If you are interested in the chemistry of the mind, this book is for you. Rick Strassman’s pioneering research work with DMT, a natural psychedelic drug used by Amazonian Indians, raises fascinating questions about the neurochemical basis of experience and the feasibility of conducting human research with mind-altering drugs in a university medical center. Adventurous reading!
—-Andrew T. Weil, MD, University of Arizona Medical School, author of Spontaneous Healing, and The Natural Mind.
Fascinating and provocative. A remarkable exploration of the boundaries of science and consciousness itself. —-Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, author of A New Science of Life, and Dogs That Know When Their Owners are Coming Home
DMT: The Spirit Molecule is an inside look at the medical research surrounding the psychedelic drug DMT, dimethyltryptamine, by a respected researcher, Dr. Rick Strassman. This gripping account explodes the stereotypical idea that many people have about psychedelics, and reveals the social and political forces that have influenced this research. Strassman raises vital questions about the origin of spiritual experiences and the nature of consciousness. Anyone seeking to understand the relationship between mind and body must come to terms with this fascinating account.
—-Larry Dossey MD, Author of Reinventing Medicine, and Healing Words; Executive Editor, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.
Dr. Strassman is a research psychiatrist who has completed the most extensive scientific study of the mental and perceptual effects of a psychedelic drug since the 1960s. His book provides fascinating insight into the world of psychiatric research as it seeks to understand these most mysterious substances and their profound effects on human consciousness. Strassman’s approach is both cautious and balanced, in evaluating the positive potentials and the possible pitfalls of these substances.
—-Ralph Metzner, PhD, author of Ayahuasca–Consciousness and the Spirits of Nature
This book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the mind, philosophy, the nature of reality, and spirituality. The world’s foremost expert on DMT has created a masterpiece of the genre, as he brilliantly leads the reader through a series of startling revelations about the nature of the Universe, as revealed behind the doorway once DMT turned the key.
—-Karl L. R. Jansen, MD, PhD, MRCPsych; South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, London.
Strassman’s important research contributes to a growing awareness that we inhabit a multi-dimensional universe that is far more complex and interesting than the one that our scientific theories have shown us. It is of the utmost importance that we face the implications of this discovery, for it has so much to tell us about who we are and why we are here.
—-John Mack, MD Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, author of Abduction, and Passport to the Cosmos.
DMT: The Spirit Molecule is a dazzling journey through psychedelic drug experimentation, and a tantalizing peek into a new model of how the brain and mind work. Strassman’s research points towards a physiological basis for spirit, and its interaction with the human body; his data suggest that our brain chemistry allows us access to other realms of existence just when we need it most; and his story recounts both the dangers and promises of entering this brave new world.
—-Bruce Greyson, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Virginia, editor of Journal of Near-Death Studies
DMT: The Spirit Molecule points the way beyond the present impasse of the reigning “drug-abuse” paradigm. It is shocking how little basic human pharmacological data we have on proscribed drugs, contrasting with impressive detail in various animals. Some scientists disdain the “subjectivity” of human research, but our interest remains, after all, the subjective human experience of inebriation, to which no animal-model can speak clearly nor appositely. The cruelty visited upon animals in “coke-cages” tells us nothing about complex and variable human relationships with inebriants. The Spirit Molecule, on the other hand, tells us much. We indeed owe a debt of gratitude to Strassman for persevering in the face of bureaucratic obstacles, to conduct important human research into the human pharmacology of DMT, and here elucidating it for the general public, in both scientific and humanistic terms.
—-Jonathan Ott, author of Hallucinogenic Plants of North America, and Pharmacotheon: Entheogenic Drugs, Their Plants Sources and History
Post-Publication Reviews and Awards
Ashland (Oregon) Free Press
Reviewer: Carlos Ramone
(For whole review, click link.)
March 16, 2006
Reviewer: n8 (Manhattan, New York)
Amazing….It does not appear overly idealistic about the subject matter….Strassman does indeed lay some solid groundwork for some pretty outrageous ideas. (For whole review, click link.)
February 7, 2006
Reviewer: call me The Avi (California)
Dr. Strassman’s long look at DMT….[T]his book was a great read, and engaging from beginning to end. This is a very interesting book even for those not primarily interested in psychedelics. For those who are, however, this is a must-read. (For whole review, click link.)
February 1, 2006
Reviewer: Chris (Austin, Texas)
One of the main rules of any scientific thinking person is to think critically and to not accept anything from someone who talks for authority, and doesn’t give evidence….[I]f you are looking for an interesting read into the subject of DMT and one guy’s research with it, then this is great. (For whole review, click link.)
The Light Party
Reviewer: Jule Klotter
The Brain’s Endogenous Psychedelic. …[It] is a fascinating journey into the research of psychedelics, specifically the psychedelic coursing through our veins….The questions and possible explanations about the endogenous presence of DMT that [Strassman] raises…expand our understanding of the nature of consciousness. (For whole review, click link.)
My Shamanic Vision
As a preface, I must admit that this book was a fun read. Not that it was humorous or light-hearted, but it was a book that was very hard to put down….I would recommend this book have a place on the shelves of any and all people who have, or are trying to achieve, a mystical or spiritual experience. )For whole review, click link.)
Moksha: The Freedom of Yoga
Reviewer: Chris and the Moksha team
The spirit gland and the headstand. …[T]his research and the book start to synthesize many elements into a logical and consistant framework….There is a reason that practices like yoga have survived thousands of years. (For whole review, click link.)
Reviewer: Caroline Needham
Aliens in the mind. (For whole review, click link.)
March 13, 2005
Reviewer: Graham McNallie, New York
Absolutely fantastic. Best you’ll find about DMT….This was a great book that covered very well the legal, medical, and technical parts of getting the research approved and the actual study in the first half of the book. The second half had the actual experiments with some fascinating personal accounts. I would personally recommend this to both people who are interested in psychedelics as more than just an intoxicating good time, as well as people wishing to learn more about the “near death” experience. (For whole review, click link.)
February 7, 2005
An absorbing journey to other worlds…I thoroughly enjoyed this book….Once begun, I could not stop….I found Dr. Strassman’s views to be professional and balanced….I feel that I have gained valuable insights into myself and many of my life experiences as a result of just reading this book.” (For whole review, click link.)
January 5, 2005
Reviewer: Ustaath, Chicagoland, USA
An essential read for the entheonaut. …This is a wonderful book for those first considering embarking upon an entheo-based spiritual path….A whole host of interesting spiritual, theological, and philosophical questions are raised by these experiences…Overall, this book is a valuable and lasting contribution to the 20th and 21st century human understanding of the psychedelic experience, and essential reading for every walker of this spiritual path.” ) For whole review, click link.)
December 16, 2004
Reviewer: Ari Ari, NY, USA
Very interesting. I found this book well-written, documented, and enjoyable.” (For whole review, click link.)
October 22, 2004
Reviewer: David J Kreiter, Iowa City, Iowa USA
DMT: A real trip. Rick Strassman’s ground-breaking research program with the psychedelic drug DMT is more than a scientific chronicle…it is suspenseful to the end. [His] writing style makes this book extremely readable and anecdotal stories make the book difficul to put down. I highly recommend DMT: The Spirit Molecule.” (For whole review, click link.)
July 11, 2004
Reviewer: A reader from New York City
All in all, a cool book…which touches on ground which many in the academic establishment have tried their hardest to ignore. The book seems to provide solid evidence of a multidimensional universe in which humans are not, by any means, the only or most advanced of its inhabitants. All it takes is a little touch of this stuff and you will believe too. For far too long has science ignored the clear evidence pointing at the incredible of the human brain to do things which it is not supposed to do. At least not officially.” (For whole review, click link.)
June 8, 2004
Reviewer: Greg Taylor
“[B]reaks new ground in a subject area ripe for more comprehensive and daring research, and is a cracking read to boot. Highly recommended” For whole review, click link.
December 24, 2003
Reviewer: A reader, from Bardoville, California
Interesting Scientific Study….For me, the most interesting parts of the book were the background discussions of the pineal gland’s function and biology. I also enjoyed the book’s scientific biography aspects. Those who like that genre will enjoy this book….All in all, a stimulating book,and a worthy companion to TIHKAL, PIHKAL, “Acid Dreams,” “Storming Heaven,” “Nothing on my Mind,” Science, Synchronicity and Soul-Making,” and “Dancing Naked in the Mind-Field.” For whole review, click link.
Reno News and Review Notes from the Neon Babylon
December 11, 2003
Reviewer: Bruce Van Dyke
FRYING INTO THE FOURTH DIMENSION….I just read a fascinating book called “DMT, The Spirit Molecule.” In it, [Strassman] puts forth the hypothesis…that DMT–Holy Metaphysics!–facilitates the soul’s jump into another dimension. Talk about a spooky little topic to bring to your next Bible study class. For whole review, click link.
December 7, 2003
Reviewer: A reader, from Cleveland, Ohio
Add this to your Great Books for Spiritual Advancement. I love this book! I put this one right next to my Top Five Great Reads. (For whole review, click link)
Reviewer: Charles Carreon This is a thorough and insightful review of the book, which emphasizes some of the Buddhist teachings, practices, and political maneuverings that informed and swirled around the research. Click link for the review.
July 9, 2003
Reviewer: Carl, from Bronx, New York
I have yet to fully read this book but I have to give it 5 stars based on the sheer importance of the subject matter. (For whole review, click link)
June 1, 2003
Reviewer: irridium (A “top 100” Amazon.com reviewer), from Sandton, South Africa Extraordinary research into consciousness….[a] brilliant work…(For whole review, click link)
February 9, 2003
Reviewer: A reader from West Chester, Pennsylvania
This is a fascinating tale of a scientist trying to squeeze what can’t be described scientifically…into an acceptable scientific research program….This text will probably be one of the classics of psychedelic literature….If you are seriously interested in psychedelic research you will want to have this book on your bookshelf. (For whole review, click link)
January 21, 2003
Reviewer: Curt Rowlett from Seattle, Washington
A fascinating book that proposes that dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a chemical that occurs naturally in many plants, mushrooms (sic), and animals, and in the human brain, may in fact be the catalyst in a physiological cause for the birth trauma experience, the near-death experience, tales of so-called alien abductions/encounters with elves/little people and other mystical experiences. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in psychedelic drugs and/or the nature of consciousness.
International Journal of the Psychology of Religion. Volume 13, pages 75-77
Reviewer: Thomas Roberts PhD, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
….Strassman’s most interesting religious speculations concern the pineal gland and its possible role in spiritual experience. Combing modern brain research and Tibetan Buddhist teachings, Strassman speculates that the soul may enter the body on the 49th day of gestation, when the pineal gland first appears, and that the gland’s release of DMT may be the physiological correlate of various kinds of spiritual events. If Strassman is correct, DMT opens a door for neurotheologians….
November 30, 2002
Reviewer: A reader from Norman, Oklahoma
Covering a groundbreaking psychedelic substance that is actually found in human cerebrospinal fluid, Rick Strassman tells a first-person story of his research on the profoundly mysterious substance, dimethyltryptamine (DMT)….This is a nicely crafted book which nimbly treads a thin line between restraint and enthusiasm, between cold objectivity and speculation. At the end, the reader is left with many intriguing puzzle pieces. “The Spirit Molecule” is perhaps the first title to break ground on what might be a Pandora’s Box of the upcoming century. (For whole review, click link)
November 20, 2002
Reviewer: jamm1n from UK
Speculative but fascinating. ….The book is both written and arranged in an easy-to-handle manner, and I found it highly readable. The experiences documented are fascinating, and much of Strassman’s commentary about them is interesting and insightful….(For whole review, click link)
November 13, 2002
Reviewer: rustyblacklocke from Highland Park, Illinois
This book is wonderful. It has opened my eyes to many things, and is almost definitely the most interesting and compelling book I have ever read….Dr. Strassman grows on you, and soon you begin to have a sort of love for him. I suggest this book to anyone interested in psychedelics, eastern religions, transcendental experiences, as well as pretty much anyone else. It was incredibly illuminating and beautiful. (For whole review, click link)
October 12, 2002
Reviewer: Joel Brown from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
This book teems with ideas, to say just about the very least….If you are interested in the drug the vast amounts of direct information and experience within this book make it worthwhile. (For full review, click link)
Journal of Scientific Exploration. Volume 16, Number 3, Pages 503-505
Reviewer: Imants Baruss, Department of Psychology, King’s College, University of Western Ontario, Canada
I like this book, more for the questions that it raises than for those that it answers….this is a good book for what it is, which gives the reader a feeling for what DMT experiences are like, and leaves her with some profound questions about the nature of consciousness and reality (For whole review, click link. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
October 8, 2002
Reviewer: David A. Wilson from Caldwell, New Jersey
….Not only does (Dr. Strassman) give an incredible insight into how the medical testing process works, but also gives a wealth of information on an otherwise hard to research psychedelic. His theories are great, and he has a very introspective way about him. For those of us out there that take an interest in a world that is not supposed to be known, Dr. Rick Strassman is a great guide and source of knowledge. DMT is interesting in and of itself, and he helps to bring that to the table. (For whole review, click link)
September 15, 2002
Reviewer: B.W. Author, Labyrinth of Chaos
A spirited, cutting edge book written by one of the enlightened ones, a well-trained adventurous neuronaut unafraid to explore those areas which may prove to save this challenged race. Even if you are not “won over” to the values of DMT, I find this work an indispensable addition to my library. Chemicals do change consciousness, and DMT simply cannot be ignored. Strassman knows what he is talking about!
This is a great book that deserves to be on the shelves of every psychonaut and psychedelics researcher….If you’re interested in the frontiers of human consciousness, whether drugs are usually your thing or not, I would recommend this book. (Click link for full review. You’ll need to scroll down and search for the review.)
Epinions August 21, 2002
Reviewer: Julian Palmer, Australia
If you wish to learn about DMT, this is the book you should retain for your Llama’s Gnome’s Vestibule of Popings!” (Click link for full review)
Perspectives (Bimonthly magazine of the Association for Humanistic Psychology)
Reviewer: Paul von Ward
…combines down-to-Earth scientific research with an appreciation for the ineffable….The author, a psychiatrist well schooled in the details of neurological research who is also interested in things mystical, brings an interdisciplinary approach to the search for identificable links between the physical (our brain and system of glands), psychological, and spiritual. His objective i s to scientifically discover what Gary Zukav has subjectively titled his best-selling book The Seat of the Soul…The fact that the author fails to discover the Holy Grail at the end of his search does not detract from the value of the journey….
American Journal of Psychiatry (Monthly journal of the American Psychiatric Association)
Reviewer: Alissa Hirshfeld-Flores
This book is a highly readable, intriguing, provocative description of Rick Strassman’s theories and research concerning the effects of N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT)….The book will be of great use both to researchers and clinicians with an interest in spiritual/mystical issues, and/or in psychedelics as well as to laypeople….This book opens up doors of perception and encourages us to consider far-reaching questions. Strassman quotes Jean Toomer in his epigram, “We do not possess imagination enough to sense what we are missing.” This book does a good job in painting for us the myriad possibilities.
Barnes & Noble.com
July 18, 2002
Reviewer: Jenn, an English teacher,
EVERYONE MUST READ THIS BOOK! This is an excellent book, by an author who is not afraid to give evidence which contradicts his ideas! He provides both sides of the story in an attemt to provide an unbiased account of his studies — and the result is a fascinating book which will change your ideas on how the mind may function at times such as birth, death, and mystical experiences (it changed mine). Dr. Strassman needs more funding to do even more of these studies. I am telling everyone I know to read this book.
The Book Reader. “America’s Most Independent Review of New Titles”
This is probably the most thorough book on the psychedelic DMT–its history, chemistry, use (legal and illegal), and its effects. Strassman is a physician with a strong research and teaching background. For five years, he conducted government-sanctioned experiments on wiling subjects with DMT. The chemical is quick-acting, powerful and lasts for a very brief time, and this book chronicles the experiences of some 60 volunteers injected with the drug. First of all, Strassman is not normal–he’s curious, willing to undergo grueling procedures (getting government approval), disposed to spiritual awareness, and is a delightfully informal Clinical Professor of Psychiatry. His belief that DMT may be the spirit molecule moved him to seek official approval….Volunteer by volunteer, session by session, we see the good and bad trips and all the trips in between. Strassman reveals his own cultural matrix, his difficulties, his relations with a nearby Zen group. This is a very compelling, thoughtful book, written by a scrupulous scientists with the soul of a meditator.
Reviewer: W. Ritchie Benedict
I highly recommend this as a pioneering and ground-breaking volume. It offers a unique and first hand explanation into complex and inexplicable process of the human mind where mystical and “alien” senses of awareness have now been seen to emerge. Click link for entire review.
The Reptilian Agenda. David Icke’s E-Magazine
February 27, 2002
…You’ll understand how this Dr’s scientific mind really gets into trouble handling reports of ‘non-material beings’ he was neither intellectually nor emotionally prepared for making contact. Also surprising were the common themes of what these beings were doing with so many of the volunteers; manipulating, communicating, showing, helping and questioning….Click link for entire review.
Best Science Book for 2001 The Anomalist
Reviewer: Patrick Huyghe
The opening scenes of this volume on a psychiatrist’s research into the biology of near-death and mystical experiences are some of the most exciting you’re likely to read this year—it’s heart-pounding, out-on-the-edge scientific research. The book then settles down to explain Strassman’s troubles in getting the DEA to approve his proposed research into DMT, a plant-derived psychedelic that is also manufactured by the human brain. Strassman believes this chemical is the “spirit molecule.” While I’m not convinced by Strassman’s hypothesis— everyone seems to promote their own favorite molecule or drug—it’s what happens in the midst of his research that’s truly eye-popping. During their brief DMT experiences, many of his subjects reported the appearance of beings that resemble the “aliens” of UFO abduction lore. These fascinating reports make Straasman quite uncomfortable, and he doesn’t quite know how to deal with them. But to his great credit, he doesn’t shove the reports under the carpet either. This book is one of the highlights of the year.
UFO Magazine – December-January 2002
Reviewer: Vicki Ecker
. . . an enriching journey into one scientist’s courageous attempt to solve a bit more of the brain/mind/spirit mystery.Click link for entire review.
The Village Voice
June 1, 2001
Reviewer: Erik Davis
As the first researcher in decades authorized to give humans psychedelics, Strassman has an interesting story to tell….Technically, he was studying the drug’s physical effects, but what really drove him was his hunch that DMT was “the spirit molecule”: the biological basis for near-death experiences and mystical states of consciousness. Click link for entire review.
(5 Stars) Pries the lid off the coffin of human psychedelic research ,
March 25, 2001
Reviewer: Cathie Leavitt from Nevada City, CA United States. Detailed, very accessible description of Strassman’s studies of the effects of intravenously administered DMT in human volunteers in a clinical setting. He describes his research protocols, his struggle to obtain government approval, and the volunteers’ reports of their DMT experiences, with clarity and compassion. The book raises questions about the nature and purpose of mystical experiences, the similarity between externally induced experiences of death and rebirth, alien contact, and spiritual enlightenment and naturally occurring experiences, and the role of DMT (which occurs naturally in the body) in these types of experiences. Strassman discusses the limitations of the biomedical model in understanding these experiences, as well as the risks and benefits of using DMT as a research tool. Open-minded scientists, those on a spiritual path, therapists, and dedicated “psychonauts” will find much to ponder in this book. It enlarges the scope of rational discussion about psychedelics, and goes a long way toward dispelling the fear, ignorance, and stigma that have hampered psychedelic research for the last 30 years. The addition of an index would have been helpful, but other than that this book exceeded my expectations and deepened my sense of wonder about the nature of consciousness and the spirit.
(5 Stars) A Bold Study of Chemicals and Consciousness,,
March 25, 2001
Reviewer: well-travelled from your Inner Self.
Dr. Strassman describes his research with dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a very powerful psychedelic drug that can produce very profound experiences that go beyond the explanations of our current scientific model. In this bold treatise he explains how this simple chemical induces mystical states that were previously reserved for religion and the occult. Not since Robert Monroe and his Institute’s “Hemi-Sync” sound technology have I seen such potential to facilitate such events.
I was relieved to read that this Doctor of Psychiatry didn’t reduce these extraordinary experiences of the volunteers down to creative imaginations, and I was impressed with his mature methods of studying a psychedelic drug. This isn’t Timothy Leary tuning us in so that we can drop out. This is a scientist who is sincerely searching for something that can enhance our lives in areas such as creativity, therapy, and spirituality.
Dr. Strassman has a good grasp of our culture’s perceptions about drugs and he not only discards the militaristic attitude against drug use, but also the naive acceptance that they are always beneficial. His clear insights allow this book to have a wide appeal to a mature audience. Hopefully, as he states, this research will at least be the start of more open discussions of practical applications of psychedelics.
(5 Stars) More than interesting, rattling!!!,,
March 15, 2001
Reviewer: Simon Ypperciel from Quebec Canada.
This book is very well written, no scientific blah blah masturbating on their intelligence. The explanation of the research on DMT is honest and leads to some very elemental questions and the great vulgarization lets the curious lay psychonaut into the reflection. Fantastic, merci beaucoup.
March 4, 2001
Reviewer: Joey Plastic
If [the recent] “60 Minutes” interview with Dr. Andrew Weil on the antihistamine effects of his LSD experiences left you unmoved, you might want to tune in to [the] archived radio conversation between professional nutjob Whitley Strieber and Rick Strassman, M.D., a dramatically more credible professional who is currently burdened with the unenviable task of explaining some incredible research. Click link for entire review.
Magellan’s Log: The Internet Magazine of Culture, Counterculture, and Anticulture (Volume 32)
Reviewer: Ceci Lumley
After a couple of decades of denial, even the managers of the anti-drug war began to realize that they needed to know more about their enemies. In the early 1990s, a lone doctor, working in Albuquerque, broke the barrier. He managed to obtain government funding for a study of one of the drugs: DMT, di-methyl-tryptamine. It was the first legal study of a psychedelic in 30 years. Rick Strassman, M.D. and psychiatrist, administered DMT to some 60 people in a carefully controlled clinical setting. Using the best scientific protocols, he set parameters and record responses. He wrote a book about what happened: DMT: The Spirit Molecule. Not all was sweetness and light in the year-long project. The setting—a hospital room, as Strassman was aware, was difficult, not especially conducive to metaphysical breakthroughs. But Strassman and his co-workers were sensitive to that and other problems as well. Not every subject responded well to DMT. There were a few bad trips. But on the whole, one senses that Strassman set up and ran a pioneering research project under challenging conditions with a great deal of humane insight. Click link for entire review.
Barnes & Noble.com
February 20, 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Queen, author of “Fragmented Recollection,” from Port Angeles WA, USA. A compelling and harrowing account into the alien abduction experience, spirituality and schizophrenia. A must read for anyone that wants to know more about how the mind ticks, and the role that DMT plays in our lives.
(5 Stars) a chemical looking glass to the other side,
February 9, 2001
Reviewer: lawre from tucson az.
This book expounds on various theories and experiences with the exciting compound DMT. Unlike McKenna, et. al., the hard science is here, giving witness to the prophets like McKenna. A MUST READ FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN SPIRITUALITY, NEAR DEATH /DEATH EXPERIENCES, DREAMS, VISIONS, AND THE CREATOR-FORCE. A keystone work in the exploration of all phases of consciousness. One of my top ten all-time favorite works on the field of conscious existence.