Dr. Rick Strassman – Transcript


UNEDITED ROUGH DRAFT

And you and humane handling brain hemispheres at entertaining and mentally invented telling me right now is an excellent frontotemporal occipital I am in the form at the things that is the authentic take you to the interest I think easily and what’s of folks such a great absurd here with Dr. Rick Strassman who is one of the first people who led an FDA DEA approved study on DMT in the 1990s he is quite noteworthy for his book DMT the Spirit molecule these pretty much the psychedelic renaissance man when it comes to this type of research is new book is called DMT the soul prophecy please pick up a copy of that a link for that will be below please also make sure that you subscribe to us on YouTube follow us on Twitter at the human XP and give us like on Facebook as always thank you guys so much for listening the human experiences being injected intravenously activating the DMT in your brain as we speak to my guest Dr. Rick Strassman Rick welcome to Atrix be well thanks very much savior am glad to be a show the Rick I would like to credential this conversation if you could just give us your academic background I think that would help way the foundation see I want to, I went to public schools in Los Angeles took my first two years of undergraduate to obtaining a Pomona College in Claremont California my last two undergraduate years at Stanford University then I went to medical school at Albert Einstein College of medicine of yeshiva University and then returned to California to do my internship and psychiatry residency at UC Davis after year in Alaska I returned academics and I was trained cycle pharmacology research you see at UC San Diego La Jolla and then I went out to you and them the University of

New Mexico in Albuquerque and was on another couple years training funding which supported my melatonin research in the early 80s I worked a your and him for 11 years then worked to the clinical sector are primarily community mental health but some private practice and I retained my relationship with you and them I’m currently clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the school of medicine at you and him Fall I appreciate you detailing mountains of fun stuff now so Ricky in your book the Spirit molecule duties promote what you cover your DMT research project in quite some From its origins to its conclusions but it was the first government approved research into the effects of of DMT important for this research mean to you how did how does make you feel to be granted this this approval by the government to do this research well I mean it was a pretty long and slow process development permits and my funding in line that it was interesting actually I received funding from both private sources and you know from the federal government given more I got my permits to begin doing this study so there’s a lot of interest in supporting this work but the infrastructure getting clinical grade DMT to give to people was really a stumbling block in this would took the majority of time but I Begin with this area of interest with the being curious about the biological bases of spiritual experience and I had begun thinking about tho

se sorts of things even in my undergraduate years so this was in the late 60s early 1970s and that is psychedelic drugs were kind of the skip the laboratory are causing all kinds of public health problem so there’s a bit anathema and academics to discuss the doing clinical research with the psychedelics it was interesting, I went to do some good schools and got good grades and you can did some research as an undergraduate and I plotted to 21 medical schools in the everyone that I shared why wanted to be a doctor which was to do psychedelic drug studies by you 19th of the schools rejected me and the two schools I got into a young one of them I think felt sorry for me and of the other one didn’t even give me a chance to describe my motivations so does the current climate which was prevailing at the time in terms of giving human research with these drugs so I learned quickly to keep my interest to myself up until the point that I actually was position to be able to work out there were real bona fide psychopharmacology study giving DMT by that time, I got Graham cited before melatonin pineal study and and and establish my credentials as a clinical researcher at work you granting process and publication process and a certain point it just seem like it wasn’t

now or never to begin working on the DMT your permits and funding so there was still one step at a time there is pretty frustrating but as long as people didn’t say know that but it meant to me that they were still possibility so yeah I mean the main thing was to get the FDA and the DEA to talk to each other which took quite a while and once what happens of communication open between them are things moved along pretty quickly after that so I’m me I thought of a huge your sense of relief I felt slight huge sense of responsibility I was kind of poised on the threshold at that point when we began the study that I’m very talking about what you said about biological basis of spiritual experience but mean new project consisted of dosing around 60 look volunteers with several hundred doses between 1990 and 1995 what in your opinion kinds of useful data resulted from this experiment what implications do you think this had wealthy study was pretty much straightforward psychopharmacology dose response study so I didn’t want to get in the overworked I just wanted to take one step at a time so the people that were mentoring my study were quite clear that saw because it was the new preps the first new project with these drugs in US in a generation that it was critical to be as you know our will to keep this study is under simple as possible to not making outrageous claims so are a in the some ways established the groundwork for the current function psychedelic studies in the US and I think I did that by our number one establishing that you could get permission from the authorities of the study you were designed in astringently scientific manner bomb I also establish that you could do these studies are safely you could recruit volunteers you to give them the drug and you could generate reasonable data without people dying be going or becoming permanently insane or turning until you drug abusers are the kinds of concerns that a lot of the hysteria generated in the late 1960s when these drugs were made illegal by established also or I began establishing anyway correspondence between human data and animal data I’m even though human studies had ended in around 1970 or so studies in lower animals are continued apace and were instrumental in establishing the role of serotonin in psychopharmacology and so a number of theories have been proposed about the relationship between serotonin and the effects of psychedelic drugs and lower animals but I’m there weren’t any confirmatory human data so well as a result of the theater biological orientate extent of my study your we were able to confirm or refute or extend some of the animal serotonin data and you know we also developed a new mean and so objectively quantifying the DMT affect I interviewed a number of your recreational users of DMT to get up general sense of what to expect from my volunteers and and over the space of the performance of the study you bomb we were able to develop a fairly finely tuned instrument that was able to are quantified various aspects of the DMT experience and the on th

e questionnaire has been translated into a number of different languages has been applied to a whole slew of psychoactive drugs, including psilocybin mescaline marijuana MDMA MDE I began ketamine so it’s been quite useful in people being able to to compare numerically or statistically the subjective effects of various psychoactive agents it also I was quite interested in the case reports as they were the trip reports of the volunteers because of my underlying interesting comparing the DMT state to nondrug spiritual experience you have so mean when we hear you mentioned earlier the biological basis spiritual experience and how how do you quantify such thing and were more some of the effects on you dispense that that were noteworthy I began with this area of inquiry I think in my college years pretty much because of being struck by the overlap or other correspondence in descriptions between people using the psychedelics and people describing nondrug spiritual states like those resulting from meditation near-death experiences and later as I worked for a will or you later on as I was exploring other nondrug altered states which might be useful in terms of thinking about the DMT affect the even the descriptions of the alien abduction encounter so I was thinking that to the extent that the two states resemble each other or the two sets of states resemble ea

ch other psychedelic state and and the collection of gone drug spiritual experiences it seemed as if there must be some underlying biological mechanisms taking place a put you simplistically for example if you’d there could be a part of the brain which was activated as a result of ingesting psychedelic drug in that same part of the brain might be activated through the practice of meditation or as a result of being near-death or whatever reasons as a result trigger or a Corlett of the alien abduction experience in my DMT project I was especially interested in comparing the DMT states to the state of Buddhist enlightenment because of the spiritual model and system I have been working in both personally with both saw study and practice was the Zen Buddhist model well and in the state of enlightenment to the extent that it can be described it’s usually described as a state of emptiness there’s no contents there’s no audio form there’s no thinking there’s no feeling of his nobody there’s no sensations anything like that so I was expecting you the ultimate response to DMT to be the kind of state I’m any of the majority of my volunteers also were expecting that kind of state because the majority of of were practitioners of Eastern religious meditation practices so it was quite surprising to both me and them when instead of entering into a unity of Mr. call the state of absorption into the white light of emptiness instead they returned reporting quite interactive and relational by experiences with beings made of lights in a world consisting of like all kinds of interactions questions answers physical things being done back-and-forth the maintenance of one’s you sense of self spoken words emotional and intellectual exchanges you know somebody in that state usually was able to you will fully interact with the with the contents of the world you know they could decide what to attend to what would you want to ignore your they can bargain that could negotiate with the state as at work so it was quite different than the enlightenmen

t state that everybody have been expecting was there would you say in your opinion was the most remarkable thing that came out of this research well I suppose the most remarkable thing was just consistency of reports and the other strange deaths over the reports I think in the beginning I was kind of startled by the kinds of descriptions that people word are sharing with me and then I was’s sort of startled by the their consistency year after year after year and it was extremely strange errors as it there was a parallel level of reality that will to existing all of the time around or around us as it were in the or around them which could be entered almost instantly the response to DMT begins within a few heartbeats and peaks within like a minute or two so it isn’t as if it’s a figment of someone’s imagination where they can in a way build up to it is just instantly there almost at the snap of one’s fingers, and I consistent quality that the volunteers return describing was the reality you feeling of the state it didn’t you seem to them as if it were imaginary or hallucinatory a dream more even like their previous experiences with the psychedelics so it was quite real it quite you solid which are surprise me in some ways because of being you know led to believe both through my study be of others psychedelic drug states where you people were quite capable of distinguishing the reality basis of what they were undergoing as compared to everyday reality of and also it flew in nine of the interface of all of my greatest training which kind of looked at the states as illusory as you know nonreal as the hallucinatory waystation son, are another way to the formless enlightened state so I think that the quality of the experience in its content was extremely different than both my expectations and those of the volunteers any of the reality basis it’s seemed as as greater even greater than everyday reality which was something I also was not expecting and neither were the volunteers said so DMT in the context of trends methylation hypothesis have have have you found that DMT has increased stress levels and like how does this affect psychosis were PTSD and how is

DMT of a biological leader of this relationship the well you were speaking of the trends methylation center area of psychosis that came out in the early 19 you 60s or so DMT is only been on the psychiatric radar for baby 60 years or so bombed it was you that it was first discovered in mind altering plants from the Amazon in the 1940s but it wasn’t determined to be psychoactive in humans on on until the 1950s are so then about 10 years later it was actually discovered to be a batch a constituent or it was found in the body fluids of mammals and that appears after that the corresponding discoveries were described in humans as well so’s psychiatry the time especially during the 19 you 50s and the end of the 1960s was quite concerned with psychosis state mental hospitals were bursting at the gills there weren’t any effective treatments for psychosis especially schizophrenia so it it it also was around that time that the first antipsychotic medication was discovered called Thor bruising and the role of serotonin in your psychosis and then mental states was also just being discovered so when people discovered DMT in the human body obviously they wanted to determine if somehow that Pollard could be turned to treat psychosis or to understand psychosis so one of the of the theories was that the schizophrenics you methylated your trip to me naturally occurring trip to Maine in the human body are to an extent greater than occurred in the normal people sold you people were looking for things that either indicated him over activity of the misleading system or some kind of the you know ways of slowing it down in order to help treat psychosis in in terms of synthesis of DMT in the body it job you begins with taking in dietary tryptophan from the diet and Dennis could this gives converted by just a couple of steps into a compound called trip to mean and then your trip to me is methylated twice in other words you muscle

groups are added to the compound trip to me and then you get your time is thought to me so with respect to DMT answer psychosis there were a number of of approaches taken you know one was to measure the levels of you DMT or metabolites you have the breakdown products in schizophrenics versus controls but that ever really panned out because the concentrations are extremely low and externally even nowadays seek is still at you Quite you measure naturally occurring DMT in the body but she can cut a measure you things you like character close to enter on this good as it at best what to you people word your measuring in the 60s and 70s there’s some indication that John schizophrenics perhaps excreted more DMT in their urine when their psychosis increased and usually you that was a result of some kind of stress and a lower animals anyway it appears to be the case that brain levels of DMT increase with stresses well I don’t think there’s much information out there yet on DMT will levels and posttraumatic stress disorder but people are describing at least in the field you know some benefits of ayahuasca with respect to post dramatic stressed disorders and people are using psychedelics to react to that condition as well to just moving on here became reentering not in detail you are the president of cotton would research foundation the body that wants this perverse I investigate scientific got consciousness to hand that one of the projects the foundation is to develop new technologies that allow for these tiny amounts of DMT to be discovered I was reading at one of these these releases these particles that you has put out DMT found in the pineal gland live rapid how important is that type of discovery to the study of consciousness well I think it would depend you ask you know like I your marshaled quite a bit of evidence in support of the DMT locale I mean you pineal gland location of DMT synthesis in my first book the spirit molecule which came at the end of 2000 and I was you are given a lot of grief because people the interpreted or understood my speculation as a kind of a statement of you back but at the time it wasn’t no known the

DMT you either you did or didn’t exist in in the pineal gland on my brought to bear a large amount of your circumstantial evidence supporting a your search for DMT in the pineal but it was still speculation put just a couple of years ago a group in Ann Arbor Michigan discovered you know DMT in another living working pineal gland yes I felt you have indicated that and it also are you know you lensing a support unit for the role of the pineal gland in naturally occurring spiritual experiences by your pineal gland on has been venerated by esoteric you physiology’s plan for millennia, law the other Hindi the youngster your chakra your system of them all speculated about place in the brain or in its new subjective your consciousness which corresponds you to the location of the pineal gland as them being activated as a result of spiritual experience or its activation results in spiritual experience of the highest nature you know so you know the fact that there is DMT in the pineal glands the supports on Yugoslavia kinds of esoteric speculations but it up on at the same time you know most your people live a normal life with other pineal gland you know the it you know may turn out to be the case is the you know that it is more difficult for them your to respond to your transcontinental flights because of your circadian rhythm problems and in a jet lag those kinds of things but by a large if you don’t have a pineal gland either from a stroke of your pineal were a your pineal destroy tumor are you have a pretty normal life on you know the lungs are the primary source of DMT view has been known since the 1950s and it appears as I feel the lungs are always new secreting a certain amount of up on the DMT into the into the bloodstream and then you know you from the bloodstream it’s starting transported in in to the brain if you could be be on that you pineal DMT is recruited your during extraordinary states as opposed to everyday consciousness which you may be on your more of what’s going on with you to

DMT levels from the log if we could produce move into your your book your DMT and this whole prophecy of and how much times criticism do think that you received from people who were kind of reading your your work and thinking all is guide writing this book about God relating it to today’s them when you just put out a book in on this on the special compounding how did you get to comparing these prophetic states with with DMT and how much criticism do you think the received well I actually began to taking your notes for my new book even before I completed my your first birth and you know I completed my studies with DMT in your 1995 and i.e. out to copy your all or to just stopped thinking about actually is just you know so much and have been once I began you writing the book there were a number of other things which you led me need to you begin you looking further models for the DMT effect and in one of those models organ one of those you places I’ve you began to look it was the Hebrew Bible which was in 1998 or so I began you taking notes you may be 18 didn’t you know maybe 18 you months on were so the before the DMT book came out and I was led to the Hebrew Bible for a couple a reasons are you one is that you know my Zen community didn’t you like me to publicly you know discussing the importance of the psychedelic you know drug state your to your Buddhist practice or ultimately if you beginning the Buddhist practice between was the case with you know the you vast majority of the members of the community you know so I was will over time Extruded from the community with all although it was all your other painful it still you give me the opportunity to explore other spiritual systems you know so am I began well I you can return to my roots as it were and started looking at the Bible is a your Is another’s spiritual you know model you know did you both to take the place of what had been your kind of them abandoned you present practiced at the academic are the cognitive level I don’t Buddhism didn’t quite like accounts for you both the reality you bases of the descriptions of my volunteers and the state of that you know the of the of of the full-blown you DMT affect your so am I was looking further models which could explain the reality basis and the interactive relational audio qualities of the

DMT state know so as I began you reading the Bible in the lake in a 1990s I was increasingly struck you know by are you know the descriptions of the figures in the text of an interactive relational spiritual state and it was a you felt as real or even more real your to the experience of your than everyday reality you so it began you know to dawn on me this you know notion of the prophetic experience are the prophetic state of consciousness and so, decided to undertake a very careful comparison of the two states the prophetic state and the DMT state and you know in your common parlance so you people think about the word your prophecy as foretelling or forecasting are predicting the future you but that is you multiply an artifact of the trans-of the translation of the Hebrew word for prophet which is not the into the Greek word profanities audio Greek was the first in a language you that the Hebrew Bible was are you translated into your this was may be the 200 BC and that the Greeks were your extremely interested in what is called your divination in other words a spirits to experience which allows one to predict the future you know so many spiritual state the scene in by the Greeks was considered the way you know to predicting you know so that just are you why your they translated you’re not the into into the Greek word your profanities which means to speak before you or to speak before something happens in a but I am expanding the definition of your prophecy of you for the purposes of my current you know work to include any spiritual experience recounted by any I have figure in the Hebrew Bible you so this could be are many vision is there any voices it could be experiencing a by your body canonical your product like Ezekiel or you buy a comment you footsoldier in your the enemy Has a prophetic dream you know so it it yet can include any recounting of of you visions of invoices inspiration extreme emotional states your novel insights you somatic affects like you are shaking in your trump blank as a result of a divider spiritual counter your so if you look at the definition in a from the broader your sense give the entire your book or you can entire Hebrew Bible is your bursting with your description so, prophetic experience through would you would you say when you you mentioned this earlier but you would you say that DMT is the biological basis of spiritual experience well I think Udo it is conceivable that the contents or you know specific elements of the spiritual experience the you know depending on how you define that are you mediated through elevated levels of DMT your necessary if you’re not been proven but you know if you’re in the prophetic states and you have your visions then you have you voices which are are you similar to the accounts of my DMT volunteers donated speculates that perhaps the people who works but were experiencing a prophetic statement it in the text were also experiencing you higher than mean of the normal levels of naturally occurring DMT you so that you know doesn’t mean you’re that if you use

DMT your you’re going to experience a prophetic state but it does mean you know that you’re the visions and voices you might be comparable in the prophetic state and the DMT state your clearly the characters in the Hebrew Bible observed reports of their experiences a been written down they’ve been around for 3000 years you have exerted a your pervasive and enduring of influence on you know the civilization of the planet you know so the message of the failure prophetic state it seems more important probably overall in your terms of impacting than the actual audio shapes and forms and the figures that they see or or behold but at the same time you information with which is contained in the prophetic experience is you transmitted through those visions and annual through those forces you know it it requires so you know the you have the translation of the list of those innovations into an intelligible message you know the interpretation of the visions on into a uniform which can be assured with the larger community in an intelligible manner were approaching the end here Dr. stress in that industry is to know if there is any single take way for something you submitted take a break from from this research but misery that you took away from their seeing these people experience this in your own connection to spirituality that was was that one thing that you think that you can share with us as far as your personal learning I think like once I stop my studies in 1995 the most striking I guess your belief I had once I completed the work was I had no idea what you what was going on it was way more your that I had you bargained for I mean I was expecting I would give this drug people have these experiences and I write them down and what I’ll be fine but it was like I discovered your kind of opened Pandora’s box you had a tiger by the tail yeah it was definitely you don’t you are not an immediate that was determining the agenda of these descriptions of these experiences I felt like I had really you tapped into something away beyond your so that’s you kind of what required just completely your kind of your removing myself you from the field for couple years and then once I’m I resumed you thinking about it and writing about it my approaching K you decidedly more spiritual bent, what you what does it mean as opposed to what part of the brains be activated I mean you could understand what you part of the brains being activated but you really don’t know you know why things are so configured you know why is it the case that you

DMT is capable of transporting people and to a completely different you love all of reality and you what does it mean you know that the DMT state is similar to that of the of the prophetic state so yeah I think I found out that approaching it from a purely you scientific you bottom-up kind of approach wasn’t really be you cutting up on the lease for me my needed to kind of far put it in a more holistic context and as a result I started to you look for spiritual models which were you more what you might call you top-down model you that the brain is you so configured for purpose as opposed to do that as as opposed to you know this is just how it is in the random or even you know purely evolutionarily a purely evolutionary your kind a model are you biological you socially, I am more convinced of the existence of DMT as properties is evidence of a higher order of organization which you know let me you to the Bible to the prophetic state you are your time and yet the concepts of you got within the Jewish you tradition and so on really good really seems like it changed your worldview and your paradigm itself and Dr. stress and I truly appreciate your time serve where can people find your work you can read about my work order my books which on scribe and sign on my website it’s extra spin.com that’s one long word and you can order the unit booster Amazon Barnes & Noble hundred you will your local bookstore your but if you orders to my site I will you signed and inscribed the books bombed and need you can read about what’s going on I’ve been recording some videos here in their the can download so it’s extra spin.com so check it out we will make sure that people can access that link below this conversation we put it out bit of trust and again thank you so much for your time is the human experience we are getting it out here we will see you guys next week

 

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