Joost Breeksema – The Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research

In this episode, Joe interviews Joost Breeksema from the Netherlands to talk about the Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research. In the show they cover topics on ICPR 2020, and the importance of accessibility.

3 Key Points:

  1. The Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research takes place April 24-26, 2020 in the Netherlands.
  2. It’s important to acknowledge the indigenous, ethical, and political dimensions to psychedelic use at conferences.
  3. Although this conference will be catered toward mainstream science and research, personal experiences and stories are important too.

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Show Notes

About Joost

  • Joost is a part of the OPEN Foundation
  • ICPR is a huge conference
    • Nobody before was doing research on psychedelics in the Netherlands
  • William James work sparked Joost’s interest in psychedelics

ICPR

  • Starting with the OPEN Foundation, the conference has been very scientific
    • It is interdisciplinary, but also taken very seriously
    • This field is so broad, you could really never get bored
  • Wade Davis, Alicia Danforth, Matt Johnson and more will be speaking at the conference
  • There will be over 80 speakers
  • Joost expects it to be a pretty international conference, half local, and half from abroad
  • Psychiatrists are usually short on time, and they like things compressed more
  • It’s really easy and cheap to grow psilocybin as mushrooms or truffles
    • Even in Mexico, they need to use GMP Psilocybin

Accessibility

  • If this is going to be the treatment, how are we going to help people afford it?” – Joe
  • There is some tricky stuff happening, companies trying to patent different parts of psilocybin to use it for therapeutic use
  • Ketamine has been off patent for years, but you can develop a new route of administration, patent that, and make a ton of money
  • Spravato is making it to the UK

Conference Themes

  • Joost is both excited and scared that they are bringing indigenous practitioners to the conference
    • It’s important to acknowledge the indigenous, ethical, and political dimensions to psychedelic use
    • Talking about concepts and approaches to healing is going to be an important aspect
    • The goal would be to do research with the indigenous communities to be able to address the needs of psychedelic use
  • There are also a few neuroimaging people coming
  • For mainstream scientists, the conference has to be as close to a scientific conference as possible, they may be turned off to the cultural aspects of psychedelics
    • It’s the conservative nature of psychedelia
  • Joost also says that although the scientific research is important, it is really cool to hear the personal experiences
  • People’s experience with psychedelics may be completely different from each other
    • It’s important to share the bad stories with the good stories
    • If we don’t share the stories and data and research, then we can never learn
  • Joe hopes that there will be a growth of citizen science in the near future

Links

ICPR


About Joost

Joost Breeksema is a part of the OPEN Foundation, which from it came the Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research. His current research focuses on the experiences of patients that are undergoing therapy assisted by psychedelic substances. His aim is to better understand psychological mechanisms of action/change, to tease out salient themes, and finally to learn about what works and what does not work in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

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Hallie Rose and Kyle Buller – Soltara Healing Center and Kyle’s Experience with the Plant Medicine

In this episode, Kyle invites a guest interviewer, Hallie Rose of the Thought Room Podcast, to interview him on his recent experience at Soltara. In the show, they talk about Soltara, Kyle’s experience with the plant medicine, and important topics like privilege. 

3 Key Points:

  1. Integration is an important part of working with psychedelics and plant medicines. Indigenous cultures have different integration perspectives than Western attendees. In the West, attendees come back to more hustle and bustle, and may need more time for integration. Soltara does a really good job at providing integration resources and educating guests about the post-medicine experience. 
  2. Ayahuasca is a relational medicine. An anology that one of the facilitators used was that with psilocybin and other psychedelics, there is this one big entry door into the space – you eat the mushrooms and open the door and get to experience it heavily. With Ayahuasca, there is a smaller doorway to penetrate throug and you have to create a relationship with the medicine first.
  3. If the people that really need the help can’t even afford medicine experiences, then how do we have mass healing? Peer support movements may be a way forward with this issue. As the field continues to grow, we need to look at more affordable and accessible models. 


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Show Notes

About Hallie

  • Hallie interviewed Kyle after his first 4 experiences with Ayahuasca
  • Kyle’s episode on The Thought Room Podcast about his Near Death Experience
  • The Thought Room Podcast was inspired by Hallie’s first Ayahuasca experience
  • She had typically pushed away anything psychedelic in nature, even alcohol before coming to Soltara as a guest
    • “A lot of the paradigms I had been working with were flipped upside down on their head” – Hallie
  • The message that really spoke to her was to create a podcast
    • 2 ceremonies later she had some things come up about family and career, and again, the message ‘podcast’ came up again
    • When she went over her integration notes from her experience at Soltara, she kept coming back to the podcast thing
    • She describes her journal entry message as a black hole, a void
    • She felt like she was in rooms, some were bright and rainbow-y, and others were dark and lonely
    • The rooms were rooms for thoughts, thought rooms
  • She owns the start up company Lunar Wild

Soltara

  • Hallie mentions that she was blown away by the amount of effort that it takes to uphold a medicine center like Soltara
  • Kyle says right from the start from arrival to the location, he was greeted with such warmth and it reminded him of his breathwork background
    • The ground rules that they laid down right at the start made him feel so safe
    • She said it’s amazing to see the amount of healing that happens in that space
    • “When it comes to your own medicine work, your own journey work, only you know what’s right for you” – Hallie
  • Hallie is part of a mastermind group through Aubrey Marcus, the CEO of Onnit
    • She is connected to a bunch of people as a part of this group
    • She was introduced to Dan Cleland, a co-founder of Soltara, who invited her to come down
  • Yes they had the traditional Shipibo aspects, but they also did a fantastic job of adding in the Western concepts to cater to the western needs
    • Hallie mentions that coming from the West, we have the need to integrate the experience in a different way than those coming from the East, and Soltara does a really good job with that kind of integration

The First Session

  • Before the first ceremony, participants engaged in what is called “vomitivo.” This is a process of clearing the body through purging. Participants are asked to drink a tea made from lemongrass and other admixtures that contain purgative properties.
    • Kyle said the tea was actually tasty
    • You drink a lot of it where you override the system to where the body wants to purge
    • The purging is to clear the system out of toxins and clean it out energetically
  • Soltara built in pre-ceremony sessions like yoga or meditation to help ease into the actual sessions
  • Kyle said that the Ayahuasca experience was familiar
    • Everything felt very green behind his eyes
    • There was a serpent weaving in and out of his DNA
    • The experience felt so healing
    • Kyle didn’t purge (vomit) but did do a little crying
    • He said he did not experience much anxiety
    • The serpent was healing him and stitching parts of himself back together
    • “There is something intelligent here working on very subtle levels” – Kyle
  • The next two ceremonies were very gentle, some crying, going through family dynamics, but always in the background, there was that same serpent
  • Kyle said the first 3 sessions felt really easy, compared to previous experiences with psychedelics
    • The spirit said to him “oh you think this was going to be easy, that you would just drink this and that I would show you all this stuff. Well, we have to get to know each other first”
    • With psilocybin, there is this one big door, you eat the mushrooms and open the door and get to experience it heavily, with Ayahuasca, there is a smaller doorway to penetrate through, you have to create a relationship with the medicine first

Final Ceremony

  • It was during the full moon in Cancer and lunar eclipse, the energy was already intense
  • For the 4th ceremony, Kyle was already feeling high energy, and did not want to go too strong, so he started with ¾ of a cup
    • Kyle felt more subtle effects of the medicine during the first part of the ceremony and the medicine told him to ask for a second dose
    • The facilitator gave Kyle ¼ of a cup more
    • That ¼ of a cup really opened up a door for Kyle
  • After the singing, he laid down and that’s when things took off
    • All of a sudden, he saw himself back in the CAT scan machine (referring back to his NDE as a teen)
    • He always tells the story as blissful and beautiful, but this time was so different
    • He saw himself back in the CAT scan machine as a child, and was terrified, and he began shaking
    • He felt this pain in his pelvic area as he felt during his NDE
    • He was shivering and so cold, it brought him right back into that state
    • He was re-experiencing the fear in a new way during the ceremony
    • He went into his body and felt the scar tissue and felt that shake and stretch and kind of brought in some healing there
    • After his actual surgery/NDE, as he was healing he was always really afraid to move in certain ways in the fear that movement would re-open some of the healing wounds
  • He got a clear way of looking at how the body holds trauma, especially after surgery
    • That trauma is tied to the way we hold ourselves, the way we walk and talk and in so many ways
    • This ceremony helped Kyle view somatic body work in such a new light
  • The ceremony was not scary, he allowed his body to process the fear, but not attach to the fear and become fearful
  • Yoga can also bring that out, stillness and vulnerability can bring up some body trauma and put you into that fight or flight response
  • Even when you think you’re done processing something, there are always more layers to dig into and see something differently to bring more clarity

Preparation

  • Hallie said what she is learning with this medicine, is that she doesn’t need to make anything happen, she needs to just let it happen
    • That feeling of relaxing things is scary because it means giving up control
    • It’s a practice and its a lot easier said than done
  • The most important part is the set (mindset), because the set is you
    • “Having your set figured out, when the going gets tough, you’re safe still” – Hallie
  • Kyle said that Aya always told him to wait, he didn’t need to jump into trying it right away, he waited over 10 years to process his NDE trauma
    • Hallie says it’s just like marriage, you can get married easily, but it’s not always going to work out if you don’t have the tools and the skill sets to maintain it
    • Ayahuasca is similar in needing the right tools and time to do it right
  • The dieta and the prep itself is so hard
  • People are turned off by the idea of doing something disciplined
    • These experiences can be so much different when we go through the process of giving something up
    • It’s not to punish ourselves, it’s to heal ourselves
    • “There is a whole other side of us, that opens up when we cut out some of the things that numb us” – Hallie
    • The dieta strips away the illusions, the plant medicines help us remember who we are

Hopi Creation Story

  • The great creator said “I have a gift for the human beings, but I need to hide it somewhere until they are ready to find it”
    • It is “the gift of the knowing that they can create anything, they can create their own reality”
  • The creator asked the earth where he should hide it
    • The eagle said he will bring it to the moon
    • The fish said he will bring it to the bottom of the sea
    • The buffalo said he will bring it to the edge of the plains
    • The creator said no to all of them, they will find it there
  • So the great grandmother who lives in the breast of the earth said, put it inside of them
    • And the creator said “it is done”
  • It brought Kyle back to his fourth ceremony, the Ayahuasca was a reminder that everything he needed was already inside of him

Privilege

  • It’s hard to tell people of their only legal options for healing, which most of them are leaving the country, which is not an option for some people
    • We are all worthy of finding relief of our suffering through psychedelics
  • Is therapy only going to be for the rich and elite? There are so many people who really need it
  • Yes, you can grow mushrooms, but then you’re at risk of the law
  • The system is so complex and we need a more humane way of moving forward in this field and offer experiences like this to the people that need it
  • Therapy is a privilege
    • Most people that need therapy are in survival mode that don’t have the privilege of access to therapy
  • Peer support movements are a way forward in this issue
    • If the people that really need the help can’t even afford it, then how do we have mass healing?
    • There are great healers out there that never became healers because they didn’t have the privilege to
  • Kyle says he escaped a lot of suicidal ideation after his near death experience, it took a lot of time to call earth his home
  • “Just to wake up and be a part of this, even that is magical in itself” – Kyle
  • “The stars come out every night, and we watch television” – Hallie

Authentic Self

  • Hallie has recently had her 12th Ayahuasca experience
    • “I am no longer breathing, I am being breathed” – Hallie
  • “Hatred does not exist, it is only a resistance to love” – Hallie
  • Even being hard on ourselves is only a resistance to loving ourselves
    • Its love with nowhere to go
  • People that have a lot of self hatred toward their bodies or themselves, the medicine always comes back to the self, it teaches people to love and take care of themselves
    • “You really can’t love anything outside of yourself until you love yourself” – Hallie
    • Kyle says that the people who he looks up to (ex, Stan Grof), what if they never showed up for themselfves? What if they never stood up for what they believe in?

Links

$200 off coupon code for Soltara: THOUGHTROOM

Soltara Healing Center

Hallie’s Instagram

Thought Room Podcast 


About Hallie

Hallie Rose is an author, speaker, educator, and relationship coach from New York City. She is the host of The Thought Room Podcast and also the founder & CEO of the company Lunar Wild which aims to reclaim the sacred feminine and address a modern need for a Rite of Passage into womanhood. The Thought Room is a combination of edge-of-your-seat storytelling and groundbreaking interviews with celebrated thought-leaders from around the world. The show covers a breadth of topics including psychology, spirituality, sex & relationships, psychedelic science & plant medicine, bio-hacking, fitness, nutrition, alternative health, business & entrepreneurship, mindfulness, yoga, and meditation.

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Aaron Orsini – How LSD Helped Bridge the ASD Neurotypical Divide

This disclaimer was originally posted in our episode, Treating Social Anxiety in Adults with Autism with MDMA and LSD – Voices in the Dark, and it feels important to post it on this episode as well. 

Caution/Disclaimer

A few important notes. This is an episode of an individual experimenting with powerful drugs to see if he can get any sort of relief from autism. In this case, it appears to have been successful. That said, this came with a substantial amount of risks, and people need to be aware. Please read the below bullets so you understand. 

  • Autism is not what is treated. The thing being treated would be a symptom like social anxiety.
  • “The field of autism science includes a long and shameful history of quack treatments and parents taking desperate and harmful measures to “fix” their children. Autism is a spectrum of congenital and neurocognitive variants, and there are no published research data in support of any compound that can influence its course.” Alicia Danforth, PhD
  • Please do not administer these drugs to children with autism. It would be highly unethical to do so. 
  • There are only two researchers investigating where MDMA and autism meet – Alicia Danforth PhD and Dr. Charlie Grob. A scientific paper will likely be available on this in the next few months. Expect to see more here. 
  • These drugs have not been shown to cure or treat autism, but in some cases, just like with neuro-typical individuals, some have seen meaningful changes. 
  • Even if changes are noticed the person is still autistic no matter how many high doses of psychedelics they take.
  • Obtaining pure drugs is very difficult if not impossible in black markets.
    • Verifying purity will require the resources of mass spectrometry from organizations offering these services like Energy Control or Ecstasy Data
    • Providing unsafe, dirty or compromised drugs to people can cause serious harm or death.
  • If you are planning to use MDMA to alleviate some suffering on your own, please wait or don’t.
  • Do substantial research and have skilled people available to help. 

Thanks to Alicia Danforth for helping us understand the nuance’s in this area.


..autism is a genetically determined cognitive variant. It’s pervasive, and it affects the whole person, not just the brain. No chemical compound has been shown to treat, cure, or alter the course of autism. However, for some people, substances like MDMA can help them manage symptoms such as anxiety, social anxiety, and trauma effects. – Alicia Danforth, Ph.D


In this episode, Joe sits down with Aaron Orsini, Author of Autism on Acid. In this powerful episode, Aaron shares his moving story on how LSD gave him life-saving relief from his struggles with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

3 Key Points:

  1. Aaron spent the first 20+ years of his life suffering from the struggles of Autism Spectrum Disorder. He changed his life in an unexpected way through the use of LSD.
  2. LSD gave Aaron the emotional installation of perception to see the stimuli in life that he had been blind from because of his disorder.
  3. Aaron is the author of the book, Autism on Acid, a self told story on his autistic perceptions before, during and after his LSD experience. He goes into great depth on his experience in the show.

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Show Notes

About Aaron

  • A large part of his psychedelic journey stems from his Autism
  • His diagnosis didn’t affect him in school so much as it affected him in his adult years with socialization
  • His childhood friends were more based on similar shared activities
  • When he was thrusted into more social situations, he had more issues with non-repetitive and non-scheduled socialization
    • He was anxious in the idea that he would go into avoidance, he wasn’t very afraid, just more confused
    • Most of his knowledge was based on repetition and memorization, it was harder to navigate new or unique social scenarios
    • Social vertigo is how he described his experience
  • His doctor told him to read some books, and he felt like he was reading a journal on his own life

A Transition Point

  • Aaron left his job
    • A relationship he was in ended
    • A friend of his was killed by a drunk driver
  • He was in a dark place, and he wanted to retreat
    • He didn’t know what he needed, he just wanted to leave
  • He got a backpack and a bike and headed west toward California
  • He had an opportunity to try LSD
    • He thought it was going to be an escape, and it ended up being the most involved experience of his life
    • He sat on a tree stump in a wooded area, finally noticing everything that had been there his whole life that he hadn’t seen before
    • He saw the beauty in literally being alive
    • He sat there and cried for an hour or two, it was a lot
  • Aaron eventually got up, and started walking and saw some people walking and he had an urge to say hello, so he did, and they said “hello, how are you” back
    • He describes it as a sensation of a child riding a bike for the first time
    • Them saying “hello, how are you” to him, was the first time he experienced someone saying hello to him and him feeling it
    • It was like a def person getting a cochlear implant and hearing for the first time
    • It kick started his exploration of the world around him

Integration

  • His LSD experience was about 6 years ago, and he didn’t know much about LSD at the time
    • He didn’t know what to do with his experience
  • In the beginning, he felt as if he would go into it, see everything very clearly, and then back out of it again, and things felt more muted and ‘blurry’
    • I was utilizing LSD, not for a sub-perceptive, metabolic effect, I was going for a supra-perceptive effect” – Aaron
  • Aaron was taking at or slightly above the threshold dose amount (20-50micrograms)
    • For someone who already had sensitivity issues, it was very apparent when he would take ‘too much’
  • In no way is he advocating someone to repeat what he has done, he wants it more to spark interest in researchers to find more data on this in the hopes to find relief for others

Emotional Installation

  • LSD has helped me understand myself and embrace that” – Aaron
  • Aaron said he’s willing to take a risk to not be anonymous, because it’s not some simple thing, it’s so important, it’s the most important thing to him
  • He gets emails all the time saying the same thing has happened to them, but they want to stay anonymous
  • Aaron says it has changed his relationships with his loved ones, the fact that he has this new depth of feeling has changed his relationships dramatically
  • The main treatments for kids with autism was to help the caretaker, to help the child not fidget when they sleep
    • Aaron says he needed to fidget, he needed to squirm around
    • “If you can’t hear, and someone is telling you over and over again ‘listen, listen, listen’, how are you going to begin to listen? That’s the void that LSD filled.” – Aaron
  • He fell in love with parts of himself that he didn’t get a chance to before
  • Every other form of therapy was coming from the outside and telling him what to feel, LSD was the only therapy that came from the inside
  • He mentions a quote from a documentary on someone who used truffles to help them, “Truffles installed emotionality in me”

Hope for Research

  • There were studies done with LSD on autistic children in hospital settings before the drug prohibition
    • The results showed the kids changing so fast and so effectively
  • It’s a difficult topic, ASD research in general is heavily funded by the government
  • Autism aside, the older you are in life, the more surprised you are when that veil is lifted for a moment
  • The risk that he is taking is nothing compared to the significance of what good this has a chance of bringing
  • It’s not a desired risk to come out as an Autistic person, and especially as one who has taken controlled substances to heal from it

Links

Autism on Acid: How LSD Helped Me Bridge The ASD-Neurotypical Divide  

Website 

Email: autismonacid@gmail.com


About Aaron Orsini

Aaron Paul Orsini is a writer, public speaker, and survivor of a decades-long battle with clinical depression resulting from social isolation, mental rumination, and hypo-sensitivity issues common in autistic individuals. When Aaron was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of 23, he took comfort in receiving a diagnosis but remained deeply depressed as a result of seeing himself as broken and blind; someone who just couldn’t and wouldn’t “get it”. But then came his first experience with LSD, during which he became intuitively aware of the very stimuli he’d been incapable of perceiving throughout his life. Thanks to LSD—and a yet-to-be-fully-understood combination of chemically-induced synesthesia and associated fluctuations in intrinsic functional connectivity within the salience and default mode networks, Aaron can now perceive critical social cues embedded in facial expressions, speaking tones, and body language, which in turn means he feels fully connected to the human experience, and fully capable of navigating the social and emotional landscapes of life.

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