[Ibogaine] DMT thread

Matt Shriver ibogamail at gmail.com
Thu Jan 1 11:57:41 EST 2009

I guess my major criticism of this book is that it seems like a wasted 
opportunity.  Here was a professional doing human research on 
psychedelics for the first time in years and he could have written 
something professional and scholarly to help bring this type of research 
more legitimacy.  Instead he wrote a book that seems to popularize DMT 
among drug users, which is just preaching to the choir.  You can even 
see this by reading the reviews of the book on amazon where there is 
more than a couple people expressing the view that it is a book by and 
about druggies.  Incidentally I also found amongst the reviews, and the 
comments on other reviews, more than a couple people presenting 
Strassman's theories as fact once again. 

I think his insistence on using people with previous psychedelic 
experience worked against him.  I don't know if he had trouble finding 
subjects but he describes a few who had done psychedelics like LSD and 
mushrooms around 20 to 30 times when they were younger but had not done 
so in a long time.  These seem like the ideal candidates.  But he also 
describes subjects who do psychedelics 2 or 3 times a month, and a 
number of subjects who have done MDMA, or acid, or shrooms, over 100 
times.  He also mentions one person who had done IV heroin, and several 
people who had experience with cocaine and at least one person who had 
done methamphetamine as well as one person who regularly smoked 
marijuana.  Now granted I fall into several of these categories myself 
but I also know from experience that so called "normal" people who do 
not know me, and only hear my drug history, absolutely do pigeon hole me 
as a druggy.  And that is precisely what the majority of non drug 
experienced people reading this book will do with 99% of the subjects he 

I was also put off by his use of the "spirit molecule" phrase.  Knowing 
what I do about DMT, before I had read the book, it seemed appropriate.  
But I had expected him to show how the DMT itself suggested this 
phraseology.  Instead he comes at it from the opposite direction and 
talks about how he was certain, without every really explaining why he 
was so certain, that there was a "spirit gland" and therefore must be a 
"spirit molecule".  Seriously wtf?  At first he thought melatonin was 
the spirit molecule because it was excreted by the pineal gland which he 
had already designated as the best candidate for the spirit gland.  But 
when melatonin failed to be psychedelic he decided it had to be 
something else.  This isn't just conjecture or hypothesis any more, this 
is looking for facts that support a pre-existing belief system.  Granted 
it isn't a well defined belief system but still it has almost nothing to 
do with science.

I also want to say, and I think this is something he acknowledges to 
some extent, is that science is the wrong tool to study what he wanted 
to study in the first place.  I think some of the experiments he 
describes do have legitimate scientific value in finding out more about 
the mechanism of action in the brain.  But he was more interested in the 
subjective  spiritual and emotional effects.  I agree that those effects 
are actually the most important and interesting ones, however science 
cannot say anything about subjective experience because there is nothing 
that can be scientifically measured.  If the researchers come up with 
some scale to measure our subjective experiences (i.e. on a scale of 1 
to 10 how powerfully effected would you say you were?), who is to say 
that my 8 on that scale isn't exactly the same as your 4? 

I should also point out that I am a little over 4/5ths of the way 
through it so he may well address some of these criticisms in the 
closing chapters but this is my impression so far.  I will also say that 
despite my criticisms it has been interesting to read.


Douglas Fraser wrote:
> Ideas have a way of diffusing from the scientific journals into 
> popular culture and turning into "fact".  I think Strassman was the 
> first to come up with this idea, and from what I remember of the book, 
> he made it clear it was an idea.  But people have a way of assuming 
> something they like  is "really" a fact and then the game of telephone 
> happens
> doug
> Matt Shriver wrote:
>> Hi Brad
>> Try this site.
>> http://forums.ayahuasca.com/phpbb/index.php
>> I am also curious from your last post where you mentioned Strassman's 
>> DMT as to what you thought about it.  I have been reading it for the 
>> past few days and so far I am a little underwhelmed.  Specifically 
>> what I am finding objectionable is the way he is not very clear about 
>> what is his hypothesis and what he is representing as scientifically 
>> verified factual information.  He seems to slip back and forth 
>> between the two and I think it obscures the truth more than it 
>> reveals it.  For example, I have heard and/or read on numerous 
>> occasions that the pineal gland releases a dose of endogenous DMT at 
>> birth.  Then I find while reading this book that this is only his 
>> hypothesis.  So unless this has been tested and verified since he 
>> wrote the book, this is still just hypothetical and yet it has been 
>> represented to me more than a couple times as truth.  There are other 
>> examples exactly like this one as well.  I am all for hypothesizing 
>> but I think it is important to be clear about what is hypothesis and 
>> what is not, especially for a scientist.
>> Matt
>> Brad Hays wrote:
>>> Does anybody know of a list like this one, or maybe a forum that's a 
>>> good clearing house for ayahuasca information?  A bud gets to 
>>> Iquitos several times a year and is always inviting me to go.  No 
>>> telling when I could make it happen but I figure it's never too 
>>> early to study up.  Thanks
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