Strassman Rick

20. května 2011 v 20:42 | MsCzechs |  Transpersonální psychologové a psychonauti
Rick Strassman MD performed the first new human studies with psychedelic drugs in the US in over 20 years. His research involved the powerful naturally-occurring compound, DMT - N,N-dimethyltryptamine. Led to this substance through his earlier study of the pineal gland as a potential biological locus for spiritual experiences, he administered several hundred doses of DMT to approximately 60 volunteers between 1990 and 1995. He wrote about this research in the popular book, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, now in its 15th printing.

With three distinguished collaborators, he co-authored Inner Paths to Outer Space, which looks more carefully at the common "other worlds" experience that volunteers frequently reported during his research.

Since 1996, Dr. Strassman has been exploring models for the DMT effect focusing primarily on the Old Testament concept of prophecy. Prophecy is a spiritual experience which takes into account the apparently external, free-standing nature of the DMT "worlds," in which one's sense of self is highly preserved and interactive. The Old Testament concept of prophecy provides an alternative to other models that borrow more heavily from Eastern religious systems, and those of Latin American shamanism. The notion of prophecy also deals directly with ethical and moral concerns, adding a crucial element to our ability to understand and integrate the content of the psychedelic experience. He is developing these ideas in his next book, The Soul of Prophecy, due to appear in 2011.

Dr. Strassman is currently Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He is also President and co-founder of the Cottonwood Research Foundation, which is dedicated to consciousness research.

The Movie

THE SPIRIT MOLECULE weaves an account of Dr. Rick Strassman's groundbreaking DMT research through a multifaceted approach to this intriguing hallucinogen found in the human brain and hundreds of plants, including the sacred Amazonian brew, ayahuasca. Utilizing interviews with a variety of experts to explain their thoughts and experiences with DMT, and ayahuasca, within their respective fields, and discussions with Strassman's research volunteers, brings to life the awesome effects of this compound, and introduces us to far-reaching theories regarding its role in human consciousness.

Several themes explored include possible roles for endogenous DMT, its theoretical role in near-death and birth experiences, alien-abduction experiences, and spiritual states, both within Eastern concepts of enlightenment and Western ideas regarding prophecy, and the uncanny similarities in Biblical prophetic texts describing DMT-like experiences. Our expert contributors offer a comprehensive collection of information, opinions, and speculation about indigenous use of DMT, the history and future of psychedelics within the research community, and within the larger social matrix, and current DMT research. All this, to help us understand the nature of the DMT experience, and its role in human culture and evolution.
The subtle stimulating combination of science, spirituality, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy within the film's approach sheds light on an array of ideas that could considerably alter the way humans understand the universe and their relationship to it.

Rick Strassman´s overview:

In 1990, I began the first new human research with psychedelic, or 
hallucinogenic, drugs in the United States in over 20 years. These
studies investigated the effects of N, N-dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, an
extremely short-acting and powerful psychedelic. During the project's
five years, I administered approximately 400 doses of DMT to 60 human
volunteers. This research took place at the University of New Mexico's
School of Medicine in Albuquerque, where I was tenured Associate
Professor of Psychiatry. I was drawn to DMT because of its presence in
all of our bodies. Perhaps excessive DMT production, coming from the
mysterious pineal gland, was involved in naturally occurring
"psychedelic" states. These might include birth, death and near-death,
psychosis, and mystical experiences. Only later, while the study was
well under way, did I also begin considering DMT's role in the "alien
abduction" experience. The DMT project was founded on cutting edge brain
science, especially the psychopharmacology of serotonin. However, my
own background powerfully affected how we prepared people for, and
supervised, their drug sessions. One of these was a decades-long
relationship with a Zen Buddhist training monastery.

The Spirit Molecule examines what we know about psychedelic drugs in 
general, and DMT in particular. It then traces the DMT research project
from its earliest intimations through the maze of committees and review
boards to its actual performance.

Our research subjects were healthy volunteers. The studies were not 
intended to be therapeutic, although all of us believed in the
potentially beneficial properties of psychedelic drugs. The project
generated a wealth of biological and psychological data, much of which I
have already published in the scientific literature. On the other hand,
I have written nearly nothing about volunteers' stories. I hope these
many excerpts from over 1000 pages of my bedside notes provide a sense
of the remarkable emotional, psychological, and spiritual effects of
this chemical.

Problems inside and outside of the research environment led to the 
end of these studies in 1995. Despite the difficulties we encountered, I
am optimistic about the possible benefits of the controlled use of
these drugs. Based upon what we learned in the New Mexico research, I
offer a wide-ranging vision for DMT's role in our lives, and conclude by
proposing a research agenda and optimal setting for future work with
DMT and related drugs.

The late Willis Harman possessed one of the most discerning minds to 
apply himself to the field of psychedelic research. Willis, earlier in
his career, had published the first and only scientific study using
psychedelics to enhance the creative process. When I met him 30 years
later in 1994, he was president of Institute of Noetic Sciences, an
organization founded by the sixth man to walk on the moon, Edgar
Mitchell. Mitchell's mystical experience, stimulated by viewing the
Earth on his return home, inspired him to study phenomenon outside the
range of traditional science, which nevertheless might yield to a
broader application of the scientific method.

During a long walk together along the central California coastal 
range one day, he said firmly, "At the very least, we must enlarge the
discussion about psychedelics." It is in response to his request that I
include highly speculative ideas and my own personal motivations for
performing this research. This approach will satisfy no one in every
respect. There is intense friction between what we know intellectually
or even intuitively, and what we experience with the aid of DMT. As one
of our volunteers exclaimed after his first high dose session, "Wow! I
never expected that!" Or, as Dogen, a thirteenth century Japanese
Buddhist teacher said, "We must always be disturbed by the truth."
Enthusiasts of the psychedelic drug culture may dislike the conclusion
that DMT has no beneficial effects in and of itself; rather, the context
in which people take them is at least as important. Proponents of drug
control may condemn what they read as encouragement to take psychedelic
drugs and a glorification of the DMT experience. Practitioners and
spokespersons of traditional religions may reject the suggestion that
spiritual states can be accessed, and mystical information gained,
through drugs. Those who have undergone "alien abduction," and their
advocates, may interpret as a challenge to the "reality" of their
experiences my suggestion that DMT is intimately involved in these
events. Opponents and supporters of abortion rights may find fault with
my proposal that pineal DMT release at 49 days after conception marks
the entrance of the spirit into the fetus.

Brain researchers may object to the suggestion that DMT affects the 
brain's ability to receive information, rather than generating those
perceptions themselves. They also may dismiss the proposal that DMT can
allow our brains to perceive dark matter or parallel universes, realms
of existence inhabited by conscious entities.

However, if I did not describe all the ideas behind the DMT studies, 
and the entire range of our volunteers' experiences, I would not be
telling the entire tale. At best, The Spirit Molecule would have little
effect on the scope of discussion about psychedelics; at worst, the book
would reduce the field. Nor would I be honest if I did not share my own
speculations and theories based upon decades of study, and listening to
hundreds of DMT sessions. This is why I did it. This is what happened.
This is what I think about it. It is so important for us to understand
consciousness. It is just as important to place psychedelic drugs in
general, and DMT in particular, into a personal and cultural matrix
where we do the most good, and the least harm. In such a wide-open area
of inquiry, it is best that we reject no ideas until we actually
disprove them. It is in the interest of enlarging the discussion about
psychedelic drugs that I've written The Spirit Molecule.

interview from May 3

Rick´s website


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