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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

The evidence for ibogaine: What new studies tell us about ibogaine for addiction treatment

Over twenty years ago, former heroin addict and scientist Howard Lotsof filed a series of patents for something he called Endabuse, which he saw as a universal, accessible addiction treatment. This alternative addiction treatment was none other than ibogaine, the active chemical in the traditional West African psychedelic iboga.

Lotsof's own experiences revealed ibogaine's potential to treat addiction to opiates, cocaine, amphetamine, alcohol, nicotine and tobacco. Following his efforts, in 1991, the National Institute on Drug Abuse decided to include ibogaine on the list of drugs to be evaluated in the treatment of drug dependency, and we are finally seeing the rewards of this decision in today's robust research results. Here's a look at some of the recent and upcoming research in the field of ibogaine for addiction treatment.

A recent study from Brazil gives us excellent evidence that Lotsof was right. For this study, a team of scientists looked to a private substance abuse clinic in Brazil, a country where ibogaine is unregulated. This clinic treats addiction to many substances, including cocaine/crack cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, or a combination of these. The clinic refers its patients to a private hospital where a trained physician oversees an ibogaine treatment. In this treatment, the physician provides emotional support to the patient but otherwise avoids influencing his or her experience.

After treatment, patients returned to the clinic for psychological therapy. In the follow-up, most patients received a second ibogaine dose. Some got even more in following sessions, up to nine doses. Though the clinic knew its treatment was effective, the goal of this study was to crunch the numbers for the clinic, who kept meticulous data, to find out just how big those effects were.

So far, most ibogaine research has focused on opiate addiction to substances like heroin. This study is the first of its kind to look at how well ibogaine works for patients addicted to a variety of substances rather than just opioids. The data shows just what we would expect, if we consider what Lotsof and many contemporary experts say: the ibogaine treatment was very effective. An impressive 61% of the clients were completely abstinent after eight months, and they had longer average periods of abstinence with multiple treatments.

This is very significant compared to the typical rate of 26% after psychotherapy alone. Abstinence was easier for most people after they underwent the ibogaine treatment, the average length of abstinence patients could achieve before the treatment was only two months, even as full-time residents of an addiction clinic. The vast majority of patients had tried other, non-psychedelic treatments without success. Most reported that the ibogaine sessions were essential to their recovery.

The study also attested to ibogaine's safety. There were no ill effects in any of the 75 patients other than what we'd expect during ibogaine treatment, like nausea and confusion. Despite the sometimes unpleasant sensations, not a single patient complained about the treatment (though four patients were critical of the psychotherapy they received).

The future of ibogaine research for addiction

The study from Brazil gives us great data, but only for the outcome of abstinence. Effective addiction treatment requires deep changes in outlook, and it will be important to study the measurement of that directly. In the future, we may see research that shows that ibogaine is effective not just at reducing drug use but also to improve self-efficacy, psychosocial functioning, emotional effect, and quality of life.

Fortunately, two studies sponsored by MAPS are in the works now in Mexico and New Zealand. In addition to measuring how long former addicts stay clean after ibogaine treatments, these studies will also assess general quality of life conditions like employment, social relationships, feelings of depression, and changes in emotional intelligence. Though they are still gathering data, preliminary results show a remarkable 20 to 50% rate of abstinence on follow-up a year later. This is another stark contrast to the clinical results of many conventional treatment options, the success rate of Suboxone-assisted opiate addiction treatment, for instance, drops to 8.6% once the Suboxone is discontinued. Unlike replacement treatments, a single dose of ibogaine, if fully integrated into a patient's mindset, is effective for a very long time.

The growing evidence for the efficacy and safety of ibogaine treatment, not just for opiate addiction but alcohol, cocaine, crack cocaine, and even marijuana, comes as a boon to those suffering from many forms of addiction. There are strong implications that it has the potential to treat behavioral addictions as well such as gambling addictions. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, these new studies add to the growing list of reasons to consider ibogaine treatment at a professional clinic. It is important to note that these had access to extended inpatient treatment or another form of continuing care after ibogaine treatment. Ibogaine is not a magic bullet by itself. For truly effective healing, a recovery coach or professional is useful to help integrate the singular, visionary experience it provides.


Following are downloadable studies on the efficacy of ibogaine in the treatment of drug addiction.
STUDY: A mixed-method analysis of persisting effects associated with positive outcomes following ibogaine detoxification - Davis, et al. - 2018
STUDY: Analysis of the subjective experience elicited by ibogaine in the context of a drug dependence treatment - Schenberg, et al. (2017)
STUDY: A phenomenological investigation into the lived experience of ibogaine and its potential to treat opioid use disorders - Camlin, et al. - 2018
PAPER: An end to the opioid epidemic: New study suggests ibogaine treatment could be a game changer - Garcia, Barsuglia (2017)
PAPER: An ibogaine treatment protocol - Geerte for Lindesmith Centre
THESIS: Breaking the habit: Ibogaine as a viable treatment for opioid dependence and withdrawal - Matthew Styles (2014)
STUDY: Case studies of ibogaine treatment: Implications for patient management strategies - Lotsof, Alexander (2001)
STUDY: Changes in withdrawal and craving scores in participants undergoing opioid detox utilizing Ibogaine - Malcolm, Polanco, Barsuglia - 2018
STUDY: Clinical guidelines for ibogaine-assisted detoxification - Dickinson, McAlpin, Wilkins, Fitzsimmons, Guion, Paterson, Greene, Chaves (2016)
STUDY: Detoxification from methadone using low, repeated, and increasing doses of ibogaine: A case report - Wilkins, et al. (2017)
THESIS: Experiences of opioid detoxification using ibogaine in various treatment settings - Jamie Walker (2016)
STUDY: Ibogaine and addiction in the animal model, a systematic review of and meta-analysis - Belgers, et al. (2016)
STUDY: Ibogaine as a potential anti-addictive treatment - Nor Ilyani Mohamed Nazar (2014)
STUDY: Ibogaine as an alternative and efficacious treatment for heroin addiction - Amadon, Roecker
STUDY: Ibogaine detoxification transitions opioid and cocaine abusers between dependence and abstinence - Mash, et al. - 2018
STUDY: Ibogaine effect on cocaine craving and use in dependent patients - Pedro Luis Prior, Sergio Luiz Prior (2014)
STUDY: Ibogaine for opioid use disorder: Can we root out addiction at its source? - Shuang Ouyang (2016)
PAPER: Ibogaine in the treatment of chemical dependence disorders: Clinical perspectives - Howard Lotsof (1995)
STUDY: Ibogaine in the treatment of heroin withdrawal - Mash, Kovera, Pablo (2001)
STUDY: Ibogaine in the treatment of substance dependence - Thomas Kingsley Brown (2013)
THESIS: Ibogaine offers an alternative approach for treating opiate addiction - Christopher Nielsen - 2018
STUDY: Ibogaine treatment outcomes for opioid dependence - Noller, Frampton, Yazar-Klosinski (2016)
STUDY: Ibogaine: An anti-addictive drug: Pharmacology and time to go further in development - Maciulaitis, Kontrimaviciute, Bressolle, Briedis - 2008
STUDY: Ibogaine: A novel anti-addictive compound - A comprehensive literature review - Freedlander, DiClemente (2003)
STUDY: Ibogaine: A review - Kenneth Alper (2015)
STUDY: Ibogaine: Treatment outcomes and observations - MAPS (2003)
STUDY: Life after ibogaine: An exploratory study of the long-term effects of ibogaine treatment on drug addicts - Ehud Bastiaans (2004)
STUDY: Relevance to putative therapeutic effects and development of a safer iboga alkaloid congener - Glick, et al. (2001)
STUDY: Novel pharmacotherapeutic treatments for cocaine addiction - Daryl Shorter, Thomas Kosten (2011)
STUDY: Receptor binding profile suggests multiple mechanisms responsible for ibogaine's putative anti-addictive activity - Sweetnam, et al. (1994)
STUDY: Remission of severe opioid use disorder with ibogaine: A case report - Cloutier-Gill, Wood, Millar, Ferris, Socias (2016)
STUDY: Subjective effectiveness of ibogaine treatment for problematic opioid consumption: Short- and long-term outcomes - Davis, et al. (2017)
STUDY: The antiaddictive effects of ibogaine: A systematic literature review of human studies - Dos Santos, Bouso, Hallak (2016)
STUDY: The use of ibogaine in the treatment of addictions - Kenneth Alper, Howard Lotsof (2007)
STUDY: Treating drug dependence with the aid of ibogaine: A qualitative study - Schenberg et al. (2016)
STUDY: Treating drug dependence with the aid of ibogaine: A retrospective study - Schenberg, de Castro Comis, Chaves, da Silveira (2014)
STUDY: Treatment of acute opioid withdrawal with ibogaine - Alper, Lotsof, Frenken, Luciano, Bastiaans (1999)
STUDY: Treatment of opioid use disorder with ibogaine: Detoxification and drug use outcomes - Brown, Alper (2017)
STUDY: Treatment of opioid use disorder with ibogaine_Detoxification and drug use outcomes: Clinical rationale - Brown, Alper (2017)

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Ibogaine: A personal experience with the miracle psychedelic

by Jane Van Bemmelen

Throughout my entire using career, in being addicted to and abusing several substances since the age of 15, it seems that the most evil demon of them all was my addiction to heroin and opiates. I was gripped by heroin and other heavy prescription opiates for 6 years, and it just would not let go. I mean, I don't even really prefer the high, I just could not function, hell, I could not breathe without it. It began with trying heroin (the one on my DO NOT TRY list) one night at a party, I was in love with a boy, whom loved heroin and of course I wasn't going to say no. It progressed into smoking heroin daily with this boy, selling, and eventually all of my resistance was futile, as the addiction progressed into IV use. The black nightmare had become a harsh reality for me: a young, intelligent and beautiful girl with serious potential. It went up and down, back and forth, but I couldn't shake this dark devil that used me daily. I even managed to become pregnant, give birth, and gain 13 months of clean time. In recovery, I had responsibilities, great connections, and the best intentions, yet I still went back to heroin; she's evil.

I remember always trying to avoid being sick, that was my main goal for a long time. I hated using, but had to in order to function. I sold the drugs I used, in order to maintain the habit, and lied to everyone I loved. For my addiction and substance abuse problems, I went through numerous lengths trying to get better. I tried in-patient and out-patient rehabs, AA and NA meetings, Methadone and Suboxone maintenance treatments, and I cannot count how many times I tried to get clean and conquer it on my own. All, while proving to be helpful in gaining knowledge and support, were unsuccessful in getting and keeping me off drugs. It wasn't until I desperately left the country, seeking an unconventional detox method, that I found something that worked. Inside, I was so done with living in a shadow that I would've tried anything at that point to end it. I didn't want to withdraw from heroin again, I had 6 times before that, and I just couldn't take anymore torture. In desperation, I awkwardly prayed to an unknown God for an escape from my created hell, and my prayer was more than answered.

This is an account of my experience with the psychedelic medicine from Africa, Ibogaine, and how it freed me from an addiction to heroin, with virtually no withdrawal symptoms. Not only did this miracle medicine get me off of drugs, but it came with a powerful psychedelic trip into my own unconscious world, where I experienced a life-changing message from a higher source that would never leave me.

I left Monday for my 7-day retreat to Mexico fully loaded. I remember shooting my last shot directly into my neck in the bathroom before I left; it was the only vein I had left. Upon arrival, I had a bunch of medical tests done and spoke with a doctor. When the doctor was explaining the risks, I interrupted to say that I would rather die trying to get clean, than continue to live and use. I was serious. I wanted to be clean so desperately, that I was willing to die during the process. We spent two days getting used to the environment, learning about the medicine, and writing down questions and intentions for our experience with Ibogaine.

Wednesday evening, I took the medicine in four doses. I remember it taking an unusually long time to take effect. I was afraid that it might not work, given that Ive taken so many drugs. About an hour and a half into it, I started to feel it. The first thing I experienced was a loud buzzing noise that sounded like an old-school cooler or refrigerator. As the buzzing got louder, sounds from the soft meditation music in the background started to warp and blend. I closed my eyes and pulled the nighttime mask that was provided to me over my head. The buzzing continued to get louder and started to change frequencies. I felt an all over body high, similar to the feeling that nitrous oxide has when held in the lungs for a while. I was a little freaked out, but told myself to relax. I felt a feeling of warmth spreading over me, beginning in my abdomen and moving upwards. I realized that I wasn't able to move my body at this point. The fire-like feeling moved to my brain, and the buzzing sound had turned into a mixture of electricity, creaking, crunching, and scraping. It was an amplified nails-on-a-chalkboard sort of sound. I remember thinking to myself that it was the sound of my unconscious brain fusing together with my conscious brain, and then thinking it was cool that I could be experiencing this and still have my own introspective perspective on it all. The Ibogaine wasn't taking away my own personality, just beginning to add a little experience to it, unlike any psychedelic I had tried before. The sound I was hearing had shifted from a high frequency electrical voltage sound to a low, alternating sound, like tribal drums being played at a ceremony. I had not yet begun to experience its full effect, but I got a strong sense of the medicines African origin when I heard this. I felt fear gripping me, as I realized how powerful and intense this medicine was going to be, and that there was no turning back. I let go of the fear, surrendered, and was greeted with my first vision.

Like raindrops on a window, this first vision dripped down onto the screen which was my consciousness. I saw a vague figure of a man standing in a frame, full color. Behind him, trailing on and on and on, were several men in frames just the same way, except black and white. It was like when you're standing between two mirrors and your reflection trails on forever, except it was someone else, an unfamiliar man. Then, I saw the all-color man in front take a step and walk through the doorway. I thought of Harry Potter, I don't know why, then I instinctively opened my eyes, and the vision disappeared. I looked around and saw that reality was very distorted, like a mushroom trip. I also noticed that all of my senses were way heightened, like 10x. The whispers that I was hearing from the doctors and nurses across the room, were right in my ear. The smell of lavender oil from a cloth I had placed on my chest, was now penetrating every single cell in my body. I was dizzy beyond belief and could only wiggle my fingers and toes, because I knew, intuitively, that if I would've moved any more of my body I would've purged. It was so very intense. Once I closed my eyes again, things got a little crazy.

Vision after vision appeared rapidly, full color and 3D, and it was so much that I could barely process what I was seeing. Before I could grasp what was happening in one vision, another would pop up and be even crazier than the last. Images were all connected to each other and flowing in and out, through strange transitions. Sometimes images would swirl into each other, sometimes they would drip. There were many vortex/wormhole like visions, like falling through tunnels. I felt as if I was floating through another dimension many times. Colors were bright and often opposites, like in Andy Warhol pop-art. I started to notice one, strange particular transition repeating over and over. It was a red background, with an image of a yellow, girls cowboy boot that would swing down and kick another vision into my consciousness. I remember thinking how weird it was that a boot kept appearing. I waited for the boot to reappear, and when it did I mentally grabbed it and hung on.

I guess the Ibogaine was fully in effect at this point, because suddenly I was held in one vision. Everything froze, as I stared at what appeared to be me suspended in between two worlds. It was crisp and clear. I felt like I was hovering. To the left of my vision was Earth. Brown and green mountains, landscape, blue water. I was looking down on it. To the right of my vision was space: vast, still, and endless. I could see stars, planets, and galaxies upon an infinite black canvas. I got a sense of the immense size of everything and nothing, of cosmic consciousness. I felt amazingly intelligent, as if I had all of the knowledge of the world and beyond downloaded into me. Right in front of me, down the middle of these two worlds, was a rainbow bridge that I could've walked on if I had tried. As I was looking, I knew it was all being shown to me by a higher form of consciousness, but although it was a source higher than me, it also felt as if it was me. The higher me was using this body to show it all to myself, and I suddenly understood the sheer truth behind everything. I wondered how I could possibly take what I was seeing, and everything I was understanding, and explain it in human language. The response I got was this:

You are the key.

I was the key. Okaaay.

More visions began to speed by again, and I did a quick scan of my body. I had been laying in the same position for nearly three hours, it was time to move. As I had predicted, the second my body moved I purged. That experience of vomiting, in itself, was a crazy trip, while my eyes were closed I was having visions that were in sync with it. I felt as if I was being shot out of my own mouth down a neon, Ninja-Turtle tunnel, all while tasting the incredibly nasty taste of the Iboga root mixed with stomach acid. It was such a trip! Once I was done, I had to sense my way back into a laying position, because the lights were so bright that I could barely open my eyes.

Once I settled, visions continued on randomly, most of them I cant remember. There was one in which I saw what I believe to be a past life. It was the lower half of a woman, wearing what looked like a dress from the 1920s, or earlier. Another vision, that I cant forget, was of what I know the future will be for human beings on Earth. I was floating through buildings, looking down on Earth, and I come to a grass clearing. I had a birds-eye view of several thousand human beings, all together. It looked sort of like I was looking down on a rave or music festival, except there was no DJ and no one was dancing. Instead of vibrations coming from speakers, the vibrations were coming from these humans. They were all huddled in circles, circling more circles, circling more. They were all holding one another and coming together in peace, love, and harmony. I could feel the powerful energy rising off of these human beings, as each soul recognized the soul of the other as its own. It was a giant, spiraling human hug, with every person radiating the pure intentions of love and oneness. As I looked down at the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, it felt like every single cell in me was crying tears of joy and awe. I felt tears going down my face. I remember asking the higher source, Why cant it be like this now? Again, I was told that I am the key. Over and over, I got the message that I AM it all. I am what was talking, I am what was listening; I am the question, I am the answer. I am the problem, I am the solution. I am everything, and there is no difference; there is no time, its all ONE. I AM BOTH THE EXPERIENCE AND THE EXPERIENCER.

Gradually, the visions began to fade out and reality started to come back. It had been 9 hours since I took my first dose of Ibogaine, and the sunlight of the next day had begun to shine through cracks in the window curtains of the clinic. I was so psychologically and physically worked, that I felt as if I had just run a full marathon with no training. I was not all there and my senses were still extremely heightened. I couldn't move. With no energy whatsoever, I was forced to just lay there and think about everything I had just witnessed. I wanted badly to fall asleep, but I could not. Hours passed, and eventually I passed out for a full day.

When I woke up it was 10 am on Friday morning. I remember intense hunger being my first feeling. The second feeling was the best ever. I looked around and everything was fresh, I felt as a kid does, and like I had just taken 10,000 psychological showers- I was clean, not under the influence of any opiates. Colors were brighter, sounds were more clear, the taste of fresh fruit and coconut water, as I scarfed it down in a hurry, was one of the best experiences of my life. Thank God almighty, I was free from heroin at last!

I spent the next few days recovering at the house in Rosarito. I had minor restless legs and trouble adjusting my skin to the temperature around me, but other than that: no withdrawals! I had to have a blanket around me for a few days, but managed to gain enough energy by Saturday to ride horses on the beach, eat a full meal, and I even pooped - something I had gone over a week without doing. My acne had magically cleared up, and my skin was glowing. I had no desire to smoke a cigarette, eat sugar, drink coffee, or use heroin, or any drugs. I put on a sun dress, and headed for San Diego on Sunday morning, sad to leave the luxury, but ready to continue my life clean. I was given Iboga-booster capsules, which had a different (more mild) form of the plant in them, to help with cravings. They produced a mild and slightly psychedelic feeling, but helped. All the other troubles that come with getting off of heroin came, like difficulty with digesting and sleeping for a few weeks. It has been about 9 months since I experienced Ibogaine, and I am still clean.

What I expected/hoped the Ibogaine would show me was that my addiction was manifesting because of an issue that needed to be dealt with. But, what Ibogaine showed me, was that there was no problem. When I was laying there after the visions, forced into introspection, I came to this conclusion:

As a drug addict, I have been searching for a different state of consciousness in drugs, but that does not make me a bad or damaged human being. I haven't been messing life up this whole time, Ive been searching for something else. The experience of Ibogaine showed me that what I have been searching for, I already am. What a relief! Now the whole thing just looks stupid and pointless! I figured that if it was all one thing, then there isn't a need to resist, there are no mistakes. I can learn to achieve these higher states without using, whenever I want. The one and only thing I have been after my entire life is freedom. That is all I want.

I decided to seek spirit and let go of the battle, it was clear to me that my addiction now had served its purpose. I knew I had to adopt a completely new lifestyle, and I went on to do just that. The Ibogaine worked; it freed me from active addiction in a day, and it gave me a powerful message to take home with me. I am still clean today because I took that message seriously. I have changed friends, locations, phone numbers, diet, daily practice, and routine, even my name, all in order to better suit a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Ibogaine can work for anyone, but in order for the treatment to be successful, two things need to be in place.

1. The person has to truly want to be clean, 100%. They have to be the ones to choose to do this medicine.

2. The person must be willing to change the way they live, after the Ibogaine treatment is over. They must be willing to adopt a new lifestyle, with new people, places, and things.

This was my unique, personal experience with Ibogaine and unlike any other. Peoples experiences with Ibogaine vary greatly, and it isn't always an enjoyable one. But looking back on it all, I can say that this medicine is nothing short of a miracle, no matter how it is experienced. It was created by nature, and its power to help cure human beings is remarkable. Not only does it help with addiction, but also has been proven to help with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and spiritual growth.

In the US, Ibogaine is classified as a Schedule I, meaning, they say there is no medicinal value and potential for abuse is high. Ibogaine does not need to be used more than once and is so intense that it could not be a party fad. I could not be addicted to this, and trust me: I know addiction! So why would our country make such an gigantic mistake? Well, it obvious: it isnt a mistake. Ibogaine threatens the pharmaceutical companies profits and reputation. It cannot be patented and it works, therefore it will cost them money. No. People are dying! It's time for the truth to come out; no more profiting off of the addictions of our own species! No more creating problems and hiding solutions, all for money? It's just paper! This is wrong! There is a cure!

I wanted to share my experience to help spread the word of this powerful little root from Africa. Of all the addicts I talk to about this medicine, only about 2 in 10 are familiar with it; this needs to change. It is my responsibility to do everything I can in honor of the psychedelic savior, Ibogaine, to spread awareness. I have the gift of surrender, introspection, self-awareness, and writing, literally I know now I am the key.

Now, It is YOUR responsibility, now that you have read this, to bring light to the darkness by showing a way. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and seeking a new method of recovery, Ibogaine works! Please help me spread the word, and share my post with others.​
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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Treating addiction with ibogaine

The psychedelic drug ibogaine is known for two things: its reputation in some circles as a panacea for addiction and the visceral hallucinations it induces. Positive anecdotes abound from people who have sought out the illegal drug at underground clinics. Just one dose, they say, brings near-instant relief from cravings and withdrawal symptoms, a veritable miracle for seemingly intractable addictions. But the side effects of this plant-derived substance can be dangerous or even deadly. Now, with encouraging evidence from animal studies, drugs are being developed to replicate ibogaine's impact on addiction without the side effects. A drug that is chemically related to ibogaine but lacks its psychedelic properties is set to begin phase II clinical trials in California this year. If the results continue to be promising, addiction treatment as we know it could change radically.

For decades research on ibogaine has been stymied by its classification as a Schedule I drug, the most tightly regulated category. Yet the results of animal studies have been intriguing. In May 2016 a meta-analysis examining 32 such studies, mostly in mice and rats, found that ibogaine reduced self-administration of cocaine, opioids and alcohol. An earlier study from 2015 found that noribogaine, the substance that ibogaine breaks down to when ingested, reduced self-administration of nicotine in addicted rats by 64 percent.

Now Savant HWP, a pharmaceutical company in California, has developed a drug called 18-MC, a compound chemically related to ibogaine, which it hopes will produce the anti-addictive properties without triggering hallucinations. They are betting that the “trip” is not a necessary component of the therapy—an idea shared by some academics. In 2014 the company completed phase I trials in Brazil with 14 healthy volunteers to determine whether the drug is safe, which they do not plan to publish (as long as the data are provided to the FDA, no publication is required). Savant HWP CEO Stephen Hurst reports that overall the drug was “well tolerated” and there were “no serious adverse effects,” although it was “much more potent than we were expecting.” Phase II trials of the drug's efficacy are set to begin in the U.S. in early 2017.

Some hold out hope that ibogaine in its natural form could also become a standard treatment for addicts, but other experts urge caution. They warn that not enough is known about the risks of taking the drug, which has a long history of use in West Central African shamanistic rituals. Reported adverse effects include heart attack and seizures, and several people have died while seeking addiction relief with ibogaine.

Also mysterious is how ibogaine works to disrupt the cycle of addiction. People who have tried it have likened the intense psychedelic trip to going through years' worth of therapy in 24 hours, with flashbacks to childhood and pivotal experiences. “It was so vivid. It was like watching a movie with your eyes closed,” says Kevin, who tried ibogaine for multiple addictions during a stay at a clinic in Mexico. “I had visions of me being 16 years old when I used to drink cough syrup, and my mom caught me one night and she was crying.”

But experiences with ibogaine vary from person to person—not everyone, for instance, experiences the drug's trippy effects—and its neurochemistry and biophysics are perplexing. Research indicates that ibogaine acts on dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitter pathways strongly linked to addiction and reward, similar to other psychedelics currently being explored for addiction and mental illness treatment. Yet preliminary studies suggest that ibogaine attaches to other molecules in a unique way. “The mechanism of action at the molecular level is peculiar, wholly unlike that of 'traditional' drugs," says Emeline Maillet, a co-author of the 2015 study on rats and nicotine, who was then at DemeRx in Miami. "Most active compounds work by binding to a receptor on the outside of a cell membrane. But ibogaine seems to do the opposite, binding to the inside of the membrane—something no other naturally occurring molecule is known to do," says Maillet, who observed this effect in another 2015 study examining ibogaine's effect on opioid receptors.

Gary Rudnick, a professor of pharmacology at Yale University, observed a similar phenomenon in a 2016 study on ibogaine and serotonin, finding that ibogaine blocked cocaine molecules by binding to “inward-facing,” “mutually exclusive” locations on serotonin transporters. “All inhibitors except for ibogaine bind in an outward-facing configuration. So ibogaine is unique,” Rudnick says. "But we are still far from knowing the truth about how the drug works," he adds: “Ibogaine has a lot of effects on many different proteins. It's not a very clean drug. We're not sure which targets are responsible” for its addiction-interrupting ability versus its other effects.

Experts emphasize that ibogaine treatment, which can cost up to $10,000 on the black market, is not a cure. Relapse is likely in people who use ibogaine as their sole means of therapy without changing their other harmful patterns. Until we learn more about the drug's mysterious effects and until safer versions become available, the best advice for people struggling with addiction is to follow proved methods, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, support groups and approved anti-addiction medication.


"What's it gonna take?"

Case Report

Ibogaine is a psychedelic alkaloid derived from a western African shrub. Although in recent years some degree of experimental evidence has emerged favouring the use of ibogaine in the management of substance abuse disorders, these developments have been overshadowed by concerns about its safety and several cases of unexplained sudden cardiac death have been associated with its use. Among its pleiotropic receptor effects, ibogaine has central 5HT-2A agonist activity, and through this mechanism it prolongs the QT interval. Although ibogaine is not approved by any drug administration agency in the world, its unauthorized use in clandestine detoxification clinics is steadily growing worldwide. We describe the first case of severe ibogaine toxicity in the UK and highlight the complexities posed by its management.

A young Afro-Caribbean man was admitted to hospital with vomiting and agitation, after being found by his relatives in a state of confusion. He had ingested a total of 7 g of ibogaine to soothe the symptoms of heroin withdrawal. He denied ingestion of alcohol or any other drugs and he had not used heroin or methadone for 72 h. There was no family history of heart disease. Initial laboratory blood tests, arterial blood gas analysis, cardiac enzymes, and urine toxicology were unremarkable The patient was in sinus bradycardia,with marked prolongation of the QTc interval (600 ms). Several brief, self-terminating bursts of polymorphic tachycardia (VT) occurred. The VT was initially associated with tonic-clonic seizures and the patient rapidly deteriorated, losing cardiac output, and developing torsades de pointes cardiac arrest. Spontaneous cardiac output was initially restored by defibrillation (200 J), but pulseless torsades depointes recurred despite treatment with i.v. magnesium (8 mmol), atropine (2 mg), epinephrine (4 mg), and isoprenaline (5 mg min).

The patient was defibrillated several more times and required tracheal intubation to secure his airway. Transcutaneous overdrive pacing immediately shortened the QT interval and controlled the ectopic ventricular activity. The transcutaneous pacemaker was promptly replaced with a temporary transvenous pacing wire. The patient was paced at a rate of 80 beats min for48h, without furtherepisodesof VT. The patient’s bradycardia resolved and the QT interval spontaneously returned to 420 ms. The pacing wire was removed and the patient was weaned from mechanical ventilation. No further abnormalities were detected on subsequent ECGs and a transthoracic echocardiogram was normal. A review by a consultant cardiologist determined that no further electrophysiological testing was required. The patient had an uneventful recovery and was rapidly discharged.

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Thillen Naidoo and his wife were desperate and
willing to try anything to ease his addiction

Can a psychedelic from Africa cure cocaine addiction?*

by Stephanie Hegarty | BBC World Service

Since the 1960s a disparate group of scientists and former drug addicts have been advocating a radical treatment for addiction - a psychedelic called ibogaine, derived from an African shrub, that seems to obliterate withdrawal symptoms from heroin, cocaine and alcohol. So why isn't it widely used?

For nearly 15 years, Thillen Naidoo's life was ruled by crack cocaine. Growing up in Chatsworth, a township on the outskirts of Durban in South Africa, he was surrounded by drugs.

After a troubled childhood and the death of his father, he turned to cocaine.

Though he held down a job as a carpenter and could go for days or even weeks without a hit, his wild drug binges often ended in arguments with his wife Saloshna and sometimes even physical abuse.

By the time he met Dr Anwar Jeewa at the Minds Alive Rehab Centre in Chatsworth, Naidoo had tried to quit several times and failed. "Those were dark, dark days," he says.

Jeewa offered a radical solution, a psychedelic drug used in tribal ceremonies in central Africa that would obliterate his cravings.

But Naidoo was anxious. "I didn't know what this ibogaine thing was," he says. "I never expected it to work."

After several medical tests he was given the pill.

A few hours later he lay in bed, watching flying fish swarm above his head. He felt the room move around him and a constant buzz rang in his ears. Scenes from his childhood flashed up briefly before his eyes and each time someone approached to check he was OK he felt a rush of fear.

The psychedelic effect wore off overnight but for the next few days Thillen was in a haze. When he returned home a week later, he realised he no longer craved cocaine. Six months later, he is still clean.

He attends a therapy group two days a week, where he learns the skills necessary to maintain a lifestyle without drugs.

"My mind has shifted now from what I used to be," he says. "I can look back at my childhood and deal with those issues without sobbing and feeling sorry for myself."

Dr Anwar Jeewa

Jeewa estimates he has treated around 1,000 people with ibogaine but it remains largely unacknowledged by the medical mainstream.

The drug, derived from the root of a central African plant called iboga, had been used for centuries by the Bwiti people of Gabon and Cameroon, as part of a tribal initiation ceremony.

But it wasn't until 1962, when a young heroin addict called Howard Lotsof stumbled upon ibogaine, that its value as an addiction treatment was uncovered.

Lotsof took it to get high but when the psychedelic effects wore off, he realised he no longer had the compulsion to take heroin. He became convinced that he had found the solution to addiction and dedicated much of his life to promoting ibogaine as a treatment.

As far as scientists understand, ibogaine affects the brain in two distinct ways. The first is metabolic. It creates a protein that blocks receptors in the brain that trigger cravings, stopping the symptoms of withdrawal.

"Ibogaine tends to remove the withdrawals immediately and brings people back to their pre-addiction stage," says Jeewa. With normal detox this process can take months.

Its second effect is much less understood. It seems to inspire a dream-like state that is intensely introspective, allowing addicts to address issues in their life that they use alcohol or drugs to suppress.

Howard Lotsof's early campaign had little success and ibogaine was banned in the US, along with LSD and psilocybin mushrooms, in 1967.

In most other countries it remains unregulated and unlicensed. Lotsof set up a private clinic in the Netherlands in the 1980s and since then similar clinics have emerged in Canada, Mexico and South Africa.

These clinics operate in a legal grey area. But a small group of scientists is still working to bring ibogaine into the mainstream.

In the early 1990s, Deborah Mash, a neuroscientist and addiction specialist at the University of Miami, came upon the work of Dr Stanley Glick, a scientist who had researched the effect of ibogaine on rats.

Glick hooked rats on morphine, an opiate painkiller, by allowing them to self-administer it through a tube. He then gave them ibogaine and found they voluntarily stopped taking morphine.

Howard Lotsof

Around the same time, Mash was contacted by Howard Lotsof. They began working together and in 1995 secured full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate its potential in humans.

But these tests cost millions of dollars, and Mash applied for five separate public grants but each one was declined.

Usually, this money would come from big pharmaceutical companies but drugs like ibogaine offer little potential for profit.

It only has to be taken once, unlike conventional treatments for heroin addiction such as methadone which is a substitute and addictive itself.

"One very cynical reason they are not being developed is that there is no patent on these drugs anymore so there is no pharmaceutical company involvement," says Ben Sessa.

Pharmaceutical companies make money by patenting new chemicals but ibogaine is a naturally occurring substance and is difficult to secure a patent on.

It also comes with some risks. Ibogaine slows the heart rate and when administered to rats in very high doses, it has been proved to damage the cerebellum, a part of the brain associated with motor function.

There are 10 deaths known to be associated with the drug and its unregulated use has prompted some horror stories. Online forums are littered with stories of unscrupulous practitioners administering ibogaine in hotel rooms or in the patient's home with no medical support.

One alcoholic says he paid $10,000 and it didn't work at all. His respiration was not monitored and he didn't have any physical or psychological check-ups beforehand.

"The 'visions/trip' were so excruciating I never wanted to be altered again. I felt I was near death during the trip because I was having trouble breathing."

Stanley Glick

Ibogaine also has something of an image problem, says Glick.

"It has too much political baggage associated with it. By the time everybody became aware of it there was already scepticism because this was not something that came from a drug development programme."

After failing to get funding, Mash opened a private clinical research centre on the island of St Kitts in the Caribbean in 1996. There she collected data on 300 addicts detoxed through ibogaine.

She says all patients showed an effect on their addiction, 70% went into remission for several months and many for years. The clinic's first two patients are still drug-free 16 years later.

"Cocaine addiction is a terrible addiction," she says. "Getting people off crack? Good luck. We did it, we were able to break out intractable addicts."

Determined to bring the treatment to more people, Mash is now working with the private sector to create a version of the drug that will be more attractive to pharmaceutical companies.

She is working to isolate noribogaine, a substance created by ibogaine in the liver, which she believes is responsible for inhibiting cravings, taking away the psychedelic effect. But she continues to push for research into the whole drug.

Glick doesn't believe noribogaine will ever be approved in the US. "If for no other reason than that it is too closely related to ibogaine," he says.

He is developing an alternative but he regrets that significant testing into ibogaine has never been done.

According to a psychiatrist and addiction specialist, Dr Ben Sessa, the timing for this research could finally be right.

The past two years have seen the first scientific study published into the use of MDMA on trauma victims and psilocybin for psychotherapy, and a similar study into LSD is expected this year.

David Nutt

"Radical options are needed," says David Nutt, head of the UK's Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, but he maintains some scepticism about so-called wonder cures.

"The history of medicine is littered with people doing interesting, challenging things, but when you do proper control tests they reveal a massive placebo effect," he says.

What is needed, he says, is a single blind study in which one group of addicts takes a standardised dose of the drug and another group takes a placebo, both followed by a full 12-step detox treatment plan. He estimates that would cost about $2.37 million (£1.5 million).

Clinicians like Jeewa would like to see the drug licensed but says people need to understand its limits.

"Once you have a patient that is drug free and whose brain is back to its full potential then you can help them change their lifestyle," says Jeewa.

"Ibogaine helps to interrupt addiction but it's not a cure or a magic bullet," he says. "It has to be taken in the right setting and treatment has to be followed up with psychosocial care."

Ibogaine: The risks

- Ibogaine has been associated with 19 deaths and given it is largely unregulated, the actual toll could be much higher

- According to a report published in the Journal of Forensic Science, 14 of these deaths were due to pre-existing health problems

- In New Zealand, the only country to have regulated the drug, the medical advisory board Medsafe reported that "the number of deaths due to methadone, the most controlled substance, were a little higher that those associated with ibogaine"

- Ibogaine is illegal in the US, France, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Poland, Croatia and Switzerland

The problem with addiction research

- Measuring success scientifically with addiction is problematic - addicts can be clean for months or even years before relapsing

- Most existing addiction treatments were created as a by-product of other research. Methadone was initially developed as a pain killer for German soldiers during WWII

- In the last 20 years, only one new drug has been developed for opiate addiction

- Buprenorphine, sold as Suboxone, is a substitute drug much like methadone but it can be subscribed by a doctor and taken at home rather than in a clinic

- "The treatment of addiction is woefully poor in the western world," says Ben Sessa. "After about 150 years of study into alcohol addiction, abstinence rates after a year are no better than about 25%."

- For opiates, abstinence rates after a year are about 10%

*From the article here :
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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

"I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments... will
be lost in time, like… tears in rain..."

Ten years of therapy in one night

In 1962, Howard Lotsof, a 19-year-old heroin addict in New York, was given iboga by a chemist, a plant used in West African rituals, and he tried it for extra kicks. After consuming the bitter rootbark powder, he experienced a visionary tour of his early memories. Thirty hours later, when the effects had subsided, he found that he had lost all craving for heroin, without withdrawal symptoms of any kind. He said he then gave iboga to seven other addicts and five stopped taking drugs immediately afterwards.

In 1985, Lotsof patented the ibogaine molecule for the purposes of addiction treatment, but could not get his treatment approved. In the interim years, ibogaine had been declared, along with LSD and several other psychedelic molecules, an illegal "schedule one" substance, with potential for abuse and no medical value. Although it found dedicated support among a ragtag group of countercultural activists and left-over Yippies, in 1995 the National Institutes of Health discontinued research into the substance, and pharmaceutical companies have since ignored it, perhaps due to low profit potential.

But now, interest in ibogaine is growing rapidly, passing a "tipping point" through a combination of anecdotal evidence, underground activism, journalism and scientific research. Articles have appeared in US publications ranging from the authoritative Journal of The American Medical Association (Jama) to the populist Star. The Jama piece, Addiction Treatment Strives For Legitimacy, described the drug's stalled and tortured path through the regulatory agencies, noting that the treatment's frustrated supporters in the US have set up an "underground railroad" to give addicts access to the drug: "While unknowable scores of addicts continue ingesting ibogaine hydrochloride purified powder - or iboga whole-plant extract containing a dozen or more active alkaloids - few trained researchers witness the events."

The Star took a more colourful approach: "Rare Root Has Celebs Buzzing" it said, trumpeting the treatment as the hot ticket for "the numerous celebs who look for relief from their tough lives, a needle or prescription drugs." The article insinuates that "some of our favorite A-listers" not only get cured but enjoy the hallucinations as an illicit "fringe benefit." Outside the US, new clinics have opened in Mexico, Canada and Europe, offering reasonably priced, medically supervised opportunities to try ibogaine as a method of overcoming addiction.

Iboga is the sacred essence of the religion of the Bwiti tribe of Gabon and Cameroon. Most members of the tribe ingest it just once in their lives, during an initiation ceremony in which massive amounts of the powdered bark are consumed. Through this ritual, they become a baanzi, one who has seen the other world. "Iboga brings about the visual, tactile and auditory certainty of the irrefutable existence of the beyond," wrote the French chemist Robert Goutarel, who studied the Bwiti. The iboga bark's visionary power is produced by a complicated cocktail of alkaloids that seems to affect many of the known neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. Its complex molecular key may lock into the addiction receptors in a way that resets patterns and blocks the feedback loops that reinforce

In an essay on ibogaine's anti-addictive properties, Dr Carl Anderson of McLean Hospital, Virginia, speculated that "addiction is related to a disrupted relationship between the brain's two hemispheres, and that ibogaine may cause 'bi-hemispheric reintegration.' " Ibogaine also accesses REM sleep in a powerful way - many people need considerably less sleep for several months after an ibogaine trip.

Six years ago, I became a member of the Bwiti. I had heard about ibogaine in an anarchist bookstore in New York. On a magazine assignment, I went to Gabon and took iboga in an initiation ceremony. It was one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, experiences of my life. I had heard the substance described as "10 years of psychoanalysis in a single night" but, of course, I did not believe it. As the tribesmen played drums and sang around me until dawn, I lay on a concrete floor and journeyed back through the course of my life up to that point, witnessing forgotten scenes from childhood. At one point, I had a vision of a wooden statue walking across the room and sitting in front of me - later, I was told this was "the spirit of iboga" coming out to communicate with me.

My Bwiti initiation was complicated by a belligerent, greedy shaman who called himself The King and demanded more money from us before, during and after the ceremony. The King was also dissatisfied with the visions I described, and threatened to keep feeding me more iboga until I reported more impressive sights. The initiation, which lasted more than 20 hours, was ultimately liberating. At one point, I was shown my habitual overuse of alcohol and the effect it was having on my relationships, my writing and my psyche. When I returned to the US, I steadily reduced my drinking to a fraction of its previous level - an adjustment that seems to be permanent.

Recently, I tried ibogaine for a second time. I took it at the Ibogaine Association, a clinic in Rosarito, Mexico. I had been contacted by a heroin addict who had been inspired to take ibogaine after reading the book I wrote about my experiences: three months after his first treatment in Mexico, he was still clean - after a 12-year dependency. He told me, "Your book saved my life." He had given Dr Martin Polanco, the clinic's founder, a copy of my book, and he had offered me a free treatment. I was curious to see how the experience would differ away from its tribal context. My new friend wanted to take it again to reinforce the effect. We went down together.

Polanco estimates that his clinic has treated nearly 200 addicts in its first 18 months. About one third of those patients have managed to stay clean - either permanently or for a considerable period; many have returned for a second treatment. "Ibogaine needs to be much more widely available," Polanco says. "We still have a lot to learn about how to administer it, how to work with it." He does not think iboga is a cure for addiction, but is convinced it is a powerful tool for treatment - and, in some cases, it is a cure. He plans to set up several non-profit clinics. "This is something that should be non-profit," he says. "After all, it is a plant. It came up from the earth. It does give you some guidance. It shows you how you really are." He chuckles. "That can be scary."

The Ibogaine Therapy House in Vancouver, British Columbia, opened last November. "So far, we have treated 14 people quite well," says Marc Emery, the clinic's founder and head of the BC Marijuana Party. "They all say that their life has improved." Emery, nicknamed the "Prince of Pot", is funding the free clinic with proceeds from his successful hemp seed business. "Ibogaine stops the physical addiction without causing withdrawal," he says, "and it deals with the underlying psychological issues that lead to drug use."

Emery estimates that treatment for each patient at the clinic costs around $1,500, which includes two administrations of the drug. "When I found out about ibogaine, I felt that someone should be researching this, but the drug companies aren't interested because there is no commercial potential in this type of cure." Neither he nor Polanco is too concerned about ambiguous studies on ibogaine's toxicity. As the Jama article noted, "One reviewer wrote that the drug's toxicology profile was 'less than ideal', with bradycardia [an abnormally slow heartbeat] leading the list of worrisome adverse effects."

"From the masses of reports I have studied, a total of six people have died around the time they took ibogaine,"
says Emery. "Some were in poor health, some took other drugs at the time of their treatment. That doesn't scare me off. I have a lot of confidence in ibogaine."

At this stage, with little scientific study, the true toxicology of ibogaine is impossible to determine - the treatment is unlicensed in other countries and illegal in the US. The decision whether or not to take such a risk is entirely personal. Emery notes that his clinic screens for heart problems and other medical conditions that might contraindicate the treatment. It also gives patients small daily doses of iboga for two weeks after their initial treatment. "Iboga tends to make anything bad for you taste really crappy. If possible, we want our patients to quit cigarettes at the same time. We think that cigarettes can lead people back to other addictions."

Emery notes that nobody has so far criticised the project, and he is seeking support from local government. "Iboga tells you to change your ways or else - it goes over all of your health and personal issues. It is like the ghost of Christmas past."

Randy Hencken drove us from San Diego to the Ibogaine Association. A 25-year-old former heroin addict who had kicked the habit after two ibogaine treatments at the clinic, he was now working for the association, going to local methadone centres with flyers and keeping in contact with former patients. The first treatment costs $2,800, including an initial medical examination and several days' convalescence afterwards, but subsequent visits are only $600 - and it seems most addicts need at least two doses of ibogaine to avoid relapsing.

"The Ibogaine Association is in a quiet, dignified house overlooking the Pacific, decorated with Buddhist statues and yarn paintings from Mexico's Huichol people. I was given a medical examination by Polanco and a test dose of the drug. Twenty minutes after ingesting the test dose, I started to feel nervous and light-headed. As I took the other pills - a gel-capped extract of the rootbark powder - I realised I was in for a serious trip."

"The nurse led me back to my room. My head already spinning, I lay back on the bed as she hooked me up to an electrocardiograph and headphones playing ambient music. Why was I doing this again? Ibogaine is no pleasure trip. It not only causes violent nausea and vomiting, but many of the "visions" it induces amount to a painful parading of one's deepest faults and moral failings. I had a loud, unpleasant buzzing in my ears - the Bwiti probably pound on drums throughout the ceremony to overwhelm this noise. With my eyes closed, I watched as images began to emerge like patterns out of TV static. I saw a black man in a 1940s-looking suit. He was holding the hand of a five-year-old girl and leading her up some stairs. I understood that the girl in the vision was me and that the man represented the spirit of iboga. He was going to show me around his castle."

While startling at the time, such an encounter with a seeming "spirit of iboga" is a typical vision produced by the Bwiti sacrament. In many accounts, people describe meeting a primordial African couple in the jungle. Sometimes, the iboga spirit manifests itself as a "ball of light" that speaks to the baanzi, saying, "Do you know who I am? I am the chief of the world, I am the essential point!" Part of my trip took the form of an interview that was almost journalistic. I could ask direct questions of "Mr Iboga" and receive answers that were like emphatic, telegraphed shouts inside my head - even in my deeply stoned state, I managed to scrawl down in my notebook many of the responses.

I asked Mr Iboga what iboga was. I was told simply: "Primordial wisdom teacher of humanity!"

Later, my personal faults and lazy, decadent habits were replayed for me in detail. When I asked what I should do, the answer was stern and paternal: "Get it straight now!"

This ideal of straightness, uprightness, kept returning during the trip - a meaningful image for me, as I suffer from scoliosis, a curvature of the spine. When I was shown other faults that seemed rather petty and insignificant, I tried to protest that some of these things really didn't matter. Iboga would have none of it, insisting: "Everything matters!"

Iboga told me that I had no idea of the potential significance of even the smallest actions. I reviewed some events in my life and my friends' lives that seemed bitterly unfair. Yet, in this altered state, I felt I could sense a karmic pattern behind all of them, perhaps extending back to previous incarnations. Iboga affirmed this, dictating: "God is just!"

To many readers, these insights may sound trivial. They did not feel that way at the time. They were delivered with great force and minimalist precision. While they might have been manifestations of my own mind, they seemed like the voice of an "other". Generally, I never think in such direct terms about "God", and "primordial wisdom teacher" is not my syntax.

During the night, I had numerous visions and ponderous metaphysical insights. At one point, I seemed to fly through the solar system and into the sun, where winged beings were spinning around the core at a tremendous rate. Up close, they looked like the gold-tinged angels in early Renaissance paintings. Perhaps due to my recent reading of the Austrian visionary Rudolf Steiner, this whole trip had a kind of eco-Christian flavour to it. At one point, I thought of humans as an expression of the Gaian Mind, the earth's sensory organs and self-reflective capacities, at the planet's present state of development. If we are changing quickly right now, I considered, it is only because the earth has entered an accelerated phase of transformation, forcing a fast evolution in human consciousness.

The loud buzzing sound that ibogaine produced seemed to be something like a dial tone, as if the alkaloid were in itself a device for communicating on a different frequency than the usual one. Thinking of my girlfriend and our child, I realised that I was lucky - "You are lucky!" Mr Iboga echoed. I felt tremendous, tearful gratitude that I had been given a chance to live and love, to explore and try to understand so many things.

As so often these days, I pondered on the terrible state of the world - wars and terrors and environmental ruin. I saw sheets of radioactive flame devouring cities, huge crowds reduced to cinders. I asked Mr Iboga if this was going to be the tragic fate of humanity. The answer I received was startling - and reassuring: "Everything is safe in God's hands!"

As ludicrous as it may sound, this message has stayed with me and alleviated much paranoia and anxiety. While tripping, I decided that Mr Iboga was a form of enlightened mind, like a buddha who had chosen a different form, as a plant spirit rather than human teacher, to work with humanity, imparting a cosmic message of "tough love". At one point I asked if he would consider incarnating as a person, and the answer I got was, basically, "Already did that!" - implying that, in some previous cycle, he had passed through the perilous stages of evolution we are now navigating. I also came away from this trip with the suspicion that iboga was the original inspiration for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Biblical tale. The plant's placement in equatorial Africa, cradle of humanity, would support this idea, as well as its sobering moral rectitude. The "good and evil" that iboga reveals is not abstract but deeply personal, and rooted in the character of the individual.

Late in the night, I retched and vomited out bitter rootbark residue. I put on a CD of African drumming. Closing my eyes, I watched a group of smiling Bwiti women dance around a jungle bonfire. After that, the visions died down, although it was impossible to sleep until late the next night.

My friend in recovery had a less visionary experience. His faults were also paraded in front of him in repetitive loops that seemed endless. At one point, I heard him scream out, "No! No! No!" He saw a possible future for himself if he didn't kick heroin - becoming a dishwasher, sinking into dissolute old age with a bad back and a paunch. He asked what he could do to help save the world. He was told: "Clean up your room!" Meditating on his experience later, my friend quipped, "Ibogaine is God's way of saying, 'You're mine!' "

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

"Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave..."

What is iboga?

Ibogaine is the main alkaloid of at least 12 found in the Tabernanthe iboga plant. The substance seems to activate the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) pathway in the ventral tegmental area of the brain, increasing its expression. Previous studies have found that the GDNF pathway plays a unique role in mitigating the negative effects of drugs with a high potential for abuse and raises the survivability of adult dopamine-related neurons. The synaptic remodeling may change the responsiveness of the mesolimbic dopaminergic system, thereby canceling the ‘rewarding effect’ and neuroadaptations induced by drug abuse. Such ibogaine-induced changes in GDNF expression may serve to explain the psychedelic drug’s potential efficacy against serious drug addiction.

The psychological effects of ibogaine

An ibogaine treatment will induce a very intense trip, which has earned it an important place in medicinal and ritual practice in African spiritual traditions of the Bwiti tribe in the Congo basin of Africa. The iboga trip can be described in three phases:

In the first phase (0-1 hours), the alkaloids gradually cause changes in visual, auditory, and body perception. Physical symptoms include dry mouth and difficulty in coordination.

The second phase (1-10 hours) is often described as a ‘waking dream’ where the patient undergoes intense visual hallucinations, a buzzing sound, and changes in the perception of time, space, and their own body. Nausea is a common symptom during this phase and patients report feeling physically heavy. The ibogaine visualization during this phase, which occurs with the eyes closed, can be either realistic or symbolic. Testimonies included visions of exotic cultures, deceased people, memories from childhood, or bizarre adventures through one’s own brain or DNA. The hallucinations tend to cease if the patients open their eyes. This phase usually ends abruptly.

The third phase (11-36 hours) is a period of deep introspection. During this phase, patients relive memories, often concerning traumatic or emotional experiences, personal relationships, and important life choices. Subjects may find themselves pondering earlier experiences, imagining alternatives to their choices. The experience may result in a more responsible attitude towards future life choices but also forgiveness towards oneself and others for past transgressions.

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

6 uses of ibogaine + side effects

by Randa Laouar - March 8, 2018

Ibogaine is a psychedelic drug used for thousands of years as a stimulant, for medicinal and spiritual purposes, and as a rite of passage in ceremonies and religious rituals. It is reported to reduce drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms in addicts. Aside from its anti-addictive properties, ibogaine has many more effects including antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, as well as mood enhancement.

What is ibogaine?

Ibogaine is a psychoactive alkaloid derived from the root bark of some plants found in the West African rainforest (Tabernanthe iboga, Voacanga africana, and Tabernaemontana undulata). It has been traditionally used by tribes in Central Africa in ceremonies and religious rituals for its energizing and aphrodisiac properties.

Because of safety concerns, ibogaine is currently banned in the United States, Australia, and many European countries, including Belgium, Denmark, and Switzerland. It is legal in several other countries, including Canada and Mexico, where it’s mainly used for addiction treatment.


Ibogaine, when consumed, is broken down in the liver and gut wall into noribogaine (12-hydroxyibogamine).

Ibogaine and noribogaine have similar properties, but noribogaine remains in the body longer.

Both ibogaine and noribogaine readily cross the blood-brain barrier and are in higher concentrations in the brain tissue compared to the bloodstream.

Mechanism of action

The mechanism of action of ibogaine remains unclear. Some of its effects include:

- Inhibition of serotonin transporters: Ibogaine inhibits the reabsorption of serotonin from serotonin transporters, an action similar to many antidepressants, such as fluoxetine.

- Inhibition of dopamine transporters: Ibogaine has the same effects on dopamine transporters, resulting in higher dopamine levels. Dopamine levels in addicted individuals are altered due to the excessive use of abused drugs, such as cocaine. Ibogaine can reset the dopamine levels to pre-addiction levels, without leading to a new addiction.

- Inhibition of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors: These receptors are part of the neuronal pathway that modulates the brain’s reward system. Because of this, they are involved in the mechanism of addiction. Ibogaine blocks nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, thereby maintaining healthy levels of acetylcholine for longer periods of time.

- Inhibition of NMDA receptors: Ibogaine blocks NMDA receptors, which accounts for its psychedelic effects.

- Opioid receptors: Although ibogaine and noribogaine bind to opioid receptors, they do not block them. This may explain why ibogaine does not reduce pain sensations but enhances the pain-relieving effects of morphine. Also, when used in high doses for opioid detoxification, it does not produce signs of overdose in people who are not addicted to opioids and cannot tolerate them.

Uses of ibogaine

1) Ibogaine may be used as an addiction treatment

Ibogaine was first introduced as an anti-addictive treatment in 1962.

It reduces opioid use and withdrawal symptoms and stops drug cravings. In contrast to other drug therapies, such as methadone maintenance treatment, even a single dose of ibogaine can lead to opioid detoxification lasting up to 12 months post-treatment.

recent observational study, a single ibogaine treatment was administered to 14 opioid addicts. In the 12 months following the treatment, opioid use and craving were significantly reduced and in some cases even eliminated.

One study (DB-RCT) of 27 opioid addicts withdrawing from methadone opioid substitution therapy found that noribogaine was well tolerated, but only moderately improved opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Furthermore, numerous studies of animal models (such as rats and mice) have found that ibogaine exhibits anti-addictive properties against cocaine, morphine, amphetamine, alcohol, and nicotine.

Opioid detoxification as a result of ibogaine consumption was achieved in rats, mice, and primates.

Ibogaine also reduced symptoms of heroin withdrawal in 7 heroin-dependent patients.

2) Ibogaine acts as an antioxidant

Ibogaine increases the activity of antioxidant enzymes (SOD1) in human red blood cells.

3) Ibogaine may boost mood

Purified ibogaine hydrochloride was marketed under the name Lambarene in France (1939-1970) as an antidepressant and stimulator of mental state.

In observational trials, ibogaine improved symptoms of depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder for an extended period of time after ibogaine treatment.

However, recent studies failed to confirm any specific beneficial effects on mood.

4) Ibogaine may suppress appetite

Synthetic iboga alkaloids have been proposed as a treatment for obesity in rats. Chronic administration of this substance in rats prevented increases in body weight, decreased fat deposition, and reduced sugar consumption.

5) Ibogaine has antimicrobial properties

Studies in mice showed that iboga alkaloids reduced the number of deaths caused by Candida albicans infections. Ibogaine inhibits the activity of enzymes called lipases, which are used by Candida albicans to infect human cells. Therefore, when combined with a commonly used antibiotic, it suppressed fungus development.

Additionally, ibogaine has antimycobacterial activity, as shown by the reduction of bacterial cultures of several pathogenic microorganisms.

Finally, experiments conducted on human blood cells showed that ibogaine interrupts the replication of retroviruses (such as HIV–1), and blocks the infection process.

6) Ibogaine has anticancer properties

In the lab, ibogaine reversed multidrug resistance in human cancer cells.

Other (Anecdotal)

Ibogaine has been used as a natural treatment for infertility by the African community of Bwiti.

However, there are no available studies supporting this claim.

Side effects

1) Ataxia and vomiting

Two of the most commonly reported side-effects of ibogaine is involuntary and uncontrollable movement (ataxia) and vomiting.

2) Cardiac arrest/arrhythmia

Ibogaine can cause direct damage to the heart muscle or disrupt the electrical activity of the heart. In both humans and animals, high doses of ibogaine decreased the heart rate.

It does so by blocking the activity of an ion channel (ERG potassium channel), which transports electrical signals in the heart cells and regulates the beating of the human heart. This, in turn, results in arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) and a high probability of sudden death.

Consumption of ibogaine should be accompanied with heart monitoring since it has been proposed that this arrhythmia could be treated with the use of magnesium and anti-bradycardia pacing.

3) Sudden death

Several deaths have been reported to be attributed to the use of ibogaine. However, some of these fatalities may be due to preexisting medical conditions, such as heart disease or drug use during treatment.

4) Mania

There have been three reported cases where the use of ibogaine, either for self-treatment of addictions or psycho-spiritual experimentation, resulted in mania.

5) Psychosis

There has been one case in which ibogaine worsened symptoms of schizophrenia and induced psychotic episodes.

6) Seizures

Although ibogaine has been widely suggested to reduce epileptic seizures, there have been reports of whole body tremors and epileptic seizures.

This difference could be due to the dose-dependent mechanism of action of ibogaine. In higher doses (35 mg/kg), ibogaine could trigger epileptic seizures, while in lower doses it generally has an anticonvulsant (anti-seizure) effect.

7) Neurotoxicity

Administration of ibogaine has resulted in neuronal degeneration of Purkinje cells in the rat brain. The Purkinje cells are some of the largest neurons forming the human brain and are located in the cerebellum. This brain toxicity was observed at doses higher than the ones used for invoking its anti-addictive properties (50 to 100 mg/kg).

On the other hand, noribogaine is considered less toxic to the nervous system than ibogaine.

However, the neurotoxic effects of ibogaine have only been verified on rats and no research has been done in humans yet.

Ibogaine vs. 18-methoxycoronaridine (18-MC)

Derived from ibogaine, 18-MC is a synthetic iboga alkaloid. Although there are no studies yet testing its safety on humans, data from animal studies are very promising. [Reportedly,] 18-MC has all the anti-addictive properties of ibogaine.

Similar to ibogaine, 18-MC reduces the self-administration of several drugs of abuse in rats (morphine, cocaine, alcohol, and nicotine). It also improves opioid withdrawal symptoms.

[Reportedly,] 18-MC does not produce the unwanted neuronal and heart cell toxicity related to ibogaine. Given that 18-MC does not raise extracellular levels of serotonin or bind to the serotonin transporter, it is predicted that it will not have any psychedelic properties.

Drug interactions

Ibogaine is partly broken down by the CYP2D6 enzyme.

This enzyme is responsible for the metabolism of many other substances in the human body. This similar route of metabolism may lead to dangerous drug interactions, which may increase the heart cell toxicity effects of ibogaine and enhance its side effects.

Some substances that could dangerously interact with ibogaine are:

- Alcohol
- Cocaine
- Methadone

Natural sources

Ibogaine is naturally present in three African plants:

- Tabernanthe iboga
- Voacanga africana
- Ervatamia officinalis (Tabernaemontana undulata)

In Tabernanthe iboga, ibogaine is more concentrated in the root bark of the plant.


The doses commonly used for opioid detoxification is in the range of 1 to 2 g. More specifically, it has been administered as a single oral dose in the range of 10 to 25 mg/kg of body weight.

Ibogaine was well tolerated with no adverse effects when administered in very low doses of 20 mg in one Phase I (DB-RCT) study (21 healthy participants).

Similarly, a Phase I study (ascending single-dose, placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind, parallel group) was conducted to test the safety and toxicity of noribogaine. Single doses of 3 to 60 mg of noribogaine were administered to 36 healthy drug-free volunteers and no adverse effects were observed.

User experiences

Ibogaine’s effects are very different from those of the classical psychedelics.

The effects of classical psychedelics include changes in colors, textures, and patterns, and are most experienced with the eyes open. Interestingly, ibogaine’s psychedelic effects are experienced most intensely with the eyes closed.

The visual effects produced by ibogaine have been described as “dreamy” and similar to a “waking dream.”

They also include auditory hallucinations, commonly in the form of conversations with ancestral and archetypal beings. Another sensation caused by ibogaine is that of floating or traveling along different surroundings. Many people also state that they rapidly traveled through intense autobiographical visual memories.

The use of ibogaine is said to reveal one’s purpose in life and his role in a society.

Nevertheless, ibogaine’s psychedelic effects have been described by many as a very unpleasant and exhausting experience. It drains users physically and mentally. It has been described as a heavy electric shock or experience and sensation of dying. Most of the users state that they would not repeat this experience.

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Ibogaine for treating drug dependence. What is a safe dose?

Schep, Slaughter, Galea, Newcombe

The indole alkaloid ibogaine, present in the root bark of the West African rain forest shrub Tabernanthe iboga, has been adopted in the West as a treatment for drug dependence. Treatment of patients requires large doses of the alkaloid to cause hallucinations, an alleged integral part of the patient’s treatment regime. However, case reports and case series continue to describe evidences of ataxia, gastrointestinal distress, ventricular arrhythmias and sudden and unexplained deaths of patients undergoing treatment for drug dependence. High doses of ibogaine act on several classes of neurological receptors and transporters to achieve pharmacological responses associated with drug aversion; limited toxicology research suggests that intraperitoneal doses used to successfully treat rodents, for example, have also been shown to cause neuronal injury (purkinje cells) in the rat cerebellum. Limited research suggests lethality in rodents by the oral route can be achieved at approximately 263 mg/kg body weight. To consider an appropriate and safe initial dose for humans, necessary safety factors need to be applied to the animal data; these would include factors such as intra- and inter-species variability and for susceptible people in a population (such as drug users). A calculated initial dose to treat patients could be approximated at 0.87 mg/kg body weight, substantially lower than those presently being administered to treat drug users. Morbidities and mortalities will continue to occur unless practitioners reconsider doses being administered to their susceptible patients.

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

The world according to Marc Scott Emery

I was responsible for dosing 65 patients with ibogaine hydrochloride to reverse drug dependency for over 18 months. The patients I saw had severe and long-term addiction problems with cocaine, heroin, morphine, amphetamines, crack cocaine and methadone (the nastiest of all of them, I found).

Immediately after administration of ibogaine, all patients showed short-term improvement, many improved permanently and to this day, and many have coped somewhere in between, improved lives but not abstinence, and with lapses at times.

Of the 65 individuals, I would have to say it was almost universal that these individuals did not have their biological father in their lives for all or most of their childhood to adolescence. That was the striking universality of treating these individuals who are self-destructively using these substances, I found that "Daddy" issues are the paramount psychic wound that invites drug dependency.

Ibogaine hydrochloride is very safe, and there were absolutely no health anomalies in all the time we worked at Iboga Therapy House 2002 - 2004 version. In fact, all the patients lives improved markedly, and their drug withdrawal and drug cravings were vastly curtailed upon administration of ibogaine.

However, treating a substance-dependent individual is futile if they are sent back to the same neighborhood and in the same social mileux. They are sure to lapse then. They need a new environment with one person who can help them keep busy and away from temptation. Most of the people I treated were a danger to themselves if they had more than $10 in their hand.

A substance dependent person has many triggers that can set off a flush of mania for drugs:

#1 is having money on your person, because now you can buy drugs.
#2 is being in your neighborhood you usually score in,
#3 is being in ANY neighborhood you can score in,
#4 is hanging around with your friends (all whom likely are into the substance you must now distance yourself from).

So, for the best chance to get beyond substance dependency, you will need to:

1) Live in a new neighborhood
2) Change partner or have no partner
3) Get all new friends
4) Get a new lifestyle, job or way of living

Stay away from all drug-using friends and acquaintances, avoid all old scoring neighborhoods, carry only $5 for emergencies and have a clean friend buy your daily essentials. Keep busy and have plans to keep very, very busy. Ibogaine treatment also reduces your need to sleep for more than 3 hours for 2 or 3 weeks afterward, so keeping busy is very important. Taking up physical exercise is so important in recovery, as is an greatly improved diet, these two are greatly underestimated and under-utilized by those recovering.

This is a necessary program of recovery, but it is very, very difficult, especially for people, who, after years of severe drug dependency, have burned all their bridges with family, friends, employers, etc.​
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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Cocaine and crack addiction

Cocaine is an addictive substance derived from the coca plant that is native to the Brazilian Amazon. Used by tens of thousands of people each day, cocaine produces feelings of well-being and makes one feel as if they are on top of the world. The high only lasts a short period of time making people immediately want more as soon as effects start to wear off. Anyone who is addicted to the substance or has a friend or family member that has succumb to this addiction knows all too well the devastation cocaine can bring.

Crack, a form of cocaine is becoming just as widespread as cocaine itself. Made by mixing cocaine with baking soda, the substance forms into rocks when heated and is smoked for a quick high. Crack is just as addictive as cocaine and when smoked the substance reaches the brain within 5-10 seconds. A feeling of euphoria is felt quickly when smoking crack yet this feeling goes away in about ten minutes. This makes crack dangerous as users need more and more each time to get the high they desire.

While most people use cocaine recreationally, about 25% of those that use cocaine can be considered dependent on the drug. Once a tolerance for the drug has been established and addicts begin to use more and more to attain feelings of well-being withdrawal from the drug will become more intense. Withdrawal symptoms from cocaine include depression, increased appetite, trouble concentrating, and somnolence (a sleepy washout feeling).

When used with increased frequency cocaine and crack cocaine use can unleash a flood of symptoms both psychological and physiological. Psychologically, high use of cocaine can produce feelings of extreme paranoia and make users feel as if the world and everyone in it has turned against them. Schizophrenic-like symptoms also occur with heavy cocaine use.

Physiologically, symptoms that occur with high use of cocaine include both hyperthermia and hypertension. Users of cocaine and crack may also suffer from intestinal problems and will often have issues with digestion, metabolism, and eating habits. Heavy use of cocaine may lead to heart problems and stroke.

Treatment is available to those who find they want relief from the addiction to cocaine and crack and the prison it entraps them in. Ibogaine is an excellent solution for treating addiction to cocaine and crack and offers an alternative treatment to others with less of a success rate. Those treated for addictions with Ibogaine have a 60-80 percent success rate while traditional twelve-step programs that are used for cocaine and crack addiction fall well below a ten percent success rate.

Ibogaine works by relieving both psychological and physiological symptoms of the addiction to cocaine and crack. People treated with Ibogaine have reported complete recovery from the physical withdrawal symptoms of the drug after treatment is over. For Ibogaine to work effectively it is administered when withdrawal symptoms from the drug are at their peak. After the Ibogaine wears off physical withdrawal symptoms have completely disappeared.

Working by resetting the neurotransmitters in the brain that are destroyed through the use of cocaine and crack, Ibogaine resets your brain’s chemistry allowing for the brain to begin functioning normally again. As a psycho-spiritual tool, Ibogaine takes the patient on a visionary journey that aides in self-discovery and allows the addict to better understand the reasons he or she became addicted in the first place.

Ibogaine works in two separate phases. After administration of Ibogaine, the first phase begins where the patient enters an alternate state of consciousness. This visionary phase of Ibogaine usually lasts 4-6 hours and produces a dream-like state where the patient recalls and processes past emotional memories and traumas.

The second phase of Ibogaine treatment is an introspective journey into the memories and traumas that have been processed in the first phase. This deeply introspective psychological journey allows the patient to forgive others that have caused them pain in the past. Most importantly, Ibogaine helps the patient to forgive themselves so they may move on into a new life that is free from regret, self-doubt, and shame.

Ibogaine treatment lasts approximately 36 hours and after it is over patients are left with a new outlook on life. After Ibogaine treatment patients feel refreshed and look at life with new eyes. By releasing the old wounds are embedded in the addict’s psyche, Ibogaine allows for transformation at a deep psychological level. Treatment with Ibogaine opens the door to a bright future that is addiction free and full of promise.​
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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Former underground provider, Dimitri Mugianis, on the regulation of ibogaine

Dimitri Mugianis is well known in the ibogaine world for his work as an underground provider in the early 2000’s, and for his fiery no-nonsense approach to psychedelics, drug policy, and social justice. Dimitri currently works at the New York Harm Reduction Educators and is the founder of We Are The Medicine, a group working to center conversations surrounding spirituality and drug use.

What follows are the highlights of our conversation. Knowing that Dimitri infuses a political praxis into his work, we were particularly interested in his perspective on the regulation of ibogaine in the United States.

So, what’s your relationship with ibogaine?

I first heard about ibogaine probably in 1991 or 1992. I was injecting heroin, getting high with some people, Greta and Adam Nodelman. They were involved with Howard Lotsof in Holland. Adam was American, and Greta was Dutch. They were involved in the anarchist movement, the squatters movement, and so forth. They told me about this thing called ibogaine that they had both taken. They said it was a life changing experience. That was the first time I ever heard anything about it.

It took me probably about 10 years before I actually took ibogaine. I was around it in New York, so I ended up contacting Dana Beal and he told me where to go. I went to Holland to do it. At that point I had been using for 20 years, injecting heroin and cocaine. I was also on methadone, so my habit was very big. My pregnant common-law wife had died, many of my friends had died, so I just made the move.

I did the treatment right outside of Amsterdam, and afterwards I never had a desire to use again. It was an incredibly grueling process. I went right off of methadone into the treatment. I took iboga actually, not ibogaine, for the first time. It was a powerful experience. I didn’t go through the process of physical withdrawal that I knew would be associated not only with heroin withdrawal, but methadone withdrawal – which is crushing. I spent the next 3 months in Greece, where my people are from.

I came back to the States and continued in my recovery. I enrolled in 12 steps, but I had a burning desire to help others who didn’t have access to this treatment. So I began to administer ibogaine to people in the underground. For some of that I worked with Eric Taub, one of the pioneers in the ibogaine world, and we handed out fliers in front of methadone clinics. I treated over 500 people and was eventually initiated into Bwiti, in Gabon. I went back 6 times, studying and being involved in ceremony, and eventually I incorporated the ceremonies into my work.

And then in 2011, I was preparing for the last treatment I was going to do in the States before burning out, and I was arrested by the DEA – and that’s a whole other story.

Have you remained in touch with any of the people who you provided treatments for?

I’m still in touch with a lot of them. Many people that I’ve worked with have framed it in a positive light. Not everyone, some of them just say they threw up a lot and saw weird shit, or didn’t see anything.

But I can tell you one story about a guy named Marcus. When I met Marcus he was kicking methadone and in really rough shape. We were doing the treatment and on the 2nd day he ended up running off. This was very early in my practice and we didn’t know how to keep people in, and it was just a bad scene.

Weeks later, I was really worried about him and happened to see him in the park. He was carrying CD’s under his arm, to sell for money, and he was wearing the same t-shirt he was wearing when he ran out. He was greasy and looked tired. And when he saw me he dropped the CD’s, burst into tears, put his arms around me, and told me it had changed his life. But he was still using, and Marcus eventually OD’d and died. He’s been dead maybe 6 years now.

I’ve stayed in touch with a lot of people and some haven’t used. Some have. I think the idea of a linear healing, with sobriety as the final result, produces shame. When people come back from these experiences, there’s all kinds of things that can be learned. Whether it’s around abuse and trauma, identity, sorrow, grief, all those things.

I’ll tell you something. Tomorrow I’m going to the funeral of someone who’s done ibogaine more than anyone I’ve ever met. I mean he probably did ibogaine over 20 times, flood doses. He died from an overdose last weekend, and he was like my little brother.

So I think that yes we need more maintenance. Methadone, Subutex, etc should be more available. Yes, we need more treatment facilities. Yes, we need 12 step models and alternative models for those folks whom 12 steps doesn’t work for. Yes, we need harm reduction facilities. Yes, we need holistic healthcare. Yes, we need psychedelics.

But this brother did it all. And he still couldn’t stop.

You’ve been on both sides of the coin, so to speak – as someone who’s personally faced addiction and lost friends to it, and as a provider for people who didn’t have access to traditional treatment models. Given your experiences, and your politics, what are your thoughts on the movement to regulate ibogaine in the United States?

My first thought is that it could be a helpful drug, but I think the existing medical paradigm is extremely damaging. Not only the medical paradigm, but our economic structure, which I think the psychedelic movement is desperately trying to be a part of. To me, it really shows the limitations of these drugs and these practices. The problem is that we come out of these powerful experiences and we immediately try to find a way to reintroduce them to these destructive paradigms that are destroying life on the planet.

So I think we need to have a structural analysis and approach to any sort of treatment modality. You have to look at what that system is looking for, and that system is not looking for detox – it’s looking for maintenance. There’s a lot of good reasons for maintenance approaches, but we also have to look at the prospect of turning someone into a perpetual consumer.

Many of the proponents of ibogaine are calling it a cure, but they’re looking at it in a linear way – with a beginning, a middle, and an end. In my experience with iboga it simply doesn’t work that way. How many people have actually taken it and changed their lives, or have stopped using drugs permanently? It’s in the thousands. Not the hundreds of thousands, and I don’t even think in the tens of thousands. So the numbers aren’t even there.

And if it were to get through the entire legislative process it would be put into a clinical setting. So what I would ask your readers is, “Why is the best place to take psychedelics with a shrink?

I think that if you look at it, we’re handing these tools over to folks who have not stood the test of moral authority. I think they failed it drastically. I don’t think that the medical establishment has the moral authority to be the gatekeepers of this or any drug.

Again, when we talk about sobriety as the final result, it produces shame. It produces the same toxic relationship to oneself that brings people into addiction in the first place. I call it “psychedelic gaslighting”, the idea that there’s no such thing as a bad trip. That if you had a bad experience it was because you didn’t “work” hard enough, you didn’t let go. Fuck letting go. It’s just more shaming. We shouldn’t always try to reframe the experience when somebody has a bad time. We should stop the gaslighting.

So do I think it’s a good thing? I think that almost everything that comes out of the system at this point is just poisoned fruit. Say we bring ibogaine into the for-profit medical model we have now, that gives insurance companies the power to decide who gets treated – so who’s got good insurance, who’s got bad insurance, right?

We have to remember that prescription is not about accessibility, by definition it’s all about restriction. Unless we start to use psychedelics as a way to tear apart these structures and build new ones in their place, then I think this is all a revolving door.

You mentioned that someone may only take ibogaine a few times throughout their life, but microdosing is a hot topic right now. How do you feel about microdosing ibogaine, and how does it fit into a regulatory model?

I don’t think we can look at it in a vacuum. Let me just say that microdosing has been happening for thousands of years in Gabon.

We’re always looking for work. You know, all this shit about LSD helping people in Silicon Valley be more productive; I would hope that the opposite is true. I’d hope that we take psychedelics to be less productive in this system. Again, we’re in a Protestant, capitalist society and we can’t think outside of that.

So what I’d say about microdosing is let’s take the professionalism out of it. Why do we have to professionalize it? You don’t need a professional to microdose. I’ll break it down for you: take a little bit. If it’s not enough, take a little bit more. If it’s too much, take a little bit less next time. End of story. You don’t need a shaman. You don’t need a shrink. You don’t need a doctor, or a social worker, or a corporation to tell you how to do that. Real simple. And if it doesn’t seem to be doing you any good, stop taking it.

Microdosing done.

Do you have any closing thoughts for us?

Although ibogaine can be dangerous, I think the greatest impact from it will come from access without the even more dangerous contact with professionals. I think one reaction to the over-medicalization and high price of boutique ibogaine clinics is that a lot of people are just getting it off the internet to dose themselves. I think this is the most important trend in the movement today, and something that’s not really being talked about – or is only being talked about negatively.

Obviously there are great dangers involved, but there are also benefits. It’s a great failure of the ibogaine community, that we often fall into prohibitionist attitudes such as “Just Say No.” Collectively, we need to come up with a harm reduction strategy for self-administration. People are taking ibogaine themselves and will continue to do so, so we need to address it.

I’m heartened to see folks being able to buy the drug online and self administer; however, I don’t believe iboga has the potential to significantly impact the so-called heroin epidemic. The plant itself is in great danger – some people are even saying it’s on the verge of extinction – so we need to be mindful that with accessibility comes exploitation.

Yet, despite my misgivings about the medicalization and commodification of ibogaine, the truth is that my life has been transformed, my body transmuted, and my spirit forever changed by this molecule. It set me on a journey of healing that has taken me around the world, even to jail. And it continues to inform me, to challenge me, and propel me.

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN
What effects does cocaine have on the heart?

Cocaine is a potent stimulant drug. It creates a variety of effects on the body. For example, it stimulates the central nervous system, causing a euphoric high. It also causes blood pressure and heart rate to increase, and it disrupts the heart’s electrical signals.

These effects to the heart and cardiovascular system increase a person’s risk for heart-related health issues, including a heart attack. Indeed, Australian researchers first used the phrase “the perfect heart-attack drug” in research they presented to the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in 2012.

The risks to your heart and cardiovascular system don’t only come after years of cocaine use; the effects of cocaine are so immediate on your body that you could experience a heart attack with your first dose.

Cocaine was the leading cause of drug abuse-related visits to emergency departments (ED) in 2009. (Opioids are the leading cause of drug-related ED visits more recently.) Most of these cocaine-related visits were due to cardiovascular complaints, such as chest pain and racing heart, according to a 2014 study.

Let’s take a closer look at how cocaine affects the body and why it’s so dangerous to your heart health.

Cocaine’s effects on heart health

Cocaine is a fast-acting drug, and it causes several types of adverse effects on the body. Here are some of the effects the drug can have on your heart and blood vessels.

Blood pressure

Soon after cocaine is ingested, your heart will begin to beat faster. At the same time, cocaine narrows your body’s capillaries and blood vessels.

This puts a higher degree of stress, or pressure, on your vascular system, and your heart is forced to pump harder to move blood through your body. Your blood pressure will increase as a result.

Hardening of arteries

Cocaine use may lead to the hardening of arteries and capillaries. This condition, called atherosclerosis, isn’t immediately noticeable, but the short- and long-term damage caused by it can lead to heart disease and other potentially life-threatening issues.

In fact, 28 percent of people who died suddenly after cocaine use showed severe atherosclerosis-related coronary artery disease.

Aortic dissection

The abrupt increase in pressure and extra stress on the heart muscle can lead to a sudden tear in the wall of your aorta, the main artery in your body. This is called an aortic dissection (AD).

An AD can be painful and life-threatening. It requires immediate medical treatment. Older studies have shown that cocaine use was a factor in up to 9.8 percent of AD cases.

Inflammation of the heart muscle

Cocaine use can cause inflammation in the layers of your heart’s muscles. Over time, the inflammation can lead to muscle hardening. This can make your heart less efficient at pumping blood, and it can lead to life-threatening complications, including heart failure.

Heart rhythm disturbances

Cocaine can interfere with your heart’s electrical system and disrupt the signals that tell each portion of your heart to pump in sync with the others. This can lead to arrhythmias, or an irregular heartbeat.

Cocaine-induced heart attacks

The variety of effects on the heart and blood vessels from cocaine use increase the risk for a heart attack. Cocaine can cause increased blood pressure, stiff arteries, and thickened heart muscle walls, which can lead to a heart attack.

A 2012 study of recreational cocaine users found that their hearts’ health showed significant impairment. They averaged 30 to 35 percent greater aortic stiffening and higher blood pressure than non-cocaine users.

They also had an 18 percent increase in thickness of their heart’s left ventricle. These factors are linked to a higher risk for heart attack or stroke.

A 2014 study found that regular cocaine use was associated with an increased risk of premature death. However, this study didn’t link the early deaths to cardiovascular-related death.

That being said, a 2018 study found that 4.7 percent of adults under age 50 had used cocaine at the time of their first heart attack.

What’s more, cocaine and/or marijuana was present in 1 in 10 people who had heart attacks under age 50. The use of these drugs significantly increased an individual’s risk for cardiovascular-related death.

Cocaine-induced heart attacks are not just a risk for individuals who’ve used the drug for years. In fact, a first-time user can experience a cocaine-induced heart attack.

Cocaine use quadruples sudden death in users 15–49 years of age, due primarily to resulting cardiovascular disease.

Symptoms of cocaine-related heart problems

Cocaine use can cause immediate heart-related symptoms. These include increased heart rate, sweating, and palpitations. Chest pain can occur, too. This may lead individuals to seek treatment at a hospital or emergency room.

The most significant damage to the heart, however, may be occurring silently. This lasting damage may be difficult to detect. A 2011 study found that medical tests rarely show damage to a cocaine user’s blood vessels or heart.

A cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR)test can detect the damage. CMRs performed in people who’ve used cocaine show excess fluid on the heart, muscle stiffening and thickening, and changes to the motion of the heart’s walls. Traditional exams may not show many of these symptoms.

An electrocardiogram (ECG)can also detect silent damage in the hearts of people who’ve used cocaine. An ECG study in cocaine users found that the average resting heart rate is significantly lower in people who’ve used cocaine compared to people who’ve not used the drug.

Also, this same study found that an ECG shows cocaine users have more severe bradycardia, or abnormally slow pumping. The severity of the condition is worse the longer a person uses cocaine.
Treatment of cocaine-related heart problems

Most treatments for cocaine-related cardiovascular issues are the same as what’s used in people who haven’t used the drug. However, cocaine use does complicate some cardiovascular therapies.

For example, people who’ve used cocaine cannot take beta blockers. This type of critical medication works to lower blood pressure by blocking the effects of the hormone adrenaline. Blocking adrenaline slows the heart rate and allows the heart to pump less forcefully.

In individuals who’ve used cocaine, beta blockers may actually lead to greater blood vessel constriction, which can increase blood pressure even more.

Your doctor may also be reluctant to use a stent in your heart if you do have a heart attack because it can increase your risk for blood clotting. At the same time, your doctor may be unable to use clot-busting medication if a clot does form.

Getting help for cocaine use

Regular cocaine use increases your risk of a heart attack and stroke. That’s because cocaine can cause damage to your heart almost immediately after you begin using it, and the damage builds the longer you use the drug.

Quitting cocaine doesn’t immediately reduce your risk for cardiovascular health problems, since much of the damage can be permanent. However, quitting cocaine can prevent further damage, which reduces your risk for heart-related health issues, such as a heart attack.

If you’re a frequent cocaine user, or even if you only use it occasionally, seeking professional help may benefit you. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug. Repeated use can lead to dependence, even addiction. Your body may become accustomed to the effects of the drug, which may make withdrawals more difficult.

Talk with your doctor about finding help to quit the drug. Your doctor may refer you to a substance abuse counselor or a rehabilitation facility. These organizations and people can help you overcome withdrawals and learn to cope without the drug.

The takeaway

If you have used or still use cocaine, you can find help to quit. The drug is potent and powerful, and withdrawal from it can be difficult.

However, quitting is the only way to stop the damage that the drug does, mostly silently, to your body’s organs. Quitting can also help extended your life expectancy, giving you back decades you may lose if you continue to use the drug.

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Is ibogaine treatment in Brazil finally stepping out from the underground?

Ibogaine, like other psychedelics, such as MDMA, ayahuasca, and psilocybin, has been shown to have important medicinal values. It is extracted from an African root and, besides its powerful mind-altering effects, it really appears to help people to quit drug abuse, sometimes after a single session, or, in less successful cases, helps stabilizing their use. This appears to happen with opiates, stimulants like cocaine and crack cocaine, alcohol, and even with process addictions, like gambling or eating disorders. For example ibogaine commonly stops cravings and withdrawal symptoms of opiate addiction in around 24–36 hours.

However, this treatment has some risks. Ibogaine affects heart rate, and sometimes people can have serious arrhythmias after taking it in inappropriate conditions. Ibogaine shouldn’t be given to people with some health issues, it shouldn’t be mixed with some medicines, and people must do certain lab tests before taking it; so, it is important to have medical supervision throughout the process.

Ibogaine is a scheduled drug in some countries, like the United States; but it is unregulated in the majority of them, such as Brazil, where it is unscheduled, although not yet recognized as a medicine. This status has stimulated a growing network of underground Ibogaine providers, sometimes providing treatments in less than ideal conditions.

I am a physician, a general practitioner, and gastroenterology specialist, who graduated in 1984; I have been working with ibogaine in Brazil since 1994. In the early days, it was totally unregulated; Brazil doesn’t even have a regulation agency, like Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in US. In 1997, ANVISA, the National Agency on Sanitary Vigilance, was founded, and, although it never totally regulated ibogaine, it left a door opened for its importation and medical use.

ANVISA allows the importation of ibogaine if the person who will take it has a medical prescription, and it is for personal, not commercial, use. This kind of importation, “for personal use only,” is legal, but it is bureaucratic and not cost effective. This is because ibogaine is not banned or scheduled, but simply unregulated. This means that it was possible for me to legally conduct more than 1000 ibogaine treatments since 1994. I used the plant medicine mainly for cocaine and crack cocaine users, since heroin and other opiates are not prevalent here.

During this period of time, I participated in a scientific study at the Federal University in Sao Paulo (UNIFESP) that studied the effects of ibogaine and evaluated the procedures of administration, including the reactions of the patients to the psychoactive substance, safety issues, and treatment outcomes. This work was published in November, 2014, in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

The results were surprising: 75 patients taking mainly cocaine and crack cocaine were followed for a year; it was concluded that ibogaine treatment with psychotherapy is effective, with around 62% of the patients staying clean during the follow-up assessment; and safe, if it is done in a legal setting, in a hospital environment with proper medical supervision, and with good quality medicine. These results fit with another study, published in January 2017, that showed that ibogaine treatment, even when it doesn’t promote complete abstinence for substance abuse, improves the patient’s quality of life.

In January, 2016, based mainly in the 2014 study, and under the pressure of drug policy activists and researchers, the Sao Paulo’s State Council on Drug Policy (CONED – SP), a government institution that manages the drug policy in the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, published some resolutions (that don’t have the power of a law, but are nevertheless government recommendations) stating that more research should be done on ibogaine, and that ibogaine treatments should be done in a hospital, with medical and psychological support.

In August of 2016, there was a fatality apparently linked to ibogaine in an underground clinic in Brazil. Authorities closed the clinic subsequently, stating that it didn’t have appropriate environment, equipment, and staff necessary to deal with this kind of situation. More information about this event is expected as authorities investigate it further.

In November 2016, ANVISA banned all non-pharmaceutical ibogaine preparations, including homemade and unofficial lab preparations. Only pharmaceutical grade ibogaine, made under controlled procedures, is allowed to be used in a therapeutic setting. The medicine must have a clear origin and a purity certificate and documentation to be legally imported.

We have here the unfolding process of our goal is to make ibogaine fully legal and available to everyone who needs it in Brazil. We are not fully satisfied with all the bureaucracy, special authorizations and exceptions regulations needed to import such an effective and life-saving medicine. We want complete, cheaper, and non-bureaucratic access to treatments in safe, supervised sites. So, we decided to follow the medical path to ibogaine approval here in Brazil, since we think this will be the most effective approach.

In order to achieve this, there is a group in which I take part, working to “register” ibogaine as a medicine, under ANVISA’s guidance. This means proving to ANVISA that it works and that it’s safe, hopefully, leading ANVISA to recognize it as an official medicine. This would facilitate importation, minimize bureaucracy and costs, and would facilitate the use of ibogaine in hospitals all over the country. ANVISA will request a lot of documents and research with data about safety, effectiveness, and fabrication procedures in order to see if our efforts are sufficient to fit ANVISA’s criteria.

We are pretty sure that we will achieve this, and, in less than 5 years. Ibogaine will emerge from the underground to be an easy-to-access and valuable tool to help people with substance abuse problems to regain control of their lives, with treatments in safe places with appropriate and trained supervision. I believe the Brazilian model could inspire other countries and other regulatory agencies to do the same; not only with ibogaine but also with all the highly valuable medicines that comprise the so-called “psychedelics.”

Dr. Bruno Chaves of Brazil has performed over 1200 treatments with ibogaine in hospital without a single adverse event. 62% of those treated remain abstinent long term. Dr. Chaves is currently accepting patients for ibogaine treatment in São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, contact Dr. Chaves directly at this email address: [email protected]

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Ibogaine's effect on cocaine craving - A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study

Pedro Luis Prior, Sergio Luiz Prior

Cocaine dependence is a prevalent mental disorder, with no specific treatment at the moment. Ibogaine is an extract from an African root, with evidence pointing to its success in treating several addictive disorders. There are very few human studies evaluating ibogaine's efficacy in cocaine dependence.

A double blind, placebo controlled study was conducted with 20 patients, split in 2 groups: the ibogaine group received a single dose of 1800 mg of encapsulate ibogaine extract, and the placebo group received a single capsule of sugar powder. All patients were followed for a 24 week period, with biweekly visits to a psychiatric professional, in which a urine sample was collected in order to detect cocaine use.

Data analyzes was performed using ANOVA for repeated measures for comparison of data between groups and between members of the same group. Urine samples were compared (positive results) using measure ANOVA statistical tests with the Least Squares Difference for post hoc two group comparisons. Statistical significance was 5% for all the referred tests.

Statistical significance was observed in the ibogaine group after treatment, in comparison with baseline (time zero) and with the placebo group at any time of analysis. No such improvement was observed in the placebo group.

The current study found that Ibogaine is an effective treatment for cocaine dependence, and more studies with larger samples are necessary in order to establish its efficacy and validity.


Cocaine dependence is one of the most prevalent of all addictive disorders, and is at rise in numbers in most populations around the globe. There are currently no consensus on which treatment approach is more indicated for such patients, whether it be counseling, behavioral interventions or pharmacotherapy.

Cocaine chronic use is directly related to airway lesion formation, pulmonary emphysema and precancerous and cancerous lesions of respiratory tract. It may also have immediate response in the cardiovascular system, with greater chance of myocardial infarction, electrophysiological abnormalities and cardiac arrest.

Several substances have been postulated as possible treatment options for cocaine dependence, by controlling craving and abstinence symptoms in the acute stage of drug withdrawal, or by preventing drug relapse in the chronic stage of drug dependence. Although some of the studied medications have shown positive effect in one or both stages of cocaine addiction, they are still considered only moderately successful in treating the condition.

An effective pharmacological agent, preferably accessible and inexpensive, able to reduce symptoms in the acute stage of cocaine withdrawal and prevent drug relapse in the chronic stage of dependence, would help in rehabilitating patients to a normal life.

Ibogaine is a natural alkaloid, extracted from Tabernanthe iboga, a plant used in several initiatory rituals in West Central Africa. Evidence of its efficacy in drug dependence was, unfortunately, based almost entirely on anecdotal and personal experiences of physicians in less than ideal clinical environments. More evidence has amassed in open label trials and case reports in the last 20 years, however there have been very few double blind, placebo controlled trials conducted with scientific protocol in drug dependent patients, and most of these studies concentrated on heroin and opioid dependence. Our goal was to conduct such a study, focused on cocaine dependence in a population in Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

According to our preliminary results, ibogaine is able to reduce symptoms in an acute stage of cocaine dependence, and reduced drug relapse in the chronic stage of the condition. There are bases for conducting studies with larger samples and for longer periods of time.

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Ibogaine: a call to action

by Arnold Hesnod | Oct 05, 2017

An inside look at the history, myths and reality of ibogaine.

If you want to trace the more recent history of ibogaine, look at its evolution from relative obscurity to a source of popular discussion.

We are in fact witnesses to a worldwide revolution in the use of ibogaine, a shift from 1,000 treatment episodes to over 100 self-styled “ibogaine clinics” that treat 1,000 drug-dependent individuals each year.

Aside from its use in Gabon and Cameroon, aside from its consumption among the indigenous people of West Africa to reduce fatigue, hunger and thirst, the exoticism of ibogaine – including its use in spiritual initiation ceremonies – is a thing of the past.

Ibogaine is now a substance at the forefront of medical treatment and media coverage, as well as a source of study and serious scholarship.

The origins of Ibogaine

The pharmacology of ibogaine is extensive, the subject of medical research in 1901 and a topic for publication in scientific literature amid the early part of the 20th century.

From its introduction in France during the 1930s, where it would become a commercial drug (with 5-8 mg of ibogaine per tablet), to its removal from the marketplace in 1968, ibogaine is not some mysterious substance for which there is scant information and even less laboratory testing.

Indeed, the use of ibogaine to treat heroin addiction is the product of science: Its validation by Howard Lotsof, by way of his own attempt to treat his addiction to heroin, is a seminal moment in the history of ibogaine; a milestone in which a single dose of ibogaine would end this man's craving, both physical and psychological, for heroin; an occasion for inspiration – a catalyst for further experimentation – where Lotsof would earn a series of patents relating to the use of ibogaine, thereby impressing the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to investigate ibogaine as a potential treatment for drug dependence among humans.

This backstory is important because, despite attempts to de-legitimize ibogaine and/or depict it as too dangerous to use, there is a lot of credible science – and plenty of support from mainstream scientific institutions – involving ibogaine.

For example: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would later permit Dr. Deborah Mash, Professor of Neurology and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, to conduct pharmacokinetic and safety trials using ibogaine on human subjects within the United States.

While a professional triumph, and a testament to Dr. Mash's tenacity in the face of several bureaucratic hurdles, clinical trials of ibogaine would nonetheless stop in 1995 because of NIDA's refusal to provide additional funding.

The first medical ibogaine clinic

Despite the conflict between the go-ahead from the FDA and the withdrawal of financial assistance from NIDA, Dr. Mash would prove to be true to her mission; which is to say, she would continue her research of ibogaine through an offshore, patient-funded, experimental medical facility on the island of Saint Kitts.

This fact is no mere footnote to history because, in contrast to the prior administration of ibogaine among a small group of friends and paid “sitters,” Dr. Mash would launch her Healing Visions program and collect data concerning over 300 treatment episodes.

The clinic would later move to Cancun, Mexico, to decrease costs and increase availability to patients worldwide.

Instead of running an expensive series of treatment “rounds,” where researchers, clinicians and support personnel would have to fly to the Caribbean to attend to patients, there would be a safe, affordable and medically based facility to deliver treatment year-round.

The ibogaine treatment scene today

Despite the achievements of the past, and with all due praise and credit to the scientists responsible for championing ibogaine, misinformation continues to be a plague unto itself: It distorts what ibogaine can do, while at the same time leaving an enormous void involving safety protocols and treatment methods.

Again, despite the efforts of a valiant community of amateur enthusiasts, the current situation is cause for anxiety, not acclaim or adulation, because of the challenges that confront a prospective patient.

A simple online search for Ibogaine Treatment Options yields results more in keeping with a theater of the absurd than a forum of medical legitimacy and patient safety.

Please recognize, too, that ibogaine is an unlicensed and unregulated experimental medication: There is little or no oversight of this substance.

Nor is there a regulatory body with the resources necessary to act as a watchdog to ensure safety among a multitude of clinics worldwide, where national boundaries conflict with the notion of a universal agency – an international organization – with the ability to enforce common standards of care.

To make matters worse, there are so-called “ibogaine experts,” who claim that ibogaine can cure cancer and diabetes, reverse aging, act as a “smart drug” (with no side effects, of course) and solve any other condition.

By resorting to the tactics of a purveyor of snake oil, by emulating the ethics (or lack thereof) of a used car salesman, by operating without fear of consequences, by putting up a website and outsourcing the writing of copy for that site to some content mill, by posting plagiarized material and enveloping everything in the language of pseudoscience –– by doing all of these things, and by preying upon the sick and the innocent, these unsavory individuals undermine the very real advantages of ibogaine.

The way forward

Without a set of fundamental safety protocols, and without a demonstrable record of experience, expertise and compassion, prospective patients should avoid those places that lack these features; they should not contact the owners or operators of those “clinics,” where the emphasis is on money, not medicine or morals.

To be clear: Ibogaine can be dangerous and even fatal, when administered by an untrained provider. (Dosing patients, many of whom are not in good health to begin with, is an invitation for disaster. Giving them ibogaine, Ayahuasca, ketamine and 5-MeO-DMT – bombarding them with chemicals – is reprehensible.)

What potential patients should demand, and what, I seek to emphasize, is trust through verification?

In other words, there must be total transparency about a center's treatment methodologies, in-house staff and medical personnel, physical accommodations and irrefutable evidence of that facility's integrity, from the academic credentials of its physicians to the diligence of its nurses and assistants.

That clarity will benefit patients and professionals alike.

It represents the professionalism we should highlight, the accountability we must possess and the integrity we must protect.

Now is the time to make true the promise of safety and transparency.

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Addicts turning to ibogaine as a last resort

After suffering from anxiety and depression, freelance writer Stefanie Cohen sought help at an ibogaine clinic similar to the one banking heir Matthew Mellon had received treatment and was about to check into again before his death last week. Cohen found the results so effective, she worked for a time for the Ibogaine Institute, writing web copy for the center. Here, she tells what it’s like taking the drug and why so many people are turning to it for help…

I’ve been running through a gauntlet of people for the past four hours, answering questions, laughing at jokes, getting spit on and hit on and molested. At every turn there’s another person who wants something from me. Some shout. Some whisper so quietly I can barely hear them. And their faces and bodies keep morphing, too — they get fat and thin and tall and short all within a matter of seconds. My parents are there, somewhere, and my sisters, too, but I can’t find them right now because a giant man with six faces is coming right for me.

None of these visions are real. I’m actually lying on my back with a heart monitor taped to my chest in an ibogaine clinic in Rosarito, Mexico. Earlier in the night I swallowed three pills of ibogaine — an alkaloid derived from the African Tabernanthe iboga plant — and I’m in the middle of what feels like the most demented fever dream my mind could possibly imagine. Which is exactly what it is.

Last week, the banking heir Matthew Mellon died on his way to an ibogaine clinic in Cancun, where he was to receive treatment for his $100,000-a-month OxyContin addiction. He reportedly died before he checked into the center, which he had been treated at in the past. Although he was not receiving ibogaine therapy when he died, his passing has brought attention to the plant medicine, which has been used as a remedy for opioid addiction since the 1960s. Every year, more and more desperate Americans hooked on heroin and pharmaceuticals like OxyContin flood to clinics in Mexico and other countries to receive the cutting-edge addiction treatment. Ibogaine is illegal in the US, but it’s unregulated in many other countries, including Mexico.

I found myself at the Ibogaine Institute in Rosarito not because I was addicted to heroin, but because I was anxious and depressed and couldn’t figure out why.

I’d been working as a journalist in New York for years, having climbed every ladder I thought I was supposed to climb, but found myself leaning against the wrong wall. I was drinking way too much and waking up each day wishing I hadn’t. I felt like I had lost touch with my soul, so I quit my job and went in search of it. But what followed was even worse — a year of not working with no idea what I was going to do with my life.

I’d taken Xanax to calm me in the past, but it was only masking the problem. I wanted to dig out.

I decided to seek out alternative cures, so I went to a conference on psychedelic science in Oakland last April, where doctors and researchers shared the most cutting-edge science on the subject of psychedelics and mental health. I was fascinated, but I wasn’t feeling any better. So when a man came up to me in the hotel lounge and asked what was wrong, I surprised myself by being honest. “I am filled with anxiety and I don’t know why,” I said.

“You know,” he responded, “ibogaine can treat that.”

I had heard about ibogaine and its positive effects on people suffering from heroin addiction, but the man explained it can be used to treat other issues, too. He explained that one “flood dose” of ibogaine can reset the neural pathways in the brain, breaking the destructive thought patterns that keep a person locked into bad habits. The man, Scott Ankeny, explained that he ran an ibogaine clinic near Tijuana and I should come do a treatment and write about it.

I couldn’t imagine anything more anxiety-fueling than the thought of flying to a rehab in Tijuana to take a psychedelic plant. But Ankeny kept in touch with me, and a month later, when I was in a particularly bad state, I figured I had nothing to lose.

So in May of last year, I checked myself into the Clinic. Consisting of a few connected houses on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it didn’t feel like a clinic. The other patients were from all over the country and they seemed really happy, considering where we were. I, meanwhile, was nervous and wondering if I’d made a huge mistake.

A month’s stay at the institute includes not only ibogaine, which adherents claim detoxes the body and mind, but also a rigid schedule of classes meant to teach new coping skills to handle stress without turning to drugs. Yoga was offered daily, along with qigong, an ancient Chinese system of breathing and movement. An acupuncturist visited a few times a week. Everyone was expected to attend therapy and AA sessions. The clinic made full use of other alternative medicines, too. A week after the ibogaine session, patients would be given 5-MeO-DMT, a psychedelic made from the venom of a desert toad that, when smoked, brings on an emotional and often deeply spiritual experience. And a week after that, they would also take part in three ceremonies administering ayahuasca, a hallucinogen used for therapeutic and spiritual insights. The whole program was designed by Ankeny (who has since left to work with another clinic) not only to detox but to heal the body, mind and spirit.

In between classes, patients talked about movies, life, their families, their sadnesses. Laughter rang through the houses all day. But some were also angry. Getting clean, seeing what damage they’d caused to themselves and others was painful.

When I first arrived, I was given an EKG to make sure my heart could handle ibogaine because one of its side effects is that it can slow the heart to a point where heart failure, especially among those with an abnormal heartbeat, is a possibility. I wasn’t at risk, but nonetheless every patient is hooked up to a heart monitor throughout the treatment.

Five days into my stay, I was led to a room with a bed where a nurse hooked me up to an IV so I’d receive fluids and nutrients before treatment while she explained the procedure.

I was told I’d take three pills and a little bit later I’d begin to see swirling patterns on the ceiling, which meant the medicine was in my system. The actual trip would begin when I heard a buzzing noise, she said. An ambulance was parked outside the clinic and a paramedic would be on hand throughout my treatment, just in case.

I lay down, put on my blindfold, and said a prayer. While I waited, I heard a motorcycle pull up behind the house. Then another. I called the nurse over. “Why is there a motorcycle gang outside?” I asked. She smiled. “There’s no gang,” she said. “That’s the medicine kicking in. That noise is inside your own head.”

It was so loud, I couldn’t believe it. Moments later I saw two giant wooden doors descend from the ceiling. Slowly they opened. I left the bed and floated through them. The trip had begun. Then I was in the gauntlet of people, a looping maze that went down at first, and then up, endlessly. I must have talked to 1,000 people that night.

After what I’m guessing was about six hours, the medicine finally wore off. I had hardly moved, although I asked the nurses later and they told me that I was talking out loud at some points and laughing even. I sat up, took off my blindfold and felt .?.?. clear. My head, normally filled with so many racing thoughts, was completely quiet.

"Researchers are not entirely sure how ibogaine works. One theory is that it may suppress an enzyme that causes the flu-like symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal," said Dana Beal, a science writer and ibogaine expert. "It may also regenerate cells damaged by drug use."

In addition, ibogaine-induced hallucinations reportedly help users see their lives in a new way, allowing them to understand what caused them to use in the first place.

But there are risks involved. There are no hard numbers, but University of California, San Diego, researcher Thomas Kingsley Brown, who studies ibogaine, estimates that about 30 people have died from taking the medication for opioid addiction since the 1960s, when it was found to treat heroin addiction.

“The majority of ibogaine-related deaths are cardiac-related, generally involving preexisting cardiovascular disease or problems with electrolyte levels often caused by poor nutrition, which drug users often have,” said Kenneth Alper, a psychopharmacologist at NYU who studies ibogaine. “Meaning, many of these risk factors are to a great extent preventable,” he said. “Appropriate screening, preparation, monitoring during treatment and personnel trained to deal with cardiac issues are needed when administering the plant medicine, but even in that perfect world you may still have fatalities.”

At the same time, addicts have to weigh the risks of ibogaine treatment against the dangers of heroin and other opioids. According to data released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses in the US have increased by 13.3 percent from August 2016 to August 2017, and now total 67,344 deaths per year. Drug overdoses now kill more people than gun homicides and car crashes combined. The vast majority of those overdoses are caused by opiates, said Alper.

Kingsley Brown estimates that, conservatively, about 12,000 to 15,000 people have undergone ibogaine treatment in the West since 1962. There are roughly 80 clinics worldwide, he said. Others believe the number of patients is much higher. But everyone agrees the use of ibogaine as a treatment is growing exponentially as the opioid epidemic explodes. Meanwhile, 15 percent of the Ibogaine Institute’s clientele are people suffering from depression and anxiety, said Thom Leonard, who now runs the clinic.

“Ibogaine does bring with it a serious risk and should never be taken lightly,” Leonard said. “But with the proper screening and testing carried out, that risk drops to an acceptable level. And if you look at the fact that the average life expectancy of an IV drug user is somewhere around 6 years and overdose has taken over as the No. 1 cause of accidental death in the United States, it starts to become clear that the minimal risk involved in undergoing an ibogaine treatment done in a safe setting by a reputable provider is the least dangerous choice an addict can make.”

A study by Alper and Kingsley Brown published last year in Mexico found that among the 30 addict participants, 50 percent reported no opiate use one month after ibogaine treatment and 33 percent reported no use after three months. According to the results of that study, ibogaine’s rate of success is higher than traditional anti-addiction medications, like methadone and suboxone, which only 15 to 25 percent of addicts said led to no opioid use four to six weeks after stopping treatment, according to Alper.

People do relapse after ibogaine treatment. Many return to their lives only to be tempted to use again by the same triggers that got to them before. But it’s different, said one former patient who asked not to be named. “Ibogaine isn’t a cure,” she said. “I can say that for me, I could never put more than a few days sober together for 28 years. After ibogaine, I’ve used heroin one time this year. I also didn’t enjoy it, and I immediately asked for help and am sober again now.”

Kevin Franciotti’s oxycodone habit turned into heroin addiction in 2010 while he was a student at Northeastern. He claims the ibogaine he took at a clinic in Mexico in 2011 stopped his addiction, at least for a time.

When the inevitable craving for a fix came, he wanted to call his dealer. “Previously it would be off to the races, no fighting it,” he said. But this time he thought, “I’m going to wait five minutes to make this phone call.”

Five years later, he did have a relapse. But after about six months, he pulled out of it. He credits ibogaine with a fundamental life change that allowed him to be open-minded enough to go through 12-step recovery. Now 31, he is at The New School, getting a master’s in clinical psychology.

Almost one year after ibogaine treatment, I can also attest to the plant’s positive effects. I’m calmer now and more naturally drawn to nicer, more loving people. I guess maybe I’m nicer and more loving myself. I still have moments where my brain kicks into high gear, filled with thoughts it has no business thinking. But I can control them better now.

But my experience is nothing compared with my fellow patients at the clinic. While there, I saw addicts walk in ashen and grey, their cheeks hollow, their eyes dull. After treatment, they smiled. They gained weight. Their eyes sparkled. And many have since turned their lives around.

Jeremy Shank, 43, of Seattle, is one of them. After battling a heroin addiction for 12 years while living on the streets and “welcoming death,” he has been clean since visiting the Ibogaine Institute in April last year and is now a college student.

“I’d like to say that these plant medicines gave me back my life,” Shank told me. “But really I can’t say that, because this is so much better than the life I had before.”

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Mar 6, 2019
Yes, a person can overdose on cocaine. An overdose occurs when a person uses enough of a drug to produce serious adverse effects, life-threatening symptoms, or death. An overdose can be intentional or unintentional.
Death from overdose can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly thereafter. Many people who use cocaine also drink alcohol at the same time, which is particularly risky and can lead to overdose. Others mix cocaine with heroin, another dangerous—and deadly—combination.
Some of the most frequent and severe health consequences of overdose are irregular heart rhythm, heart attacks, seizures, and strokes. Other symptoms of cocaine overdose include difficulty breathing, high blood pressure, high body temperature, hallucinations, and extreme agitation or anxiety.
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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

The psychedelic tree that cures addiction in one dose

In West Africa, the roots of a native shrub contain a psychoactive substance called ibogaine. In small doses, ibogaine produces a mild euphoric effect somewhat comparable to other stimulant plants, like khat in the Horn of Africa or piri piri in the Amazon. But in large doses, its psychedelic effects are extraordinary.

Ibogaine's closest analog is ayahuasca, a drug used for shamanic purposes in South America and increasingly appropriated by foreigners chasing its promise of fantastical hallucinations and inner clarity. Ibogaine takes all that and doubles down. With the exception of the colorful visual patterns associated with ayahuasca, pretty much everything about ibogaine is more extreme, more profound. An ayahuasca trip lasts around four hours; a trip on ibogaine can last more than a day. Ayahuasca facilitates lucid dreaming; ibogaine facilitates way more intense lucid dreaming. The effects are so literally flooring that people typically remain horizontal for the duration, trying not to move, lest they vomit. They see God. They talk to the dead. Paralyzing forks in the road of their personal lives melt smoothly into a single path forward.

"With ibogaine, it's much more intense," Bruno Gomes, a Brazil-based psychologist who's been working with ibogaine for drug dependency since 2010, tells Inverse by phone. "People have a lot of memories about deceased parents, about moments in their lives, meaningful moments or sometimes not meaningful."

With ayahuasca, it's common to feel calmer, less depressed, and more present and engaged with life for a week or so after the initial trip. The afterglow from ibogaine, however, can last for months. Substance addiction simply vanishes, according to some, with no symptoms of withdrawal.

Why, in an age when nearly every party drug is being pushed into federal trials for addiction and mental illness, when drug tourists who fetishize the mysticism associated with indigenous psychedelics are in the market for ever-bigger thrills, and when the opioid epidemic is killing tens of thousands each year, have so few Americans heard of ibogaine?

Ibogaine is an active substance derived from the bark of the iboga tree. It's commonly used for religious purposes by people indigenous to Cameroon and Gabon, who ingest it by stripping the root bark and eating it. Unlike the traditionally ritualistic use of ayahuasca, it's traditional for a person to take a high dose of ibogaine just once in their life.

In 1962, a teenage heroin addict from The Bronx named Howard Lotsof happened upon an extract of the substance in powder form. He took it searching for a high, found one, and also found that when it wore off, it took his desire for heroin with it. Six friends who were also junkies tried it; five went clean immediately, with none of the painful withdrawal for which heroin is notorious.

Lotsof became a lifelong activist for the research of ibogaine for drug dependency.

Ibogaine had been studied at low doses for its stimulant effect in western cultures before, including by the CIA in the 1950s. But Lotsoff was the first to realize its high-dose potential for addiction recovery, and in the wake of his discovery a subculture of heroin and cocaine users seeking it to help with cravings and withdrawal spread across the United States, as well as other countries like the Netherlands.

It's most common for Americans seeking ibogaine these days to try Mexico or the Bahamas. A few will make the trip to Gabon, but it's not exactly the most time- or cost-effective way to indulge a curiosity, even a potentially life-saving one. (Gomes also says that, from what he's heard, people in Gabon don't tend to be thrilled with the arrival of strangers at their door, bringing some combination of heroin addiction and/or misguided expectation of mysticism.) The most important thing is to just make sure the practitioner overseeing its administration is a legit one. Taken properly, ibogaine is generally very safe. Taken improperly, without clearing any number of pre-existing medical issues, you can die.

Other countries like New Zealand and Canada have recently begun to legislate therapeutic uses, and it's a de facto national treasure in Gabon, where members of the Bwiti religion use it in coming-of-age ceremonies. But the sparse body of controlled research, coupled with the very real risk of death, has kept it from making any real headway in the States. The Multidisciplinary Associate for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has had some success introducing clinical trials in other countries, but FDA regulation still seems a ways off for any U.S.-based research. It remains a Schedule I drug, even as the opioid crisis continues to grow.

In Brazil, which has no such crisis, Gomes and his colleagues work with patients addicted to (predominately) crack cocaine. Though they'll meet with their patients a number of times, they'll administer ibogaine to each person only once. Speaking at the MAPS Psychedelic Science Conference in California late last month, Gomes said most people he sees are addicts for whom traditional therapy and the various Anonymous programs have failed. They tend to be impatient with the precursor meetings and adherence to controlled settings, wanting mostly to get the drug, take it, and leave cured.

Ibogaine's place in the global consciousness is such that most people in most cultures still haven't heard of it, but that the ones who have tend to view it as sort of no-strings-attached miracle drug. Part of Gomes' work is to install a more comprehensive and less reductive understanding of ibogaine's usage; it's a tool, possibly a singular one, but it's not magic. The effects might not wear off for months, but they do wear off, and so addicts seeking treatment will still need to implement some lifestyle changes going forward.

The reason ibogaine remains comparatively anonymous in the West despite its potential as a psychedelic powerhouse probably have something to do with the geographical distance to its traditional usage compared to, for instance, peyote in the Southwest, and the fact that it's also just a hard substance to physically procure. Ibogaine may be lesser-known outside Gabon than its peers, but that doesn't mean that increased demand hasn't hiked the prices dramatically over the last decade or so. Iboga trees also need eight years to mature before the bark is ripe, so to speak, for harvesting, and in order to harvest the plants you do need to kill them. Labs have begun to produce a sort of synthetic ibogaine from the plant Voacanga africana in an effort to make the drug more environmentally and economically sustainable, but it's still very much a nascent field.

Gomes took ibogaine four years ago. He'd already been treating patients with it for another four years before that and admitted that seeing them before and after, coupled with their descriptions of extraordinary experiences, led him to some preconceived expectations that didn't end up bearing out. But what he did experience changed him profoundly; his description of it is also pretty close to what hordes of drug tourists and New Agers will be chasing when they decide they want, the next time, something beyond peyote or ayahuasca.

"It didn't even seem to be my thinking, you know?" Gomes recalls. "It was like a very intense flood of thoughts, a river of thoughts from my head, and with this river, I got three very important things that I needed to deal with, in three situations in my life, concerning my job, concerning my studies, and concerning my personal life with my girlfriend, and I got a way to go forward, and since the last four years I have been taking this trail. And it helped all of those things to make sense."

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN
Brazilian scientists test plant in drug rehab

by Daniel Mello

The study involved 75 patients who have used crack, cocaine, or alcohol, and took place between January 2005 and March 2013.

A study conducted by the Federal University of Sao Paulo (UNIFESP) found that ibogaine, a substance extracted from the root of the iboga plant found in some African countries, is at least five times more effective to stop addiction than conventional treatments.

"Iboga has been used in rituals by tribes in Gabon, Africa, since prehistoric times," explains Bruno Chaves, one of the medical doctors in charge of the study.

The effects of ibogaine are similar to those caused by ayahuasca, a drink made from Amazon plants which is used in religious ceremonies. "The difference is, ibogaine is much more powerful than ayahuasca. To give you an idea, the effect of ayahuasca lasts for four hours, whereas that of ibogaine lasts 24-48 hours," said Chaves. He explaines that users experience a feeling of expanded consciousness. "The patient begins to develop a sharper perception of who they really are meant to be, what their role is in the world, and which of the things they have done are right or wrong," said the doctor, who monitored patients who were administered the drug.

Talking about how the subjects were recruited, the doctor explained that they have a track record of difficulty overcoming addiction. "Some of our subjects count over 30 rehab stays at age 30," Chaves said. Before joining the experiment, they had to take psychiatric tests and undergo psychological preparation. "It is important that the patients feel motivated to benefit from ibogaine therapy," he said.

The study involved 75 patients who have used crack, cocaine, or alcohol, and took place between January 2005 and March 2013. Out of a total 67 male patients, 55% have remained free from addiction for at least one year. Among the eight female subjects, the rate was 100%. For a comparison, conventional treatments interrupt addiction from 5% to 10% of cases. The results of the groundbreaking study were published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, a major UK publication in the field.

In most cases, just one dose of ibogaine was enough to cut off wanting for drugs and prevent withdrawal reactions. "It balances the amount of neurotransmitters within the brain, and this creates a permanent feeling of well-being that outlasts the period of administration. It looks as though ibogaine interrupts the process leading to addiction," said Chaves.

Once patients lose the appetite for other drugs, it becomes easier for them to proceed with treatment and psychological counseling and resume their daily activities. But the doctor warned against independent use of the substance, which may cause such side effects as dizziness, nausea, and confusion during the period of administration.

The team's next step is to obtain funding for a broader study, with a larger subject group, and more tests that can verify the effects of ibogaine on the brain.

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN


São Paulo government opens the door for prescription ibogaine treatment

On January 14th, 2016, the government of Sao Paulo, Brazil issued a statement that calls for further research into the medical use of psychotropic substances. The announcement also makes a strong recommendation that opens the door for less restricted medical use of ibogaine in the treatment of substance use disorders in the state of Sao Paulo. This stance is expected to eventually influence decisions that will extend to the rest of the country.

Ibogaine, the primary active alkaloid in Tabernanthe iboga, a West African shrub that has been used as a medicine and sacrament for centuries in the Gabonese spiritual discipline of Bwiti, is a powerful psychoactive that has been shown to dramatically reduce withdrawal symptoms from opiates as well as cravings for opiates, alcohol, stimulants, and other substances.

The fact that ibogaine is administered once, or at most several times, rather than as an ongoing replacement medication, makes it one of the most unique and effective pharmacotherapies available for addiction treatment. But because of its onierogenic, or dream inducing effects, it was listed as a Schedule 1 narcotic in the United States in 1970. Subsequently, the research necessary to seek FDA approval for its medical use has been difficult to fund.

But the U.S. is only one of several countries where ibogaine is illegal internationally. In most of the world it is simply unrestricted. As a result, since the 1980s, ibogaine has been used in a variety of settings as a detoxification assistance therapy on an experimental basis. This includes compassionate care administration by physicians in hospitals and individual practices, as well as private centers and peer-to-peer drug user support networks.

Ibogaine has been available for medical professionals to prescribe in Brazil, but with complicated restrictions. Physicians are required to import ibogaine from outside of the country on a per-patient basis. Excess medicine from each treatment must be discarded. This level of bureaucracy meant that the treatment was only offered by pioneering therapists, and was not widely or easily available. The January statement reinforces the importance of this work and is expected to lead to easing of importation barriers.

Even under these conditions, some 1,200 treatments have been conducted in Sao Paulo hospitals under the supervision of Dr. Bruno Rasmussen Chaves since 1997. A retrospective study published by a Brazilian research team in 2015 examined the outcomes of 75 of these patients, who were users of alcohol, cannabis, cocaine and/or crack (72 percent of which were polysubstance users). Each of the patients participated in a residential detoxification program of at least 30 days before receiving ibogaine treatment, after which the study found that 61 percent remained free from their substances of abuse for at least one year.

These results are significant because, while there are FDA approved maintenance medications for use in the treatment of opioid use disorder, there are no similar treatments available for cocaine and other stimulant users. Existing therapeutic modalities such as the use of benzodiazepines to facilitate relaxation and sleep, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help navigate habituation do help, but simply don't address the intensity of cravings that follows the cessation of regular cocaine or crack use. As such, ibogaine therapy may present one of the most promising emerging options to alleviate some of the problematic cocaine and stimulant use in Brazil, which is the world's second largest cocaine market (after the United States).

In Sao Paulo, crowds gather daily to smoke the drug openly in the streets. The government has responded with a number of measures. Prior to the 2014 World Cup hosted in Brazil, many neighborhoods were subjected to clearing operations, and the government increased funding for involuntary treatment programs, all in an effort to move drug use away from urban destinations. However, these efforts have failed to resolve the situation. Harm reduction programs are being implemented, but the problem of Cracolandia remains. Though still awaiting official data, there is indirect evidence that the crack cocaine trade has grown in other cities and towns across the country.

Last year the Brazilian National Secretary on Anti-Drug Policy (SENAD) asked for proposals to be submitted regarding alternative treatment options. Various options have been selected to receive funding including medical marijuana, ayahuasca, and modafinil. But the fact that the recent statement from the desk of the Sao Paulo State Office on Drug Policy (CONED-SP) has singled out ibogaine as a potential addiction treatment highlights the support that it has gained from city and state officials.

The recommendation specifically states that "The administration of ibogaine should be done in a hospital environment, with medical supervision and control, meeting the exercise of the profession and the recommendations of good clinical practice, including rigorous clinical and psychiatric examinations and psychological assessment and psychotherapeutic monitoring."

This level of medical supervision is recommended because ibogaine is not without a degree of medical risk. A paper, published in 2012 in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, examined existing cases of adverse medical events and fatalities and found all of them were connected to a number of common and identifiable factors. These include pre-existing heart conditions, co-administration of opioids or other drugs, depletion of electrolytes, and seizures related to the withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines or alcohol.

In 2015, as the Director of the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance (GITA), I led the publication of the Clinical Guidelines for Ibogaine-Assisted Detoxification, which outlines a medical risk management strategy for ibogaine treatment. According to the recommendations that we presented in that document, the 30-day preparation that Sao Paulo patients currently experience prior to administration, and the medical context supported by the Sao Paulo government, provides an ideal level of support to prevent medically adverse events.

The true implications of the decision, and its ability to address the country's substance use challenges remains to be seen. Chaves, a GITA board member and co-author of the guidelines, says that, "This is a big step for ibogaine and for psychedelic medicine here."

"Not only does this show that some people in key positions are open minded enough to understand the value of ibogaine, so we can hope for more support,"
Chaves says, that the decision means that they can "finally begin to really regulate this kind of treatment." He believes that, "The recommendation to do treatments only in hospitals will protect people from undesired and potentially dangerous side effects."

This declaration is one of the first of its kind in the world. The only other country that has approved ibogaine in the treatment of substance use disorders is New Zealand, where in 2009 Medsafe, the national regulatory authority, listed ibogaine as a "non-approved prescription medicine." Although administration requires a doctor's prescription, it does not mean that the treatment must be provided in a hospital.

Also, despite its federal Schedule 1 status, and in some ways following in the footsteps of state-level marijuana activism in the U.S., a bill has been submitted and scheduled for the Vermont state legislature's 2016 legislative season that would support the opening of a not-for-profit ibogaine center in the state.

While there is still a long road towards full approval in Brazil, it is hopeful that these and other similar discussions reflect a changing tide in global attitudes around the War on Drugs, and perhaps demonstrate a step towards reversing some of the predictable negative consequences that prohibitionist policies have had on drug users and communities.


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