just writing all day or editing texts that I’ve written for a book or something like this, I’ll stay in the more low near to micro dose range to kind of keep a little bit more of that cognitive enhancement a little bit more.¬†I also have cross occurring ADHD so it really helps me with task initiation to take something like a micro dose of LSD.

Speaker 1
·
10:38
But on the flip side, if I’m going in and I’m also like I compose music and perform music and that doesn’t involve as much of the sort of conceptual layer as much.¬†It’s more of like going deeper into the body, deeper into intuition.¬†So that’s when I would dose more in the sort of threshold dose or mini dose kind of range either with Psilocybin or LSD and that’s going to bring me into a more flow state.¬†If I don’t have to use as much language or I don’t have to really do as much interpersonal kind of interacting then I can go into that flow state and really benefit from really getting lost in the activity.¬†It’s not better than the other.

Speaker 1
·
11:19
They all have applications and similarly on the higher dose end that’s more for when I’m continuing my ongoing curiosities know, what are we doing on Earth, what am I doing, what is my identity, what’s my relationship to being alive and that sort of thing.¬†And I find that any of those levels has its given application, has its utility and I tend to kind of go in something of like an oscillation because it can be a lot if you’re doing high dose sessions very frequently it can be disorienting to your day to day and vice versa.¬†If I’m going long periods without having some of those subtler enhancements, I start to fall behind on work or I start to fall out of attunement with my body a bit.

Speaker 1
·
12:05
So I tend to oscillate and kind of rotate through that kind of a dosing schedule and it works for me.¬†I’m lucky enough to where I can structure my work schedule relatively independently or at least kind of structure my own time.¬†So LSD, for example, doesn’t always work for five days of a work week to always be in the same exact place.¬†But I can schedule my washout days or breaks for other types of work that I’m naturally good at when there’s no psychedelics present in my system because I have those natural baseline skill sets that I can tap into when I’m tripping on my own neurochemicals that I’m producing through all the other things I do.

Speaker 2
·
12:48
Yeah, well yeah and this is very well articulated by the way.¬†I really like it.¬†And it also sounds like you’ve gone through a whole learning curve of navigating the different doses and learning how it works on your nervous system and how then that knowing that and reading that more can support you with your activities.

Speaker 1
·
13:08
Yeah, and I think that’s completely fine.¬†I think it’s maybe deviating away from the medical model somewhat but not entirely.¬†But I like to speak about using these medicines as relational that you’re not going to know how something’s going to feel when you do that.¬†In the same way when you start an exercise regimen there’s safe starting points.¬†You don’t want to push yourself too hard when you start and you don’t want to over exceed like a fail point to where you get injured but you can lean into it and trust that you’re going to know.¬†Okay, I did this many repetitions of weightlifting three days ago actually that was a little too much because now I can’t really show up today.¬†So it’s always like an attunement over time.

Speaker 1
·
13:50
And you got to set yourself up to succeed, insofar as giving yourself the ability to learn that, oh, that was a little too much, or that was a little not enough.¬†But while still keeping yourself in motion and moving forward but building in that space to find out that you might need a little more rest after or whatever it may be, it’s always good to account for that just being the reality of learning and building relationship with any of these medicines.

Speaker 3
·
14:20
I like the fact that we talk a lot about with micro dosing about the sweet spot, that’s one fixed dose that you need to take consistently but it’s all depending on your mindset and the setting also.¬†So yeah, it’s not a fixed thing depending on the setting you are taking it or you can upper or lower your dose because normally autistic people tend to have to take a little bit more than the average person.¬†How do you think that’s what we.

Speaker 2
·
14:58
Saw a lot in our community but this is actually something we wanted to kind of run it by you since you also have a community because it doesn’t always seem to be true.

Speaker 3
·
15:07
That’s why Jim Federman in the beginning mentioned that autistic people can’t microdose because they take too much but now we know.¬†But can you explain a little bit about that?¬†What’s the difference that you have?

Speaker 1
·
15:24
Yeah, I mean, that goes back to know the study that’s happening at King’s College in London right now is seeking to understand exactly like in very crude reductionist kind of pharmacology.¬†Like if there is say, a lower density of serotonin receptors in a certain way, essentially when you’re introducing a chemical, it’s going into the system.¬†And if we kind of pretend as though it’s like you have this many number of openings for something to kind of plug into, if you have fewer of those openings, then if you are taking more of a substance, it might increase the likelihood that more of those openings are going to be contacted by that higher abundance of the compound.¬†So that might account for some of the differences.

Speaker 1
·
16:08
But I think I’m always really careful to say that you might see that trend and we might find out when we get a sample size of a few hundred or a few thousand that trend might persist.¬†But it doesn’t mean that because someone is autistic that trend is going to necessarily apply to them as well.¬†So that’s what we’re trying to understand from some of the Mechanistic research right now.¬†But I definitely hear wild variances.¬†Anything from someone took 10 grams of dried cubensis and they had no response at all to someone took a half of a gram and they had a wildly intense response.¬†There’s just so many other confounding factors that we’re really not able to isolate, especially in the sort of naturalistic, self reported studies that we can’t state much with certainty.

Speaker 1
·
16:56
But I could see how that trend might come about.¬†I just think it’s important to rein that in and understand the limitations of making that sort of assumption going forward and using it more of like a point of departure, which is basically what’s happening with the study at King’s College right now.¬†To understand is there a serotonergic component with these molecules, like LC and like, they’re both really resemblant to serotonin.¬†So if that is the key that goes into the lock of some of these doors, then we can start to think about, okay, there’s atypical responses that we see in other serotonergic drugs in this population as well.¬†So it would make sense that would continue.

Speaker 1
·
17:36
But as far as more or less or whatever, I go back to that same thing of within a couple of really safe low doses, you’re going to understand how you’re being impacted and there’s very few people out there that are going through the rigors of testing the potency.¬†So even if you’re just going by weight, you’re still not really going to necessarily know is that higher or lower than the next person?¬†Because that particular percentage of psilocybin or slossum that’s present in that particular dry weight amount of mushrooms is still going to be unknown until we really have for sure this is the exact amount we’re taking and then we can get a little bit more sharper with our yeah.

Speaker 3
·
18:18
That’s why I saw on your website also that you teamed up with Felix Bly or from Miraculous, the test kits.¬†We also teamed up with him.¬†We had him in the podcast because then you can really also test the quantity of the Psilocybin in it.

Speaker 1
·
18:37
And those test kits are really awesome.¬†On my site, if you go to Aaronarsini.com, there’s just a drop down for service drug testing kits.¬†It’s the miracleix kits and I love them because I think everyone knows that we ought to test substances if we’re using them in these sort of community care contexts, I’ll call them.¬†But if that’s the case, I think it wasn’t until I really did the testing that I was like, oh, this is about as complicated as doing like a COVID test.¬†And it gives so much more of a certainty, or at least a relative certainty.¬†There’s always risk in this kind of a context, but it’s a simple process to undertake and it really gives you better insight.

Speaker 1
·
19:18
So that I imagine I wrote my first book on the assumption of the potency of the tabs that I had of the LSD tabs and I could have been wildly off as far as what I thought that I was taking and I don’t have access to those now to go back and test them.¬†So there’s a lot of variability, for sure.

Speaker 2
·
19:38
Yeah, I think it’s important for especially people are new to all these practices, let’s say micro dosing for now that you work with data that you can have and that you can actually get so that you can make informed decisions and you kind of know what you’re doing.¬†And then, of course, for most people along the way, things to start get more intuitive and they build that relationship with the substance and they start to understand themselves, their body, their set and setting.¬†And then it all comes together, which makes you walk the path without necessarily needing to rely on testing.¬†Or you can just then trust yourself and your substance.¬†I was just curious, are there any other differences when a person who is autistic wants to microdose or also, of course, macro dose?

Speaker 2
·
20:33
Are there any other differences compared to people who are not that neurodivergent?¬†I don’t know.¬†Does it work in a different way or are there certain substances maybe that work much better than others?

Speaker 1
·
20:51
Yeah, so my fascination is the way in which that there are these novel applications.¬†Like we did the research with University College London and we did a self reporting survey and if you take away the fact that the inclusion criteria mentioned that the individuals participating in the survey were autistic, their reported benefits of using psychedelics in general were very similar to the general population.¬†People were like, I felt more energy, I felt less anxious, I felt less depressed.¬†Things of that nature.¬†I’m particularly fascinated the serotonin two A receptor specifically has been implicated in a wide range of different social cognition tasks and modulating that.

Speaker 1
·
21:33
And so there’s a very novel application there wherein if someone can become more adept at processing social information under the influence of a compound, that can have profound benefits that are really central to some of the core challenges for certain autistics.¬†So I’m really fascinated by that application.¬†I make the metaphor of using something like low doses of LSD to be more successful in social environments in the same way that coffee helps someone be more successful in completing a cross country road trip or something, that these things have specific applications and when applied in the proper context that you can get specific outcomes.¬†I think some other novelties that I’ve seen and things to consider is that autistics do have a higher prevalence of things like gastrointestinal issues.

Speaker 1
·
22:26
And so when you think about I personally tolerate something like LSD a little bit better than I do like whole fruit mushroom products because I suspect I’ve never had this confirmed.¬†But I think that some of that overlap with some of the GI stuff is giving me a bit more of like a challenge on the sort of just generally biosynthesizing it, breaking it down, how my body is kind of responding to that more biosynthesizing process.¬†I’m also very fascinated about the prospects of as more and more companies start to explore the production of things like synthetic mescaline.¬†And even in the gray markets of the world, I’ve seen an increase in mescaline gummies and things like that as like microdosing or low dosing.¬†And I think that’s a particularly fascinating compound because it presents a similar pharmacology profile to MDMA.

Speaker 1
·
23:21
Not identical at all, but it has the properties of that embodiment, that intactogenic effect, that sort of like real deep embodiment.¬†That’s what I really associate masculine with is really going into my body, really having that warmth within the body that connectedness.¬†And I think it might have a really novel application in this population as well.¬†It’s really underresearched in the biotech spaces and that but I think it has a very high potential within this population purely because there’s something like 50% to 70% of autistic individuals struggle with this condition that’s known as alexithymia.¬†And it’s not a full clinical diagnosis, it’s subclinical, but it still has impacts on a person’s life.¬†And alexithymia just translates to having a difficulty with identifying or labeling the inner states that someone’s undertaking.¬†So are they hungry or cold or happy or glad?

Speaker 1
·
24:15
There’s these challenges with what’s going on in there.¬†And so when I think about these novel applications, once again using something like low doses of LSD or Psilocybin or mescaline to assist someone with kind of lowering the noise and therefore increasing the ability to pick up on the signal that might really be a novel application, some other things that are worth highlighting.¬†There’s so much more I could say and then we teach a whole class on this as well.¬†But briefly stated, I think another really novel thing is that something like because there’s that challenge, a typical person might take something like any of these compounds LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, someone might have a sort of baseline somatic awareness that’s very crisp for them, very strong and so they might experience an amplification of that baseline awareness.

Speaker 1
·
25:08
Whereas an autistic person might have a totally huge breakthrough into a brand new way of experiencing the world or their body.¬†That was my case.¬†And some of the challenges around that and when I’m offering support for people on telehealth calls and stuff, some people will have this experience of being like, I started microdosing, I’m incredibly anxious, I’m so anxious.¬†Is this drug making me really anxious?¬†And it’s like maybe you’re suppressing that anxiety all of the time and you’re coming into an awareness that you have that anxiety and how can you work with that?¬†Because some individuals experience more of like a muted kind of existence.¬†There isn’t as much of an awareness of that anxiety and so it’s kind of really holding them through that process of coming into that awareness.

Speaker 1
·
25:59
And the flip side of that is that certain autistics because we’re so different and that spectrum infers so many differences of how we present, some individuals might have a predisposition at their baseline state that they’re very sensitive to sound or light.¬†And when they take something that’s going to amplify that, then that might create some discomfort as well.¬†I personally avoid microdosing if I’m going to be walking through an urban environment because that will just bombard me with so much intensity of noise and cacophony and stuff.¬†So I always kind of make sure that I have my earphones and sunglasses if I’m going into more of, like an unknown or more chaotic environment, because I’m already sensitive to those things.¬†And so I go in knowing that okay.

Speaker 3
·
26:43
So it’s not that if you have learned some skill that you don’t need the microdose or the psychedelics anymore, you know, now that you sometimes just don’t take it and then it comes back.¬†So insights and skills, if you have implemented that and integrated it in your daily life, do you still need that microdose?¬†What I want to say is that is psychedelics a cure for autism or is it more as an aid or a support that you can implement and work with?

Speaker 1
·
27:28
Yeah, definitely.¬†I don’t want to present any of this as like a cure of any sorts.¬†I’ve used the metaphor of referring to these compounds as contact lenses.¬†And in the same way, I think it’s easy to draw parallels to drugs that are familiar to us.¬†And it would be like saying like, coffee cures your sleepiness or something during the window in which caffeine is activating you’re provided with more energy during the window in which a microdose is activated.¬†You’re provided with a certain form of cognition that might be assistive.¬†And so that’s also where there is evidence that there’s subtle ways that we can acclimate to certain states if we kind of induce them over time.

Speaker 1
·
28:16
I’ve personally experienced a little bit of how with so many days spent in a sort of micro dose kind of state, certain things become learned habit and a bit more of like a lasting behavioral change for me.¬†But at that same level, if we are using that contact lens metaphor, and I said, hey, you’ve been wearing contacts for six years, do you think that you can will yourself into being able to see without contacts?¬†Now?¬†It’s like, well, maybe.¬†I think it’s just we think of these things as additive rather than making us better or worse, I think they just make us different.¬†And I think that in that same way, if there’s that sort of contact lens, can you will yourself that way?¬†I think that it’s a matter of context as well.

Speaker 1
·
29:12
And in that same way, I think that if were to make somewhat of an extreme metaphor, it’s like a bit like saying you’ve been drinking water for this many years.¬†Do you think that you’re ready to wean off of water?¬†And it’s like maybe there’s a chance that some of these compounds might be like if you become vitamin C deficient or if you become potassium deficient, maybe there’s going to be some detrimental effects.¬†It’s not to say that I’m drawing the exact comparison, but if were to reframe this as like if I’m taking psilocybin and it’s considered something more of like a supplement and I’m functioning and I’m producing all these other metabolic things downstream, there’s concerns potentially about five H T two B activation over a long enough period, causing some valveular issues.

Speaker 1
·
30:00
We don’t have enough longitudinal study data to show that.¬†But I am of the belief that I’ll continue to listen to the rhythms of my body and the rhythms of my life.¬†But I imagine this will be a toolkit that I will continue to utilize for the rest of my life.¬†Because earlier along, I would set these things down from that place of stigma and shame and be like, I’m good enough without this thing.¬†And then it’s like I go a couple of weeks as a good break, I return and then I’m like, I am way better with this thing.¬†I got way more done today.¬†I felt just generally better today.¬†I felt more connected today.¬†And that sense of shame and it’s a lot also related to prohibition.¬†These compounds are scarce, hard to find, hard to trust, hard to know.

Speaker 1
·
30:47
So I think that if we get all the way to where you guys are at, where you can walk into a smart shop and purchase truffles, I think.¬†That those who do know that this is something that’s a healthy relationship for them to have over time, that they don’t have to go through that sort of extra layer of guilt or shame or moralization that’s associated.¬†And they can just be very direct in saying in the same way they say, I’m in better shape when I run 2 miles every morning.¬†They should be like, I’m in better shape when I’m able to microdose.¬†That’s okay.¬†Certain individuals don’t have all the time to meditate long enough in order to give themselves these same kinds of states of embodiment.

Speaker 1
·
31:33
So if we found a way to bring some level of wellness and it’s not really causing that much of a detriment so far as we can tell, the relative safety is pretty good with LSD and psilocybin.¬†So I think that once we can strip away that moral judgment, it can set people up to understand that.¬†I think the studies really emphasize, like, wow, you had one psilocybin session and your depression went away.¬†That’s great, but maybe a bunch of depressing stuff will happen and you’ll need to process that.¬†And if we learn that these drugs help us process challenging situations better or develop new patterns when we need them, we shouldn’t take that toolkit away.

Speaker 1
·
32:17
I feel I use these medicines almost like preventatively in some sense, like not letting things build up to a point where I have to break everything all the way down.¬†I’m constantly kind of composting the difficulties of my life in really subtle ways with the continuous kind of looping back to medicine space.

Speaker 2
·
32:36
Yeah, I think you’re onto a really good point here of we’re in this learning process and we have a toolbox, and why not use certain tools?¬†Once we know how to use them, and once we know what we can do with them, then who is there to morally judge and say, like, oh, now you should be able to get along without this tool because you’ve been using it as if that were some kind of ideal.¬†But this is also what we’ve been struggling with, this whole concept a little bit like, would it better if people eventually no longer need to microdose because they have internalized all these ways and lessons and sort of new habits and understandings.

Speaker 2
·
33:19
But then on the other hand, it gives just quite a powerful boost and it gives us an effect that we cannot always this goes for everyone that we cannot just always replicate by just breathing mindfully for a bit or doing a meditation.¬†But on the other hand, what I wanted to also share with you ask you actually, how should we see neuroplasticity then?¬†And then the creation of new neural pathways?¬†And I know this is also language that is not always necessarily as scientific as it sounds, especially when you apply it to microdosing, because I think our brains are pretty much in a constant state of neuroplasticity when we do things for the first time and when we’re learning and when we’re exercising.

Speaker 2
·
34:03
But I’m just curious if you have any thoughts on that or if you’ve done any research, have been part of how should we see that creation of new neural pathways.

Speaker 1
·
34:13
Yeah, although I have read a great deal of pharmacology and I keep up with a lot of that research, it’s definitely outside of my wheelhouse of knowledge.¬†I could speak more from the experiential side of it insofar as I find that I think what I’ve fallen into is a rhythm wherein something like once a year or once every half year, I’ll do an MDMA session.¬†And when I do that, I feel like it’s a really honest check in with myself, like with my heart, with everything.¬†And when I’m in that state, it’s like I’m not afraid to think about the things that I’m generally avoiding thinking about.¬†So when I can have that full inventory, it gives me almost like the closest I can come to having an outside perspective on my own life.

Speaker 1
·
35:05
And so from that place, I can then be like, okay, during this session, this really difficult thing came up.¬†I need to address it, I’m going to address it.¬†And you can’t take something like MDMA quite so often as you might some of these other compounds so far as we understand the safety.¬†And so using these microdoses too, it’s like I set like a really ambitious target or I decide I’m going to stop some habit that seems really something that I really feel like is very difficult to let go of.¬†And then having the support of microdosing as I make that change really seems to cart Harris refers to this as sort of entering into these pivotal states where you get out of the condition grooves and you can know more novel choices.

Speaker 1
·
35:48
And there’s also a lot of evidence showing that divergent thinking is increased under the influence of LSD or Psilocybin as well.¬†And divergent thinking in tests where they test for this, they basically say, look at this puzzle, come up with as many solutions to this puzzle as you can.¬†And then there’s convergent thinking, which is, look at this puzzle.¬†It has one solution, come up with it and solve the riddle rather than brainstorm about the riddle itself.¬†So I find that ability to think of other avenues and different ways of proceeding forward while microdosing increases the likelihood that I’ll succeed because I’m able to when I hit a wall, I’m able to be like, oh, that’s not a wall.¬†That’s just one of 20 different ways I could solve this.

Speaker 1
·
36:31
I’ll just take door number four and go to the next place and then eventually get stuck again.¬†But being able to feel comfortable making those pivots, I feel like, allows me to get to my target, whereas my mind would fixate on, like, this is the only way to do it.¬†This is the only way it’s worked before.¬†No other way is going to be safe unless I do it this way.¬†And feeling safe enough to choose other paths forward, I feel like, allows me to succeed.¬†And I think that also has something to do with my ADHD being addressed through some of this as well.¬†It’s like I get tasks done because I don’t fixate on doing them one particular way.

Speaker 1
·
37:09
I have the target and then I allow myself to zig and zag and get there in a way that in my baseline state, I’m so fixated on, like, the next step must be this.¬†And it’s like, does it I mean, what if I did this and then this?¬†It’s a very internal experience to go through, but it makes a lot of sense having lived through it sufficiently enough.

Speaker 2
·
37:29
Yeah, it resonates.¬†It resonates.¬†And also it resonates a lot with I think Alan Watts always says know the purpose of life is just to play.¬†And in nature also, just everything is kind of playing with everything and it’s happening all organically.¬†And if we know, just adopt that mindset a little bit more instead of that linear kind of thinking, we’re just opening up to so much more joy and ease and we’re easier on ourselves as well.

Speaker 3
·
37:56
Fluid and more flexible.¬†And it reminds me the problem solving study of Jim Fedman also, like the convergent and divergent thinking that’s being increased reminds me of that study.

Speaker 2
·
38:10
Yeah, there was actually a study when we had this microdosing event in Amsterdam. This is kind of how we started this whole project, 2016. Yeah. And in that study, they found that the divergent thinking was increased.

Speaker 3
·
38:27
Increased, yeah. It was actually the first published study of microdosing also.

Speaker 1
·
38:34
Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see.¬†I think just this last week it was announced that there was a controlled at least like they were giving an equivalent molecule to LSD.¬†They were giving as a take home medicine for individuals to test that out over time.¬†I think it was in New Zealand they were trying this out.¬†And up till now we haven’t had as much observation.¬†That’ll be one of the very first that’s really going to actually be like we for sure know that this is the amount we’re giving these individuals.¬†We’re going to study them over a period of time and the evidence is only going to grow from here.

Speaker 1
·
39:08
And I think a lot of the lack of evidence so far is stemming from all those confounding factors and all the ways we can’t know for sure and the biases of self reporting and many things like this.¬†But it’ll be interesting to see what does come about because with or without evidence, my own lived experience is sufficient evidence for me to proceed and to understand what’s benefiting myself.¬†That doesn’t have to apply to anyone else.¬†But I understand this enough for my own self in order to kind of understand what works for me and what’s something that I’m continuing to say yes to and saying no to when I feel it’s appropriate as well.

Speaker 2
·
39:47
Yeah.¬†And also, just to put this into context, right, we could do a whole podcast about talking about the limitations of studying micro dosing in a scientific context, where usually, like, we’ve seen anecdotally that it works very well when people take it home and they take it while they’re in their own lives and going through their own day to day business.¬†Then they see a huge difference.¬†But when you put them in a lab and you let them do a clinical study, the results are very different.¬†And then there’s the whole legal aspect of giving them a standardized substance that is either also legal or that can be given to people, all of that.¬†But you’ve written three books about this, so it means that your personal experience is definitely clear enough and then also in your community people are also having.

Speaker 2
·
40:41
So there’s a lot of replication, I think, of certain type of evidence.

Speaker 1
·
40:48
Yeah, it’s been an interesting experience, especially with the nature of the Internet now and there’s always going to be one of my good friends, Miyabe, she’s a PhD, she has an Instagram, it’s like Miabe PhD, she’s an endocannabinoid researcher.¬†It’s not exactly immediately overlapping with this, but she did like a very quick and easy like ten question survey a couple of weeks back and she got more than 2000 people to reply to that survey in 24 hours.

Speaker 1
·
41:16
And so the ability to do that type of work and iterate on that when you do a lot of other surveys and there’s a survey posted to a university message forum and there’s a lot of ways where this new media really unlocks this ability to get really huge data sets, that you could run an updated Iterated survey each week in that same way and just kind of have people or have them wearing Fitbits and recording that data.¬†There’s so many ways to do citizen science interesting ways now that I really enjoy seeing that.¬†It’s not to say that this is a replacement, we ought to be skeptical of any source of information, but it’s a really unique opportunity that we’re presented with now.

Speaker 3
·
41:59
Yeah, we need to make use of these new ways of doing surveys. We have a large community on Instagram, on Facebook and in Discord. So these short surveys with ten questions or three questions just a poll can have some interesting data.

Speaker 2
·
42:21
Because I know that you’re involved what is it?¬†King’s no.¬†University College, London.¬†Research.¬†Right.¬†And are there any other research project or is there a research project that you would ideally see happening?¬†If you just could see something happen tomorrow, what would that be?

Speaker 1
·
42:41
Definitely.¬†And real briefly, I’ll contextualize this with the UCL study as a survey.¬†So we had people self report.¬†We got a couple hundred data points for that.¬†It’s in peer review now, should be released probably by end of year.¬†I’m also involved in another survey at University of Toronto that’s looking at similar just getting self reported data from autistic adults.¬†But then what I’m really excited about, which is already like, it’s gotten its funding, it’s just in the review process at University of Toronto now we’re going to actually be administering psilocybin for depression in autistic adults.¬†So that’s going to be one of the first studies where there’s a clinical target for this population, the only other one being the MDMA study that Maps did a few years ago.¬†So that study is exciting to me.

Speaker 1
·
43:26
I think a dream study of mine would be kind of validating some of the things that I’ve lived or seen, some of these kind of like dosing in the 20 to 50 range and being like, is someone really experiencing this elevated state of embodiment?¬†Are they able to process social information in a way that is assistive for them if they’re autistic?¬†That’s been such a core part of my curiosity about these things.¬†And I think it also serves as a bridge for a justification for why just having access in only supervised therapeutic settings isn’t going to achieve those types of things that I’ve been able to enjoy in my life, which is being out in the world, being with my friends or family in a state in which I feel just more harmonious with the people around me.

Speaker 1
·
44:13
So I think doing the research that would justify that level of access is really exciting to me.¬†And we might see it there’s ADHD research with an LSD analog right now.¬†It’s already shown pretty good early signs for the ADHD symptom improvement.¬†And if that were to come full circle, I mean, there’s a pretty decent overlap with the autistic population that has ADHD.¬†So they might show up to be addressing some of these ADHD things and then they might also get this side benefit of like, wow, I was getting my task done, but also I felt connected to myself, I felt connected to other people.¬†So I think we’re not that far off from some of this being validated on a much bigger scale than just these few thousands of reports I’ve received.

Speaker 3
·
44:57
I heard Amanda Fielding do the shout out at Joe Rogan about you and your community.¬†So I think she’s going to be of support with this dream, I think, or not.¬†Did that had an impact on your mission when she did a shout out?

Speaker 2
·
45:12
How did you manifest that whole thing?

Speaker 1
·
45:16
Amanda was so kind.¬†Amanda invited me.¬†I stayed over at her residence there in Oxfordshire and we got to really become genuine friends during that period.¬†She’s been trying to champion psychedelic reform for probably more than 50 years since her early experiences.¬†And to be able to just speak with her.¬†She had hosted like Albert Hoffman at her home and we got to just share all these stories.¬†She has also been an enthusiast and someone who has a lot of direct experience with some of this stuff as well.¬†So it’s not often that I get to speak with someone who has that same depth of experience or passion for the work.¬†And her mentioning me was a surprise and a treat.

Speaker 1
·
45:59
And it speaks to her interest as well of really bringing the broad range of potential applications into the light so that people can really understand the potential here.¬†And it’s a fun little thing to have this increased level of awareness about the project, but I’m so excited about the increased level of access that is going to mean over time.¬†And I think once we get this research published, I think there’ll be a lot more attention because right now these books are great.¬†But I think a lot of the institutions and the broader news media really values the rigors of academic research and so do I.¬†And I think that’s going to create the next level of being able to get these people’s stories out there.

Speaker 1
·
46:49
We’ve already done a lot of diligence of submitting testimonials to try to influence outcomes in state legislation, federal legislation, and it’s a really easily compelling thing.¬†Like these things are making people’s lives better.¬†Should we not send them to jail if they’re using these things?¬†Can we come around to that basic agreement so that people’s health can be prioritized?¬†So we’re getting there.¬†It’s slow, but we’re getting there.

Speaker 2
·
47:16
Yeah, I fully agree and I really hear you on what you’re saying.¬†It takes a lot of work and effort, but slowly this sort of stigma is kind of crumbling more and more.¬†And it is also weird, right, because this week an article got published here in the Dutch Financial Times and it was a good article about microdosing, but in the title it used the word drugs instead of psychedelics or something less stigmatizing.¬†And so then there were politicians commenting on this article saying like, yes, this is promoting people taking drugs on a daily basis.¬†How irresponsible is that?

Speaker 3
·
48:00
Dangerous, right?

Speaker 2
·
48:01
How dangerous?¬†So it’s like step by step and sometimes it’s very easy to go a step back again and then having to do two more steps to get forward.¬†But it is true because of all these stories of how this improves people’s health across society, across all sorts of neurodivergent, healthy, normals, whatever you want to call people, they see so many benefits and yeah, that is now coming through.¬†And I also really think that with some clear evidence, the doors towards more axes are going to open.¬†Are going to keep on opening.¬†But yeah, thank you for definitely for explaining that in the way you just did.

Speaker 1
·
48:49
It’s really central to my mission.¬†I PROCEED with this every day with the intention and the knowledge that we’re going to get to a place where all the people that reach out to me, they’re like, wow, this sounds great.¬†How can I begin doing this as soon as next year?¬†I can be like, oh, you can go to here.¬†They have access here, at least as far as the states are concerned.¬†And I think in a couple of years, it’ll be really excellent when people can go either to their doctor or to some other place where they can trust and where no one’s under scrutiny of potential arrest, where they can go and be like, I’m seeking this thing that I believe might be useful for me.

Speaker 1
·
49:28
And someone can provide them with sufficient levels of education and support that they can go from like, I’m seeking wellness, to being like, oh, okay, here’s a path to wellness.¬†We have it for you now.¬†Because the level of risk that people are undertaking to engage with these tools now is really excessive.¬†And there’s so many ways to prevent the risks that are inherent in prohibition.¬†And it would be nice for us all to evolve from a place of kindness and collective well being in that way.

Speaker 2
·
49:59
Yeah.

Speaker 3
·
50:00
You feel sad?

Speaker 2
·
50:01
I have one more question, which is well, first, also this and then yeah, let’s just say one more thing about this.¬†I also think that just the attention towards neurodivergency I know in the US.¬†There is a lot like it is a common topic of conversation, especially in the health and wellness and mental health spaces and therapy spaces.¬†I think that there’s a lot of awareness now around it, but I still think there’s also still a lot of territory to gain.¬†Because I also think, just like so many other communities, it would be nice to find the support of a guide or a coach or a therapist or whoever you decide to work with who has a similar background, who kind of understands what you’re going through and what the specific challenges are.

Speaker 2
·
50:59
And then just coming out of that, I was just curious about your viewpoint. What is needed both in the psychedelic space but maybe also just in the world in general to make society more fun and easy for neurodivergent people?

Speaker 1
·
51:20
Yeah, I mean, I think we’re going through something of a parallel to maybe the LGBT movement as far as people going from hiding to being less in hiding and then switching over to then educating about the needs of these communities.¬†Similarly, I’ve seen it.¬†The Internet and social media, or what now has evolved into social broadcasting, has given people like myself a tremendous platform in order to find people that might see a mirror in what I’m saying and my lived experience.¬†And so I think it’s happening naturally that now that everyone has this sort of ability to simultaneously broadcast out messages or find messages from any one person, for as much as the algorithms of all this stuff has kind of warped us in some other way.

Speaker 1
·
52:07
I think it’s also helped people really find the thing that they need to find online and in the world and so I think that’s a large driving piece of it and we’re also working diligently to get ahead of the fact that we know this is going to be a need.¬†So I offer my own services around this stuff@aaronorsini.com but we also launched a directory that we’re currently just accepting people to apply to it’s nd as in Neurodivergent so Ndpsychedelic.com.¬†And we’re looking to make that like a long term home where people can find services because in some sense, and to someone that’s just dropping into this conversation, it’s a really acrobatic thought but we’ve kind of set the groundwork to where we can understand it.¬†But as someone who is attuned to the principles of neurodiversity and who has experiences with psychedelics.

Speaker 1
·
52:58
Both of those awarenesses have a great deal to do with psychological flexibility and the ability to really understand that the thing that you’re treating is the person’s general well being is their general comfort and to shift away from needing to modify these individuals into more.¬†How can we really support these individuals and how can we support their self inquiry, how can we support their pursuit of expanded awareness and all these other things.¬†So there’s a really novel overlap and I love the fact that for certain countries or certain places psychedelics are not talked about or brand new or whatever, but I feel that we’re really on the crest of this wave and knowing that we’re developing subtypes of psychedelic care because these individuals do need specific types of support.

Speaker 1
·
53:48
And we see in a lot of research that the relationship between a support person and that individual is a very strong predictor of success.¬†And if their lived experience as a support professional can mirror the experience of the person they’re supporting in some way it’s going to really increase the likelihood of a positive relationship bond and a positive outcome.¬†So we’re trying to connect those people that way.¬†And it’s very early phase, but I have recently received a generous offer to potentially take the training in Oregon.¬†So I might be amongst the first persons that are able to offer facilitated psilocybin sessions, which for me would be a dream.¬†To go from being like, hey, I think this is useful, to being like, hey, I can provide this.

Speaker 1
·
54:34
And I can also then help to further work alongside other people with these same lived experiences to then further refine how we can provide this better over time.¬†So it’s been like a total evolution from an accident to a highly intentional application.¬†So it’s exciting times ahead.

Speaker 2
·
54:53
Yeah.

Speaker 3
·
54:54
Beautiful.

Speaker 2
·
54:55
Yeah.¬†And also that the lived experience of the individual which happened to you and then it continues to happen to you as you support other people.¬†It’s always the lived experience informing us rather than, I don’t know, some theory, some model, something that comes out of a book or something that comes out of a spiritual teacher.¬†In the end, it’s really the lived experience.¬†We are the medicine and I think that applies to anyone and everyone at any time.¬†But yeah, we need our guides and we need our tools and we need companionship.¬†Yeah, exactly.¬†Community.¬†Yeah, because there’s definitely so many people out there and we’re all sort of going through similar things in a way.¬†Yeah.

Speaker 1
·
55:44
Absolutely.

Speaker 2
·
55:47
Well, thank you so much.¬†I think this is a good place to wrap up.¬†I think we could do definitely several other podcasts only on the research, only on community work, only on everything that is going to happen because I do think there’s, especially in Oregon and in the States, a lot of things are shifting now and I’m super curious to see what comes on and what’s next.¬†So anyway, we’ll be in touch and we’ll connect back again in a while to do an update if you would like to.

Speaker 1
·
56:19
Yeah, no, definitely.¬†I’m sure I’ll go on something of like a media tour after the research and after all the other stuff, but I’ll keep following along with what you all do and if anyone listening wants to join our community, we meet once a week online and it’s just@autisticspsychedelic.com you can find our meetings.¬†We have a similar discord, but it’s more specialized to just this particular thing and welcome anyone to come through.¬†I try to always spend at least a couple of hours every week where I’m fully accessible to anyone that wants to just interact with me, ask me questions.¬†And the only way that this project has been able to succeed at all is because in that same meeting space there’s dozens and dozens of other people who if I can’t be of service to you, someone else can.

Speaker 1
·
57:03
And that community model is more than just like a buzword or whatever.¬†It’s like we really have formed a real strength through numbers thing with supporting many people with the help of many people doing so.

Speaker 2
·
57:16
Yeah, that’s so powerful because people want to, I don’t know what’s the English term, they want to pass it on.¬†Right.¬†So if they were able to benefit from that community, they want to give back and be part of it and essentially support others.¬†Yeah.¬†Thank you for putting all of that out there.¬†We will also add all the links to the caption to the show notes.¬†Is there anything else in particular that you would like to highlight now that to everyone who’s listening, those of you.

Speaker 1
·
57:46
Who are still here with us.¬†I also compose psychedelic music.¬†That’s like the 17th thing that I do, but it’s also something that I’m really proud of.¬†And you can go to Aaronarsini.com and look at the music I’ve produced or you can just go on Spotify or any other streaming site.¬†And the album I just released was psychedelic.¬†Symphonies.¬†And that was music that I made over about seven years of time.¬†And I made it while on LSD for the purposes of making music that would be really well tolerated and really supportive feeling and sounding while in that state.¬†So I’m particularly fond of that because it’s sort of like a keepsake of some of those really deep, loving experiences that I had during those years.

Speaker 1
·
58:26
And I love sharing it with others because as someone who’s sensitive to sound and when I take LSD, I become even more sensitive.¬†It’s still like a really reliable tool for me.¬†It’s just this kind of warm, fuzzy kind of atmosphere sound that I think is nice for people.¬†If things get challenging for them, they can kind of fall into that soundscape.¬†And I really like offering that up as yet another tool for people who are exploring.

Speaker 3
·
58:53
Wow, really curious. Drive back home. Or is that not really handy because can you listen to it while driving?

Speaker 1
·
59:05
Yeah, well, it’s all 60 beats per minute, very slow.¬†You might get very relaxed, you might be very calm.¬†But no, there’s no reason it’s approved for any and all activities, but it’s pretty intentionally more soothing.¬†More kind of like more soothing.¬†Not so much like high energy.¬†I wouldn’t throw a raging dance party to it or anything, but it’s just more like lullaby kind of feelings music.

Speaker 3
·
59:36
Okay, great, thanks.

Speaker 2
·
59:39

Looking forward to it too. Yeah. Thank you again for being here with us and for all that you do and all that you put out in the world.