What is Ibogaine?
Found in the Iboga Plant of Africa, ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance that is used to treat various addictions. A powerful hallucinogenic, ibogaine has dissociative properties and helps with addictions to alcohol, methamphetamines, heroin, methadone, mental illness, and food. It is also responsible for the treatment of certain medical conditions and is used for spiritual exploration and psychological introspection.
Rather than just mask the addiction through other drugs like many addiction treatments do, treatment with Ibogaine encourages introspection through hallucinatory states that help the user understand his addiction through a recollection of life events that helped lead to their addiction. Others that have used Ibogaine have reported shamanic visions that have helped them dispel the fears in their subconscious that have allowed them to continue to stay addicted.
Preparations containing ibogaine are used in medicinal and ritual ceremonies amongst the traditional Bwiti people of Africa, who claim they learned of its uses through Pygmy tribes. Amongst oral traditions about the Bwiti and their use of ibogaine as a spiritual medium comes the story of a hunter in Africa who killed a porcupine that was in the process of eating the root of the Iboga plant. After the hunter brought the porcupine home to his wife and it was cooked and consumed, the hunter began having visions. He then returned to the site of the kill, collected roots from the Iboga plant the porcupine was consuming, and began using the root in spiritual ceremonies.
Ibogaine was first marketed to the public in France and was sold as a medical stimulant in the 1930s. Sold in 8mg tablets in the form of Lambarène, it was advertised as both a mental and a physical stimulant. It showed “greater than normal efforts” by healthy individuals and also helped treat in depression. After World War II, Lambarène became popular amongst many veteran athletes but was removed from the market after its ban in 1966.
The CIA studied the effects of ibogaine in the 1950s, and in 1962 its anti-addictive properties were discovered by Howard Lotstof who was a severe heroin addict. After one injection of ibogaine, Lotstof was addiction free, yet the substance was never allowed for public health as the US Government placed Ibogaine in a Schedule Class I category in response to the growing popularity of psychedelic substances in this time. The use of ibogaine still remains illegal in the United States today, and is considered a Schedule I controlled substance, along with other psychedelics such as LSD, DMT, mescaline, and mushrooms. Ibogaine is also a Schedule Class I in Sweden.
The ban on Ibogaine and prohibition in these countries has made research of the plants anti-addictive properties difficult. There have been some developments underway that will try and deliver Ibogaine without the psychedelic properties so it may be used more widely.
There are no restrictions of the use of Ibogaine in Mexico and Canada and the use of this root for treatment of drug addictions and psychological disorders has seen exponential growth in these countries. The 80% success rate of Ibogaine helping patients to be addiction free has prompted a movement. There is an entire subculture that is aware of the positive and healing effects of Ibogaine on addiction and psychological disorders.
This subculture of people with awareness is not letting the prohibition of Ibogaine in their own countries stop them from getting the help they need. Treatment centers in Mexico and Canada are very popular. Treatment in these countries is both regulated and non-regulated and it is up to the individual what kind of center and treatment they desire. Many people from the United States take advantage of Ibogaine services that are offered usually very close to both Mexican and Canadian borders.
While the future of Ibogaine in the countries it is banned is remains unclear, Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica all embrace the positive results of this plant that has been used for thousands of years. The results of Ibogaine have proved to be phenomenal in the treatment of various addictions, and even with prohibitions in certain countries, this has not stopped those seeking alternative methods of treatment from looking in to Ibogaine and the many benefits it offers.