Rick Strassman

spirit molecule by alex grey

Rick Strassman (b. 1952) is psychiatrist and psychopharmacology researcher, and the first person in the US after twenty years of intermission to embark in human research with psychedelic, hallucinogenic, or entheogenic substances. During the intermission period, research was restricted by law to animals studies only.

Dr Strassman’s studies aimed to investigate the effects of DMT (dimethyltryptamine), a powerful 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. Strassman refers to DMT as the ‘god molecule’ or ‘spirit molecule’ due to many users reporting to have contacted non-human or god-like beings under the alkaloid’s influence. 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.

Dr Strassman has also claimed that DMT is first produced by the human fetus on the forty-ninth day of development, something he has attributed to being the ‘beginning of the soul.’ 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. Others in the field of neurochemistry have not accepted this explanation of DMT’s role 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).

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