DMT Experiments: Szara and Strassman
The first scientific study on the psychotropic effects of N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) began in the mid-1950s. These studies were conducted by Hungarian psychiatrist and chemist, Stephan Szara.
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History Leading to DMT Experimentation
Stephan Szara was forced to turn to DMT experimentation when the pharmaceutical Sandoz Laboratory in Switzerland rejected his orders for LSD. This was due to the company’s fear that LSD would be dangerous in the hands of a communist country. (The psychedelic effects of chemical LSD were first identified at the laboratory in 1943 by Arthur Stoll and Albert Hoffman where its use peaked between the 1950’s and 60’s, however, it drew too much attention as a dangerous mind-altering substance and lab testing was closed before significant proof of medicinal and spiritual use could be approved for medical purposes).
Stephen Szara’s Research
In Stephan Szara’s psychotropic study he learned how the DMT compound metabolized in both healthy and schizophrenic volunteers. During this time Szara recorded the biochemical reactions of three psychedelic cogeners of tryptamine: dimethyl-, diethyl-, and dipropyl-tryptamine (DMT, DET, and DPT). Through the study, Szara determined that the biological and psychological effects, while under the influence of DMT, served as a key to understanding the brain’s functionality in normal states of consciousness as well as under the influence of psychedelics.
Rick Strassman’s Research
In 1990, new research into the DMT compound would be conducted by medical psychiatrist and pharmacologist Dr. Rick Strassman. During Strassman’s research at the New Mexico School of Medicine he would find that the DMT compound worked in the same manner as with naturally occurring DMT already produced in the pineal gland.
Strassman’s volunteers who used DMT experienced strong hallucinations, and the effects were similar to those described by people who had near death experiences. Documentation has shown that when people come close to dying the pineal gland releases a natural chemical so similar to DMT that it creates hallucinogenic dream-like states, visions, and shifts in consciousness that appear to be other worldly. These same states are described in Strassman’s research with DMT injection. Strassman suggested that these findings support the theory that the pineal gland is central to spiritual cognition.
During the onset of the DMT experience in many volunteers, the psychological content included the recapitulation of traumatic experiences from the past as well as feelings of love, hope, safety, and spiritual insight. Strassman suggested that these experiences were directly stimulated by the administration of DMT, and he explained that these experiences could be healing and restorative.
One volunteer, Cassandra, who was a teenage rape victim, claimed that she found deep healing in her body when she made contact with never-before-seen sentient beings that nurtured her while the DMT was active in her body. Another volunteer, Chris, reported seeing three reptilian creatures opening up their chest to show him how their reproductive processes functioned. Still another person reported being put on an examination table and probed with an implanted tracking device that he was sure was real once he returned to ordinary consciousness. The user who was administered the highest dosage of DMT experienced having followed a bright white light where he experienced joy, love, and long sought knowledge and understanding. After the experience he reported, “I saw myself as an infant, reborn, and pure.”
Dr. Strassman concluded that out of all of his volunteer’s reports, an amazing consistency existed between the places and beings that were seen while the DMT was bio-active. Strassman explained that some users did have painful and fearful experiences, but they were able to cope in new and positive ways with these memories once the experiment was completed. He went on to say that most volunteers reported the sentient beings as helpful, caring, and that they exhibited an awareness beyond the temporal body.
These experiences were often educational, and they showed the volunteers a window into a life without the limits of the physical body.
- Brandon Petty
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