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DMT: The Spirit Molecule

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  4,897 Ratings  ·  271 Reviews
s/t: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death & Mystical Experiences. Summary: A clinical psychiatrist explores the effects of DMT: A behind-the-scenes look at the cutting edge of psychedelic research.
From 1990-95 Dr Rick Strassman conducted US Government-approved & funded clinical research at the Univ. of NM. He injected 60 volunteers with
Paperback, 1st , 363 pages
Published December 1st 2000 by Park Street Press
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Feb 16, 2012 tim rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. In 1990, Dr. Rick Strassman succeeded in reinstating the first federally-approved study on a psychedelic substance in the U.S. since the 1960s. Not only did Dr. Strassman find a way through the impossibly long and thorny maze of contradicting laws and regulations, but the psychedelic compound he selected for his study was none other than dimethyltyptamine (DMT), one of the most powerful psychedelics ever known. In addition to his scient ...more
Nov 27, 2012 Nathan rated it it was ok
Let down by my "high" expectations. HEY-OH.

OK. Here's the problem: Strassman simply does not give enough to the scientists. Maybe his intention was to collect a bunch of case studies to show the reoccurring themes induced in the minds of those under the influence of DMT, but I walked away from a rather long book with only a handful of facts. No, I wasn't looking for a full description about what it's like to take the drug; I realize that explaining the experience of seeing a color requires a poe
Dec 04, 2007 Erica rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: psychedelic medicine research interest
It really is a shame that so much constraint is put on the research community when it comes to medicinal research. When something like DMT, an endogenous molecule that can even be found out in the yard is put under so much control one can only marvel as to why? The research Strassman does with DMT is very interesting, not only is it a great insight into the process of medicinal research but also an aspect of our bodies that remains undiscovered and/or mysterious. What causes the vividness of dre ...more
Erik Graff
Mar 22, 2012 Erik Graff rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Michael Miley
Shelves: psychology
This one came in the mail as a gift from a friend, a very, very good friend as it was exactly what I wanted most to read at the time.

Despite the prohibition of research on naturally occuring psychotropic drugs--as opposed to patented pharmaceuticals!--instituted by the Nixon administration in the seventies and the still continuing and unwinnable war on drugs enforced by the DEA et alia, some people continue to be seriously interested in the implications of such altered states of consciousness as
Aug 27, 2016 Sally rated it liked it
In describing his scientific study of DMT (the hallucinogen prominent in many Amazonian psychedelics) in a university hospital in the 1990s, the author discusses its chemical properties, the process by which the study was approved, how the study was run in detail, the psychological effects and experiences, and concludes that in itself the drug is not beneficial, but that all depends upon the context in which it is taken and what the person involved brings to the experience. To me it was especial ...more
May 08, 2009 Red rated it really liked it
No question about it, this book changed my life. The very fact that the human body produces N,N-DMT, one of the most powerful hallucinogens that the West is aware of, absolutely changed my perspectives about spirituality and religion. I had been aware of issues like temporal lobe epilepsy and other conditions that can produce visionary states, but the fact that every healthy human produces DMT (in varying quantities) completely complicated my atheistic worldview. No longer do I think of visionar ...more
Aug 26, 2014 Travis rated it it was ok
It's good when it's about the science, bad when it's about how DMT gives you an antenna to perceive dark
Dec 19, 2007 Brad rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adventurers of the mind, consciousness
In DMT: The Spirit Molecule, Strassman tells the story of how he came to be interested in psychedelics as neurochemcial tools to unlocking the mind and consciousness and the subsequent research that he conducted to explore the one chemical he theorized was central to it all: DMT. In the first part of the book he details the harrowing experience of gaining approval from various review boards, funding sources, and ultimately the DEA and FDA - who would be the ultimate decision makers in whether he ...more
Lee Harmon
May 05, 2012 Lee Harmon rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fascinating! Suspend your skepticism for a few hours and enter the incredulous world of Strassman’s research with a powerful hallucinogen. DMT, sort of a fast-acting LSD, was used in DEA-approved clinical research at the University of New Mexico between 1990 and 1995, where volunteers repeatedly described experiences similar to near-death and alien abduction reports.

The question is this: Are the experiences entirely psychedelic, or is the drug allowing volunteers to tap into another r
Jun 08, 2008 Huntie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: curious and open minds
I'm reading this book right now, and it's fascinating. As a psychology student (sort of), I'm particularly interested in how psychedelics work with our brains to help facilitate better therapy as well as to treat some medical problems. DMT is probably the most interesting of these chemicals, because it's something that is found in our own bodies (and also practically everywhere if you've read any Shulgin) yet its benefits have been downplayed like crazy. What I liked best about this book were al ...more
May 20, 2014 Marjan rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, chaos, shamanism
Despite very new-age cover this book is far from being detached from our reality. In fact; it is a very hard core medical description (for wider audience, of course) of a very curious experiment that took place in a hospital in New Mexico, with all the milligrams per kilogram, seconds and Latin names you'd expect from such report. Again; for public audience, but nothing seems to be sacrificed in the pursuit of intelligibility.

The first part will take you into the process of preparations from ne
Aug 02, 2014 Mr_wormwood rated it liked it
"We read about Ken's terrifying encounter with sexually violent crocodiles. A few months after that, i called him to see how things were. He sounded surprisingly philosophical"

These three sentences alone made this book worth reading.
However,it certainly would of benefited from some rigorous editing. Also the early chapters where Strassman cheerfully throws all scientific rigor out the window and free associates wildly like some deranged mystic left a bad taste in my mouth. Really?... the pineal
Mar 27, 2011 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating book about psychedelic research on dimethyltryptamine, a chemical that naturally occurs in our bodies and is likely produced in the pineal gland. The book takes us through the authors research projects from start to finish, including the painstaking process of getting the research approved by various review boards and actually obtaining DMT by navigating a labyrinth of bureaucracies from the DEA to the FDA. Strassman calls DMT the spirit molecule because in his research he ...more
Irene Mcintyre
Nov 30, 2016 Irene Mcintyre rated it did not like it
Shelves: investigative, boring
Takes a loooong time to get going and very repetitive, boring, and frustrating to read so far. Some seriously strange and interesting stuff toward the middle and ending though. Really there are only a few interesting chapters. I'd say 12-16. I don't know how this book has an over 4 star overall rating. Maybe my expectations were just too high for this one.
Leonidas Kaplan
Dec 07, 2014 Leonidas Kaplan rated it it was amazing
DMT: The Spirit Molecule
Rick Strassman, M.D.

DMT, the most psychedelic drug known to man, which is actually produced in the human brain and in almost every living organism. How did I come about learning of this molecule?

Several years ago, my work colleague played Terrence McKenna's theory on the evolution of man. Specifically how we co-evolved with psychedelic mushrooms which in high doses developed a higher level of consciousness for primates, and ultimately us.

Gradually, I delved deeper into Mc
Dec 19, 2009 No rated it it was amazing
DMT Notes:

Written by Rick Strassman, M.D., a Jew turned Buddhist.

"Dimethyltryptamine, an extemely short-acting and powerful psychedelic."

"Pineal gland, a tiny organ situated in the center of our brains."

Well written and easy to read.

"Everything in the brain is paired, meaning that they have left and right counterparts. The only unpaired organ deep within the brain is the pineal gland."

"The human pineal gland becomes visible in the developing fetus at seven weeks, or forty-nine days, after concep
Artiom Karsiuk
Jul 02, 2014 Artiom Karsiuk rated it liked it
I have an older brother. He was/is a witty guy with street smarts - not dumb by any stretch of the imagination. In many ways, I looked up to him, but in his teen years he fell head-first into heroin and, as of this moment, never came back for his "happily ever after". Since then I have been fascinated with drugs. Fascinated, because that was my first realization that if they could hook him, I can fall into the same trap just as easily if I don't mind my Ps and Qs. So around that age I vowed to r ...more
John Martindale
Wow, what an interesting book. To hear that the body naturally produces DMT, which is quite a powerful psychedelic drug, is rather fascinating when you think about it. It may be that an excess of this chemical is released into the brain during high stress moments, and this may possibly go some way in explaining some out of body and mystical experience.
Now what was truly bizarre was all the cases in this study, where people heard a loud vibrating sound until suddenly they were somewhere else, s
May 28, 2014 Kenan rated it it was amazing
Rick Strassman, a somewhat occult and disputed psychiatrist, goes on a quest to prove how hallucinogenic substance DMT can help revolutionize psychiatry. It came as a revelation to me to find out how this molecule is commonly found and stored in every human being so it could be released in near death situations. No wonder so many people see the light or start talking gibberish while getting closer to the end.
Nevertheless, doctor is assured that this molecule can unlock consciousness and give so
Nicholas Pateman
Sep 12, 2011 Nicholas Pateman rated it really liked it
I got this book in order to research a sleeping disorder I have which I had read to be very similar to the experiences of DMT through sprititual practice. For those of you who don't know, DMT is a naturally occuring hallucinogen that occurs in every living being, including plants, the purpose behind it is currently unknown, but seemingly extremely important for our consciousness and perception.

The book itself is highly interesting and kept me reading, fully engrossed until the very end. It follo
Read It
Aug 27, 2014 Read It rated it it was amazing
Very intriguing. Great job at explaining what DMT is and what it does to the Consciousness and you be the judge if you believe everybody stories. Long story made very short... In an altered state of consciousness when DMT is being used, Everyone's Consciousness made contact with some type of alien entity is different world. Was it a parallel world? It lasted around 3 minutes but the results where hard to imagine and profound with most likely some truth to it. Most Volunteers made contact with al ...more
Jun 09, 2014 Derwin rated it really liked it
Hmm not sure what to say. Very interesting. I have never and probably will never experience this but I loved reading about it. I didn't expect it to include so much detail of preparing for the research (obtaining grants, DEA/FDA approval, etc) but it was certainly enjoyable to read about different experiences and see the similarities in them. I'm glad I read this right after The Holographic Universe because there were many similar topics. Are they caused by DMT? Are they a hologram? Are they a c ...more
May 28, 2014 Aaron rated it liked it
Very interesting read. The fact that psychedelics are so understudied and so easily dismissed in the scientific paradigm makes finding true scientific literature unpolluted with new-agey terms difficult. Strassman deftly straddles the boundaries between hard science and fringe science; showing us the awesome power of DMT as an agent of change and healing without betraying the scientific method. The discussions towards the end on the implicated evolutionary purpose of DMT, the reality of contact ...more
David E.P.
Jul 02, 2012 David E.P. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This book provided more validation in personal experiences I've had. I have yet to experience dosing myself with DMT, but have had DMT experiences probably due to larger amounts of DMT being released in my brain than most people experience. I listened to an interview with Rick Strassman and remember him saying that after concluding his experiments, he felt as if he had tapped into a "Pandora's Box" situation with these other entities that a large number of the case subjects reported having inter ...more
Aug 05, 2011 G.K. rated it liked it
This is an extremely interesting book that anyone who works in psychiatry or related fields should read. The experience accounts are the most fascinating part of the book and good reading for a general audience, but unfortunately a good part of the book is about government protocols and red tape that the author had to battle with in order to do this study, so it can get a little dry and difficult to read in places. The conclusion also left more questions than answers for me, but with this topic ...more
Dave Thompson
Sep 15, 2014 Dave Thompson rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Incredible. Mind-blowing. This book will challenge your assumptions about life, death, consciousness, even the great unkown of outerspace. Is DMT a drug? Is it a tool? Is it the secret of life? After reading this boomk, I think I vote for all of the above.

Someday the serious research of DMT started by Dr. Rick Strassman will continue. Until then, fundamentalists and evangelicals will continue to try to sweep this kind of research under the rug. Sadly, this may take many years, but time
Steven Miller
Jun 04, 2011 Steven Miller rated it it was amazing
Clinical studies from the early 90's on DMT, one of the most powerful naturally occurring psychedelics.

Strassman's hypothesis is that the pineal gland can pump this stuff out, creating what people consider near-death experiences or just general mystical visions. Studies done in the 70's seem to have confirmed the pineal is able to do this and the drug is found in the human body naturally for no apparent reason, but the conditions of its production are a bit of a mystery.

Worth reading for the des
Nov 02, 2011 Jimmus rated it really liked it
I thought the book was dry for the first 1/3 of the book but once it gets to the DMT testing.... OMG @_@ Just the visions they've seen and how they discribe it makes me the book so interesting. The book has these awesome visual moments and you hear personal breakthroughs on the volunteers have while on the drug.

It's kinda comes off as a medical journal but it's kinda heavy with personal opinions and he tends to lead the volunteers on a certain outcome. Interesting book though. If you were inter
Mar 28, 2011 Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. While the author makes some wild speculations, he does a really great job of separating the science from the speculations in his work.

I love the depth and detail he used in describing the scientific process and it was very informative to anyone who might have some interest in the research process involving psychedelics with humans.

I think this book is also very realistic in terms of where research and laws could go in the future. It is neither overly optimistic nor over
Jun 25, 2012 Tomas rated it really liked it
It must be noted that Rick Strassman is a licensed medical doctor... Meanwhile in his book we find ideas like this - DMT enables human brain to act as a quantum computing device allowing DMT user to enter a spiritual portal to a parallel universes inhabited by an intelligent reptilian or insectoid aliens that probe visitor's spiritual body with tools made out of a dark mater...

Long story short - Strassman's research looks like something from Erowid rather than real scientific study.

I'm giving t
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Rick Strassman was born in Los Angeles, California in 1952. He attended public schools in southern California's San Fernando Valley, and graduated from Ulysses S. Grant High School in Van Nuys in 1969. As an undergraduate, he majored in zoology at Pomona College in Claremont California for two years before transferring to Stanford University, where he graduated with departmental honors in biologic ...more
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“In my mind, MDMA is a mild drug. People who prefer it to the typical psychedelics tend not to do well when stressed, either by life or by taking more potent mind-bending drugs. MDMA is what I like to call a “love and light” drug, one that accentuates the positive and minimizes the negative. If only life were so simple.” 3 likes
“Opponents and supporters of abortion rights may find fault with my proposal that a pineal DMT release at forty-nine days after conception marks the entrance of the spirit into the fetus.” 1 likes
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