How Psychedelics Like LSD Can Help or Harm Autism

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The use of psychedelic drugs like LSD to help people with intellectual disabilities has been gaining popularity recently. However, there is still a lot left unknown about how these substances can affect individuals on the spectrum.

Some are turning to LSD as a possible way to improve the quality of life for those with autism. However, there is not enough evidence yet on whether or not it’s safe and if this method will actually help people on the spectrum.


The use of psychedelic substances for therapeutic or medical reasons is fraught with controversy.

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and other restricted chemicals are designated by the Drug Enforcement Administration as Schedule I controlled substances (DEA). In the United States, there are no accepted therapeutic applications for Schedule I medicines. This isn’t to say that they don’t have some therapeutic properties. Some medications in this class have been demonstrated to do so in studies.

Psychedelic medications have long been investigated for their possible advantages, particularly in those suffering from mental illnesses and brain diseases such as schizophrenia and autism. While the FDA has not approved LSD for the treatment of autism, some study suggests that it may have some beneficial effects on the brains of autistic people.

Psychedelics & the Brain

Psychedelic chemicals, sometimes known as hallucinogens, alter people’s perceptions of themselves and their environment. These medications have an effect on the way people think and feel. They are very potent mind-altering substances that are often categorized as illicit narcotics.

The following are examples of psychedelic drugs:

These medicines alter the way the brain communicates by interfering with serotonin transmission. This is a substance produced by the brain that aids in the regulation of emotions and moods.

Psychedelic substances may produce chronological, sensory, and spatial distortions. They may cause hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there) and alter one’s perception of the world.

The term “trip” is often used to denote either a happy or terrible experience. Depending on the medicine and dose, it may last anywhere from an hour to up to 12 hours after taking it.

The chemical processes and functions of the brain are disrupted in people with autism. This is where the idea that psychedelic substances might help control the autistic brain emerges.

The ‘60s, Psychedelics & Medical Research

During the 1960s, there was a lot of experimenting, particularly with drugs. One of the most popular was LSD, which could produce psychosis and give insight into how the brain operated. LSD-related medical research, including some supported by the CIA, intended to better understand the relationship between serotonin transmission and its role in mental health issues.

In controlled tests, LSD showed promise since it had minimal negative side effects and was nonaddictive. In 1970, medical research on LSD was suddenly halted in the United States when the drug was classified as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, making it an illegal substance just as it was gaining popularity for recreational usage.

The usage of LSD for therapeutic reasons has resurfaced on the scene. It’s being evaluated as a treatment for:

  • Cancer-related issues.

  • Anxiety over dying.

  • Substance abuse and addiction are two terms that are often used interchangeably.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a kind of anxiety illness that occurs (PTSD).

  • Autism is a condition that affects a wide range of people.

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a kind of obsessive-compul (OCD).

  • Schizophrenia.

The Use of LSD for Autism Treatment Is Controversial

Between the 1960s and 1970s, the use of LSD for autism was researched, and it was shown to have some benefits. These investigations, on the other hand, were not carefully controlled. They were founded on the erroneous assumption that no other therapy for autism had succeeded – an assumption that is fundamentally incorrect.

LSD is making a comeback as a possible treatment for autism, while research on the subject are mixed.

While the validity of these early trials is debatable, they did suggest that LSD benefited children aged 6 to 10 with severe autism who were resistant to conventional treatments. The effects of LSD seemed to be:

Autism is a condition that causes problems with social interaction, communication, and emotional awareness. Adults with Asperger’s syndrome (a moderate form of autism) have reduced amounts of serotonin receptors, according to studies. Because LSD interacts with brain serotonin transmission, it may be able to assist bridge this gap, improving brain connectedness in those with high-functioning autism. It may also help with social interactions and a person’s capacity to comprehend and relate to their surroundings.

In persons on the high-functioning end of the spectrum, anecdotal accounts of LSD usage in the autistic community include relaxation, better sleep patterns, reduced dissociation, and more positive social ties with peers. People with autism think in unusual ways, and LSD may help them arrange their ideas in a manner that is more comprehensible to neurotypical people.

LSD did not enhance speech patterns in profoundly autistic youngsters as expected in early research. They also showed signs of increased anxiety and more extreme mood fluctuations.

LSD is a drug that is difficult to predict. The emotional condition in which a person is when they take the medicine might have an influence on how they react to it.

Mushrooms with Magical Properties

Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic drug taken from specific types of mushrooms. It can cause distortions in behavior, mood, and perceptions. People often have what they refer to as a “spiritual experience” while on Mushrooms with Magical Properties.

When taken under controlled conditions, psilocybin has been proven to alter the way various areas of the brain interact with one another, perhaps increasing network connections.

Psilocybin has been shown to decrease anxiety and depression in cancer patients who have terminal diagnoses. It has also been proven effective in treating nicotine addiction. Psychedelics are further being considered to help with some symptoms of Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a kind of obsessive-compul (OCD).

Psilocybin, like LSD, is classified as a serotonin receptor agonist. This implies it has the potential to improve mood and social interaction in people with autism who have less of these receptors. As a hallucinogenic substance, it may be impossible to foresee whether one would have a happy or terrible experience.

Autism and MDMA

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethampethamine), often known as ecstasy, is a psychoactive substance that promotes empathy, feelings of intimacy, and increased sensory sensations.

MDMA has been proven to have prosocial properties in studies on its usage. It may improve a person’s capacity to connect socially and emotionally by making them feel more caring toward others. It is thought to function by reducing the influence of unpleasant emotions and so increasing social interaction.

MDMA makes it difficult to perceive unpleasant feelings in others, such as worry or terror. People with autism who are high on MDMA may act in ways that seem dangerous to others without trying to. Autism sufferers already struggle to read the people around them. MDMA may put them at danger by further reducing this capacity.

Because they are expected to comply socially and lack the same social and emotional awareness as their classmates, high-functioning autistic individuals often experience social anxiety. There are no FDA-approved drugs to treat this condition, however MDMA has shown to be effective in certain cases, but its usage is very contentious.

A clinical investigation found that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy (the use of MDMA in a therapeutic context) may help high-functioning autistic people with social anxiety. To replicate and further explore the research into using MDMA to treat social anxiety in autism, larger studies are needed.

Psychotherapy using Psychedelics (PAP)

There are some indications that utilizing psychedelic substances during therapy sessions, such as ketamine, LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA, may have some practical and therapeutic effects. The use of these medicines for medical or therapeutic reasons is extremely contentious in the United States, where they are still classified as illicit narcotics. This makes it difficult to gain approval or the resources necessary to perform appropriate research on the use of innovative psychoactive medicines for therapeutic reasons.

Psychedelic drugs, when used as a part of a therapy program, have shown some positive results for treating mental health disorders in fewer sessions than traditional therapeutic techniques alone. Psychotherapy using Psychedelics (PAP) typically includes therapy sessions before and after drugs are administered as well as controlled dosages in a secure environment during therapy sessions.

Due to cultural and social restraints, several experts lament a halt in the development of innovative therapies, including the use of psychedelics.

Schedule I Drugs’ Risks

Schedule I medicines are prohibited by law. Possession and usage of these substances may result in significant criminal and legal consequences.

Psychedelic substances are also quite unpredictable. Each “trip” or experience may be distinct from the previous one. Even if a psychedelic substance seems to assist one time, it may not be as effective the following time it is used.

Illicit drugs are unregulated, and there is no way to know what you’re receiving. MDMA is often combined with other harmful drugs, making it difficult to tell whether the drug you’re taking is indeed what it claims to be. This may put you at danger of overdosing and other health problems, including death.

Physical side effects of hallucinogenic substances include increased heart rate, body temperature, and a mental break from reality, which may result in panic, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, and heightened risk-taking behaviors.

Because the brain is still growing, using mind-altering chemicals before maturity may be very dangerous. While hallucinogens such as LSD and psilocybin are not addictive, MDMA is. A drug use disorder may develop as a result of repeated usage.

There is little research on the use of psychedelic substances to treat autistic symptoms. There is currently little evidence to support or reject the usage of these drugs. More research is required to fully comprehend the potential advantages of these medicines, as well as the potential negative effects and risk concerns.

Taking any illicit substance is, in the end, never a wise choice. There is promise in this area, but there are too many unknowns when it comes to psychedelics like LSD and autism until further study is done.


Abuse-inducing substances (2017). The Drug Enforcement Administration is in charge of drug enforcement (DEA).

Facts about hallucinogens. (Updated April 2019) The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a federally funded research organization (NIDA).

Historical Perspective on Psychiatric Experimentation with LSD. In June of 2005, The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry is a peer-reviewed journal published in Canada.

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, a Dark Classic in Chemical Neuroscience (LSD). (Updated in October 2018). Chemical Neuroscience is a journal published by the American Chemical Society.

From Hoffman to the Haight Ashbury, and Into the Future: Lysergic Acid Diethylamide’s Past and Future (From January to March of 2014). The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs is a publication dedicated to the study of psychoactive drugs.

Back in the 1960s, LSD was used to treat autism (January- March 2007). Developmental Neurorehabilitation is a term that refers to the process of rehabilitating

Can Acid Help With Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome Social Isolation? (In January of 2020) Plasticity of the mind.

In Vivo SPECT Study of Cortical Serotonin 5-HT 2A Receptor Binding and Social Communication in Adults With Asperger’s Syndrome. (May 6, 2006) The American Journal of Psychiatry is a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Psychia

‘This Feels Like Home’: How Psychedelics Aided the Breakout of an Autistic Woman (In February of 2020) Psychedelic Times is a collection of short stories about psychedelic experiences.

Children with Autism and Schizophrenia. An Investigation of D-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD-25). (1962). General Psychiatry Archives.

Exploring the Possibilities of Psilocybin. (Summer 2017). Hopkins Brain Wise is an acronym that stands for “Hopkins Brain Wise

Is ecstasy a so-called “empathogen”? Effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine on Prosocial Feelings and Emotional State Identification in Others (2010, October). Biological Psychiatry is a branch of psychiatry that deals with biological issues.

It was a bad trip (February 2011). Spectrum.

Treatment of Social Anxiety in Autistic Adults with MDMA-Assisted Therapy. (2020). The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study of psychedel (MAPS).

A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study on the Effects of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy on Social Anxiety in Autistic Adults. (Updated November 2018). Psychopharmacology.

A Paradigm Shift in Psychiatric Research and Development: Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy (July 2018). Pharmacology’s New Frontiers

A Review of Illicit Substance Use During Pregnancy. (2009, September). Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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