Filed in Science

Sitting for Sessions

Dharma & DMT ResearchRick J. Strassman, M.D.

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Part of Tricycle's Fall 1996 Special Section on Buddhism & Psychedelics.
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It is January 1991, twenty-three minutes after I injected a large dose of DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) into Elena's arm vein. Elena is a forty two-year-old married psychotherapist with extensive personal experience with psychedelic drugs. DMT is a powerful, short-acting psychedelic that occurs naturally in human body fluids, and is also found in many plants. Elena has read some Buddhism, but practices Taoist meditation.

She lies in a bed on the fifth floor of the University of New Mexico Hospital General Clinical Research Center. The clear plastic tubing that provides access to her vein dangles onto the bed. The cuff of a blood pressure machine is loosely attached to her other arm, and the tubing snakes its way into the back of a blinking monitor.

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