from the Newsletter of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
MAPS - Volume 6 Number 1 Autumn 1995


University of New Mexico Update
Rick Strassman, MD


The end of my first phase of contemporary psychedelic research in North America occurs when I finish at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico the end of August.

Several factors led to this. Primary among them is our recent move to Victoria, British Columbia. Running such intensive studies in New Mexico, while living three-fourths time in Canada, did not provide the kind of relationships and follow-up with volunteers as I believe is necessary. This would have become an even greater concern once the shift of studies was made from DMT to psilocybin. Psilocybin effects last for at least 8 hours, compared to 30 minutes for DMT. The demands on both the research team and the volunteers for psilocybin studies are much greater than those for DMT.

One hot July evening in Palo Alto in 1972, I decided to make my goal giving psychedelics legally in the United States, in a psychiatric research model, much as I understood research at Spring Grove, Maryland was taking place. Sixteen years later, in a position to do so, I was afraid I would fail because so much time had passed since new studies had begun. Seven years after that, it is time to move on.

Support and advise from all circles, government to academic, friends to family, financial aid from several sources, made it possible to work towards and get a human DMT, and then psilocybin, study off the ground. Special appreciation goes to David E. Nichols, Ph.D. Purdue University, for agreeing to make DMT for our first study. Without his help, none of the work could have started.

I believe our DMT research has set a professional standard which future human psychedelic research can follow. Also, publications coming out of this work, from a 1984 paper on adverse effects, to a recent review paper in 1995, provide historical, pharmacological and clinical contexts within which future research questions can be formulated.

MAPS and Rick Doblin have been extremely valuable in their commitment to our work in Albuquerque, and giving a forum for presenting the on-going status of our studies. I have met many friends and colleagues through Rick's and MAPS' efforts, and support their efforts to enlarge the scope of discussion on psychoactive material use.

Rick Strassman, MD / Consciousness-related papers:

Strassman RJ, Galanter M: The Abhidharma: A cross-cultural model for the psychiatric application of meditation. Int J Soc Psychiatry 1980;26:293-299.

Strassman RJ: Adverse reactions to psychedelic drugs. A review of the literature. J Nerv Ment Dis 1984;172:577-595.

Strassman RJ: The pineal gland: Current evidence for its role in consciousness. Psychedelic Monographs and Essays 1991;5:166-205.

Strassman RJ: Human hallucinogenic drug research in the United states: a present-day case history and review of the process. J Psychoactive Drug 1991;23:29-38.

Strassman RJ: Human hallucinogen interactions with drugs affecting serotonergic neurotransmission. Neuropsychopharmacology 1992;7:241-243.

Strassman RJ, Qualls CR: Dose-response study of N,N-dimethyltryptamine in humans. I: Neuroendocrine, autonomic, and cardiovascular effects. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1994;51:85-97.

Strassman RJ, Qualls CR, Uhlenhuth EH, et al: Dose-response study of N,N-dimethyltryptamine in humans. II: Subjective effects and preliminary results of a new rating scale. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1994;51:98-108.

Strassman RJ: Human psychopharmacology of LSD, DMT and related compounds, in Pletscher A (ed): 50 Years of LSD: State of the Art and Perspectives of Hallucinogens. London: Parthenon, 1994.

Strassman RJ: Human psychopharmacology of N,N-dimethyltryptamine. Neuropsychopharmacology 1994;10 (3S):769S.

Strassman RJ: Human hallucinogenic drug research: Regulatory, clinical and scientific issues, in Lin GC, Glennon RA (eds): Hallucinogens: An Update (NIDA Research Monograph 146). Rockville,MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1994.

Strassman RJ: Hallucinogenic drugs in psychiatric research and treatment: Perspectives and prospects. J Nerv Ment Dis 1995;183:127-138.

Strassman RJ, Qualls CR, Berg LM: Differential tolerance to biological and subjective effects of four closely-spaced doses of N,N-dimethyltryptamine in humans. Biol Psychiatry in press.

Strassman RJ: Human psychopharmacology of N,N-dimethyltryptamine. Brain Research Bulletin in press.

References to pineal/melatonin research:

Strassman R, Peake G, Qualls C, Lisansky E: A model for the study of the acute effects of melatonin in man. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1987;65:847-852.

Strassman R, Peake G, Qualls C, Lisansky E: Lack of an acute modulatory effect of melatonin on human nocturnal thyrotropin and cortisol secretion. Neuroendocrinology 1988;48:387-393, 1988.

Strassman R, Appenzeller O, Lewy A, Qualls C, Peake G: Increase in plasma melatonin, beta-endorphin and cortisol after a high-altitude mountain run. Relationship to performance and lack of an effect of naltrexone. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1989;69:540-545.

Strassman R, Qualls C, Lisansky E, Peake G: Sleep deprivation reduces LH secretion independently of melatonin. Acta Endocrinol 1991;124:646-651.

Strassman R, Qualls C, Lisansky G, Peake G: Elevated rectal temperature produced by all night bright light is reversed by melatonin infusion in men. J Appl Physiol 1991;71:2178-2182.

Book Reviews:

  1. Hofmann A: LSD, My Problem Child: Reflections on Sacred Drugs, Mysticism, and Science. Am J Psychiatry 141:1626-1628, 1984
  2. Leary T: Flashbacks: An Autobiography. Am J Psychiatry 141:1626-1628, 1984.
  3. Bakalar J, Grinspoon L: Drug Control in a Free Society. JAMA 254:2974-2975, 1985.
  4. Grinspoon L, Bakalar J (Eds): Psychedelic Reflections. Am J Psychiatry 143:249-250, 1986.
  5. Dobkin de Rios M: Hallucinogens: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Psychiatry 50:90-93, 1987.
  6. Westermeyer J: A Clinical Guide of Alcohol and Drug Problems. J Clin Psychiatry 48:421, 1987.
  7. Levy S, Blume S (Eds): Addictions in the Jewish Community. Am J Psychiatry 145:121-122, 1988.
  8. Herrington R, Jacobson G, Benzer D (Eds): Alcohol and Drug Abuse Handbook. J Clin Psychiatry 49:123-124, 1988.
  9. Milkman H, Sunderwirth S: Craving for Ecstacy: The Consciousness and Chemistry of Escape. JAMA 259:2614-2615, 1988.
  10. Hendin H, Haas A, Singer P, Ellner M, Ulman R: Living High: Daily Marijuana Use Among Adults. Am J Psychiatry 145:1467-1468, 1988.
  11. Fisher S, Raskin A, Uhlenhuth EH (Eds): Cocaine: Clinical and Biobehavioral Aspects. J Clin Psychiatry 49:328, 1988.
  12. Jacobs MR, Fehr KOB (Eds): Drugs and Drug Abuse, 2nd edition. J Clin Psychiatry 49:375, 1988.
  13. Levinthal CF: Messengers of Paradise: Opiates and the Brain. JAMA 260:3350-3351, 1988.
  14. Halaris A: Chronobiology and Psychiatric Disorders. Am J Psychiatry 146:113-114, 1989.
  15. Lee MA, Shlain B: Acid Dreams. Am J Psychiatry 146:395-396, 1989. 16. Stevens J: Storming Heaven. Am J Psychiatry 146:395-396, 1989.
  16. Nace EP: The Treatment of Alcoholism. J Clin Psychiatry 50:74-75, 1989.
  17. Frances RJ, Miller SI: Clinical Textbook of Addictive Disorders. J Clin Psychiatry 52:435, 1991.
  18. Grinspoon L, Bakalar J: Marijuana: Forbidden Medicine. JAMA 270:2878-2879, 1993.
  19. McKenna T: Food of the Gods. Network (The Scientific and Medical Network Newsletter) 53:58-59, 1994.
  20. Stafford P: Psychedelics Encyclopedia, 3rd ed. Am J Addict 3:178-180, 1994.

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