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?

Participants in Brown's study fill out questionnaires that ask them to rate the intensity of different aspects of their trips, on a scale of one to five.

"People have been circling a lot of fours and fives," Brown says. "One of the things we're trying to look at is if the intensity of the ibogaine experience correlates with treatment success. I strongly suspect there's some sort of psychological component. I doubt it's just a biological phenomenon."

Some scientists beg to differ. Foremost among them are Deborah Mash and Stanley Glick.

NYU's Kenneth Alper: "There's no successful treatment for addiction that's not interpreted as a spiritual transformation."
Caleb Ferguson
NYU's Kenneth Alper: "There's no successful treatment for addiction that's not interpreted as a spiritual transformation."

Details

ABOUT THE COVER ARTIST
Since having graduated from the Artez Art School in Arnhem the Netherlands, Levi van Veluw has enjoyed a remarkable amount of success in a short period of time, with his work being showcased in many different locations across Europe and the States and Asia, earning him a number of prestigious awards that include the Photographer of the Year Award at the IPA International Photo Awards in the USA. His work will be featured at the Armory Show 2011, New York.

Related Stories

More About

"The hallucinations are just an unfortunate side effect," Glick asserts, explaining that ibogaine works on the brain like a "hybrid" of PCP and LSD. "Part of the problem is that when you go through this thing, it's so profound you've got to believe it's doing something. In part, it's an attempt by the person who's undergoing it to make sense of the whole thing."

Generally speaking, Glick's research on rats has shown that ibogaine "dampens" the brain's so-called reward pathway, reducing the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, which cause the highs associated with everything from heroin to sugary foods. The compound has also been proven to increase production of GDNF, a type of protein that quells cravings, and to block the brain's nicotinic receptors, the same spots that are stimulated by tobacco and other addictive substances. In other words, ibogaine doesn't work in any one particular way or even on one specific part of the brain, and it's these multiple "mechanisms of action," researchers say, that make it so effective for so many different types of addiction.

People who have taken ibogaine say it can have the unintended consequence of temporarily turning them off a substance other than their drug of choice. Lauren Wertheim traveled from her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, to a rehab center called Awakening in the Dream House near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and used ibogaine to kick her meth habit.

"Ibogaine resets all your [tolerance] levels to zero, like you've never done drugs," she says. "Even coffee—the first cup set me off like a rocket launcher. That's when I was like, 'This stuff is for real.' "

Mash, the researcher from Miami, is convinced that ibogaine works long-term because it is stored in fat cells and processed by the liver into a metabolite called noribogaine that possesses powerful detoxifying and antidepressant properties.

"If you gave somebody LSD or psilocybin and they were coming off opiates or meth, they'd go right back out and shoot up," Mash says. "There's evidence that it's not the visions that get you drug-free; it is the ability of the metabolite to block the craving and block the signs and symptoms of opiate withdrawal and improve mood."

Though they don't question its effectiveness, both Mash and Glick believe it's unlikely that ibogaine will ever be widely accepted in the United States. It's not just that ibogaine makes people hallucinate. It can be fatal.

Since 1991, at least 19 people have died during or shortly after undergoing ibogaine therapy. Alper, the NYU professor, examined the causes of death in the fatalities, which occurred between 1991 and 2008. His findings suggest that ibogaine itself was not the culprit; the patients died because they had heart problems or combined the hallucinogen with their drug of choice. (By way of comparison, a study published last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that between 1999 and 2006 more than 4,600 people in the United States died from overdoses involving methadone.)

"It's knowing who to treat and who not to treat," Alper contends. "None of [the 19 fatalities] appear to have involved a healthy individual without pre-existing disease who didn't use other drugs during treatment. Two deaths occurred when they took ibogaine in crude alkaloid or root-bark form—they didn't know what they were taking or how much."

Three of the deaths occurred at Clare Wilkins's Tijuana clinic. She says two involved patients who had cocaine in their systems and the third victim had a pre-existing heart condition. Wilkins says she's now more selective about her clients and requires that they undergo a drug test.

"The learning curve has been difficult at times, but people need to know this can be safe," Wilkins says. "We have to show people how far we've come."

Some of the scientists, however, think they've found alternatives that will make the risks—and the tripping—associated with ibogaine unnecessary.

Mash has devised two ways to isolate the metabolite noribogaine and administer it: a pill, and a patch similar to the nicotine variety. She hopes to begin testing the products on humans by the end of this year.

"It has all the benefits without the adverse side effects—including no hallucinations," Mash says. "I spent a lot of years really pushing ibogaine as far as I could, both in preclinical and clinical studies. But everything that I've learned in the course of 18 years of working on ibogaine has convinced me that the active metabolite is the drug to be developed."

Glick, meanwhile, teamed up with a chemist named Martin Kuehne from the University of Vermont to create and research a chemical called 18-MC (short for 18-methoxycoronaridine) that mimics ibogaine's effect on a specific nicotinic receptor. Just like ibogaine, 18-MC appears to work wonders on drug-addicted rats.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
19 comments
christine.bravo
christine.bravo

Its good to hear about another herbal medicine. I had heard a lot about kratom, which I think has a lot of benefits. This is the first time I heard about Ibogaine. However, any medicine surely has bad effect if not use in a proper way. 

dyanneandrews
dyanneandrews

My Friend ! I have wanted for so long to get back to you...I have been NUTS taking care of 2 aging and unwell parents ! I have been trying to get my doctor to wean me off of the Suboxone...but feel as if he wants to keep me tied to it ! I have no desire to use anymore, but am not sure if it is BECAUSE of the Suboxone OR because it has been SO many years since I have used dope ? I want to do the Ibogaine treatment...but am not financially in a good place, as I am supporting my family AND can't really travel too far ! What do you think ? How's everything going in your world ?

Be Well,

Dyanne.

dyanneandrews
dyanneandrews

Hey there ! I wasn't blowing you off...just been crazy busy taking care of to aging and unwell parents ! I am currently still on the Suboxone and have been talking to my doctor for MONTHS about weaning me off...I hate feeling like I do ! I:feel that I am strong enough now to be away from it and consider it NOW for Me to be a crutch that without it I feel dope sick and grouchy ! I feel very frustrated with the whole situation ! I would LOVE to be able to do the ibogaine treatment...but don't think I can afford it AND don't have the ability to travel too far ! What do you think ? How's everything with you ?

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?

dv.geac
dv.geac

@roland.kelly hook me up on credit.....at least ther might be one more thing to try im just about spent and ready to give up, fukin bullshit opiets herion methadone suboxan but im pretty optimistic bout it iv been in inpatients outpatients rehabs clinics drs na so sick of the happy story bullshit of people getting cleen those are the ones who were never tru addicts from the start cuz i have done everything i can did everything they said since i realized i wanted to see life through reel eyes and nothing has ever satisfied the beast. just heard about this shit today maybe for a reason cuz i am all out of hope and strength to the point of balancing a quick end or stickin it out in this bullshit....poor me i feel like im pissin and moanin like a bitch my problams are self inflicted there is a lot of people with real problams they didn't choose or maybe some one will here my cryin and quit before they cant or maybe im just a fuked in the head junkie lunatic tryin to feel better through sympathy and guilt because i am the defenition of selfish FTW


dv.geac
dv.geac

@whitney421 I had to cold turkey my methadone do to Obama care shit messed up my ins. im on month three and cant take much more first 2 months I never left the bathroom floor now im not violently sick but can hardly get out of bed gravity has no mercy and 3 months aint shit realy but every moment awake is hell iv been on narcotics 21 years and im 33 It would be nice to no there is one last option if that shit realy works but realistickly I prolly will never be able to afford it but a little shred of hope helps a lot in my case i don't have much and my clock is tickin fast i should have stayed on dope the withdraws never lasted this long,but i have also never been cleen this long not since i was around 12 maybe i will just have to realize i will never be able to function without drugs if i only new then what i no now i would not be on my way to a slow suicide i get to watch unfolding every day anyway im just sayin thanks for the hope

dv.geac
dv.geac

@dyanneandrews no it to well i too have been on shit since 12 graduated to the needle at 16 im 33 now its cool i saw ur post cuz i have been wanting to no if any one else has been this fucked since a young age that is still alive and  im on month 3 cold turkey from methadone longest ever sober and every day is wors than the last besides two straight months of vomit soaked skin (Obama care is to blame) and i cant leave the country eather  so i guess i will just admit to no such thing as sobriety for me and ther is no one to blame but myfukinretarded self, right on

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.


 
Loading...