Addiction is viewed as an abstract problem for those who haven’t had personal experience with it. In the USA, it’s quickly becoming out of control, leaving many addicts with few treatment options that work. However, psychedelic medications are giving new hope to those seeking a different approach to addiction treatment with success.
Could Ibogaine play a major role in the current Opioid Epidemic
The overuse of prescription painkillers has added another layer to the drug problem in the US. For years, communities across the country have fought a battle with drugs like methamphetamine and crack cocaine, but today, opioids have taken center stage.
Pharmaceutical companies under exaggerated the addictive potential of these drugs and profited off of chronic and acute pain. While new laws and ongoing legal battles have tried to put a stop to this, in many cases the damage has already been done.
People who started out taking prescription medications are now turning to illicit drugs like heroin to fill the void. This has created a new generation of drug addicts who come from every socioeconomic walk of life.
Regardless of what a person becomes addicted to or their reasons for using, no one can argue the need for better treatment options.
For those who want to stop using drugs, and haven’t found a treatment method that works for them, psychedelic medications like Ibogaine may be able to help.
What is Ibogaine?
Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychedelic derived from the root bark of the west African Tabernanthe Iboga shrub. Before its impact on addiction was discovered, it was used by native tribes in spiritual practices and rites of passage.
The ritualistic use of Iboga has gone on for thousands of years, starting with the original pygmy tribes. They passed the knowledge on to others, and Iboga remained an important part of native culture and tradition.
The Bwiti tribe built an entire spiritual culture around the use of Iboga, embracing its ability to expand their consciousness and crediting it with other healing properties.
French explorers and tradesmen were intrigued by the powerful psychedelic and brought it back to their native France in the late 19th century.
A Brief History of Ibogaine
When it first arrived in France, little was still known about the effects of Ibogaine. Scientists discovered that, when taken in small doses, the drug had a stimulating effect on the user.
By 1912, two French scientists had figured out how to refine Ibogaine from Iboga and marketed it as a medication used to promote alertness. By the 1930s, the drug had made its way to the US and was popular as an Olympic performance enhancer.
Ibogaine was quickly outlawed in the world of professional sports but remained available in the US.
Ibogaine’s Accidental Discovery
In 1962, a heroin addict named Howard Lotsof accidentally discovered Ibogaine’s ability to treat addiction when he took the drug in hopes of having an intense psychedelic experience.
Shortly after ingesting the Ibogaine, Lotsof noticed that all of his withdrawal symptoms had disappeared. Even after the psychedelic effects had worn off, he continued to feel no withdrawal symptoms from his heroin addiction.
He shared the news with other addicts, and they tried Ibogaine with similar results. Psychedelics had been researched by the scientific community for their medicinal purposes, but the focus shifted to Ibogaine and its potential to treat addiction.
Even after showing clinical promise, the FDA chose to outlaw the use of Ibogaine in 1968—making it a Schedule I drug. Some scientists moved their research to other countries, giving way to a number of licensed Ibogaine treatment facilities operating legally in other areas of the world.
How Ibogaine Treats Addiction
Addiction has both physical and psychological origins, which both need to be assessed and treated for successful recovery. Ibogaine has the ability to address both of these factors simultaneously.
The Impact of Ibogaine on the Body
When undergoing treatment with Ibogaine, the facility’s physician may ask that you abstain from drug use for a certain period of time prior to arriving. This allows Ibogaine to be metabolized without interference.
Within the first 45 minutes of ingestion, 80 to 100% of withdrawal symptoms will be completely eliminated. Most patients report that these symptoms don’t return after the Ibogaine has worn off, and this is due to its unique impact on the brain.
Ibogaine works by treating the chemical dependency in the brain caused by prolonged drug use. When a person becomes chemically dependent on a substance, they’re using it to control chemical levels within their brain.
After an extended period of time, their brain will stop maintaining its chemical balance and will rely on drugs to regulate the way a person feels. This is why people experience withdrawals when levels of the drug start to fall within their body.
What usually takes weeks of detox can be accomplished with a single flood dose of Ibogaine. It completely resets the chemical balance within the brain and returns it to its pre-addicted state.
The Impact of Ibogaine on the Psyche
The ability to aid a person and psychological healing is just as important as the physical aspect sometimes.
Ibogaine creates a deeply spiritual experience that allows a person to confront the darkest parts of their psyche with a sense of calm understanding. Some addicts report taking a journey through their past which allows them to find closure and to reconnect with themselves in new and unique ways.
This type of psychological revelation can take years of intense therapy. Ibogaine can expedite the process and fight addiction on a deeper level.
How Safe is Treatment with Ibogaine?
Like any other medical treatment, Ibogaine can pose risks to the patient. It’s important to find a licensed treatment facility and adhere to the advice of experienced medical professionals.
You may be asked to undergo certain cardiovascular testing to make sure that you’re healthy enough for treatment. Ibogaine has been known to exacerbate underlying heart conditions, and you should share your medical records with any facility you consider traveling to.
Warning about Ibogaine
There is no magic cure for addiction, and Ibogaine should be viewed as a tool and not an answer. Sobriety is a personal journey that can only be accomplished when a person is ready and willing to undergo treatment.
Make sure that you research all of the available treatment methods and make an informed decision about the best option for you.