Rick J. Strassman began his career in psychiatry after choosing a goal of giving psychedelics legally in the United States, within a psychiatric research model. While at the University of New Mexico, intrigued by the possible role of the pineal gland in unusual states of consciousness, Dr. Strassman performed clinical research investigating the function of the pineal hormone melatonin. His research group documented the first known role of melatonin in humans. His focus soon switched to DMT, and in 1990 he began one of the only U.S. government-approved and funded clinical human trials with psychedelic drugs in over twenty years. It had taken him about two years of effort to receive final FDA approval to evaluate DMT’s physiological effects and develop the Hallucinogen Rating Scale, a questionnaire to measure the psychological effects of DMT and other hallucinogenic drugs. His findings are compiled in his book DMT: The Spirit Molecule. Dr. Strassman currently lives and practices psychiatry in Taos, New Mexico. He is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and President of the Cottonwood Research Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to research into DMT and other psychoactive substances.
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