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mr peabody

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What Is Iboga?

Tabernanthe iboga is a powerful psychedelic from West Africa that has been in use for centuries in traditional healing ceremonies. It can be used in its traditional form from the root bark of the plant (known as iboga), or in the laboratory-isolated form of ibogaine which only contains the central psychoactive substance (known as ibogaine). Today iboga is best known for its miraculous ability to cure or drastically reduce addiction to substances like alcohol, crack cocaine, and heroin in a single treatment. It can also help people overcome addiction to prescription opiates such as morphine, methadone, Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin. While this may sound too good to be true, scores of personal testimonies and now clinical research is backing up this claim, and iboga treatment centers are popping up all over the world specializing in treating addiction, post traumatic stress, and mood disorders.

Ibogaine addiction recovery therapy

Ibogaine is an indole alkaloid found in the bark of the root of the African shrub Tabernan. It has strong anti-addictive qualities, including high efficacy in acute opioid withdrawal and addiction. In laymens terms, Ibogaine is a secret tribal hallucinogen that helps you achieve your two most difficult goals.

1) Ibogaine can significantly reduce opiate/opioid withdrawal symptoms in under 24 hours.

2) Ibogaine eliminates the desire for opiates/opioids. Many people who have taken Ibogaine swear that it cured their addiction altogether.

Ibogaine treatment has a mortality rate of 1 in 300, with deaths coming from brachycardia (heart rate slowing way down) and lethal combinations with other drugs. The risks of this treatment should therefore be weighed very carefully, and flood treatment should only be done in a medical setting.

Ibogaine is not currently approved for any medical uses in the U.S. It is used as an alternative medicine treatment for drug addiction in some countries. Its prohibition has slowed scientific research. The use of Ibogaine for drug treatment is now accepted in Canada, Mexico, France, and the UK. In many cases, administration of a therapeutic course of Ibogaine is followed by intensive counseling therapy. Often more than one round of the drug is needed for lasting sobriety.

CAUTIONARY GUIDELINES

People with any kind of heart condition should not use ibogaine or iboga in any form.

People who have a bad reaction to the test dose should discontinue ibogaine treatment.

People who have any kind of liver conditions should not do ibogaine or iboga in any form.

People who are on any kind of medications which cause long QT syndrome for which ibogaine will make you temporarily sensitive to should discontinue those meds unless necessary. If those meds are necessary they should not take iboga or ibogaine.

People who have found abnormalities on the EKG, stress test, or CBC/liver panel should not take ibogaine or iboga until if and when those conditions are resolved.

People on MAOIs, SSRIs, or any other psych meds should not take iboga or ibogaine until those meds have cleared the system, we recommend not stopping needed psych meds to take iboga. Some of these medications may potentiate iboga or lead to serotonin syndrome.

If you are currently addicted to benzodiazepines, barbiturates, GHB, GBL, 1,4-BDO, phenibut or alcohol, it is recommended you get through the acute withdrawals before taking ibogaine, as abruptly discontinuing those drugs may lead to seizures. Ibogaine will not eliminate the withdrawals from Gabaergic drugs although it can help with cravings. If you choose to ignore this recommendation then you must tell you treatment provider and your provider must have a Gabaergic drug on hand in case any seizures should happen.

Clinical Guidelines for Ibogaine-Assisted Detoxification




Howard Lotsof (March 1, 1943 to January 31, 2010) was an American scientific researcher who discovered and pioneered the use of ibogaine as a medicine for the treatment of substance addictions. In 1962, at the age of 19, Lotsof was addicted to heroin and accidentally discovered the anti-addictive effects of ibogaine. He attended Fairleigh Dickinson University, and then New York University, graduating with a degree in film in 1976.

Lotsof authored and co-authoring numerous research papers and was awarded a number of patents for the treatment of various chemical dependencies with ibogaine. The first of his patents, issued in 1985, was Rapid Method for Interrupting the Narcotic Addiction Syndrome. The last patent for the use of ibogaine to treat chemical dependence was Rapid Method for Interrupting or Attenuating Poly-Drug Dependency Syndromes. Lotsof was active in promoting the medical use and further research of ibogaine and had an interest in chemical dependence patient advocacy including authoring the Ibogaine Patients' Bill of Rights.

The systematic use of ibogaine was developed first by the Bwiti discipline from where it originated, by the Babongo, Mitsogo and Fang peoples of Gabon and Cameroon, while Western clinical treatment, mostly for the treatment of substance addictions, was pioneered by Lotsof and others. In the 1980s, Lotsof convinced a Belgian company to manufacture Ibogaine in capsule form and performed successful trials in the Netherlands. The use of ibogaine spread across Europe, and was brought to the Americas by Eric Taub in 1992, who had contacted Lotsof in 1989. Lex Kogan later joined Taub and systematized the treatment of ibogaine with centers across the world, and further academic research and trials were conducted by Deborah Mash. As the use of ibogaine spread, its administration has varied widely, with some groups administering it systematically with well developed methods and medical personnel, while many use or administer it haphazardly in a way that many believe is dangerous.

Lotsof was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Alliance of Methadone Advocates and President of the Dora Weiner Foundation. In March of 2009, Lotsof was honored for his discovery of ibogaine's antiaddictive effects during the Sayulita, Mexico ibogaine Provider and Facilitator conference. Some fifty experts from around the world joined to present on ibogaine and associated subjects.

Mr. Lotsof died on January 31, 2010, aged 66, from liver cancer.​
 
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mr peabody

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Following are downloadable studies on the efficacy of ibogaine in the treatment of opioid 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

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Resets & relapses: Ibogaine's role in combating opioid addiction

by Benjamin Taub | Talking Drugs | 9 Dec 2015

In a recent TED Talk, journalist Johann Hari suggested that "The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection." In other words, drug misuse often occurs as an attempt to fill the void when the social bonds that give meaning to our lives are missing or broken.

To highlight his point, Hari cites Bruce Alexander's Rat Park experiment, in which rodents kept in solitary confinement displayed a high propensity for drug misuse, while those with social stimulation did not. Naturally, this experiment is unlikely to ever be repeated using human subjects, although having spent the past year working at an ibogaine treatment centre, my experiences all point towards a very similar conclusion.

By way of introduction, ibogaine is a highly psychoactive alkaloid found in the root bark of a West African shrub called iboga. Because of its potent hallucinogenic effects, the plant has been used in spiritual healing and initiation rituals by indigenous communities for centuries, and in 1962 somehow found its way into the hands of a heroin-dependent New Yorker named Howard Lotsof.

After ingesting the substance and undergoing an intense psychedelic trip, Lotsof was astounded to discover that his opiate withdrawals and cravings had completely vanished -- an effect which has since been confirmed by a number of small-scale clinical studies.

As a consequence, an underground network of global ibogaine providers has sprung up over recent decades in places like Mexico, Costa Rica and New Zealand. However, with the substance being outlawed in several countries (including the US) and totally unregulated by the mainstream pharmaceutical industry, it remains off the table as an official treatment option.

Therefore, while some have labeled ibogaine a magic bullet for addiction -- citing the many anecdotal reports of people who have managed to end years of drug misuse with just a single dose of ibogaine -- the reality is that research into its long-term effects has been stunted, making it hard to separate the facts from the hype.

Yet if there's one thing I've learned from working with ibogaine, it's that it doesnt cure addiction all by itself. Rather, as the following case studies highlight, when combined with the healthy restructuring of someones social environment, it can provide a unique and powerful tool in the quest of those seeking to tackle their addiction.

Erika's story

"I saw myself shrink into oblivion and just disappear off the face of the Earth, before re-emerging as a new-born baby. It's like I've been given the chance to start again as a completely new person -- like a second opportunity."

This was how Erika described her ibogaine experience immediately after her treatment. Like almost all patients, she felt her withdrawals completely disappear soon after ingesting the substance, while at the same time undergoing an intense physical and psychological detox, which manifested itself as a vision of her own death. She described the sensation as 'a kind of bodily and mental reset.'

However, within two months of her treatment, Erika relapsed. Trying to come to terms with how this happened, she explained that although she didn't feel any physical cravings, she simply did not know how to live without drugs, and was unable to occupy the social world of people not suffering from addiction.

"I tried to make new friends so that I could leave all my old contacts behind and start again, but none of them really understood me," she said. "So in the end I had nowhere to go with this second opportunity that ibogaine had given me."

As a result, she soon found herself back at the house of her ex-boyfriend, who had always been her main supplier of heroin, and it wasn't long before she began using again.

Summing up, Erika stated that "ibogaine can give you the chance to start over, but if you go back to all your old places and your old people, it won't work. You'll just become your old self again."

Erika's story exemplifies Hari's point, that tackling addiction requires more than just physical sobriety; it involves the construction of a new lifestyle, supported by new social relations.

By allowing users to temporarily shed parts of their ego, along with their withdrawals, the ibogaine-reset effect represents just the first step of this process: it offers a doorway out of the world of addiction, but doesn't necessarily provide anywhere else to go; it breaks a persons bond with a drug, but doesnt replace that bond with a new and healthier one.

Therefore, as the following case demonstrates, successfully leaving addiction behind can more often than not only be achieved by connecting to others.

David's story

"I visualised all the bad relationships in my life, and realised I had to end them. Then I saw myself covered in black horns, which began falling off one by one. It was like the old me was dying and I was becoming a new person, like a total reset."

David's description of his ibogaine experience bears many similarities to that of Erikas, with the main difference being that one year later, he hasn't relapsed. This he attributes to his ability to develop his identity as a new person, not only in his own eyes but those of others as well.

"Since my treatment, everyone says I'm a different person" he explains. This has enabled him to repair many of his broken relationships and transform his social environment. For instance, he claims that "even my mother, who previously wanted nothing to do with me, says I'm completely different now, so shes accepted me back into the house. We've even gone into business together."

Thus, while ibogaine provided David with the tools to overcome his cravings and face his demons, it was the support of those around him that ultimately helped. Unlike Erika he had somewhere else to go. His final assessment of ibogaine subsequently mirrors Hari's opening sentiments: "Ibogaine gives you that reset that everyone talks about, but it only works if you have a support network which you can integrate into the process. As long as you can do that, you'll be OK afterwards."

 
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mr peabody

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Dr. Deborah Mash

Can a shrub from Gabon cure addiction?

by Meng Chen, MD | GOOP

The United States is struggling with a staggering opioid addiction epidemic—often starting with legitimate pain pill prescriptions, and ending with full-blown abuse. It is estimated that there are four million people in America who are addicted to pain medicines or heroin, with a growing number overdosing from a surge in fentanyl-spiked pills from drug traffickers in Mexico. It is devastating and debilitating families, compounded by the fact that recovery rates via standard, rehab-based treatment options are not that promising—though replacement drugs like methadone and suboxone can help.

But there is a tree in Gabon that might change this. Ibogaine, brought forward in the Western world by a drug addict, Howard Lotsof, in the ‘60s, is a hallucinogenic (or oneiric, i.e. dream-inducing) agent that acts not only as an addiction interrupter, but also, purportedly, like a mystical therapist—offering a “journey” through triggering traumas during one, very intense, 24-hour trip. Not only does it plug dopamine receptors—meaning patients emerge craving-free—but it is said to provide a massive cathartic release and life-review. Post-treatment, it is believed that addicts have a good three months to impose healthy routines (regular exercise and good diet are imperative for recovery), change triggering behaviors (move neighborhoods or cities, leave toxic relationships), and establish ongoing therapy without also struggling with withdrawal symptoms and insatiable cravings.

Here’s the rub: Ibogaine is a Schedule I drug in the United States, which means that it has no official medicinal value. It is legal in Mexico and Canada, and other countries around the world, but without big pharma stepping in to fund clinical trials, it has no chance of becoming a viable protocol in the US. Dr. Deborah Mash, a professor of neurology and pharmacology at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami has been working with ibogaine since 1992 and, convinced of its value, has explored every avenue for getting it approved. Below, she explains more.



A Q&A with Deborah Mash, Ph.D.

Can you explain what ibogaine is? How does it work as an addiction disruptor? And as a hallucinogen, how does it work on both a physical and emotional/spiritual level?

Ibogaine’s ability to alter drug-taking behavior may be caused by the combined actions of either the parent drug and/or its active metabolite at key pharmacological targets that modulate the addiction circuit in brain. Ibogaine is an indole alkaloid from mother nature that gets converted to an active metabolite, noribogaine. The metabolite targets specific neurotransmitters in the brain—opioid, serotonin, and acetylcholine—blocking withdrawal and cravings and alleviating depression.

In other words: Ibogaine effectively blocks the acute signs of opiate withdrawal—the extreme anxiety, fever, chills, muscle cramps, nausea, and vomiting—but it also diminishes post-acute withdrawal syndrome. Addicts in early recovery report intense cravings, lack of energy, depression, “I feel rotten” for weeks to months after they stop using their drugs. When I was administering ibogaine to patients in St. Kitts [more on this below], we noted depression scores plummeted (in a good way), anxiety went down, energy levels were higher, and patients could start to think clearly. They were able to formulate a plan to maintain a clean life and to make that transition to sobriety.

Ibogaine’s effects on glutamate and NMDA receptors in the brain accounts for the psychotropic effects and the “dream-like” experience.

What is a typical experience?

Shortly after ibogaine administration, most people have an active period of visualizations that are described as a “waking dream state,” followed by an intense cognitive phase of “deep introspection.”

Who is the treatment most effective for—does it work on all types of addicts?

The treatment is most effective for people addicted to heroin and prescription opioids, but cocaine and alcohol abusers also report benefits. (Much less is known about the benefit of ibogaine for methamphetamine abusers.)

What’s the success rate? And how does that relate to more traditional rehab success rates?

Ibogaine is highly effective (about 90 percent) for blocking the signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Most people report that their cravings and desire to use is diminished. Ibogaine is an addiction interruptor, not a “cure.” The estimated success rates for traditional rehabilitation (30- to 90-day programs) is about twenty percent at one year. We observed about a fifty percent success rate for patients after one year, but more studies are needed.

(Note: Since the ibogaine program is only seven days given as a detoxification, it can not be compared to any other programs. Studies would need to be done for people in treatment compared to patients treated with ibogaine and then matched to the same program.)

How did you get involved with ibogaine research?

I’ve been funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) for almost twenty-seven years to study the effect of drugs on the brain and behavior. When I first heard about ibogaine as an addiction interrupter, I recognized that it might be something that could provide a tremendous benefit for people suffering from addiction. Since seeing is believing, I got on a plane with a medical doctor colleague and flew to Amsterdam, where I saw an underground railroad of addicts helping other addicts by administering ibogaine.

I presented ibogaine to the FDA back in 1992—we were given the first permission here in the United States to test ibogaine in a phase I protocol with human volunteers at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

How does one get something like that through the FDA?

Howard Lotsof—an addict who actually discovered ibogaine when he took a dose himself and it curbed his withdrawal and cravings—had five use patents issued for ibogaine in the treatment of drug and alcohol dependencies. Ibogaine is a Schedule I drug, which officially means that it has no medical value. It’s very difficult to do the required phases of clinical trials, as getting a drug through the FDA costs hundreds of millions of dollars.

We signed an agreement with Lotsof to obtain the drug, so that we could begin testing it “above ground,” in an established academic medical school. My goal was to get credentialed doctors, psychologists, and addiction specialists to look at the risks and benefits of ibogaine, to determine whether or not it worked as he had suggested.

The short and the long story behind what stalled ibogaine is that Lotsof had no money to fund the clinical trials. Without FDA clinical trials, there could be no approval or advancement. Because he held the intellectual property and we didn’t, he needed to fund the research, but this never happened. It was left to me to go out and get federal dollars to bankroll the clinical research studies. Although I tried very hard, I was not successful in doing this. So after extensive grant writing and working with the National Institute of Drug Abuse, I decided my best chance to learn about this drug was to go offshore. I got permission from the government of St. Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies, and we set up a research facility to test ibogaine in patients.

People came from all over the world, and we also opened the doors to visiting doctors, scientists, and clinicians. After running years of studies there, I presented the information to my colleagues and peers—and also to the FDA. After ten years of work, we closed down the R&D facility and returned home to work toward an approval path for the active metabolite of ibogaine.

In 2010, I began to raise money for a company called DemeRx, Inc., to fund clinical research studies of noribogaine—the metabolite of ibogaine. Because ibogaine is converted to noribogaine through the liver, we reasoned that it might be possible to dissociate the anti-craving, anti-addiction effects of ibogaine from the hallucinogen or “journey” of the drug experience. We believed that the pharmaceutical industry would be more interested in joining us and funding a drug development venture if we could create new intellectual property. Since there was never any philanthropic interest that could make this project advance, a partnership with pharma was the only road forward. Unfortunately, you simply cannot get a medicine approved for use in the United States without real dollars needed to support drug development.

Considering the epidemic in this country, is there any chance that the FDA can help expedite?

The FDA has been great when it comes to the evaluation of ibogaine and its metabolite, noribogaine—and they have all my original clinical data. I’ve been in front of them four times. They know that the data has value since they originally approved the studies, and the review doctors and scientists who work at the FDA are well-meaning people who want to help us out of the prescription drug epidemic. But the bottom line is that they have to “check the box”: You have to go through the various phases of the clinical trials, and that costs an enormous amount of money. If there isn’t a financial exit, then nobody is going to fund the clinical trial research that the FDA requires for approval. The pharmaceutical industry develops all the drugs that become medicines, and if they’re not interested, it’s not going to happen. That said, we do have the medical marijuana movement—nobody took medical marijuana through the FDA.

The FDA needs to be assured that ibogaine can be given safely, under proper medical supervision. They know that there are candidates who may benefit, while other patients may not. We might need to do this on a patient-by-patient basis under a compassionate-use protocol. You can imagine that doctors may petition the FDA in the first year for twenty people; the next year doctors put up 2,000 requests; the next year it’s up to 20,000 requests. With that amount of interest and success, the community of treatment professionals will join the rank and file.

Why isn’t big pharma taking a closer look?

Pharmaceutical companies have really shied away from developing drugs for the treatment of addiction. Addiction is a very complex disorder, as many drug addicts are effectively self-medicating, whether it’s for generalized anxiety or major depression, PTSD, etc. There are many other psychiatric disorders and early childhood experiences and traumas that contribute to the underlying problem. From a clinical trial standpoint, it’s really difficult to design a study that controls for these factors.

Addiction is also a chronic relapsing disorder—anyone who says otherwise is making a false statement. While it always makes my heart dance when I hear of someone who took a single dose of ibogaine and never used heroin or cocaine again, most people will require a booster dose or re-treatment somewhere down the road. Stress, boredom, and disappointment are all a normal part of life, but often the triggers for relapse. I mean, when you think about it, ten years of hardcore abuse is not likely to be reversed with a single dose of any medicine. You need to have a program to stay sober and out of harm’s way.

But don’t forget that ibogaine gets converted to an active metabolite, which stays in the body for weeks to a month, which really helps people get through the early phase of drug or alcohol detoxification. If you’ve ever seen anyone in early detox, they feel terrible. Their mind is racing and they can’t stop thinking about getting high. I will continue to state on the record: If you can couple ibogaine with substance abuse treatment, I believe wholeheartedly that recovery rates will really increase. It is a slam-dunk for opiates, as it is a very gentle opiate detox from the withdrawal, and also helps stave off the return of drug cravings and rapidly improves mood.

Where are you at with ibogaine now?

I’ve spent a lot of my life advancing this cause: from getting the first FDA approval, starting companies to test the molecule, and then of course, conducting actual treatments under medical supervision. I have the largest clinical database of anyone in the world on the use of ibogaine for the treatment of addiction.

But unfortunately, today, ibogaine has pretty much gone to the underground of self-styled ibogaine practitioners. There are many people all over the world—some well meaning, some not well-meaning—who operate ibogaine treatment centers and put addicts in harm’s way.

There have been deaths. If you don’t have medical supervision, addicts can get into serious trouble, as people who abuse drugs and alcohol are often very sick and might have damaged livers or hearts. Because it’s processed through the liver, there are a lot of drug interactions. This isn’t a mushroom or ayahuasca trip. If you don’t know what a person providing the treatment actually knows about ibogaine or exactly what drug he or she is giving you, you are going to put yourself at risk for an adverse event. It’s terrible, because addicts are desperate to get help, and they are going to these underground clinics run by unskilled people without medical training or experience.

What would you say to people looking into ibogaine clinics? Are there other options?

Currently, the standard of care is detoxification with methadone or buprenorphine, or entry to a three-day hospital detox program.

People seeking ibogaine need to request the credentials and experience of their treatment provider. Addicts are going to do ibogaine wherever they can get it, but I would say that it is “buyer beware.” Do your homework. Make sure that you’re working with a doctor who is a genuine doctor, ideally someone who has trained with me or worked with us in St. Kitts. You want to be sure that you’re really getting ibogaine (some people combine ibogaine with other drugs), and that you’re entrusting yourself to someone who has a lot of experience and is trained in emergency medicine or cardiology and certified in addiction medicine, who can safely administer ibogaine.

How important is the psychedelic “journey,” or do you think that the metabolite of ibogaine is enough?

After twenty-five years of studying ibogaine, I’m still convinced that not only does the “journey” help people gain insight into destructive behaviors, but that it’s also very effective for curbing the compulsive desire and cravings for drugs, especially opiates.

I called the initial ibogaine dose a chemical Bar Mitzvah in an article in Omni Magazine over a decade ago. I stand by that: I think it is important to give a patient the ibogaine “journey” because it does help them develop insights into their self-destructive behaviors.

However, addiction is a brain disease, so the molecule needs to target this aspect. There are organic triggers for continuing to abuse drugs, psychological triggers, and social triggers—and for many people, it’s about finding the brain’s locus of control. In the twelve-step program, you give the control up to a higher power. My clients who did ibogaine under medical supervision said that it’s like doing the fourth step, where you complete a moral inventory. Instead of white-knuckling a detox, the “journey” helps you get over the hump. The body then makes noribogaine, which is the booster to get through the withdrawals. It’s an antidepressant and helps block cravings. The noribogaine stays in the brain for several weeks. If you give noribogaine to a rat, they will stop taking cocaine, stop taking alcohol, stop taking opioids, and stop taking nicotine. These studies help us understand why ibogaine is effective as an addiction interrupter.

My ideal would be to follow the ibogaine treatment with a noribogaine depot injection that lasts 30 days, or a patch, or a pill that you take once or twice a week to help addicts extend that window of addiction interruption to allow the brain chemistry to restore itself back to normal. If an addict feels like they’re going to relapse, they can go to their doctor and get the patch or pill to prevent the drug craving from returning, to help block the desire to get high.

Drugs lead you to bad places, and every addict is going to need some post-ibogaine therapy. But this treatment speeds up the therapeutic process and helps patients make that transition to long-term sobriety.

It seems like a slam dunk: What can we all do to help advance the cause?

I have thought about this question for a very long time. I believe that we really need to create a citizen’s petition to move ibogaine from Schedule I to Schedule II. First, ibogaine is not a recreational drug of abuse. No one wants to take ibogaine to get high. Second, it would be incredible if physicians could use ibogaine in this country under a compassionate use protocol. That’s what I want to work toward. Drug addiction is a life-threatening disorder, and pharmaceutical companies are not stepping up to help by developing effective treatments.

Post-9/11, we’ve been overrun with cheap heroin entering our country. Prescription drug abuse is off the charts. Drug traffickers from Mexico are spiking heroin with fentanyl, causing many more opioid-related deaths. In China, people are synthesizing fentanyl analogs and these designer molecules are coming into the US through Mexico.

We can’t afford the opioid drug epidemic that we have today in America. Everyone is affected, from our health care system to employers, families, and children. Addicts need safe access to help them get off of the drugs—they have a right to have an ibogaine treatment, administered in a safe setting. People want the opportunity to get off drugs and to go back to being functioning, tax-paying citizens. They shouldn’t have to go to back-door, abortion-style clinics, desperate for a chance at recovery.

A lot can be done with some seed money—a small group of well-meaning individuals could help us bring this before the right audience. This is something that I’m working toward right now.

 
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Pulse monitor from Brave Tehnology could save drug users from overdosing*

by Wanyee Li | StarMetro Vancouver

When Gordon Casey moved to Vancouver in 2016 he saw an opportunity to use his earnings for good — so he invested $50,000 in a tech startup aimed at saving lives in the opioid crisis.

At least 1,448 British Columbians died of illicit drug overdoses last year, according to the latest B.C. Coroners Service data — nearly 28 a week. The first three months of this year saw that number rise past 30 deaths a week, 91 per cent of them indoors and alone.

Casey and biomedical engineer Sampath Satti realized drug users need a stigma-free buddy system.

They plan to invent one using technology.

“What if there was a local alert system that, when someone is using and an overdose episode occurs, we look at the physiological changes that happen in the human body and elicit a local response?” he told StarMetro in an interview.

It’s just one of a number of technologies being harnessed in hopes of saving lives from the overdose epidemic in B.C., which experts said has become a world leader in the area.

The province has made the overdose-reversing drug naloxone available to the public, allowing pharmacies to carry the kits and creating online tutorials on how to use the antidote.

But having a naloxone kit handy is of little help when people use opioids alone, because overdoses can happen so quickly users can’t inject the antidote themselves in time.

There have been no deaths at supervised injection sites to date.

Satti, a masters student at the University of B.C.’s biomedical engineering department, is developing a device that drug users can wear on their wrist or finger.

The device is essentially a pulse monitor, but Satti and a team of engineers are developing software that can calculate users’ breathing rate based on very slight variations of their pulse. Since slowed breathing is one of the first symptoms of an overdose, the monitor could detect a problem.

“Heart rate does slow down eventually,” Satti said, “but by then it’s too late.”

Once the device detects a suspected overdose, it would alert either health authorities or a network of volunteers to rush to the person’s side and administer Nalaxone.


UBC engineering student Katelyn Dimmell and Biomedical engineering graduate student Sampath Satti
are shown soldering connections to a custom oronasal airflow sensor.


Currently, Satti’s team has created a prototype of the wearable device and is working to collect enough data to establish the exact relationship between heart rate and breathing.

“We estimate that once this device actually gets built, this device will be cheaper than a Naloxone kit,” Satti said.

But the 25-year old and a handful of fellow engineers at UBC are not getting paid for their work on what he calls a “bare-bones project.” The technology is open-source, Satti said.

“You cannot be living in Vancouver and not notice the overdose problem,” he said. “I have some skills which can be put to use and I have some time on my hands so, in a very weird way, why not?”

Satti recently joined Casey’s company Brave in its small office in Vancouver’s Chinatown. The company is preparing for a four-week pilot project in July, in which 80 participants who frequently use drugs alone will test their prototype app, Be Safe.

The app anonymously connects drug users with their peers who can monitor them via a phone call while they use. That peer would only get the drug users’ location if he or she does not respond on the phone, signalling a possible overdose.

“We’re using that to answer the basic question, ‘If you are a person who uses drugs alone, will you use technology to keep you safe?’” Casey said. “We believe the answer is yes.”

The pair hope to combine their two projects together to create a wearable device that detects overdoses and comes with a safety net of volunteers who can monitor and provide an antidote if people overdose.

“I came here and very quickly I realized there was already a very urgent crisis happening everyday, all around me,” Casey said.

Dr. Conny Lin, who leads the Science Policy Integration Network, has been trying to connect technology makers with policy makers to speed up the process of bringing innovations to the public. The non-profit aims to help scientists and government officials work together more effectively — something that can help save lives, she said.

“When an emergency comes, we can’t be slow,” Lin, who is also a policy legislation analysis at the College of Pharmacists in BC, said. “We have clear objectives and clear questions to answer.”

Local health authorities did not make anyone available for an interview. But in an emailed statement, the B.C. ministry of mental health and addictions said people with mental health and addictions concerns need to be able to get help without any barriers or stigma.

“Technology and innovation can — and do — play a large part in building a better mental health and addictions system,” the statement read.

B.C. already funds technologies aimed at stopping the overdose crisis. For instance, Vancouver Coastal Health uses drug-testing technology to detect fentanyl at Insite, its supervised injection site. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control manages a text-alert system called Radar to anonymously crowdsource information about overdoses or contaminated drugs, and sends warnings to drug users.

“Honestly B.C. is the most innovative in terms of the opioid crisis, in the world,” Lin said. “A lot of research that is being used internationally is happening here.”

*From the article here:

 
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Are benzodiazepines the new opioids?

by Yale University | Medical Xpress | Dec 17 2019

Imagine you have the kind of crippling, heart-pounding anxiety where you're lying sleepless in bed at night, thoughts racing. You feel paralyzed at work because every decision feels like one that will get you fired. You've tried everything from anti-anxiety medications to therapy, but nothing helps.

Anxiety as a medical condition has plagued human beings for centuries. Whether it was stoicism in ancient Greece or smelling salts during the Victorian era, people have tried a variety of solutions for the condition.

The 1970s ushered in another one: a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. These medications were shown to treat anxiety that previously didn't respond to any other treatments and helped with insomnia. They provided relief to many patients and were developed to replace another category of drugs called barbiturates.

Barbiturates were one of the first powerful drugs developed for anxiety, but they presented challenges, including strong side effects. For one, it was difficult to gauge the right dose—an overdose could depress the central nervous system enough to cause coma or death. For another, they were addictive because they provided immediate relief from anxiety in a short amount of time, and they resulted in changes in brain chemistry that led to tolerance, withdrawal, and loss of control over use. As a result, barbiturates quickly became a drug of abuse, leading to tens of thousands of deaths by overdose.

But benzodiazepines also presented unforeseen risks. They work by binding to receptors in the brain called GABA, bringing calm and drowsiness. But over time (about four weeks in 50 percent of patients, says David Fiellin, MD, an internal medicine and addiction medicine specialist at Yale Medicine), you may need higher doses to get the same sense of relief. Although they take more time than barbiturates do to cause a reaction, benzodiazepines can still be addictive. People who have been on them for a long time also find it hard to stop taking them because of withdrawal symptoms, such as increased tension and anxiety, panic attacks, and hand tremors.

And yet, because they are so helpful and anxiety is such a crippling problem (and on the rise), prescription rates soared. Between 1996 and 2013, the number of benzodiazepines prescribed for adults increased by 67 percent to 135 million prescriptions per year, and the quantity prescribed per patient more than tripled during that period.

Another opioid crisis?

Dr. Fiellin is worried that the trajectory of benzodiazepine prescription will lead to a medication epidemic in line with the opioid crisis. There are parallels. Opioid prescriptions increased dramatically after new mandates to manage pain effectively in health care settings were put in effect in the 1980s and 1990s. These mandates—along with marketing from pharmaceutical companies, false assumptions about opioids' ability to treat chronic pain, and inadequate attention to their risks—may have caused opioid prescriptions to increase from 670,000 to 6.2 million between 1997 and 2002. By 2017, there were almost 58 opioid prescriptions written for every 100 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which adds up to almost 190 million prescriptions per year. This parallels the number of benzodiazepine prescriptions currently being written each year. The high prescription rates in both cases also have led to drug diversion—the phenomenon where drugs prescribed legally make their way into the illicit drug scene.

The two medications share another point of connection: While benzodiazepines are safe when used as intended, the risk for overdose and death is much higher when combined with opioids (whether prescribed or not). This is because they both affect the central nervous system and, when used together, can exacerbate dangerous side effects like difficulty breathing. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 30 percent of opioid overdose deaths include a benzodiazepine.

The primary problem

Though anxiety has existed for thousands of years, diagnoses have increased recently—about 41.4 million American adults in 2011 have some sort of mental health diagnosis, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). But not everyone seeks mental health care from a psychiatrist or therapist.

"Many people who need mental health care currently seek it from their primary care doctors because it's too difficult to seek out specialized care," says John Krystal, MD, a psychiatrist at Yale Medicine. "Mental illness is evolving from being a concern of just psychiatric specialists to being a concern of all doctors, in the way that blood pressure or diabetes is a concern for all doctors."

"Many primary care doctors aren't trained specially to prescribe benzodiazepines,"
says Dr. Fiellin. They are also pressed for time because they often have to address a variety of issues during their visit with patients and may not get the chance to ask a patient in-depth questions about their condition or educate them properly on the risks of psychiatric medications.

They may also face pressure from their patients. Kenneth Morford, MD, an internal medicine and addiction medicine specialist at Yale School of Medicine who conducts research with Dr. Fiellin on benzodiazepine misuse says that he sees the pressure to prescribe in his own experience. "I've inherited a lot of patients who have been seeing their primary care physician for 20 to 30 years who were started on a benzodiazepine, and they just expect that their prescription will be refilled at each visit," he says.

While it's unclear exactly what is causing benzodiazepines to become a problem, Yale Medicine experts believe that the primary care system is the linchpin to preventing the benzodiazepine crisis from becoming another opioid crisis.

"Part of the responsibility of the prescriber, especially in primary care, is informed consent," says Dr. Morford. This means educating patients on the risks of a medication before prescribing it, especially with benzodiazepines, where withdrawal symptoms can make them difficult to quit if used long term. Dr. Morford also advocates for primary care physicians to refer patients to a psychiatrist whenever possible. Psychiatrists are trained to do a careful review of the patient's history and evaluate whether they are a good candidate for the drug. Research has shown that benzodiazepines can be very effective when used correctly and when patients are monitored by trained medical professionals.

Dr. Krystal envisions a system in which specialized mental health care is better integrated with primary health care. He advocates for a different model of care, in which mental health professionals work in primary care settings to provide support and expertise to patients and doctors. This new care model is already gaining traction in patient-centered medical homes and in academic medical centers around the country (Yale Medicine recently launched its Depression Collaborative Care Program, which allows patients in the hospital to access mental health care through their primary health provider).

"It's not just benzodiazepines—SSRIs and anti-psychotics are emerging as some of the most commonly prescribed medications and a lot of doctors are being pushed out of their comfort zones in managing symptoms they don't feel adequately prepared to manage,"
says Dr. Krystal.

In 2017, the White House declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency. According to the CDC, there were 46,700 reported deaths from opioid overdose that year. Benzodiazepine overdose deaths aren't nearly at that level yet (in 2016, there were 11,000 deaths related to benzodiazepines according to SAMHSA), but they have jumped exponentially in the last few years and could be headed in that direction soon, says Dr. Fiellin.

"The real illness is that the model of care that we have is inadequate to meet the need of the co-morbidities that we are increasingly tasked with treating," says Dr. Krystal. "The symptom is benzodiazepine over-prescription."

 
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My ibogaine experience

by David Graham Scott | Gonzo Today | 24 Mar 2016

This is an account of my experiences of the drug ibogaine. At the time I was a long-term user of methadone linctus. I found it impossible to deal with the hellish withdrawal symptoms experienced in trying to come off methadone. I hoped that ibogaine might break my habit once and for all.

On a Thursday night I took a test dose of ibogaine hydrochloride. Edward (my guide) said it was roughly 200mg. After 35-40 mins I could feel the drug start to take effect. I looked at my hand and it seemed so primitive, perhaps Neanderthal. It felt like some form of anesthesia and a distortion of sound and vision were noticed. What I do remember though was an intense connection to the old photographs and toys I'd brought (I thought a connection with my childhood would be healing). It was really a very emotional experience but I was apprehensive as regards taking the full dose the next day. I felt taking 7 or 8 times this dose could kill me but, according to my body weight, that's what it was going to take to end my methadone addiction.

I took the ibogaine at 10:20am on the Friday. I took four capsules to begin with. The fifth Id take later. After about 40 mins I felt a heavy emotional trauma come over me. I grew very apprehensive re the dose and feared that I may die. Edward reassured me. I lay down to let the ibogaine work. Light and sound were being affected. The yellow painted wall opposite me glowed with a burning intensity. I knew that this was going to be a strong experience. The noise of the underground trains became amplified into the sound of a thousand Nazi bombers. I felt the approach of something huge, something menacing perhaps. I called out Bwiti 3 times. The words appeared in my head in large green slimy letters.

The first visions that I experienced when closing my eyes were yellow grids stretching into the empty darkness of space. These stellar grids then took me into another dark and ominous landscape with a particularly eerie resonance. A strange sound permeated the atmosphere, it was like a thousand million aircraft drifting overhead. The hum or resonance permeated the whole experience and I understood this to be an essential component of existence, a binding force that was always there but the ibogaine helped me recognize it. I then felt I was on board a strange spacecraft viewing the landscape before me. Small portraits drifted by of myself as a child. They stopped when I contracted a hellish skin condition at age 17.

This was where my development was seriously affected and I journeyed into heavy depression and low self-esteem. Next a figure that had haunted me for years appeared. It was the Chinese torture victim from Georges Batailles Tears of Eros. This photograph of a young man being systematically sliced to pieces was the most disturbing image I'd ever seen. The text mentioned that a large dose of opium had been administered to the victim prior to the torture. A curiously beatified expression was on the guys face. In my trance state the figure flew towards me in an inset box. He was glowing silver, completely transcended from the torture he was undergoing. The beauty outweighed the horror. I realized then that I too had been a torture victim. I had been torturing myself with opiate addiction.

These are the key moments of the experience. There's a lot of it that I can't recall. The intensity was often overwhelming and it was impossible to take on board all of the information. Ataxia hit me heavily and I found it impossible to walk without help. Jagged lines appeared around lights and the strange resonance permeated my head for a long time after the visions ended.

I was a little sick and went to bed. I didn't feel great but it wasn't withdrawal at least. I felt I was being cured of my addiction.

It took me about 3 days to start walking properly again. I did have residual withdrawal symptoms but it was nothing I couldn't handle. I'd say it cleared 85% of the rattling. There was no way I'd feel this good if I'd tried to come straight off methadone. I didn't have much strength over the following 2 weeks but its gradually coming back. It's now the 15th day since I used to take methadone and I feel really good. Ibogaine has ended my addiction. The anguish of depression has been vanquished, I am whole again!

 
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What I learned from treating 400+ patients with ibogaine

by Bruno Gomes, M.A. | March 13, 2017

Since the middle of the 90s, there has been a renewed interest in the possible positive effects of many different plants and substances such as LSD, “magic” mushrooms and psilocybin, ayahuasca or iboga. Many new and rigorous scientific studies have been showing promising evidence that those substances are suitable for the treatment of many diseases and disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse or even depression. With so many possibilities, we could easily assume that psychedelics are the new panacea capable of curing any ailment. But, what is this cure? How does it happen? How similar are those curing processes to those of conventional medicine?

I’m a psychologist in Brazil and, after more than ten years working with homeless crack-cocaine users, I got involved with ayahuasca and ibogaine treatments, curious about what they could offer. Could these substances help my patients, who I have been struggling so hard to take care of? Since then, I have studied and assisted a group of recovering homeless individuals using ayahuasca, a brew made with Amazonian plants, most commonly Psychotria viridis and Banisteriopsis caapi. I’ve also treated around 400 patients with problematic drug use by using ibogaine. Ibogaine is a substance derived from the root bark of the African plant iboga (Tabernanthe iboga). Both ayahuasca and ibogaine have intense effects on the user’s perception of the world and oneself.

These substances are classified as entheogens, hallucinogens and plant teachers, depending on how they are used. The ayahuasca treatment I studied integrated the rituals of 2 traditional ayahuasca cultures - vegetalismo, with its purges and diets, and the musical healing rituals of Santo Daime. In this context, the brew is considered a plant teacher: a substance with a spirit that communicates with humanity through its effects. The ibogaine treatment, on the other hand, is much more similar to regular medicine. Ibogaine is extracted from the plant, processed by a pharmaceutical laboratory, and then prescribed by a medical doctor in a hospital.

These contexts affect the use and understanding of the substances, therefore changing what is experienced by the patient. This is even more evident when comparing different ayahuasca rituals. The same ayahuasca decoction in the context of a Santo Daime ritual, with bright light and everyone singing together—and then in a Shipibo indigenous ritual, in complete darkness, guided only by the curandero’s voice—will elicit a very different experience.

Especially interesting in this complex relationship between setting and experience is the element of mystery. Within a medical context, and never having heard about the African traditional cults with iboga, many patients that I’ve given ibogaine to still reported seeing or being visited by the “iboga spirit”; usually an old African woman or ancestral healer.

The reports and testimonials about these 2 substances are very impressive: the intensity of the experiences, as well as the sudden and deep transformations gained through them, attract more users every day; either looking for something new or different, or a spiritual or healing experience. Together with these reports, new scientific research on ayahuasca and iboga shows promising new and effective treatments for problematic drug use and alcoholism. There’s also constantly new data to show psychedelic substances use in treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, tobacco dependence and PTSD.

In the context of these reports, patients interested in ibogaine treatment often expect a new and powerful medicine. As aspirin reduces fever, they expect ibogaine to take their drug dependency away; something fast and effective that solves the problem for good. It would be perfect if ibogaine or ayahuasca could cure with the speed of aspirin, no matter the setting. With aspirin, it doesn’t matter where one takes it or if one believes in it, it will still reduce fever. With psychedelics, it’s not like that: the patient’s expectancy, his trust in those responsible for the experience, as well as what happens in the surrounding environment, will exert an intense influence on the experience.

These factors not only affect the experience, but also the outcome. The experience with the substance needs to be part of a process in which certain things happen before and after the experience itself. A recent study at Johns Hopkins' showed the impressive effects of psilocybin sessions in stopping cigarette smoking in patients for more than 6 months. But, psilocybin has this effect when inserted in a process like the one on the study, with sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy. It’s not as simple as eating psilocybin “magic” mushrooms and then losing the craving to smoke, although it would be wonderful if it were that easy!

How can an intense psychedelic experience lead to important changes in daily life? We need to desire them, and make a determined effort to change. Usually, those kinds of changes are supported in a relationship, be it with a therapist, a doctor, a healer, a shaman, a religious leader, or a group. Each one of the psychedelic substances tested exist within a context: specific ways of understanding the substance use and different ways of dealing with them; sometimes, in a religious, modern or traditional ritual. Those relationships are important for the patient when going through the process, and also to give meaning to the experience.

Many patients arrive expecting a “magic pill,” a new medicine that would solve everything for them, and that has a negative effect on their process. I receive patients in my office before, and after they take ibogaine. Most of the time I can clearly see a difference: they are calmer, it’s easier to face daily challenges and focus on what is important in their lives, and there’s a lack of craving. But it doesn’t mean that the addiction is cured, and not all of them can take advantage of these effects to really overcome their problem.

After ibogaine, many patients are aware of all they need to change in their lives; but really changing their habits is usually harder, as it depends on the patients. If the substance had solved everything for them, why change anything else in their routine? Many of them can’t get out of their established routines, and after, they just go on living in the same way: going to the same bars, meeting the same friends, looking for the same types of pleasures, and one day or another they’ll return to problematic drug use. When we need to change, it will always require effort from ourselves, but if we expect for someone or something to solve our problems for us, it may not be possible.

So, despite the increasing interest in ayahuasca, iboga, ibogaine, psilocybin, and other psychedelics in general, those substances, and the experiences they trigger, are still a new and vast continent to be explored. We are only now beginning to understand the complex interactions between psychedelic substances, psychology, and the setting in which people consume the psychedelic substances. It seems that psychedelics function differently from the traditional Western medicine remedies, and may be better understood as a therapeutic tool.

https://chacruna.net/treating-patients-with-ibogaine-ayahuasca/
 
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Opioid addict turns to ibogaine to treat withdrawal

by Malone Mullin | CBC News | 2 May 2017

Maria Michaelides, 36, thought there was no way out. The Kitchener, Ontario woman started taking Percocet for chronic pain. At first, she used the medication as prescribed. At the time, Michaelides was caught in an abusive relationship, and she began to see Percocet as an escape. Before long, she found herself buying pills from street dealers. She dabbled in morphine and Oxycontin — anything that would prevent withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, pain and devastating depression. "I knew I had a problem," she said. "I didn't know what to do."

Michaelides is among a number many who have turned to psychotropic plants in an effort to stop using opiates when they feel conventional treatments, such as the opiate-replacement drugs methadone and suboxone, aren't working. Advocates say the plants, called entheogens on account of their mind-altering effects, induce a reflective mental state that allows users to confront the psychological roots of their addictions.

Iboga, a shrub found in West Africa, is one of the plants being used to supplement conventional addiction medicine. Ibogaine, the active chemical compound isolated from the dried root bark of iboga, is "profoundly effective" at interrupting the intense withdrawal, interrupting the intense withdrawal symptoms experienced by people dependent on opiates. It is reported to induce dream like states and flashbacks to childhood memories that can help a person resolve trauma.

When Michaelides realized she needed help with her addiction, she went to a doctor for methadone, but that caused lethargy and weight gain. She was unable to come off the synthetic opioid, either. "I tried to stop and just couldn't handle the withdrawals. The depression was so severe." Michaelides turned to black-market prescription opiates once again — and eventually to heroin. After smoking heroin for three months, Michaelides was ready for another shot at treatment.

This time she visited a private ibogaine-treatment centre in Vancouver. Michaelides paid $8,000 for her 10-day retreat in B.C. "I had to go to my parents to ask them for the money," she said. "I was very lucky that they agreed to pay for it because it saved my life."

Thanks to a single dose of ibogaine, she says, she is no longer dependent on opiates.

 
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The quest for the ultimate cure for addiction

by Alex Roslin | The Georgia Straight | 24 Oct 2007

"I've witnessed people's lives being turned around," said study leader Leah Martin. Of 20 pre-study clients who took ibogaine at the facility, 13 were found to be abstaining when evaluated after six months. The abstainers included six out of seven cocaine or crack addicts, three of eight opiate addicts and four of five people with other addictions, including methamphetamine.

With an overall abstinence rate of 65 percent, ibogaine does way better than the 10-percent average of conventional drug-treatment programs, Martin said. What's more, the clients at the B.C. facility are usually the hardest cases.

"People who contact us have already done every type of program in their city and are scouring the Internet. They've been in detox multiple times and are highly resistant to other therapy. They say, 'This is my last hope,'" she said.

Ibogaine works in 2 ways. It eliminates cravings for heroin and other drugs, but it also often works at a deeper level, by causing them to revisit life experiences, good and bad, helping many find ways to heal and ensure cravings don't come back. Scientists say it's like hitting a reset button for your brain. Traces of the drug remain in the body for up to 6 months, continuing to ward off addictive urges in unknown ways. "It truly is its own category of drug," Martin said.

"Ibogaine appears to work on every neurotransmitter system we know about", Kenneth Alper, Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, told the Journal of the American Medical Association in a 2002 story on ibogaine. Alper, who is also a co-investigator in the study, has called the use of ibogaine "one of the biggest paradigm shifts regarding treatment for addiction in the span of my career".

 
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Ibogaine resets opioid receptors that flare during addiction

by Harriet Tatham

Dr Stephen Bright, from the School of Psychology and Speech Pathology at Curtin University said research into ibogaine is needed to investigate the drug's potential.

"The interesting thing about ibogaine is that it tends to reset the opioid receptors sites so that the person, that may be heroin dependant or dependant on another opiate,
doesn't really go through a withdrawal period and their tolerance to the drug is reduced as if they had never used before,"
Dr Bright said.

He said the potential benefit of ibogaine stems from its ability to inspire a period of self-reflection.

"An integral component of it is not just the fact that it resets the opiate receptor sites, but the way in which it forces the person to reflect on how their drug use has impacted
their family and their community,"
he said.

"While there have been reports of deaths as a result of taking ibogaine," Dr Bright said. "These interactions occurred in a non-clinical setting. The problem is that is has an impact on
the cardiovascular system,"
he said. "Despite this, the benefits outweigh the potential risk."

"If screening is conducted and we determine that the person doesn't have any pre-existing cardiovascular disorders, then it's unlikely to have a risk that would outweigh the benefit of potentially trialing it. Research in an Australian context would be quite easy, but the current barrier is the inability for drug companies to patent the plant,"
said Dr Bright.

"Because it comes from a plant, pharmaceutical companies don't have a vested interest in pursuing the effectiveness of this drug because they're unable to make profits from the use of this drug," he said. "The only research that's likely to happen is that which is Government-funded."
 
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My experience with ibogaine

In January of 2010 I flew to the African continent, to help myself finally kick a 3 + year long '24mg a day' subutex (buprenorphine) addiction. I'm sorry to inform you that unfortunately ibogaine DOES NOT reduce the withdrawal symptoms of buprenorphine addiction the way it does very well if you are coming off natural opiate narcotics such as heroin, morphine, oxycodone, etc. So it was a very LONG HARD 5 weeks of discomfort and no sleep at all. During that period I was given several doses of ibogaine hcl starting with 1 large FULL size dose. Then a couple days later I received another semi-large dose (of which I found the most interesting of all), followed later by at least a dozen low doses.

I was given an initial low "test" dose which is always the standard practice with ibogaine to make sure the person doesn't have some kind of allergic reaction to it. I was the first American to be treated at this clinic.

What was it like? The first MAIN "high" dose SHATTERED me. I had memories that were so CLEAR, and yet they were coming to me at a very HIGH SPEED. Many of them were like NON-LINEAR, meaning the entire memory of a past experience in my life came to me in a one single FLASH image. EVERYTHING that happened, including every THOUGHT and every FEELING I had at the time, came ALL AT ONCE. And THAT'S NOT ALL. The most mysterious and disturbing effect was the the fact that SOMEHOW I was not just remembering my own version of the experience, like my feelings at the time... but I was simultaneously experiencing the feelings of whoever else I was with at the time, such as the way I had effected them or made them feel. IT SUCKED.

It horrified me to realize what a 'smug,' casually-insensitive, SELF ABSORBED, addicted fool I'd been for so long. ALL without ever realizing it until ibogaine shoved it in my face!

I never meant to hurt anyone in the past, but then I was too oblivious to see, too caught up in myself to notice....within my own selfish, 'spiritually deadened' narcotic haze.

During ibogaine, I was forced to face up to certain facts of reality, all of which I had never ever before known or realized, and it was not easy to accept, and impossible for me to reject. I saw just how selfish I had been and how lost in just a foolish delusional EGO BLOATED self image! My only sense of self was a delusional self image, all of which ibogaine SHATTERED--- like throwing a glass mirror down on cement! Yet that was ME! I was in that mirror, and now I didn't know what else to make of myself instead! I hated it. And it took me several months to find my true light & rebuild who I was, yet I'd say God did most of the work. It was hard but it was what I needed for sure.

I also came recognize so clearly the truth of addiction, and how narcotics only stop you from growing, by essentially deadening your spiritual receptivity to life and other people, making you become oblivious to the real feelings of others, and unable to connect in real ways that can lead to REAL JOY and rewards that come from LOVE. Narcotics are BULLSHIT, and rob one's soul of so much more than I can even explain, and ibogaine made me see this too clearly to be able to ever think differently. Nobody can argue with what ibogaine reveals. It's an ASS KICKER of a trip, but it's the very best way to CATCH UP to where you need to be in life after having addiction ROB YOU of so much spiritual growth. Any REAL growth requires some real pain, like growing pains, and ibogaine seemed to squash years of growth into one trip, so its heavy. It took me several months to finally rebuild who I really am, and I like who I am now A LOT MORE than the blind fool I was before ibogaine opened my eyes.

These days I can't help but "cringe" just looking back at what I wrote before I went to South Africa. I can't even read my own posts! Ibogaine woke my shit up so thoroughly, and you just can't understand what its like unless you've taken ibogaine in sufficient amounts.

I remember talking to a guy named Eric Taub in a Seattle coffee shop just prior to leaving on my trip to S. Africa. We even talked a little about mushrooms, and I remember him saying mushrooms are "a primordial teacher." But then in the conversation when we got into talking about "ibogaine." And I'll never forget it, just after I said to him in a foolish 'know-it-all' tone, saying --- "Well, with all my vast experience with heroic doses of so many entheogenic, psychedelics drugs etc, I feel I'm prepared and perhaps I know what to expect with ibogaine!" --- I WILL NEVER FORGET the way Eric looked right at me with the the most sober look in his eyes & said "No, you don't".

There was something in his words and especially the look he gave me...I couldn't say anything back, I just "nodded" and went on silently eating my big "apple fritter" donut. He was right.​

-Sherwin Maxawow
 
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I spent about a week on Ibogaine kicking fentanyl, and I 100% needed the Ibogaine providers and their experience. They took care of me day and night. A nurse stayed with me during flood dose... I mean these guys had to help me walk to the washroom. You can't function for a good 24 to 36 hours. When kicking opiates you take it repeatedly over nine days. Not to mention the providers are working, trained medical pros, like docs and nurses. NOT SAFE FOR AT HOME DETOX. You could easily choke on vomit. But god damn does ibogaine work wonders. Thank god its legal in my home country of Canada.

-tryptamine report

• • •

After spending thousands of dollars on OxyContin, I started snorting heroin. Although I always said I would never do heroin, less than two years later, I was shooting that. I was in and out of drug treatment programs. I went to one rehab after another. That was my lowest point.

I was holding down a steady job and still using heroin when I called my mom to tell her about a documentary I saw about ibogaine, a drug that is successful in eliminating opioid cravings in addicts. For about $8,000, I could enter a program and get the ibogaine treatment.

My mom and dad didn’t like the idea of me taking an experimental drug. They had been down too many roads with me, suffered too many disappointments, spent too much money and nothing had worked. But their resistance gave way to hope, so we scheduled the treatment.

The day I took ibogaine I knew I wouldn't need to take opiates any more. For the first time in six years, my withdrawal symptoms were gone. Ibogaine gave me the tools to get my life back on track, and help others who get free of the prison of chemical dependence.

-Colin

• • •

Finally I wanted to say that to me, ibogaine seems like an option for when you've given up on anything else working. This was the case for me with opiates. I had tried all sorts of things for 10 years and I just couldn't shake it. I actually accepted that I would never be off opiates before I decided to do ibogaine... I wanted to die constantly, and I felt my life was over or would never be good again. I truly believed this. You said you've been having problems with marijuana and tobacco... my advice would be to try whatever else you can, first. I'd work on quitting one, then the other once you're clear of the first. I think using ibogaine whenever you're experiencing willpower problems probably isn't going to do a lot for you. For me, my one flood dose both erased my physical dependence to opiates and unlocked an inner strength in the aftermath, it woke me up from the long nightmare and insanity of a destructive addiction back into my real self, and I then worked to maintain that strength by improving my lifestyle. That's the reason I'm still opiate-free today. It's easy for me to be, no part of me wants them, but it's because I replaced them in my life with things I am passionate about, as well as good nutrition and exercise.

-Xorkoth​
 
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How ibogaine fights stubborn prescription painkiller addictions

by Katie Bain | reset.me | 17 May 2014

When he was 13 years old, Jeremy Suttons mother passed away, and he began drinking alcohol to help cope with the trauma. Liquor became cocaine and cocaine became prescription drugs including oxycontin, hydrocodone and methadone. By the time he turned 18, Sutton was fully addicted to prescription painkillers. His days were designed around getting a fix.

"Opiates were the ones that really stuck with me," he says, "because they gave me a sort of superpower to deal with the void of being alive."

While Sutton and a friend who also abused prescription opiates continually made plans to get clean, these plans never stuck. The friend mentioned an alternative addiction therapy he had heard of called ibogaine, but they had no access to the underground treatment. When he was 25, Sutton checked into rehab. It was here that he met a fellow patient who told him about her experience with ibogaine.

"Obviously this person was in rehab, meaning that they had relapsed," Sutton says, "but their testimonial was incredible."

The Tabernanthe iboga shrub from West Central Africa

Ibogaine is a naturally occurring substance that causes users to experience an intense psychedelic experience that lasts for 24-36 hours, sometimes longer. This treatment clears the brain of addictive cravings while offering deep psycho-spiritual insights. "They made it clear that theres still a lot of work afterwards," Sutton says, "but the experience can be profound and can give you the chance to make changes for yourself."

Derived from the root bark of Tabernanthe iboga shrub, ibogaine is an alkaloid, a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds, that has been used as a ceremonial sacrament by the Bwiti tribe of Western Central Africa for thousands of years. It has also been used as a treatment for addiction since 1962, when the late medical researcher and former heroin addict Howard Lotsof, often referred to as the father of ibogaine, discovered its usefulness as what he called an addiction interrupter.

Ibogaine has proven particularly effective in treating opiate addiction, with the majority patients requiring only one session. It not only useful in removing the symptoms of drug withdrawal and reducing drug-cravings, but it has also been shown to help users understand and reverse their drug-using behaviors.

Suttons fellow rehab patient gave him the phone number of Beverly Weaver, an ibogaine facilitator at a treatment center in Baja, Mexico. Weaver has guided roughly 200 people through treatments during the past six years. Mexico is home to many such centers, as ibogaine is illegal in the United States, as well as various European countries, Brazil and Australia.

While its U.S. classification as a Schedule I drug categorizes ibogaine as a highly addictive substance with no medical properties, there is no scientific evidence that it is habit forming. The Internet offers thousands of anecdotal accounts regarding people successfully overcoming drug addictions via ibogaine. Controlled studies of its medicinal properties have taken place in New Zealand and Canada. The YouTube documentary Ibogaine: Rite of Passage chronicles its use. Author Daniel Pinchbeck has also written about traveling to Africa for ceremonial work with Iboga in his 2002 book Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism.

In 2012, the then 26-year-old Sutton flew from his native Houston to San Diego, where a representative from the treatment center picked him up and drove him across the border to Mexico. It was his first time leaving the country, and he was to stay for six days at a total cost of $3,000.

Before arriving in Mexico, Sutton had gotten an EKG and a liver panel to determine the health of his heart and liver. Such tests are critical, as ibogaine can cause death in patients with compromised cardiac and/or liver function. Its also vital that patients are displaying visible signs of withdrawal such as pulse increase and sweating.

After settling in at the center, Sutton took a walk on the beach and began his treatment at 4pm. He was first given a small dose to test his tolerance. Within an hour, this dose had alleviated his withdrawals.

"That's a really lovely experience," Weaver says, "because in about 45 minutes the withdrawal symptoms go away and the person relaxes. It instills confidence in the person that what's going to happen is actually going to work."

Weaver emphasizes that it is essential to have a group of facilitators for each patient, as treatments are long and demanding, often multi-day ordeals. "Not just for sleep relief," she says, "but energetically, if everyone is together rooting for this person, it has a big impact." Surrounded by facilitators, Sutton ingested gradually higher doses of ibogaine, administered via capsules, until a predetermined dose based on his weight was reached.

"The first thing I experienced was anxiety and a feeling of electricity going through my whole body. It felt like my heart was beating out of my chest, but they took my blood pressure and everything was in order."

Sutton then descended into the journey. After taking his third and final capsule, he began losing his motor skills. "I couldn't lift up my head and was very light sensitive. I noticed a buzzing sound, and it felt like someone had plugged me into an electrical socket. My vision became static, like a static television, when my eyes were shut. I became very nauseous and even more scared. I was starting to lose sensation in my body. At this point, however, this period of electricity and frantic thinking slowed to a visionary state."

The vision aspect seemed like I was traveling through the corridors of my own brain. The whole time there was a voice saying, "It's okay; we don't care what you did. We love you. We've always loved you. It was very frightening because of the circumstances, but there was always something in the back of my head telling me it was okay, and to relax."

Sutton continues: "The vision tapered down into this experience where I could ask myself any question and get an immediate answer that was crystal clear. Seven hours after I took the ibogaine, I entered the reflective state and felt like I was getting all of the questions I had answered very clearly." He laid in contemplative silence for another 12 hours.

21 hours after the ordeal began, Sutton emerged from the journey and found "there was nothing in my head that was bothering me anymore. I cried a lot too. I remember very specifically that the reason I started crying was because I was not being nice to myself. I realized that I needed to start loving myself, and how much I had not been loving myself up until that point."

Sutton then drifted to sleep. "I felt like I was floating above my body watching myself lay in bed. I woke up the next day feeling sort of beat up and tired, but in the best place I ever had been in up until that point."

While there is limited scientific research about how ibogaine works, evidence suggests that the substance resets neurotransmitters that have been programmed for addiction via consistent drug use.

"The simple way I like to explain it," Weaver says, "is that when you do opiates, they touch receptors in your brain. You do them enough to grow an addiction and you form more of those receptors. When there's no opiates on those receptors, you've got a lot of hungry little mouths yelling I want opiates! Iboga goes in and heals all of those hungry little mouths and takes them back to their original state so they're not hungry anymore."

Weaver emphasizes that ibogaine does not just treat the addiction, but addresses underlying reasons for the addiction such as abuse and trauma. While profound personal insights are gained, it is vital for users to set themselves up for success after the treatment. "Ibogaine will take care of 49 percent of what you have going on," Weaver says, "and you're responsible for the other 51 percent." Twelve step programs, creative endeavors and overall lifestyle changes are all encouraged.

"It's not going to make you not an addict anymore," Sutton says. "It's going to scramble your brain and reset your head in a way that gives you insight into who you are."

Sutton had struggled with depression and anxiety his entire life, and found that his ibogaine session had alleviated these issues along with his cravings for opiates. After another few days in Mexico, Sutton returned home and began the work of incorporating the lessons ibogaine had taught him. He moved into a new house, cut out unhealthy relationships and focused on his passion for making music.

Four months later, though, his anxiety and depression returned. He found, however, that ibogaine had provided him with new tools to deal with these challenges. I was able to look back on my experience and saw that my brain operated differently when I was done. I was able to think things through clearer.

The success rates for ibogaine treatment is still largely unknown, as most of the work is done underground. Weaver says that 70 percent of her patients kick their addictions, and that the overall success rate is 40-50 percent. Comparatively, the success rates for opiate addiction treatment at standard rehab facilities remain low.

Despite its usefulness, Ibogaine is still rare. Weaver believes that on any given night, there are, outside of Africa, 3-5 people in the world doing ibogaine. Still, the small areas of forests in Africa which ibogaine producing trees grow are being harvested at an unsustainable rate. Ibogaine can also be extracted from an African tree called Voacanga, which grows abundantly and is easier to plant.

Sutton's craving for opiates returned five months after his treatment, and which point he did a second session on his own at home, under the supervision of a family member. Such self-treatment is highly dangerous and not recommended.

Sutton has been clean for two years and is now in Mexico training to be an ibogaine facilitator. "The problem that was eating my life up is pretty much gone, he says. Ibogaine was a teacher that told me what needed to be done and to do with the knowledge it gave me what I would."

http://reset.me/story/addiction-inte...ate-addiction/
 
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Ibogaine treatment and the global overdose epidemic


ICEERS

As overdose incidents rise to alarming rates in both North America and the European Union, there is an urgent need to find better treatments for addiction. Ibogaine, a substance derived from the root bark of an African plant (Tabernanthe iboga) and historically used in ethnomedicine in traditional communities, is showing promise for lasting reductions in drug use, withdrawal, and cravings. Ibogaine is a natural alkaloid that has been used in the last decades as an adjuvant for the treatment of opiate withdrawal.

Opioid overdose deaths at crisis levels

The number of opioid overdose deaths have increased alarmingly in the United States, Canada and the European Union. According to the US government Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 1999 the number of deaths due to opioid overdose (including prescription opioids and heroin) has quadrupled, and between 2000 to 2015 more than half a million US residents died from an overdose. In 2016, ninety-one US residents died from an opioid overdose every day. The situation has become so severe that it has been declared an epidemic, leading the US government to draft a special law about the abuse and treatment of opioid addiction.

The situation in Canada is also dire, where in 2016 seven people were dying each day from an overdose. Responses are being organized at national and regional levels and public health emergencies have been declared in the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.

While the situation in the European Union is less dramatic, it is no less troubling. The EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction) states: “Europe’s opioid problem remains a central issue in the 2016 analysis, reflecting the significant impact of these drugs on mortality and morbidity. We are now seeing an increasingly complex relationship between the use of heroin and synthetic opioids, accompanied by a worrying increase in overall estimates of opioid-related deaths.”

In the case of Spain, the situation has stabilized since the 1990’s: 0.3% of the population has consumed heroin in the last 30 days. However, there are currently 58,291 people in Spain receiving methadone maintenance treatment (MMT).

Harms related to methadone use

Although methadone has helped millions of people discontinue heroin use, and thus reduce the harm associated with its use (infectious diseases, crime, marginalization, etc.) it can also produce iatrogenic addiction, which is difficult for many users to overcome. Many of these methadone patients previously had problems with heroin addiction but are now perfectly integrated into their environments, with no significant problems other than their physiological dependence to methadone.

Apart from the long-term negative physiological effects of continued use of methadone, primarily cardiac issues, one recent study also found that people stabilized with high doses of methadone in maintenance treatment have more medical, cognitive, and emotional problems and a reduction in quality of life compared to people who have managed to complete treatment.

New ibogaine research shows promise for treating methadone dependency

As noted, since the 1960’s the properties of ibogaine have been known to reduce and/or eliminate opioid abstinence syndrome in both research animals as well as humans. The popularization of ibogaine as a possible anti-addictive drug has resulted in many people on methadone wanting to cease their methadone dependency by using ibogaine. However, ibogaine is a substance that brings with it a high risk of cardiac toxicity, which, combined with the cardiac toxicity that methadone causes, means that its use for treating methadone dependence should only be done in very controlled settings and under strict medical supervision.

Recently, a clinical case study undertaken by ICEERS* was published in the Journal of Psychedelic Studies, which documents how a person was successfully detoxified from methadone using low but increasing doses of ibogaine. The ICEERS support service, in collaboration with Pangea Biomedics, supervised the detoxification of a 47-year-old woman who decided to use ibogaine to eliminate her dependency to methadone, which she had been taking for 17 years (37 mg daily before beginning the treatment.) While under constant medical and psychological supervision (including EKG monitoring), the woman alternated low, increasing doses of ibogaine with a progressive reduction of her methadone consumption over a period of 6 weeks.


Ibogaine treatment

After taking her dose of methadone, she waited for the onset of withdrawal symptoms. When they appeared, she took a 300 mg dose of ibogaine. When the abstinence symptoms appeared again, she took half of her maintenance dose of methadone. This process was repeated, with the patient alternating increasing doses of 100mg of ibogaine with a reduction to half of the previous dose of methadone such that after a final dose of 600 mg of ibogaine her withdrawal symptoms disappeared completely. One year after the treatment the patient remained abstinent from using methadone or other prescription opioids. She continued to occasionally use heroin (via nasal insufflation), however much less frequently than when she was on methadone.

Ibogaine, like many other medical treatments, is a safe substance if administered in a controlled medical setting. It is difficult for total detoxification to be achieved by administering a single high dose of ibogaine because of the long half-life of methadone in the body, as well as because of the added cardiac risks associated with high doses. For this reason it is essential that clinicians intending to use this approach be well trained in this methodology, which took several years to develop, and that treatments are performed in a vigilant manner, in closely monitored medically supervised settings.

The future of ibogaine treatment

Despite the promising results from this case study and several others, ibogaine’s legal status remains a barrier for conducting more research and for integrating ibogaine into existing treatment systems. The substance has been illegal in the USA since 1967 (classified as a hallucinogen in Schedule 1) and is also scheduled in 9 countries in the European Union. In other countries, ibogaine is unregulated (i.e. neither approved nor illegal), except for in Brazil, New Zealand, and South Africa where it is regulated as a pharmaceutical for use by licensed medical practitioners.

Additional clinical studies are needed to verify that low dose ibogaine treatment is effective and safe for methadone detoxification. If such a treatment program, which is both cost efficient and easy to control in a medical setting, proved effective, the number of lives that could be saved of people struggling with opioid use would be incalculable.

 
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How safe is ibogaine? We ask Clare Wilkins, who has facilitated over 700 treatments

by Jordan May | Psymposia | 2 Jan 2018

Clare Wilkins is a former intravenous drug user & methadone patient who shed her chemical dependencies with the aid of ibogaine. As founder of XYZ Biomedics*, she has facilitated over 700 treatments and collaborated with MAPS on the Mexico study. Since 2010, Clare has been an active board member of the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance (GITA) and is a co-author of the Clinical Guidelines for Ibogaine-Assisted Detoxification. Clare is currently collaborating with ICEERS, developing a clinical trial for methadone for ibogaine-assisted detox.

Weve mentioned that ibogaine can be dangerous, and we even saw what can happen when proper safety precautions arent taken. Here, we take some time to speak with Clare and go more in depth about the risks associated with ibogaine.

While we hope that this interview offers some insight about the safety protocols one should consider before taking ibogaine, we want to stress that in no way should this be considered a thorough safety guide. Simply reading this interview is not adequate preparation, and we strongly encourage anyone thinking about working with ibogaine in any capacity to take the time to do further research.

Would you like to start us off by introducing yourself? What is your story?

I was an injecting heroin user before switching to methadone. I come from a very traumatic childhood with a lot of violence. I discovered heroin at an Ivy League university, and it seemed to answer every question I ever had.

I spent the next 15 years trying to resolve that answer.

Methadone maintenance treatment worked for a while. It was my lily pad for 9 years. It saved my life. It made me not a criminal, not sick. I had a job, and I was able to get my life together.

Anyway, my sister and I had both been using heroin and she had already detoxed, yet she learned about iboga through Rick Strassman's work with DMT. It was back when there were just a few clinics in the world. I went to a clinic in Tijuana, which, at that time, was the Ibogaine Association. There, I was freed from the lock of methadone.

After my experience, I saw what may have been lacking in the treatment protocol. I didn't really have anybody to process with during the experience. I went home, and I was in withdrawal for a month. I couldn't even do my job. So, I called up the clinic and told them that Id like to talk to patients who perhaps needed to understand the process from a peer perspective. I was in LA and they were in Tijuana, so I'd take the train down and I'd just sit with people because no one who had taken ibogaine had ever sat with me.

That was the beginning. I volunteered until I was brave enough to purchase the Ibogaine Association name and create XYZ, with a full team in a new location. It was a calling, and it seems to be a calling that happens with a lot of people in the drug users' movement.

Since then, youve become prominent in the ibogaine community as a provider and consultant. In your professional opinion, is ibogaine actually safe?

Thats like asking if electricity is safe, in my opinion. You can cook a warm meal, light up a room, or electrocute someone with electricity, as they say.

Its similar with ibogaine. Ibogaine, in and of itself, is not unsafe. There are both risks and benefits.

Ken Alper, Jeffrey Kamlet, Deborah Mash, Bruno Rasmussen, Roman Paskulin, and Jamie McAlpin are doctors and experts regarding ibogaine safety. There are many published journal articles and presentations of theirs online. To be clear, Im a lay therapist that's worked with an integrative team of MDs, naturopathic doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and somatic and peer therapists for 12 years.

So, what are some of the specific risks? You mentioned the heart, but could you go into detail about the screenings people should get before they consider taking ibogaine?

Ibogaine increases electricity in the heart, which is one of the reasons reputable clinics do cardiac screenings, to assess how the heart conducts electricity. Ibogaine has some features that require vigilance, and most experts conclude that thorough pre-screening and medical monitoring during the experience is crucial to its safety as a treatment for detoxification.

Ibogaine also induces bradycardia (it lowers heart rate, normally by about 10 beats per minute during a typical dose of 12 to 20mg/kg). The risk of bradycardia is that the heart rate can go very low. If the heart rate stays too low for too long of a period, this can require immediate administration of atropine. This is a serious life-threatening situation that requires medical intervention.

QT prolongation is another major risk with ibogaine. The QT interval is a measure of the heart?s electrical cycle, or the time it takes for the ventricle to get ready from one contraction to the next. During this period, the heart is vulnerable to cardiac arrhythmias and other serious complications. Other legal medications prolong the QT interval, such as methadone. Benzodiazepine and alcohol withdrawal both result in QT prolongation as well, so combining ibogaine with an alcohol or benzodiazepine detox can be extremely dangerous.

Many people who seek out ibogaine for detoxification are poly-drug users. For best outcomes, complete blood and urine panels need to be drawn and analyzed as close to treatment as possible to assess for infection, electrolyte levels, and of course, a toxicology screen. What drugs/medications has this person been taking that they may not have told you about?

Hepatic function and the specific liver enzymes are essential. Many ibogaine patients have liver issues, are diagnosed with hepatitis C, etc. However, this doesn?t preclude them from treatment, in many providers experience. Still, the liver enzyme count is crucial to consider. I believe Howard Lotsof's last patent application was for the use of ibogaine to treat hepatitis C. He had data demonstrating a dramatic decline in viral load counts in those with a diagnosis of Hepatitis C who had taken ibogaine.

Electrolyte count is crucial as well because ibogaine is a potassium hERG channel blocker. Potassium plays an important role in cardiac function, and blocking this channel can lead to prolonged QT intervals, arrhythmias, and insufficient electrolytes for the heart to function as it needs to.

Noribogaine, the metabolite of ibogaine, is an important topic as well. It seems to stay in the system longer than ibogaine, providing the window of opportunity we hear about. Noribogaine has similar qualities to ibogaine in terms of decreased self-administration of opiates. According to Ken Alper and others, it is important to consider the concentration of noribogaine over time, which resembles a curve. Multiple doses of ibogaine in one evening increase the area under the curve, indicating a higher concentration of noribogaine in the system for longer periods of time, which could or could not be predictive of more danger.

In your time as a provider, did you ever have any adverse events?

Weve had 3 fatalities, on separate occasions, as well as numerous events that required intervention. Thanks to mentors, experts, and teachers, we've learned from them. We haven't had an adverse event since because we do completely different protocols now that have been worked on diligently for the past 8 years.

We dont just pull the rug right out from under the client upon starting treatment. No need to arrive in withdrawal. Before treatment, we develop specific protocols to treat conditions underlying their dependencies. We continue with this process during treatment.

Our work with ibogaine is done in a specifically timed manner. For example, with opioid dependencies, we give morphine and then ibogaine, then less morphine, and then ibogaine. As the ibogaine accumulates, there's less and less craving for opioids, and more time to include the adjunct therapies we use. With stimulants, we don't use the method of co-administration, yet we do use repeated cumulative dosing. It takes an extreme amount of vigilance, but its much more successful than anything we ever did before while following the traditional model.

Why did these adverse events occur?

Well first, we were following the traditional model. In the conventional paradigm, you come to treatment in withdrawal and you get ibogaine that night, before trust is developed with the team, soon after an EKG, and usually after a long flight.

We had a staff of 12, including 4 doctors. We essentially had a hospital in a villa; it wasn't for a lack of equipment or personnel. These were extremely unfortunate and difficult aspects of the learning curve. The fatalities were the result of pulmonary embolism, the presence of residual cocaine in the blood, and hypertrophy. All preventable issues, as we now know.

So, do you think your current model helps prevent adverse events?

Not think, we know.

No deaths and no hospital visits in the 8 years since we have changed our protocols. We've had someone who experienced a hypertensive attack, who already had high blood pressure, and we controlled it within an hour. And someone else was vomiting so much they needed an IV, but that would happen almost every week when we administered ibogaine the previous way.

Psychologically, its a different story. Clients can regress to their childhoods, start acting child-like, screaming, crying, or behaving violently. Staying in an alternate reality for a prolonged period of time, this comes with safety issues as well.

Whats so different about this alternative protocol?

Well, the traditional treatment model is rapid. Patients come in, they take their ibogaine, and they usually return to their same environment shortly after treatment.

We now emphasize pre-treatment at least a month before they come. Many people focus on aftercare, but nobody seems to talk much about strong preparatory care.

We?ve had numerous clients follow our preparatory protocol who end up not needing to take ibogaine. We worked with naturopaths and developed specific orthomolecular protocols for the 5 most significant physiological issues that occur with drug dependence. Those are depression, pain, anxiety, liver issues, and chronic fatigue.

What we do is called repeated cumulative low dosing, which results in a saturation, or a flood, by the end. So instead of giving a single flood dose in one night, we do it over days. What that does is it shows us how someone reacts to the medicine, how they metabolize the drug, versus just going from a blood test result. So how do they react at first? Do they cry? Do they feel nothing? Do they say it feels good? Do they see their dead grandparents? Do they feel calm or anxious at first? Then, as a team, we form a specific protocol based on their body and mind. They teach us.

Is ibogaine safe to take with any other medications?

There are many contraindications. Ibogaine potentiates not just morphine, but it seems to be a potentiator of almost everything. One cup of coffee with a microdose of ibogaine in the morning can feel like 4 cups to some people. Antidepressants and antipsychotics are another category that are restricted with ibogaine. I highly suggest people do a lot of research regarding this issue, as it could take a while to go through all the medications. The GITA Guidelines have information as well.

Working with a physician who supports the use of ibogaine and tapering from other medications, or continued use of them, is strongly encouraged.

It seems like theres a lot of controversy and misinformation surrounding ibogaine and benzos. Whats the deal? Is it safe to detox from benzos using ibogaine?

Ibogaine doesn't work as well for benzos as it does for opioids and stimulants.

Remember, ibogaine electrifies the body. Yes, with the correct dose it can place a person into a para-sympathetic state, where he or she is no longer in fear. Yet it is extremely dangerous to use ibogaine to decrease the dosage of a benzo, especially rapidly. We refer people to the Ashton manual. Heather Ashton is the worlds expert on benzo tapering.

Of course, one can combine various therapies to detox from benzodiazepines, but weve seen that a slow taper, over time, is the safest with long-acting benzodiazepines. Withdrawal from benzos includes QT prolongation, anxiety, fear, insomnia, seizures, and even death. When a person who is dependent on benzos takes ibogaine, they need to be stabilized on a long-acting benzo to keep the QT interval in a safe range. A short acting benzodiazepine can leave the system during a flood quickly, increasing the risk of seizures and arrhythmias. It can also stay in the system and be potentiated by the ibogaine.

This all depends on an individuals body and their metabolism, as well as dosage of the benzos. We dont know unless we go slowly. There is debate around this issue, so it would be wonderful if the clinics who work well with benzodiazepine patients can come together and share their knowledge with other providers and patients.

Many people hide their benzo use, even if its only occasional, to be accepted to clinics, and this is dangerous. If you look at Ken Alper's fatality paper, you will see benzodiazepines are connected to many of the deaths associated with ibogaine, specifically you will see that they weren't used while in treatment, yet were found in the toxicology report afterward. I call benzos the snipers of ibogaine fatalities.

This subject is controversial because you have a doctor saying one thing and a clinic saying another thing, and so on.

How about other psychedelics? That seems to be a growing trend, taking ibogaine with other visionary substances. How safe is this?

Ibogaine is safe to take with certain psychedelics. And completely unsafe with others.

Dangers seem to occur around the administration of 5-MeO-DMT, kambo, MDMA, and ayahuasca in close proximity with ibogaine. There have been grievances, including a fatality, associated with the use of these medicines alongside ibogaine.

Ayahuasca and kambo are both purgatives, so the issues of dehydration and over-stimulation can be factors in relation to safety with ibogaine treatment. There's been a surge of the use of these medicines with one another in the past few years. A few practitioners seem to combine the higher risk substances well, with no adverse effects reported. There is a lot that still needs to be researched.

There is also debate around using ketamine, which is a dissociative, while taking ibogaine or shortly after. Many clinics have witnessed clients moving from heroin/opioids to ketamine after taking ibogaine, and from stimulants to 5-MeO-DMT and/or DMT as a form of psychedelic substitute. Aside from the physiological complications that may arise from these combinations, there is the psychological component.

Experiences with certain substances can take months, or more, to fully integrate. Often, ibogaine is not enough to get the mission accomplished on its own, to treat years of a chronic condition. It is essential to use adjunct therapies to create an integrative experience for the client. This, of course, takes time.

A lot of people are talking about microdosing ibogaine. Are the risks the same as with a larger threshold dose? Should someone still get screened before starting a microdosing regimen?

The risks can be the same, yes. They are far less significant, of course, because the dose is so much smaller than traditional flood doses.

Yet, there are people who just simply cannot and should not take ibogaine, period.

Even small doses can exacerbate a heart condition, anxiety, or insomnia. Ibogaine is cumulative, so as it builds up (if youre microdosing regularly), it eventually saturates the body and it feels like you've taken a larger amount that day than you actually have. I know of people who used it daily, with a day of rest per week, and others who had a panic attack with a first dose of only a few milligrams. Although not a microdose, a fatality occurred recently with a dose of only 200mg ibogaine HCl, which is considered less than a booster dose.

Its important to rest, to integrate, to sleep, to dream, and to allow the cascade effect of ibogaine to work its wonders. A guide or facilitator is highly recommended. Others prefer finding their own inner guide, their inner doctor, so to speak. Ibogaine leads us back to the root of our inner voice, which we lose sometimes in this cacophony of modern life.

It seems like there's a lot of misinformation out there surrounding ibogaine, specifically regarding safety protocol. What do you think are some of the most common misconceptions people have about ibogaine in general?

That they will be liberated from addiction for life. That they will understand the root causes of their dependencies and be able to easily move forward from those realizations. That they're able to integrate their experience back into their regular life, like its easy peasy from there on.

A myth is that everything is fine and perfect after its over. With ibogaine, yeah in a night, over the course of a few hours, you'll be devoid of most withdrawal symptoms and cravings. But after that is when the real work begins.

Those are some of the main ones. Most people dont know how to integrate what happened to them while taking ibogaine into their life. Its tough. That's why if you look on our website, we have a page called The Family. The family is an organism, and if we notice a family member doesn't want to talk and be included in therapy, we start to understand that the user may be the scapegoat. Dependency is a family issue that's complex to traverse.

So all in all, would you say ibogaine is worth taking even despite the safety risks?

Ibogaine is for the person who feels called to it, who resonates with it, just as you do with a food, a country, a friend, a plant, a potential lover, an ally.

One can feel more of the world around them after taking ibogaine, see more clearly, and experience a new awareness of themselves that grows or suddenly appears.

We need more people who feel right now. Who see more deeply. It's urgent. The risk is worth it.

It certainly has been for me.

*Not the clinic's real name.

https://www.psymposia.com/magazine/h...00-treatments/
 
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Ibogaine addiction therapy


by Keegan Hamilton

Clare Wilkins got hooked on heroin at the age of 20 while majoring in Latin American studies and psychology at Cornell University. Drug use led to depression, and she dropped out her senior year. She’d been trying to get clean using methadone for eight and a half years when her younger sister learned about ibogaine via the Internet. Wilkins, then 30 years old and employed as bookkeeper, read up on the subject, started saving up and, in 2005, shelled out $3,200 for a session at the XYZ Clinic* in Tijuana.

The trip—in both senses of the word—changed her life.

“I received a direct message that I was washed in love,” Wilkins says of her first encounter with the hallucinogen. “That the universe in its entirety is full of love, and that courses through us and was there for me. There was this soul body, this light body that had no beginning and no end. My fingers had no end; there were atoms coming in and going out."

“It got me off of methadone completely,”
she continues. “My sense of shame about my addiction was washed away without having to practice with a therapist and talk, talk, talk.”

The experience was so profound that she elected to stay on at the clinic as a volunteer. Confident and chatty, with long brown curls and a disarming smile, Wilkins feels she has a knack for guiding patients through their ibogaine-induced spiritual awakenings.

“On ibogaine, all your walls come down,” she says. “You can’t lie. You get an opportunity to look at yourself honestly and see how you respond. My role is to be there as a comfort. People compliment me by saying, ‘You knew exactly when to hold my hand.’”

In 2006, XYZ Clinic director Martin Polanco offered Wilkins a full-time job. She’d heard rumors he was considering selling the clinic in the coming year, and on a whim, she offered to buy the operation from him outright.

“It was one of those ‘Can I put that back in my mouth?’ moments,” Wilkins recounts with a laugh. “I didn’t have the money; I didn’t even have a car.”

Wilkins borrowed $3,000 from her mother for a down payment, changed the clinic’s name to XYZ Biomedics*, and made monthly payments to Polanco for the next year and a half.

Stays at the clinic aren’t cheap. For the standard 10-day detox, Wilkins charges $7,500, travel not included. She employs a staff of 10, including two Mexican physicians, a paramedic, a masseuse/acupuncturist and a chef. The chef, Wilkins’ sister Sarah, is a recovering addict who credits ibogaine for kicking her drug dependence.

Aaron Aurand, a live-in volunteer, feels the same way. “I did eight months of court-ordered inpatient treatment before I came here,” says the native of Spokane, Washington. “I got more therapy here in five days than I did in that entire time. Lots of junkies don’t want to look inside themselves. With this, you’ll get shown.”

In addition to ibogaine, Wilkins emphasizes nutrition. The clinic’s pantry is mostly organic and gluten-free and boasts a cache of vitamins and supplements that patients gobble by the handful.

“The body has its own framework and can heal itself if you remove harmful substances and balance the systems. We do colon cleanses and liver cleanses even before they get the ibogaine,” she explains, pointing out that there are practical reasons for the former: “You get people who come in here—especially opiate addicts—who are clogged up.”

To date, Wilkins says, she has treated more than 300 patients. “Sixty-two percent of our clients are chronic-pain patients,” she says. “You’re not talking IV [heroin] addicts or crack addicts. You’re talking grandmas on Oxycontin.”

Some people come for “psycho-spiritual” purposes. Ken Wells, an environmental consultant from Santa Rosa, says he underwent conventional counseling for depression for 15 years before trying ibogaine as a last-ditch effort to save his crumbling marriage.

Three days after taking ibogaine for the first time, Wells compares the experience to “defragging a computer hard drive.” He experimented with psychedelics decades ago in college, but, he says, ibogaine is like nothing else.

Ibogaine’s effectiveness has already helped it gain acceptance abroad. Lawmakers in New Zealand, where methamphetamine use has skyrocketed in recent years, have tweaked the nation’s laws to allow physicians to prescribe ibogaine. Dr. Gavin Cape, an addiction specialist at New Zealand’s Dunedin School of Medicine says the nation’s doctors are so far reluctant to wield their new anti-meth weapon. “There is strong advocacy in New Zealand for ibogaine, and it may turn out to have a place alongside conventional therapies for the addictions, but I’m afraid we are a few years away from that goal.”

*Name withheld.
 
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Microdosing ibogaine

I happen to have some excellent knowledge on this subject as I just finished a microdosing regime during a period of EXTREME insane abuse. My opinion is that the AA iboga types that proffer an image of the plant as a "one time thing" and after that throw people to the whims of traditional treatment and therapy are dead wrong. Basically I've taken low dose ibogaine with everything imaginable, K, MDX, L, oxycodone, cocaine, whiskey, sometimes in combination and never with negative effects, while in the 10 - 20mg range. In fact, as I made my last album on the most incredible bender, I made sure to take 10mg minimum a day. I found myself functioning optimally on the days I dosed. Sometimes if I ate up to 40mg, I began to feel a bit like I'd eaten a 1/2 a hit, but I'm pretty used to that, so it didn't faze me at all. I would have felt absolutely comfortable driving and worked with no complications. At the end of this month period, I simply stopped all drug use with little to no side effects. This leads me to think there is strong reason to believe that this sort of dosage protocol could greatly assist chronic pain sufferers. So, in my personal experience, low dose ibogaine is perfectly safe with nearly everything, and in no way appears to stress my body more than the chemical itself would.

It does have dangerous interactions with opiods - when used irresponsibly. Now, the literature states that the rootbark is somewhere between 3/4% ibogaine, which means every gram SHOULD have between 30-40 mg. The material I had was VERY active (I've had experience w/hcl before), so I'd eat about a quarter to half gram, thus between 10-20 mg. I did nitrous, MDMA was fine (no serotonin interactions noted), dmster was great, mushrooms fine, salvia don't know but my intuition says fine, and kratom (I had no use for because of all the REAL opiates). All I can say for certain is, at no time did I feel in danger, outside of the other shit I was doing. The ibogaine seemed to only enforce with calming love the feeling that I WOULD make it through the ordeal.

At LOW doses (10-20mg) the opiate reset effect is fairly minimal. It seemed not so much to reset tolerance as to halt its development, which allowed me to use the chemicals I needed to in a stretch without incurring a massive habit, something that may be INCREDIBLY useful to people in chronic pain management situations. I fully think that anyone taking it at all should probably have the arrhythmia screening. All I want to do is honestly relay that I feel this compound has saved my life a second time, and that continued low dose usage seems to have compounding positive effects on both my mental state and immune system. It kind of seems to even mitigate administration of itself along with other chemicals, and as time goes on, my drive to take it certainly diminishes. I'm not saying I want to take this stuff forever. I'm saying if I NEED it, I never want to be without it. :) I've already been screened for arrhythmia, and I'm familiar with ibogaine in general. If that wasn't the case, I'd be much more concerned for my well being...

-cdin

-----

I took Ibogaine 3 weeks ago and it was the most important thing I have ever done. Ibogaine will do 50% of the work, you have to do the other 50%—sober houses, meetings etc. Seriously if you are an opiate addict you need to take this, just be sure you haven’t had suboxone or methadone for 3 months at least. If a center that tells you this is a sign the place is truly interested in healing you not just getting money. It’s all true though, almost NO withdrawal, NO cravings and it’s like undergoing 10 years of therapy in 36 hours! I realized things I didn’t even know I was upset about or hiding from myself. But you need to be willing to move away when you get home, or to do whatever else you need to do in order to avoid the triggers.

-Lee

-----

Ibogaine works! The holy wood! The president of Gabon declared it as a National Treasure! I was taking percocets for many years. Prescribed. My mom just passed on 11/15 from a lot of suffering from my earthly father and two sister’s heavily addicted to heroin. She was taking a concoction of pills and in time her heart gave in. I did not want to see myself go down that same tunnel as my mother, so I had several successful attempts at staying clean for month’s. But I did not want to go back on that merry go round. Too old and too tired. Ordered ibogaine in 1/16, having being clean a month already. Took just bits at a time, and it has worked wonders for me. People say I look younger and have a nice glow. I just take it twice a month now, and I feel fantastic! This is definitely a miracle wonder medicinal plant.

-Wanda Rodriguez

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Ibogaine worked for me… and it worked better than any detox or rehab program in the USA… I tried everything from Rapid Opiate Detox, 30 day programs, 6 month programs, methadone, suboxone, klonopin, klonodine.. Everything!!!! I'm a 17 year heroin and opiate user. Did ibogaine 4 months ago and am still clean. Iboga gave me my free will back and took away my cravings.. But the most important thing I believe is needed for ibogaine to work is that you really want a new life and want to make a change.. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes. Eat right, change your environment. Its only a tool… It won't cure you, you need to put in the work.. Just saying.

-keithlinx

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Ibogaine worked for me. I was a opiate user for 15 years and suffered from depression for much longer. Actually, it was the depression that started me onto opiates. That helped but after many years of use I got addicted to them. While in my experimental stage I noticed hallucinogen usage would keep my depression away. 1 dose equaled 6 months of no depression. So I was keen to try this wonderful plant. Fortunately I was able to find a sympathetic doctor thru a methadone maintenance program in New Zealand. Away from the center the Doctor administered the plant extract. I have been clean for a few years now. I no longer require methadone, either. Free at last!

-stu benson

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I took ibogaine and it ended my 26 year cocaine addiction. The fact that I lived that long is a miracle; no depression, no more antidepressants, just ALL GONE.

-Richard Monette

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I used ibogaine with a doctor and ever since I have not touched heroin. It changed my life because I was feeling and seeing all the pain and hurt my addiction has caused, through the eyes of the people I hurt, but 100 times worse. Being able to have empathy is what changed my whole life and allowed me to live my life without DOPE, and I haven't used since.

-Bfauckly Ferrel​
 
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mr peabody

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"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... "


Ibogaine significantly reduces opioid withdrawal and cravings

by Eric Dolan | PsyPost | 16 Apr 2018

New scientific research provides more evidence that the psychedelic drug ibogaine can help treat opioid withdrawal and cravings. The new findings are reported in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Ibogaine a psychoactive substance found in the root bark of the African Tabernanthe iboga plant, which has been used in the shamanic rituals of the Bwiti religion in West Africa. The drug is outlawed in the United States and many other countries, but remains legally available in Mexico. The new research examined 50 patients addicted to heroin or prescription opioids who participated in a week-long ibogaine treatment program in Tijuana.

“As a lover of biology, spiritual experience, indigenous cultures, and consciousness I developed a curiosity and passion for psychedelic substances, as they perfectly intersect these interests. This led me to pursue formal education and training in psychiatric pharmacy as well as public health, which further inspired me to be involved in researching the utility of psychedelic substances in the treatment of illness,” explained study author Benjamin J. Malcolm of Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Pharmacy.

“Recent (and older) research suggests that many psychedelic substances have potential clinical benefits in a variety of psychiatric illnesses, although ibogaine is seemingly unique in its ability to interrupt opioid addiction,” he told PsyPost. “Given the epidemic of death and harm associated with opioids in the United States presently and limitations of current therapies in treating opioid use disorders it seems very timely to study ibogaine further.”

Malcolm and his colleagues found ibogaine treatment was associated with significant reductions in opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Most of the patients (78 percent) did not exhibit clinical signs of opioid withdrawal 48 hours after receiving ibogaine.

“It seems that ibogaine can interrupt the underlying neurocircuitry of opioid use disorder while delivering a profound psychological experience that reinforces recovery efforts,” Malcolm explained to PsyPost. “In our study ibogaine appeared to be able to reduce both the physical signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal as well as reduce cravings for opioids.”

“This means that ibogaine may simultaneously address both physical and psychological aspects of opioid use disorder, whereas other therapeutic agents for opioid use disorders address either physical aspects through continued opioid dependence (methadone, buprenorphine) or psychological aspects of addiction like craving (naltrexone), but do not address both and cannot be used together.”

“Furthermore, the psychedelic nature of ibogaine tends to induce a dream-like state in which many report autobiographical subjective experiences, like watching their life as a movie from the vantage point of an observer,”
Malcolm continued. “They see the moments of hurt or traumas from the past that predisposed them for substance use and undergo an emotional processing that allows for resolution of the underlying pain.”

In the early 1960s, anecdotal reports surfaced that ibogaine could help defeat drug addiction, prompting some scientists to investigate the anti-addictive properties of the drug. But ibogaine became a Schedule I substance in the United States in 1970, severely limiting the research into the psychedelic drug’s potential.

“Ibogaine and other psychedelic substances that are deemed illegal by the U.S. federal government have demonstrated therapeutic potential, albeit mostly in preliminary studies and anecdotally. This means that many psychedelics are likely subjected to erroneous classification as it is part of the definition of an illegal substance that it has no medical utility.”

“The other piece of the government’s definition of an illegal substance is a high potential for abuse, which is also very questionable with psychedelics, particularly ibogaine that tends to produce less euphoria than others like LSD. This regulatory framework results in oppression of legitimate scientific inquiry, and ultimately hurts the public given epidemic harms of opioids as well as enormous therapeutic need for better treatments.”


However, the new research — like all studies — has limitations.

“There are some caveats to this study as well as many unanswered questions in ibogaine research,” Malcolm explained. “The largest caveat of this type of study is the research design. This study did not have a control group and participants were not randomized to treatment or placebo, which introduces potential biases that can skew results.”

“It was a chart review of participants that received ibogaine at one center and different centers may have different administration or dosing protocols or practices that could enhance or diminish the therapeutic or adverse effects so it’s unclear how generalizable or optimal the studied setting is in the treatment of opioid use disorder.”

“This study also only followed participants through the acute withdrawal phase so lacks information on relapse rates after opioid detoxification with ibogaine. However, there are some other small studies that have partially addressed longer term outcomes and overall appear promising.”


Ibogaine can also have potentially fatal side effects.

“There are cardiac safety concerns with ibogaine and there are some reports of death in the literature, even in clinical settings,” Malcolm said. “Factors that increase risk for adverse cardiac effects require further study (we have some clues) and a cautious approach to participant selection in research is advisable.”

“Some would argue that a drug with a risk of death is too risky to continue clinical research with, although the current mainstay of opioid use disorder treatment is methadone which has FDA black box warnings for addiction, abuse, and misuse as well as fatal respiratory depression (death due to not breathing).”

“Furthermore, opioid use disorder is a deadly illness with 115 deaths per day reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for 2016 in the US. So it appears that due to the risk of death from both the illness and current treatments that in this example further research is favorable despite known cardiac safety concerns.”

“Overall, the current body of research would probably be sufficient in other areas of medicine to garner enthusiasm and funding for research, yet due to the stigmas associated with psychedelic substances as well as drug addiction (opioid use disorder), the approach has been to attempt prohibition of research,”
Malcolm remarked.

“Studies with more stringent methods are costly, yet due to the illegal regulatory status of ibogaine, are unlikely to be paid for by government or pharmaceutical sponsors without further action such as re-scheduling to a controlled substance instead of an illegal one.”

Malcolm also cautioned that ibogaine should not be over-hyped as the solution to opioid addiction.

“While results are very promising, ibogaine is surely not a magic bullet for the treatment of opioid use disorder and is in experimental stages of drug development as a therapeutic entity. If ibogaine proves to be safe and effective in controlled trials then one possible treatment model could feature ibogaine as the experiential core of a larger treatment intervention that incorporates preparatory counseling/psychotherapy before and after ibogaine as well as residential or inpatient aftercare programming-care to give individuals the best chances at successful recovery.”

“This type of model would combine elements of successful psychedelic protocols from MDMA or psilocybin research with traditional rehabilitation programs used in substance use disorders.”

“I also think for this type of model to work that a fundamental shift away from the stigmatized conceptions society holds for substance use disorders as well as psychedelics are necessary to earnestly facilitate rehabilitation,”
Malcolm added.

“As far as substance use disorders, we should also be investigating and aggressively intervening on societal drivers of substance use (isolation, loneliness, lack of spirituality or connectedness, boredom, lack of alternatives to drug use, physical or emotional pain), which would probably offer the greatest rewards for society in the prevention of drug use."

“Lastly, maybe a disclaimer: due to known risks of ibogaine and illicit status in the US, please do not try a home detoxification. Consult medical professionals if you have a problem with opioids. Nothing in this interview is meant to encourage illegal activity.”


http://www.psypost.org/2018/04/trea...-reduces-opioid-withdrawal-and-cravings-51041
 
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Addicts turning to ibogaine as a last resort

by Stefanie Cohen | 21 Apr 2018

After suffering from anxiety and depression, freelance writer Stefanie Cohen sought help at an ibogaine clinic similar to the one where 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.”

https://nypost.com/2018/04/21/is-a-m...-to-addiction/
 
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