Rick Strassman

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Rick Strassman
Born Los Angeles, California

Rick Strassman (born February 8, 1952 in Los Angeles, California, United States [1]) is a medical doctor specialized in psychiatry with a fellowship in clinical psychopharmacology research.[1] Strassman was the first person in the United States after twenty years of intermission to embark on human research with psychedelic, hallucinogenic, or entheogenic substances. During the intermission period, research was restricted by law to animals studies only.

Clinical research in Psychoactives[edit]

Strassman's studies aimed to investigate the effects of N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a powerful entheogen, or psychedelic, that he hypothesizes is produced by the human brain in the pineal gland. DMT is found naturally in various natural sources, and is related to human neurotransmitters such as serotonin and melatonin.

There is speculation involving the role DMT may play in the dream state. Upon entering the REM stage of sleep, minute amounts of DMT are most likely released into the bloodstream after one has fallen asleep. Strassman refers to DMT as the "god molecule" or "spirit molecule" due to many users claiming of contacting non-human or god-like beings under the alkaloid's influence. During the project's five years, he administered approximately 400 doses of DMT to 60 human volunteers. Of the 60 human volunteers who've ingested DMT under Strassman's watch, more than half reported similar experiences. These experiences ranged from profound encounters/interaction with non-human beings to observing highly detailed, self-transforming geometric patterns and other things of similar nature. This research took place at the University of New Mexico's School of Medicine in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he was then tenured Associate Professor of Psychiatry. Dr. Strassman has conjectured that when a person is approaching death or possibly when in a dream state, the pineal gland releases DMT in a relatively large amount, accounting for much of the imagery reported by survivors of near-death experiences.

However, Strassman has not provided much of the explanation for the mechanism's mysterious qualities by which this synthesis could produce levels of DMT that would lead to such effects. Although the necessary constituents (see methyltransferases) needed to make DMT are found in the pineal gland, the enzyme's stereospecificity only allows for the conversion of serotonin to melatonin and vice versa. In 2013, researchers first reported DMT in the pineal gland microdialysate of rodents.[2]

Others in the field of neurochemistry have not accepted this explanation of DMT's role in this function due to the absence of supporting evidence (i.e. a plausible synthesis mechanism or direct evidence that DMT is found in higher concentration in the body under these circumstances). Dr. Strassman has also noted that the pineal gland first becomes visible at approximately the forty-ninth day of fetal development, nearly exactly the same moment that the gender of the fetus can first be determined.[3] He noted that this was the same length of time that the Tibetan Book of the Dead teaches it takes for the soul of the recently dead to "reincarnate",[4] and that the location of the pineal gland corresponds to the location of the Keter (Crown Sefirah) in Judaism, and the Sahasrara (Crown Chakra) in Ayurveda.[5] He has detailed his research in his book DMT: The Spirit Molecule; and a documentary film by the same name, based on this book has also been produced. Dr. Strassman has also conducted similar research using psilocybin, a psychedelic alkaloid found in hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Cottonwood Research Foundation[edit]

Strassman, along with Steven A. Barker and Andrew C. Stone formed the Cottonwood Research Foundation to continue the scientific research into the nature of consciousness.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Rick Strassman". 
  2. ^ Barker SA, Borjigin J, Lomnicka I, Strassman R (Jul 2013). "LC/MS/MS analysis of the endogenous dimethyltryptamine hallucinogens, their precursors, and major metabolites in rat pineal gland microdialysate.". Biomed Chromatogr. doi:10.1002/bmc.2981. PMID 23881860. 
  3. ^ Strassman, Rick (2001). "Part I: The Building Blocks; Chapter 3: The Pineal: Meet the Spirit Gland". DMT: The Spirit Molecule. Rochester, VT, USA: Park Street Press. p. 61. ISBN 0-89281-927-8. ("Chapter summaries". Retrieved 27 February 2012. )
  4. ^ Strassman, Rick (2001). "Part I: The Building Blocks; Chapter 4: The Psychedelic Pineal". DMT: The Spirit Molecule. Rochester, VT, USA: Park Street Press. pp. 81–82. ISBN 0-89281-927-8. ("Chapter summaries". Retrieved 27 February 2012. )
  5. ^ Strassman, Rick (2001). "Part I: The Building Blocks; Chapter 4: The Pineal: Meet the Spirit Gland". DMT: The Spirit Molecule. Rochester, VT, USA: Park Street Press. pp. 58–59. ISBN 0-89281-927-8. ("Chapter summaries". Retrieved 27 February 2012. )

External links[edit]