DMT: The Spirit Molecule
Reviewed by Feb 21st, 2014

This could have been good. I mean, it was enjoyable, but it’s too problematic to call it “good” because the people in charge are not being scientific. Apparently they did drug experiments with DMT in the ’90s, and they had a small group, it was in a hospital setting. The person would be injected, sit in a hospital bed, put on a blindfold, and go on a 15 minute drug trip while their vital signs were being monitored. That part is all well and good.

The part that disappointed me is that dude in charge seems to be making this false dichotomy, this idea that you’re either monitoring vital signs or you’re accepting that the drug trip actually is causing encounters with beings from another dimension. Seriously, dude seems to be saying that you can either just take down data about heart rate, respiration, etc., or you have to accept drug trip hallucinations at face value. Apparently this guy has done too many drugs and it’s fried his brain. Why is it that no one can accept that drugs can make your brain do weird shit? There are good ideas touched upon here, like altered states of consciousness and religious experience and alien abduction experiences. But rather than concluding that people like to get high (whether through external substances or with their own neurochemistry), everyone seems to just be saying that drugs open a “doorway” to something that exists objectively in some other realm or dimension. That is a fucking bizarre conclusion, IMO, but I’m not sure if dude is really saying that or the docu is just trying hard to appeal to hippies and “spiritual” people.

There is no funding for this sort of thing, but if there was, I wish more studies could happen where they take down self-reported data (there is no other way currently) as well as vital signs and accept that the self-reported drug trip is a drug trip until proven otherwise. There is too much woo here and not enough science, even from the scientists. If it were just the rabbi and the test subjects talking about woo, I could handle that; but the alleged science dudes are not being objective, either. I understand it’s hard to be objective sometimes with subjective experience, but this is analogous to going into the psych ward, interviewing schizophrenics, and just blindly accepting the voices in their heads as real. Goddamned hippies and their wacky bullshit. And I love psychedelic drugs and after watching this, spent the whole night lusting after the compound in question, which I’ve never tried. But holy hell, once you come down from your drug experience, if you’re doing science, you should be objective. I think there is real scientific research that could have been done here, that could have been really groundbreaking shit when it comes to things like religion and near death experiences (your brain makes its own DMT under very stressful conditions, which explain the feelings and hallucinatory experiences), but no one wants to do it. No one wants to explain this shit, because for some reason, people prefer to think shit is magic rather than being curios about the nature of consciousness and how it can be manipulated. Parts of this made me angry. I am tempted to buy the book to see if it’s any better. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing the subjects talk about their drug trips, but this docu was going too far in the woo woo stuff and pseudoscience. There is very little science here, and a lot of wild speculation. Like the idea that because different people hallucinated similar aliens, they must be entering some “transcendent” realm rather than they were just tripping hard and have probably all been exposed to the same movies and tv shows about aliens. Being a hippie and druggie is one thing, but when you start misrepresenting scientific research and totally disregarding the scientific method, that is not cool. It’s no wonder these things can’t get funded when assholes like this guy wouldn’t know a scientific study from a hole in the ground.

It also almost seems to feed into the idea that being in any way science-minded makes you a dickhead with no imagination and no appreciation for anything. It’s possible to be imaginative (and to have drug experiences) while also being able to separate reality from fantasy. Also, being “open minded” doesn’t mean blindly accepting any nonsense, it means open to new ideas and unprejudiced. This has little to do with the doc, I’m just going off on a tangent now. I’m not suggesting I have all the answers on the best way to conduct research on psychedelics; I’m just saying that this guy clearly had no idea. His only apparent conclusion is that if you inject people with a high dose of DMT, they will trip hard. But that much should be obvious. I don’t like that he seems prone to wild speculation (totally nonobjective) about these people actually leaving their bodies and going to some noncorporeal realm. There is no evidence for that. It is irrational and just plain wrong to suggest that the study showed this as fact.

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