What if we told you there was an alternative and natural way to free yourself from your addiction? What if we told you that this treatment could provide you with a clear reflection on the sources of your addiction, and allow you to find closure in a therapeutic healing manner resulting in a lower chance of relapse? Well, there is a way to begin anew, and its name is Ibogaine.
What is Ibogaine exactly?
Ibogaine is an active alkaloid, or compound naturally found in the roots of a perennial rainforest shrub called Iboga. Native to West-Central Africa, the bark of the root is chewed for both pharmacological and ritualistic purposes by members of the African Bwiti faith. In large doses, the psychoactive drug fosters visions or hallucinogenic effects like LSD or psilocybin (active ingredient in magic mushrooms). While in smaller doses, it acts as a mild stimulant. It has gained popularity in the addiction treatment realm, as it is proven to significantly aid in opiate withdrawal symptoms, in addition to eliminating substance-related cravings from a variety of drugs, and alcohol, ultimately disrupting addiction. Although currently illegal in the United States, it is being researched and administered as therapeutic modality in various other countries.
“There are some four million different kinds of animals and plants in the world. Four million different solutions to the problems of staying alive”. -David Attenborough
Brief History of Ibogaine
1800’s: For over a century, the people of the Bwiti faith in West-Central Africa have used Ibogaine for medicinal, hunting and ritual purposes. The bark is pulverized and swallowed in smaller doses for a stimulant effect to assist in concentration while hunting, and in larger doses, for its psychoactive effects during spiritual practice and ceremonies.
1901: Ibogaine is extracted from the Tabernanthe Iboga root for research purposes in Europe, and popularized in Western culture.
1930’s: It is first developed as a drug in France, by the name of Lambarene, used for mental and physical stimulation, and popular amongst athletes. It is prescribed for depression, rehabilitation, fatigue and infectious diseases. It’s then later removed off the shelves due to its psychedelic properties.
1963: By accident, or fate, its anti-addictive effects are discovered by a 19 year-old by name of Howard Lotsof. He and his friends were experimenting with the drug and noted a reduction of both their withdrawal symptoms and heroin cravings. Lotsof then became an ibogaine advocate, and later the founder of Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance.
1980’s: Lotsof starts NDS International and attempts to commercialize the drug under the name of Endabuse (Ibogaine HCL) for addiction treatment. The US unfortunately makes it a restricted schedule 1 drug, and Lotsof contracts with a Belgian pharmaceutical company to produce the tablet for clinical trials in the Netherlands, and to set up safety protocols.
1993: The FDA approves clinical trials with Ibogaine for treatment of addiction, carried out by the University of Miami, School of Medicine on behalf of NDA international. Although successful up until now, a female participant facing heroin addiction died during the trial. The lack of finances, and the legal battle resulted in suspension of further research in the USA.
Today: The drug continues to be researched and widely used with successful clinical and anecdotal trials in Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe and other parts of the world to curb and end substance addiction.
How Ibogaine works its magic
Upon ingestion of Ibogaine, the drug is converted into a compound called noribogaine, targeting the area of the brain affected by addictive or and drug-seeking behaviors, by activating the sigma receptors and 5-HT2A receptors. Essentially, it is ‘rewiring’ these areas, and bringing you to a novice state, similar to how things were before addiction was ever triggered. So literally, you are hitting the restart button, and beginning again with Ibogaine!
Here's what you Need to Know
These 10 questions and answers will help you navigate the world of Ibogaine.
Therapeutic Uses of Ibogaine
Ibogaine for addiction treatment is thus far the most-studied therapeutic effect of the drug, especially that related to opioid dependence and symptoms of withdrawal. There is research suggesting that it can also aid is disrupting addiction to other substances such as methamphetamine, alcohol and nicotine. By giving the user a safe and transformative space to reflect on the sources of their addiction, and find closure.
According to Patrick Kroupa and Hattie Well’s research presented in the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) journal, an administration of low maintenance dose of ibogaine decreases tolerance to opiates.
Chilean-American psychiatrist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Dr. Claudio Naranjo, has been documenting how Ibogaine can be used as an adjunct to psychotherapy for chronic anxiety and depression, since 1974. His book, The Healing Journey documents this, and he was awarded the earliest patent to use the drug for psychotherapy, issued in France. In this video, Dr. Naranjo describes what ibogaine offers to the psychotherapeutic process.
There are also case studies and testimonials stating that it helps with diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), PTSD, Fibromyalgia and Parkinson’s, however more research needs to be conducted.
What to expect when you’re expecting Ibogaine
“Ibogaine can still the fear-based mind. I spent many years reading books by great spiritual teachers like Saint John, Nisargadatta, and Adyashanti. While part of me believed that they pointed to something true, another part of me doubted their message. I could not relate experientially to their teachings. My doubts held me back from truly committing.
After my first ibogaine session, I experienced liberation from my thoughts and finally understood what these teachers pointed to. This freedom faded as the mind reasserted itself, but deep down, I was never the same. I knew that liberation was possible, and I pursued my freedom more intensely than before. My meditation improved, I became more conscious of my repressed emotions, and I generally felt happier and more at peace.” – Peter Frank, Ibogaine Explained (2013)
There are three different phases of Ibogaine, one being the onset, second being the oneirogenic (visionary) phase, and the third being the introspection phase, all lasting around 36 hours.
First and foremost, it is recommended that one fasts on the day they take Ibogaine, to reduce nausea. It is also recommended that you stop drinking fluids about two-hour prior, to avoid having to use the restroom during treatment, as it is often difficult to move on Ibogaine. Anti-nausea medication can also be administered before beginning the treatment.
Onset Phase (0-1 Hours): It is said within 30-45 minutes of ingesting the drug; your withdrawal symptoms will subside, prior to experiencing the visionary phase. There may be some nausea, hence the anti-nausea medication. You may begin experiencing ataxia and out of body sensations.
Visionary Phase (1-7 Hours): During this phase, you may experience clear dream-like visions, whether being actual dreams, or memories. This will vary from person to person.
Introspection Phase (8-36 Hours): As you regain more bodily motion, you are able to eat and drink water again. This phase is psychotherapeutic as it allows you to conquer your fears and any negative emotions. Being in an altered state of consciousness allows you to objectively and safely experience memories and process issues of conflict and trauma, reflecting on the sources of your addiction, while finding closure.
Post Treatment: After the treatment, you may feel weak, or even emotional. This is completely normal. Nevertheless, the most important thing you will feel is freedom for a lack of withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
How effective is Ibogaine?
There are various studies proving the efficacy of Ibogaine, however it still limited in comparison to other drugs on the market. This is due to it being a Schedule 1 drug in certain countries, such as the USA, as well as limiting funding.
In a 2017 study conducted in Mexico, Ibogaine was tested on opioid-dependent participants, resulting in a abstinence of one year in a sub-group tested.
In another 2017 study conducted in New Zealand, Ibogaine was again tested on opioid-dependent participants. According to this study, there was a 50% success rate for abstinence at the 12 month mark. There was also a significant reduction of other drug and alcohol use.
In a 2014 study conducted in Brazil, the safety and efficacy of Ibogaine was studied in a retrospective analysis of data from 75 previous cocaine, crack, cannabis and alcohol users, with 72% being poly-substance users. No serious adverse reactions or fatalities were observed, and 61% of participants were abstinent. The median time of abstinence was 5.5 months, and 8.4 months, for those being treated multiple times.
Although Ibogaine has proved to assist in withdrawal and addiction, it should be noted that this is just the start of ending an addiction, rather than a quick fix. There are still other steps one must take in continuing sobriety, including social support and long-term goals.
Is it safe, and/or addicting?
“I wouldn’t recommend it to somebody who is trying to have fun. If you want your body to explode into 1,000 pieces and rebuild itself into something beautiful, then yeah—but don’t expect it to be pleasant.” – The Daily Beast
Although a Schedule 1 drug in the USA, Belgium and Switzerland, classified as a drug with a “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use,” it is NOT likely to be used recreationally. Despite the strict regulations, those who struggle with substance abuse will seek it out internationally in clinics or with underground providers.
Here are some facts regarding Ibogaine’s safety and risks you should be aware of:
There have been fatalities associated with the use of Ibogaine. They is estimated at 1 out of 300 people. But keep in mind, in the USA alone, 100 people die per day because of drug overdose.
According to one study that reviewed cases outside of West Africa from 1990-2008, found that there have been 19 known deaths temporally associated with the ingestion of Ibogaine.
The following factors were associated with the cause of death:
Pre-existing heart or other medical conditions, such as heart disease, liver problems.
Using opiates while on Ibogaine, or soon after.
Using the root bark or Iboga extract, rather than HCI.
Taking Ibogaine outside of clinical or without proper medical assistance and constant supervision.
Taking medications that compete with Ibogaine treatment. Here is a complete list.
Please view all safety concerns put forth by the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance. It is important to weigh the risks and benefits of treatment before taking Ibogaine.
WE CANNOT BEGIN TO STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF TAKING IBOGAINE IN A PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL SETTING WHERE YOUR UTMOST SAFETY CAN BE MONITORED BE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS.
Where can I get treatment? Like, yesterday?!
There are an estimated 75-100 Ibogaine treatment facilities worldwide, and are growing due to the high demand of the global opioid addiction epidemic. No matter which clinic you choose, ensure that they adhere to the clinical guidelines set forth by The Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance for administration of the drug.
We wish you the best in your journey of gaining independence from your dependence!
Here's what you Need to Know
These 10 questions and answers will help you navigate the world of Ibogaine.