Ibogaine Treatment for Addiction

Authored by Helen Parson

Edited by Alexander Bentley

Reviewed by Dr Ruth Arenas Matta

Ibogaine treatment could be the solution millions of individuals addicted to opiates have been searching for. The treatment has been found to help people suffering from addictions to heroin and prescription opiate-based medications to recover and live their lives free of drugs. It isn’t just opiate addicts that can benefit from the treatment therapy as other drug addictions have been cured with its use.

Ibogaine is derived from the bark of the Tabernanthe iboa plant.1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabernanthe_iboga Found in Gabon and the Congo Basin, the plant’s bark offers an all-natural healing experience to those suffering from substance misuse, and has been proven to be notably effective in Opioid addiction from prescription medication such as Fentanyl through to illegal opioids and even Carfentanil The bark of the Tabernanthe iboa plant has been used in rituals and ceremonies in Western Africa’s Bwiti religion for centuries and has long been considered a form of medicine.

Ibogaine is a psychoactive alkaloid and has significant effects on a person’s mind and body. The psychoactive drug prompts hallucinogenic effects that are often associated with LSD or psilocybin. Users may experience some minor side effects but, in the end, obtain a long-term solution to their addictions.

Studies have been conducted, and continue to be completed, on the success of Ibogaine treatment. Certainly, anyone suffering from addictions including methamphetamine, cocaine, and opiates have found that Ibogaine treatment is the ‘wonder drug’ they have been waiting for. Many specialist clinics around the world now offer ibogaine treatment in iboga friendly jurisdictions.

By altering brain chemistry, an individual does not go through the intense withdrawal symptoms and cravings they otherwise would experience. Ibogaine treatment may not actually end addiction, but interrupt it allowing the addict to recover from the complex debilitating and devastating effects.

How does Ibogaine treatment work?

Opiates interact with the brain’s receptors. As a person continues to use opiates, the receptors become hungry for more of the drug to gain the same high they previously received. Ibogaine treatment is able to take the hunger away from the receptors in the brain. It is like going back to before the individual first began taking the drug. In this way, Ibogaine treatment is an interrupter of the addiction.2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5996271/ By interrupting the chemical addiction an addict feels toward a drug, it removes the symptoms of withdrawal and cravings.

Ibogaine has been around for over a century in the medical community. At one time, it was marketed as a physical and mental stimulant. Although it fell out favor over the years, it has more recently been found to be a potential saving grace to millions of people suffering from drug addiction and a whole range of mental health disorders. Ibogaine and psychedelic bio-pharmaceuticals are being researched and developed by a handful of specialist companies around the World, with MindMed in Canada doing exceptional work in the field. Mind Med have been developing MC-18, a proprietary ibogaine based medicine for medical use in the treatment of addiction and mental health disorders.

When a person undergoes Ibogaine treatment their bodies convert the medication into noribogaine. Noribogaine goes to the areas of the brain that are affected by addictive behaviors and cravings. The compound re-organizes the area and the brain re-wires itself. The brain will then be in a state that resembles the way it was prior to the addiction beginning.

Ibogaine treatment has done wonders for those who have taken it. However, treatments are considered to be more similar to detox than completely ending the cycle of addiction. After undergoing Ibogaine treatment, an individual must still take the appropriate steps to end the physical need for drugs. The good news is Ibogaine treatment is a step in the right direction.

The Ibogaine treatment process

Ibogaine treatment transports individuals into a psychedelic state similar to drugs like LSD. A treatment experience can last around 30 hours. The session will enable the patient to gain understanding and insight as to why they began using drugs. Ibogaine treatment sessions will also enable a patient to gain clarity about their drug usage, which is something they may never have experienced prior.

It is claimed that after treatment sessions patients do not feel drug cravings or any withdrawal symptoms. However, there may be side effects to the treatment such as anxiety. Treatment can be followed by counseling and support groups allowing the individual to completely unpack their drug dependency issues.

Improving detox and making it less painful

Detox can be a difficult situation both mentally and physically for individuals that experience it. Detox can include severe physical pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and muscle spasms. Ibogaine treatment’s ability to get the brain to reset itself allows for the issues to be alleviated.

Experts claim that Ibogaine treatment is similar to going through several years of rehab therapy. Patients who have completed the treatment state they have feelings of acceptance with difficult memories. They also come to terms with being an addict and needing help. The re-wiring of the brain gives individuals the chance to end destructive behaviors and successfully recover from addiction.

How successful is Ibogaine treatment?

It should be stressed that Ibogaine treatment isn’t for everyone but evidence submitted by medical professionals shows positive results. Ibogaine treatment has been used with individuals recovering from methamphetamine addiction and in these cases, it has had between a 50% and 80% success rate3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5996271/. Medical professionals once again stress the importance of individuals seeking help from a rehab facility or program following Ibogaine treatment for long-term recover.

Ibogaine treatment can be seen as putting a strong bandage on a wound. While it stops the bleeding and enables healing to begin, more still needs to be done to completely fix the wound. Therefore, support groups, therapy, and a rehab program can all do wonders to follow on from the Ibogaine treatment to give individuals long-lasting recovery.

Drug relapse rates have been reported high by some medical professionals, however, there is good reason for a relapse to occur. If a patient undergoes Ibogaine treatment but does not seek aftercare and returns the environment that fostered their drug addiction, then a relapse is far more likely to take place.

Brazil does not regulate the use of Ibogaine therapy. Doctors often combine it with psychotherapy to treat cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, and crack addictions. Reports have found high success rates in patients using a combination of the two treatments. In addition, patients were also given follow-up care to keep them clean and sober.

Can Ibogaine treatment be used for everyone?

Ibogaine treatment may be unregulated in Brazil and positive results have been seen but in the United States, Ibogaine treatment is highly regulated. One reason it is regulated is due to the side effects individuals may have after undergoing treatment. These side effects can include a loss of body control, hallucinations, heart impairment, and tremors.

Although Ibogaine treatment does sound like a ‘wonder drug’ that can heal every one of their drug addictions, it may not work for each individual case. Studies have found that patients have relapsed after undergoing Ibogaine therapy but these relapses could be due to a lack of aftercare and/or entering a rehab program.4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5996271/

A 1983 study on Ibogaine5https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25271214 treatment found that multiple treatments may be far more beneficial than a one-off session. The research discovered that four treatments could be the magic number as individuals maintained abstinence for three years. One Ibogaine treatment session enabled patients to abstain from opioid drug use for around six months.

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved Ibogaine therapy treatment. It is still classed as a schedule I drug in the US, but that hasn’t stopped Americans suffering from drug addiction to seek out the treatment. The FDA grouped Ibogaine alongside psilocybin and LSD as schedule I substances in 1970. The organization’s classification of Ibogaine as a schedule I drug claimed it had no medical use and is not safe for consumption.

America is in the midst of an opioid and heroin crisis thanks to decades of doctors over-prescribing pain medication. Now, Americans with opioid and heroin addiction are taking their lives into their own hands by going abroad to receive treatment. Many US citizens have traveled to Mexico to gain Ibogaine treatment.6https://psycnet.apa.org/

Under the 2016 Psychoactive Substance Act, Ibogaine treatment is illegal in France, Switzerland, the US, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Poland, and Croatia. It is heavily restricted in the United Kingdom.

Is Ibogaine treatment the answer to drug addiction?

Opiate addiction is out of control in many countries. Previously used as a pain reliever for cancer patients and individuals suffering from extreme pain, the 1990s saw opiates given out for far less serious pain.

Ibogaine therapy has shown positive results in healing individuals from their opiate addictions. But it isn’t just opiate addiction that Ibogaine treatment has helped. Its ability to treat patients suffering from a variety of drug dependency issues makes it an exciting prospect to end most drug addictions. The key to end addiction long-term is to combine Ibogaine with rehab clinics and aftercare to fully bring drug dependency to a halt.

With the opioid crisis around the world being complex, there are multiple addiction treatments. Addiction doesn’t have a one size fits all cure. However, Ibogaine has been shown to stop withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Due to its power to help drug addicts cope with recovery, Ibogaine treatment deserves to be researched more. It could be the ‘wonder drug’ to stop drug addiction in people suffering from multiple substance dependency problems.


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