Movie Review : DMT: The Spirit Molecule (2010)

The Joe Rogan Experience podcast is something of a cultural phenomenon. The comedian/UFC host gained a wide male audience (that includes yours truly) by discussing a wide array of subjects with his guests that go from male interest to spiritual matters. Listening to him discuss about alternative ways of thinking is both fascinating and comforting. Rogan's passionate, candid and enthusiastic personality is changing the public perception about him. He's becoming a public intellectual. Twelve months ago, I didn't know what Dimethyltriptamine (better known as DMT) was. Now, not only I'm aware that it's the most potent psychedelic known to man, but my opinion about this type of drugs has completely changed. Enough to watch a documentary that investigates its powers.

DMT: The Spirit Molecule both discusses the history, the controversy and the alleged usages of dimethyltriptamine. One of the most captivating aspects of it, is that its chemical components are found in literally everything, so you could synthesize it from everything around you. The reason why is it so is nebulous, but given its powerful, life-changing effects on human beings, it's a troubling fact. We're the only conscious beings that we known about in the universe, so it's impossible to know if it only affects us, but the accounts made by DMT users (notably the participants of Dr. Rick Strassman's research) are fascinating. There seem to be a lot for a human brain to handle, but they all eventually stumbled into something intelligible. Most DMT users and especially the Ayahuasca users (a potion made from DMT that makes the trip slower and longer) have had their life changes by the spirit molecule. Depressions and drug addictions were cured, things like that.

I'm ready to believe everything that documentary has said about DMT. It's not because it's unproven that it's necessarily untrue. I'm even ready to believe there is a greater purpose to it, since it's present in everything (or at least, it's what the film argues). One of the basic principles of sciences is that there are plenty of things we can't explain and that in fact, we know very little. For example, my main problem with the atheist discourse is that it claims to have understood the nature of existence. Who the hell knows what happens when you die? Science makes mistakes and changes its views all the time *.

What's why when DMT: The Spirit Molecule pretends that the main means of transport through time and space might be inwards (i.e. the human brain) and not outwards, I don't see why not. It's untapped, so who knows? There's been a crackdown on psychedelics since the Nixon years, so science had very limited means of investigating the subject **. I know I may sound like a crackpot saying all this, but think about it. If in millions of years, all we could manage is to visit the tool shed in the Earth's backyard (i.e. the moon), why not at least try the other method? We are obviously slow and limited, so why not explore out full capacity as human beings first and foremost?

My main issue with DMT: The Spirit Molecule is that it's poorly done as a movie. It visibly doesn't have much budget and it cut with annoying psychedelic montages who look like they were done with Windows Movie Maker.They are used ad nauseam. There's not much of a structure also. It keeps jumping from a subject to another without having solid discourse. If you don't know anything about DMT and watch this movie, you're going to be pretty confused. There is all sorts of scientific lingo and instead of having infographics that simplifies and explains those points (like INSIDE JOB did), there's just those shmoozy montages of psychedelic visions.

If you already know about DMT and are looking for more substantial information, DMT: The Spirit Molecule has a good chunk of though-provoking information to carry and will ignite many discussions amongst you and your friends. Unfortunately, it's a messy and poor representative for the substance and for psychedelics in general as its low-budget approach and confusing structure makes it hard for a "non-initiate" *** to follow. Psychedelics are a fascinating subject and DMT: The Spirit Molecule doesn't quite do them justice. 


* Remember when we thought Pluto was a planet? Then about fifty years later we find out it's just a rock amongst a million other rocks?

** Joe Rogan, if you ever read this, I think it would be interesting talked if you discussed psychedelics with Neil DeGrasse Tyson on a future podcast. Just sayin'.

*** I'm using the term loosely here, please don't think I'm an enlightened nutjob.


I'm a pop culture blogger and author living in Montreal, Canada with my better half Josie and my dog Scarlett. I am a proud member of author collective Zelmer Pulp and have about a dozen of short stories published to my resume.


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  2. Strassman has also written a couple of books on the subject too. If this type of thing fascinates you, I'd suggest reading Breaking Open the Head by Daniel Pinchbeck and Food of the Gods by Terrence McKenna. Also, you can visit The Vaults of Erowid online for more reading on the subject. I think it's extremely interesting; that's why entheogens feature in Simon Rip's second adventure.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions, man. Like I said, my interest in the subject was ignited big time by the JRE podcast. I heard about Pinchbeck, so I'm interested about what he has to say about it.

    Also doubly interested in Simon Rip now!!!

  4. "I'm using the term loosely here, please don't think I'm an enlightened nutjob." --too late.

  5. haha, owned! You should read on DMT and Ayahuasca, Amber. There are some great videos on YouTube also. Never did psychedelics, but I sure changed my opinion about there.

    There are fascinating hypotheses about the nature of life that relate to psychedelic. My favorite is about how the body may just be a receptacle for a signal. A bit like radio and radio signal. So when the receptable stops functioning, the signal doesn't necessarity cease to exist.

    It relates to psychedelics as the act of taking some may just be tuning you to a different frequency, allowing you to see things you wouldn' normally see. I do think the whole psychedelic vision freakout visual is just the brain adapting to this.

    Like I said in the review, nothing of that is proven, but it sure is a seducing hypothesis.

  6. I'll investigate these youtube videos for giggles...but I won't be experimenting...

  7. Been trying to watch The Spirit Molecule before commenting on this but it's not gonna happen any time soon, I reckon. Too much on to burn three hours on a two-star movie. See how much I trust you, Benoit?

    But I'm a big fan of the Joe Rogan podcast. You described him as a public intellectual. Think there's something in that. A dude with muscles who smokes a lot of weed who is actually considered smart? God forbid! But I've listened to his converse with scholars and it does seem to be the case.

    RE his thoughts on psychedelics, he's a great poster-boy. Seems like he's happy, successful and grounded. What else would you want? He attributes this to mushrooms, DMT and weed. I have to believe that part of it is life experience, though. And being surrounded by people he loves ('positive people' in his own words).

    As to whether or not I would try DMT? Yes, I think I would, but under very specific conditions. In a country where it is legal, at a time when my children are being looked after by somebody I trust and when my life is in a stable state (or I've 'got my shit together').

    That's probably asking too much. I don't begrudge my kids for depending on me, by the way. Thank the universe for them. They keep me from doing stupid things all the time. I don't consider DMT or mushrooms to be stupid, though. Just an adventure I've never had the opportunity to go on. Yet.



  8. Oh, the movie isn't actually three hours long, BTW. I'm prone to exaggeration, I guess...


  9. Gerard, I think I'd do Ayahuasca before doing DMT. Seems like a more controlled substance and the fact you have to have a shaman to use it makes me feel more secure about it. You ever heard the JRE with Graham Hancock where he talks about his Ayahuasca experience? It's fascinating.

    I think this whole psychedelic question comes down to if whether or not you believe there are higher forces in the universe than the human mind. In our ever expanding universe, I think it's narrow minded NOT to believe it.

    Now the question is to know whether they are inacessible or if we just haven't found the right path to these beings yet. In that regards, the alleged powers DMT and Ayahuasca are as good a hypothesis as any other. I'd be curious to try them.