Dr. Rick Strassman: A Visionary in Psychedelic Medicine
The best-selling author and clinical research psychiatrist summarizes his latest book *The Psychedelic Handbook* and the lessons gleaned overseeing 400 DMT trips in a clinical setting.
Welcome back to Psychedelic Wisdom – a Mind Body Health & Politics production. This publication features insights gleaned from thousands of psychedelic experiences of healing, creativity, connection, and consciousness expansion. I invite you to become a monthly subscriber or, if your budget allows it, a founding member.
As a member of our tribe, your financial support will help sustain my team as we continue to provide bold, unabashed interviews on topics that require careful handling. This week I have the privilege of bringing to you a pioneer and a visionary in psychedelic medicine, Dr. Rick Strassman. Many of you already know Rick from his groundbreaking book, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, which has sold 250,000 copies and rising. Some of you may have heard him recently being interviewed by Joe Rogan.
His latest book, The Psychedelic Handbook is a must-read for anyone who is considering taking psychedelic medicines for any reason. His clinical experience combined with his own personal experience makes him a true expert in a field with many frauds and fly-by-nights. We discuss the risks along with the healing potential of substances like MDMA and DMT, which we both agree must be treated with the utmost care.
In the interview, I also share the important message I received from my one and only experiment with DMT early in my career as a psychologist, while I was teaching at the University of Michigan. If your budget allows it, I encourage you to subscribe and read on to find out what I learned.
You can listen to the entire interview free of charge, or read the summary highlights for subscribers only below:
Stay tuned in, and thank you for listening and/or reading.
Wishing you Golden Light,
Dr. Richard Louis Miller
Remembering Leo Zeff
Dr. Richard Miller: I was reading in your book that you were also influenced by Leo Zeff at the exact same time in history – in the 1980s – that I was influenced by Leo Zeff, because he was a neighbor of mine. He was about eight houses down the street, and we got to know one another, and I soon became his student. He became my mentor, and I ingested various kinds of psychedelic medicines in my mouth, in my rectum, and in my nose also.
Leo did the most interesting thing. During the 1980s, I had founded a chemical dependence program called Cokenders Alcohol and Drug Program, and we did a five-day residential to kick off everybody's program at Wilbur Hot Spring. A very intense program. 30 hours of group therapy, individual therapy. We did yoga, but I called it stretching. We did meditation, but I called it mind-clearing. We did nutrition training, but we called it learning about fuel. Disguising things to make them more palatable to chemically-dependent people. And Leo says to me one day, "I'd like to attend the five-day program."
Dr. Rick Strassman: [laughs] Yeah. Great.
Dr. Richard Miller: He was cherubic. Remember, he was a cherubic person in his demeanor. And I said, "Leo, you want to come to a chemical dependent residential?" He said, "Yes, I've got something I want to deal with."
I said, "Please, come as my personal guest."
The first night of the program, we're all sitting in a circle, and it was my custom after introductions for each person to go to their room and bring every single drop of paraphernalia and drugs that they brought with them. Then, I would have them go to the parking lot and clean out their cars and bring that to the room. And it was typically boxes and boxes of stuff that were in the middle of the room. There was Leo sitting with bags, upon bags of-
Dr. Rick Strassman: [laughs]
Dr. Richard Miller: -Cheetos, chocolate knobs, different kinds of jellybeans. I mean, he was a junk food addict. And he's sitting in a room with profoundly addicted heroin, cocaine, alcohol – garbage heads, taking all three. And they saw his collection. He was a hit overnight. It was really, really a great thing.
Dr. Rick Strassman: Yeah, whenever I attended meetings that Leo was at, you'd always see him wandering where the food was. He'd be asking people, "Where's the food?" Yeah, he just loved to eat.
Dr. Richard Miller: For those of you listening, Leo Zeff, The Secret Chief, is the name of the book that was written about him. It's worth reading. You want to get to it.
Dr. Rick Strassman: Yeah, my experience with Leo was rather limited. I met him in the mid-80s, '86, maybe '87. I arranged to do an ibogaine session with him, which we did the next year. And then, the picture trip, you know that LSD and harmaline trip. So, those were the two experiences that I have supervised by him. And they were momentous, especially the ibogaine one.
Dr. Richard Miller: What music did he play? Do you recall?
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