IBOGAINE IN DRUG ADDICTION TREATMENT
What is Ibogaine?
Ibogaine occurs naturally in iboga root bark. Ibogaine is also available in a total alkaloid extract of the Tabernanthe iboga plant, which also contains all the other iboga alkaloids and thus has only about half the potency by weight as standardized ibogaine hydrochloride.
Ibogaine in medical use
Ibogaine is not currently approved for any medical uses. Nonetheless, Ibogaine detox is available at some drug detox facilities in Mexico. Clinical studies of ibogaine to treat drug addiction began in the early 1990s, but concerns about cardiotoxicity led to termination of those studies.There is currently insufficient data to determine whether it is useful in treating addiction. Nonetheless, some alternative medicine clinics administer ibogaine for this purpose, in what has been called a "vast, uncontrolled experiment.
Ibogaine as a heroin detox method
There are some data that a single administration of iboga will significantly reduce the symptoms of opiate, and other drug addiction, withdrawal. Often, if an addict has an exceptionally large drugs habit, it is necessary to take additional smaller doses of iboga. Ibogaine is active in the brain's opiate, and other addiction-related, receptors that relate to physical dependence. Therefore, a heroin addict usually experiences an eighty to ninety percent reduction of the withdrawal symptoms that would have occurred if the drug addict had gone ‘cold turkey’ and left these brain receptors unfilled by a substance like ibogaine. Ibogaine is not itself addictive. After ingestion, ibogaine metabolizes in the liver into its active metabolite, nor-ibogaine.
Ibogaine remains in the body and continues to bind to opiate, and other, receptors for several weeks or months after a single dose. Ibogaine detox will help to prevent post-treatment withdrawal symptoms, and may also act as an anti-depressant. Ibogaine heroin detox is effective when used to initially detoxify an addict; long-term abstinence varies, and is related to the type of aftercare that the patient adheres to, as well as to the patient’s readiness to become, and to remain, clean and sober.
Physical symptoms after a heroin detox with iboga may include muscle aches, fatigue, or reduced need for sleep, any of which can last for several weeks.
Where is Ibogaine detox available?
Ibogaine is currently banned in the United States, Norway, Belgium and Switzerland. In the UK it is classified as an unlicensed, experimental medicine which is legal to possess but illegal to distribute. A handful of countries have approved the use of ibogaine as a prescription medication, these include Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and South Africa. Although it remains unregulated and unlicensed in most other countries, it is still freely available online.
Risks related to Ibogaine detox
There is an inherent level of risk with ibogaine treatment. Twelve people are known to have died in connection with taking ibogaine or other iboga alkaloids. In actuality, the figure is likely higher, given that ibogaine is frequently administered in surroundings where people may be reluctant to contact the authorities in the event of something going wrong. Statistically, a ballpark figure for deaths during treatment is probably of the order of 1 in 300. (This is based on 12 recorded deaths having occurred within 3611 recorded treatments, outside of Africa, as of March 2007). The following factors have been identified as having caused death:
- having a pre-existing heart condition, sometimes one not detectable by EKG
- using opiates when on ibogaine, or shortly afterwards
- using the rootbark or iboga extract. Ibogaine HCl is statistically much safer
- taking ibogaine outside of a clinical facility. Persons taking ibogaine need constant supervision and, ideally, online heart monitoring