Ibogaine: Can it Cure Addiction Without the Hallucinogenic Trip?

The substance has helped addicts kick heroin, meth, and everything in between. Is it the trip that does the trick?

Lotsof, who died earlier this year of liver cancer at age 66, devoted his life to making ibogaine available as an addiction treatment. He experienced a significant setback in 1967, when the U.S. government banned the drug, along with several other psychedelics. In 1970 officials categorized ibogaine as a Schedule I substance—on par with heroin, marijuana, and other drugs that by definition have "a high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use."

Eventually, Lotsof shifted his focus and began using ibogaine to treat heroin addicts at a rehab clinic in the Netherlands. In 1985, he obtained a U.S. patent for the use of ibogaine to treat substance abuse.

By the late '80s, doctors and scientists were confirming what Lotsof knew: Ibogaine blocks cravings and withdrawal symptoms for many types of drugs, and opiates in particular.

Longtime Yippie activist Dana Beal was charged with money laundering after police caught him carrying $150,000 in cash. He says the money was going to finance a Mexican ibogaine clinic.
Paul DeRienzo
Longtime Yippie activist Dana Beal was charged with money laundering after police caught him carrying $150,000 in cash. He says the money was going to finance a Mexican ibogaine clinic.
Tom Kingsley Brown, a researcher from the University of California–San Diego, is studying whether ibogaine works long-term to quell addiction.
Keegan Hamilton
Tom Kingsley Brown, a researcher from the University of California–San Diego, is studying whether ibogaine works long-term to quell addiction.

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"Its effects are pretty dramatic," says Dr. Kenneth Alper, an associate professor of psychiatry at New York University who specializes in addiction research. "I've observed this firsthand, and it's difficult to account for."

Dr. Stanley Glick, a pharmacologist and neuroscientist at Albany Medical College, was among the first researchers to test ibogaine on rats. Glick hooked up the rodents to IVs in cages with levers that allowed them to inject themselves with morphine.

“If the rats do it, you can be pretty sure that humans will abuse it if given the opportunity,” Glick explains. “It's really the time-tested model of any human behavior.”

Strung-out rats dosed with ibogaine stopped pressing the lever that gave them morphine. Glick and other researchers have subsequently replicated the morphine results with other addictive drugs, including alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, and methamphetamine.In the early 1990s, Lotsof teamed with Dr. Deborah Mash, a neurologist and pharmacologist at the University of Miami, to study the effect of ibogaine on people. Mash was granted FDA approval to administer ibogaine in 1993 and was able to test the drug on eight people before the experiment came to an abrupt halt.

"I was unable to get it funded," Mash says. "We had the rocket ship on the launch pad, with no fuel."

A few months after the FDA gave Mash the green light, a committee of academics and pharmaceutical-industry professionals assembled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) concluded that the U.S. government should not fund ibogaine research. Earlier that year, a researcher from Johns Hopkins University had found that rats injected with massive doses of ibogaine suffered irreparable damage to the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance and motor skills. According to Dr. Frank Vocci, former director of treatment research and development at NIDA, the fact that ibogaine increases the risk of seizures for people addicted to alcohol or benzodiazepines such as Valium raised eyebrows as well.

"The question that was posed to them was, 'Do you think that this could be a project that could result in, essentially, a marketable product?' " Vocci recalls. "There was concern about brain damage, seizures, and heart rate. But it wasn't so much that the ultimate safety of the drug was being damned, it was just felt that there were an awful lot of warts on this thing."

Mash and Lotsof soon parted ways, on unfriendly terms. Lotsof sued his former colleague and the University of Miami in federal court in 1996, claiming that her research had infringed on his patent. A judge eventually ruled in favor of Mash and her employer, absolving them of wrongdoing.

Lotsof went his own way, mentoring fellow former addicts who opened ibogaine rehab centers abroad. Mash opened a private clinic on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts and administered ibogaine to nearly 300 addicts. "It really works," Mash says now. "If it didn't work, I would have told the world it doesn't work. I would have debunked it, and I would have been the most outspoken leader of the pack. That's my scientific and professional credibility on the line."

Clare Wilkins is one of Howard Lotsof's protégés. Born in South Africa and raised in Los Angeles, she 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 Ibogaine Association, a 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 methadone completely," she says. "My sense of shame about my addiction was washed away without having to practice with a therapist and talk, talk, talk."

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10 comments
roland.kelly
roland.kelly

 ibogaine HCL, TA root barks and iboga capsule for sale

 We have high quality iboga products (Ibogaine hcl, iboga TA, iboga capsules, and dried iboga root barks) for sale. contact us via (centralphorm@live.com) for more information if interested .

ICEERS
ICEERS

Hello,

We have been working on this field for years, maybe the info can help to push this interesting debate.

 www.iceers.org


Hugs from Barcelona!

gotibogaine
gotibogaine

Big Pharma will spend millions blocking ibogaine access to US patients! 

GotIbogaine.blogspot.com

whitney421
whitney421

i did ibogaine and it saved my life.  not only does it pretty much take away the worst, and esp mental withdrawl of drugs, methadone in my case, it completely eliminates all mental issues. my anxiety, depression, ocd, and co dependency dissapeared. i left my broken home, verbally abusive husband, which i never had the strength to do before. i was on methadone for 7 years.  i can tell the ibogaine slowly wears off after 4 months, but by that time, and luckily in my case, most people are already on the right tract. i have been starting to feel the achiness of the withdrawl again but the worst is over. methadone withdrawl lasts slowly over a yr, getting better each month, but the ibogaine got me through the worst part, the first few months, and iv already made the decision im not going bak to opiates ever again.  yes the methadone gets you off the st and functioning, i did it for 7 yrs, but the entire time i was numb. it numbs you to everything, emotion and pain wise, you just dont realize it until you get off of it. i slept alot, didnt care about stuff.. ibogaine makes you grow up. that is why i believe they give it to the teenage boys in the bwiti tribe. you mature. you become like new again. healthy food tastes good, anything unnatural u put in your system you can feel it adversly affecting you, which wears off a little over the 4 months but its up to u to keep it up. i now see why the rastas live the way they do,, it makes you feel healthy and good.  ibogaine made me analyze my past, figure out why i started using in the first place, and it just knocked the sense into me. i knew what i had to do and just did it. its worth every penny. i also found out from a brilliant dr at the treatment center in mexico from a machine they dont use in america. it literally took ten seconds, placing my hands and feet on metal plates, sticky things on my temples, forgot what they are called, and a massive detailed reading came out showing all things wrong with me healthwise. it was the first time i was told i was allergic to milk, having horrible issues all my life. now ive stopped the milk and my stomachs much better and i can eat healthier and more. this is truly a miracle and its a dire shame they wont legalize it. it would help so many people, not just drug addicts, but then it helps mental issues so much better than chemical antidepressants drugs. guess it would replace all those nasty pharmaceutical drugs and they dont want that happening

dyanneandrews
dyanneandrews

I WISH the drug companies would stop being such as-----s and give way to this drug in the US ! I have been an addict since 12 years old and am now 46. I have been on Suboxone for the last 10 years and getting off of it for surgery last year almost made me go back to junk, or worse I had thoughts of taking my life ! I can't afford a trip out of the country and even if I could, I wouldn't even begin to know where to look !

LITTLEMISSJANE
LITTLEMISSJANE

Funny to find these great reviews about Beau Mason http://www.complaints.com/2012/march/25/Beau_Mason__Fraud_Scam_264975.htm


It seems to me this is a dangerous drug, but this shady Beua guy looks deadly, just saw this short doc on vice, hard to believe this is a safe treatment. If you ask me, "I" love being on methadone, and it saved my life. I get my high and dont have to go looking to steal things anymore to stay well. I function just fine.


JasonTillings
JasonTillings

Experiencing Ibogaine was a life changing moment. For the past 2 years, my life had become a disaster, due to my struggle with heroin and oxycontin addiction. When I did some research online, I found  Transitions Rosarito Beach Ibogaine treatment. I spoke to Beau Mason about treatment options and felt confident that Transitions was the right place for me. After Ibogaine treatment, my life has improved a lot.

Thank you to staff, doctors, and nurses at Transitions Rosarito Beach.

sageleaf84
sageleaf84

what happened to all the comments that were here? lots of valid info got lost......... well one day it all catches up to you anyways.... but seriously village voice just deletes comments or you need to hite lawyers or something?

browardboxing
browardboxing

@dyanneandrews  I couldn't afford to leave the country.  But I found a company that saved my life.  Look up Ibogaworld.com.  I would be dead or in jail if I didnt find it.  Around $500 to $600.  If you fly to one of the country it would cost you $5000 to $10,000.  You can e-mail me at browardboxinggmail.com to talk.


 
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