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135 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXTRAORDINARY RESEARCH INTO CONSCIOUSNESS
The book reveals and analyses Strassman's clinical research into DMT, a plant-derived substance which is also produced by the brain. As such this is one of the most thought-provoking studies on altered states and the nature of consciousness. The volunteers reported an amazing array of positive mystical or frightening hallucinatory experiences including encounters with...
Published on 21 Aug 2003 by Pieter Uys

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a very interesting experiment written in a book
Starts off boring and scientifically technical at first I put it down and didn't pick it up again for 2 years because I was determined to get through the pile of books I gad accumulated. Towards the middle when it tells of the volunteers experience of DMT is when the book really gets interesting but then it goes back to boring 5 technical stuff again. Having said that, I...
Published 5 months ago by sheila


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Reading, 1 April 2009
This review is from: DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences (Paperback)
This book definitely met my expectations if not more. The detailed accounts of Rick Strassman's experiments with DMT are truely amazing to read and leaves you wanting more. I was totally surprised by the sheer amount of hoops and red tape that Rick had to get through in order to initiate the experiments, but thankfully his dedication pulled off. If you're interested in "out of bod experiences", hallucinogens and have spiritual beliefs you; will find this book an eye opener.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important research, 24 July 2009
This review is from: DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences (Paperback)
This is an important book but, like much that is revolutionary, I think there is a lot that is wrong here. But if the author is just 20% right he deserves congratulations. I am not sure that there were sound grounds for restricting subjects to those who have a history of recreational drug use. This could effect the results as there is a definite personality type that takes drugs. My current view is that Strassman is absolutely right about the importance of the pineal gland but possibly places too much emphasis on the DMT molecule in isolation. This is due to the fact that he started out with an assumption regarding psychedelics - and it seems likely to me that the hallucinations are more likely to be unfortunate side effects of the brutal approach rather than the purpose and essence of the natural effect. However, people only learned about the physiology of scuba diving by jumping in and overdosing on depth. Slowly, the patterns did emerge and so they will here.
Great work and a well written book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind-trips into unknown dimensions, 24 Sep 2012
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This review is from: DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences (Paperback)
DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) is a natural hallucinogen produced both by plants in nature and by the human pineal gland. Though shorter-acting (minutes rather than hours) than LSD or mescaline, DMT has similar effects in that it initiates `spiritual', `cosmic consciousness' and other-worldly experiences. It is speculated that one of DMT's natural functions may be the initiation of such religious, transcendent experiences and might, for example, be the source of so-called `near-death experiences.'

Rick Strassman MD was for 10 years a tenured Professor of Psychiatry at The University of New Mexico. A keen advocate of the potential of psychedelic drugs for therapeutic psychiatric use, between 1990-95 Strassman designed and supervised several double-blind clinical trials on the effects of DMT on groups of carefully chosen and supervised volunteers. This book is the full story of this project, from original proposals through dealings with the FDA to gain approval, difficulties in obtaining a medically approved pure source of DMT, agreeing protocols, screening volunteers, trial design, and what the subjects reported having experienced.

Strassman's detailed explanations of the chemistry, biology and psychiatric background to his project occupies roughly the first half of this quite lengthy (345 pages) book, useful for the non-psychiatrist to more thoroughly understand what he is trying to do. However, the most interesting part kicks off about half way through, as the volunteers begin to record their experiences both orally and by filling out lengthy and detailed written questionnaires. For a small minority - even experienced users of hallucinogens - the `screening dose' given to each research subject was enough, and they left the study. The great majority, however, continued with the project and reported some perplexing and indeed astounding experiences.

Many subjects consistently experienced `interactions' with what they variously described as `aliens', `elves' or `others' whom they insisted were real, separate entities and with whom they had meaningful dialogue; not, they insisted, some dream or artefact of the imagination. These entities were described as `waiting for me', `taking charge' or `pleased to see me', and took various forms from humanoid to beings of `light', to on one occasion giant insects and to another subject, `crocodiles.'

It is Strassman's intelligence and open-mindedness in reporting these encounters which is most refreshing. Rather than slavishly following a reductionist scientific paradigm and dismissing the consistently similar experiences of his research subjects as some artefact of the mind under the influence of DMT, he speculates that our current model of reality may be insufficient; that some kind of inter-dimensional interaction between different sentient species might be possible. One is strongly reminded of the intelligent perspectives of Professor John Mack, MD, as expounded in his book `Passport to the Cosmos', and indeed Strassman admits that the consistent findings of his research forced him, reluctantly, to study the alien abduction phenomenon in more detail (something about which he previously knew almost nothing) only to discover many parallels between the reports of serial abductees and those of his research subjects under DMT.

Strassman is a good writer (maybe not a great one though) with a conversational style, and the book contains just the right amount of scientific detail for the intelligent but non-expert reader. His concluding chapters are wide-ranging and cover his personal dealings with Buddhism (the local Buddhist community ultimately rejected his investigations as potentially damaging and `wrong', and this is in itself a very interesting story), reactions from the American psychiatric community to his research, and what the implications for his findings might be.

Though the narrative occasionally drags a little, overall `The Spirit Molecule' is excellent: a deeply though-provoking and 100% original piece of work. The book has a good notes section but no index (which would have been useful), and the only illustrations throughout are molecular diagrams of various hallucinogens on pp32-37. Rick Strassman is to be commended for his courageous persistence in the face of bureaucratic obstacles, resisting and overcoming barriers created by the litigious medical environment in the USA which above all encourages risk-averse behaviour, and his intelligent and open-minded conclusions about what his DMT studies reveal about the nature of reality.

A film has subsequently been made (in 2011) about Strassman's work with DMT, directed by Mitch Schultz and with many of Strassman's research subjects from NM interviewed on camera. Check it out.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Useful in parts, 26 Aug 2014
By 
S. G. Raggett (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences (Paperback)
The most useful aspect of this book is its identification of the effects of DMT and other altered states with binding to, or blockade of, serotonin receptors. This may well give a better insight into the functioning of altered states than the many unconvincing knee jerk explanations that circulate in other parts of the literature. Most of the book concentrates on subjects' reactions to DMT, and its influence may be less profound than other types of altered states. Subjects attitudes to life did not seem to be changed in the same way as for NDE experiences or exposure to psilocybin, although they may still rate DMT as an important experience. The author was very surprised by the high proportion of subjects reporting alien abduction or contact type experiences, something in which he had taken little interest before the start of his DMT experiments. His findings would appear to class alien abduction as a subset of altered experiences, and as such as subset possibly related to DMT.

The main criticism is that the book could be a good deal shorter and more to the point, by cutting out lengthy accounts of beureaucracy, internal politics and uninteresting details of the actual experiments. There could also have been more of an attempt to relate these experiences to altered states as a whole.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 24 Feb 2014
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This review is from: DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences (Paperback)
What an amazing read. This book is fantastic, if you have seen the documentary you MUST read the book too. The documentary and the book are two completely different things, there was SO MUCH in the book that was left out of the documentary, all the good bits. The documentary wasn't even made by Dr Strassmen, they just took some parts of the book and made an attractive movie, which i enjoyed but i would highly recommend the book too.

Having tried DMT myself several times, this book has really helped me understand where the place i visit every time i use DMT is and how i can use these tools to further enhance my consciousness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A psychiatrists research into the effects of DMT, 30 Jan 2014
This review is from: DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences (Paperback)
This book describes a psychiatrist's scientific studies using the psychedelic drug DMT. It is written like a scientific notebook (surely helpful for people who intend to design similar studies), but the author also generously shares his theories, personal thoughts, doubts and hopes as they evolved throughout the years. Thus, it is also a kind of biographic account of Strassman's own development as a clinical researcher facing questions that become increasingly spiritual in nature and illustrates the challenges of studying non-ordinary states of consciousness from a neuro-biological paradigm.
Strassman's main proposal is that DMT, which is naturally released in the human pineal gland, is the biological basis for psychedelic, spiritual experiences at extra-ordinary times in our lives (e.g. birth, (near-)death, deep meditation or psychosis). Therefore, the injection of synthesized DMT mediates similarly profound psychedelic experiences, and the description of these effects form the core of the book.

The book roughly consists of five parts, describing:
1. DMT's properties and its presumed role in human functioning.
2. The history of (psychiatric) research on psychedelics
3. Strassman's personal path and challenges towards conducting his studies
4. Case reports on the effects of DMT by Strassman's study participants
5. Suggestions for further research and the future use of psychedelics e.g. in psychotherapy

In my opinion a must read especially for psychologists and psychiatrists as it (very rationally) covers essential insights into the spectrum of human consciousness generally not taught in universities.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind blowing, but I expected that!, 18 Nov 2013
This review is from: DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences (Paperback)
I had read a little about the subject matter before reading this book so I had an inkling that it would be a great read. Obviously the mysteries of DMT that Strassmann explores are incredible and worthy of a book in themselves, I was surprised at how engaging a read this story was in terms of Strassmann's own trials and tribulations. I expected a great book but it far surpassed all my expectations. Must read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting, 15 Nov 2013
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This review is from: DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences (Paperback)
I found this book very interesting and easy to read. Would recommend it to anyone who is interested in spirituality or even psychedelic drugs as it gives an interesting view on drug taking instead of the usual propaganda.
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5.0 out of 5 stars got it for my boyfriend and he loved it: ), 6 July 2014
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This review is from: DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences (Paperback)
very interesting book, got it for my boyfriend and he loved it :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 July 2014
This review is from: DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences (Paperback)
loved it x
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