A Doctor’s Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences, Rochester: Park Street Press, 2001
DMT—The Spirit Molecule by Dr. Rick Strassman is a courageous book written by an American doctor, one who really stepped out of the league and looked over the fence—with the result to never return to where he was coming from. I was touched by this book, because the author vividly describes not only his scientific discoveries, but also how he got there. You will be moved by this man’s honesty and endurance, and by the many unconventional, or even revolutionary ideas he expresses …
When a Terence McKenna writes such things people tend to easily accept that as ‘witty psychedelic literature,’ but it’s a big difference when a medical doctor writes about what is considered by many as ‘forbidden research.’ It needs courage to pronounce heretic views of this kind from the pulpit of an accredited doctor, because it can result in professional ruin. To begin with, he writes as a general introduction on the subject of psychedelics:
Psychedelics were the growth area in psychiatry for over twenty years. Now young physicians and psychiatrists know nearly nothing about them./27
In his concise overview over the history of using psychedelic compounds in psychiatry, Dr. Strassman gives much food for thought that supports the alternative position:
Psychedelic research was a bruising and humiliating chapter in the lives of many of its most prominent scientists. These were the best and the brightest psychiatrists of their generation. Many of today’s most respected North American and European psychiatric researchers, in both academics and industry, now chairmen of major university departments and presidents of national psychiatric organizations, began their professional lives investigating psychedelic drugs. The most powerful members of their profession discovered that science, data, and reason were incapable of defending their research against the enactment of repressive laws fueled by opinion, emotion, and the media./28
The late Willis Harman possessed one of the most discerning minds to apply itself to the field of psychedelic research. Earlier in his career, he and his colleagues administered LSD to scientists in an attempt to bolster their problem-solving skills. They found that LSD demonstrated a powerfully beneficial effect on creativity./XVI
Dr. Strassman makes a good additional point stating that the mere absence of academic attention for any given subject of research should not keep curious scientists from investigating in the matter to find out what is true, and what is myth:
The lack of academic attention to psychedelics may have been partly due to the absence of any ongoing human research. However, it is common for physicians-in-training to learn about previously popular theories and techniques, even if they no longer are in favor. The psychedelic drugs, however, seemed to have dropped out of all psychiatric dialogue. /28
A matter of research that has hardly been tackled yet by modern science is DMT-induced trance that is brought about by the human body’s own DMT production. Dr. Strassman, based on a lot of earlier research that he cites in the notes, is convinced that the pineal gland produces endogenous DMT. It is true that psychedelics explorers such as Terence McKenna have stressed the fact that DMT has strong affinities with the human organism in that it’s a compound that the human body produces itself.
The similarities between naturally occurring and DMT-induced phenomena support my suggestion that spontaneously occurring ‘psychedelic’ experiences are mediated by elevated levels of endogenous DMT./311
To summarize, this book is highly recommended for the serious researcher and the non-scientist interested in revolutionary new insights from cutting-edge research that sooner or later will lead to paradigm shift in psychology, health care and mental health care.