What is Ibogaine?
What is Ibogaine?
Ibogaine is the primary alkaloid derived from the root bark of the Tabernanthe Iboga shrub found in the West African region of Gabon. Called Iboga by the Biwiti tribe it has been used for thousands of years in right of passage ceremonies and for spiritual growth. Iboga effects have been observed to help people reconcile with past traumas and to help with psychological issues such as depression, PTSD, separation and drug addiction. Ibogaine has proven effective as an addiction interrupter for most substances including heroin, methadone, methamphetamine, cocaine, alcohol, and nicotine. The ibogaine drug derived from tabernanthe iboga is extracted and converted into ibogaine hydrochloride or ibogaine hcl. Ibogaine plant extracts made from the raw root bark are called ibogaine tinctures or ibogaine TA (total alkaloid.)
How Does Ibogaine Work?
The full complexities of how ibogaine works is not entirely clear. Ibogaine was criminalized in the late 1960’s and ibogaine research has been halted in the United States and few clinical trials have been done since. Current studies else where have shown it diminishes cravings, compulsions and destructive behaviors by resetting the dopamine uptake pathways in the reward and pleasure centers of the brain. It also has been shown to affect the serotonergic system which modulate mood, motivation and behavioral control. No other substance is known to have such a profound and unique effect on the the mindset of those that have struggled with addiction. Also one of the primary effects of ibogaine is that it alleviates some or all of the physical withdrawal symptoms of opiate detoxification by resetting and refreshing the opiate receptor sites. Unlike harm reduction drugs such as methadone or buprenorphine (suboxone) which are highly addictive, a single flood dose of ibogaine effects or interrupts addiction often for good. Ibogaine treats other chemical dependencies by cleansing the body of the drugs, and resetting the brain’s neurochemistry. Adverse iboga effects observed are mild to severe ataxia, bradycardia, hypertension, tremor and nausea.
Ibogaine HCL is administered orally and after ingestion is converted by the liver into nor-Ibogaine, a fat soluble metabolite, which is stored in the fat cells of the body for weeks even months. It is believed that this nor ibogaine effect is what curbs cravings and alleviates the mental obsession to use. It can take several days after treatment for these effects to become apparent but almost everyone who takes ibogaine experiences some relief from depression and has a shift in consciousness to a state of well-being, free from negative thought patterns. Ibogaine also works to rebalance the brain chemistry and level out dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and adrenaline to a pre-addicted state. This helps individual recover more quickly than if they just try quitting through abstinence and tradition treatment programs. It takes most people several months for their brain chemistry to return to pre-addictive function and to regain the balance in neurotransmitters after discontinued use. This is is why so many people relapse in their first year of recovery from addiction. Once they are free from the substances there is still a lot of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual recovery work needed to become truly free. Everything from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), yoga, and meditation (just to name a few) can be used to increase the Ibogaine treatment success rate.
The Ibogaine Experience
For those taking ibogaine for opiate addiction it is important that they be in the beginning stages of withdrawal when getting ready to start ibogaine treatment. Success and safety is determined by how effectively ibogaine is administered in a narrow window of time where the patient is in withdrawal but not so much so as to cause unnecessary strain on the heart or central nervous system. Opiate receptor sites must be free to be occupied by the ibogaine molecule in order for it to work most effectively. While everyones ibogaine experience is different many have shared certain similar aspects of their experience that seem uncanny or surreal such as having a guide often considered the iboga spirit or higher self that shows them the root causes of their addiction. One common experience is to be guided by a tribal man made of sticks affectionately called The Wicker Man. He shows up a little different for everyone but he is very direct in his message. If you continue making the same choices you will likely die from your addictions. During most experiences people get to review their life. Many of us have core traumas that have gone unresolved due to fear. We spend a lifetime trying to avoid situations that remind us of these core traumas and when we can’t we seek relief or escape through substances or behavior through our coping mechanisms or avoidance behaviors. Many individuals gain powerful insights into past traumatic events or situations that have led to their present life condition. It has been likened to years of therapy in a few hours. Visions and experience vary depending on the individual, what they are using and current health conditions among other things. It is important to understand that even if there are no visions or clear messages the Ibogaine still does the job of resetting and rebalancing the body and mind.
Ibogaine Treatment Success Rate
After many years of ibogaine research the evidence shows that ibogaine treatment success rates are far above any other current addiction treatment models. A recent study from Brazil which focused on cocaine/crack cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, or a combination of these showed that ibogaine treatment was extremely effective with an impressive 61% of the clients remaining completely abstinent after eight months with a single ibogaine treatment, and they had longer average periods of abstinence with multiple treatments. Most of the participants had been in residential treatment facilities and their average length of abstinence before the treatment was only two months but they found abstinence much easier to maintain after undergoing ibogaine treat. Most patients had tried other, non-psychedelic treatments without success but reported that the ibogaine was the key to their recovery.