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Have you heard about all the buzz surrounding ibogaine?

Maybe it’s because you or someone you know has struggled with addiction.

Maybe the problem has to do with mental illness.

Of course, it could be a combination of the two.

Whatever the case, ibogaine has received a lot of attention in recent years and will certainly receive even more in the future. So, if you’re looking for a primer to help you better understand what it is and what it does, the following will explain everything you need to know.

What Is Ibogaine?

Ibogaine is a drug made from the root of the iboga plant found throughout central Africa. For centuries, the Pygmies and, later, members of the Bwiti religion used iboga for medicinal and spiritual purposes.  

Eventually, French missionaries discovered the power of this popular plant and introduced it to the Western world in 1901. Originally, Europeans used the iboga-derived ibogaine for mental and physical stimulation, calling the drug Lambarene. It was often prescribed for ailments ranging from depression to infectious diseases. Athletes used it as a stimulant.

In 1962, Howard Lostof was a struggling heroin addict who took the drug on a whim (his friend, a chemist, had it on hand). He quickly discovered that ibogaine saved him from his overpowering desire for heroin but didn’t punish him with unbearable side effects or withdrawals. Eventually, Lostof would go on to found the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance, making it his life’s work to spread awareness about the miraculous drug.

Thanks in large part to his work, people all over the world have used the drug to help them overcome addiction to other chemicals, as well as debilitating mental illnesses like depression.

How Does Ibogaine Work?

Ibogaine is a deceptively complicated indole alkaloid, which is to say that we’re not 100% sure how exactly it works.

However, from its chemical makeup and the research that has been done, it appears the drug works in two very important ways:

  • By regulating dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain – chemicals associated with feelings of pleasure and wellbeing
  • Potentially restoring (or even “resetting”) areas of the brain that addiction has damaged

Perhaps even more impressive, though, is that ibogaine treatment generally takes just a single dose in order to be effective. Compare that to other popular chemical-based rehabilitation treatments, like methadone, and it’s clear that ibogaine has amazing potential.

In fact, many people have actually turned to ibogaine to help them beat an addiction they’ve developed to methadone.

Are There Side Effects to Ibogaine Treatment?

As we touched on above, there are no side effects to ibogaine treatment, per se.

However, that’s not to say that the treatment is a cakewalk, either. The reason ibogaine never became very popular among recreational drug users is that, aside from the fact that it can cure addiction, the “trip” can be a challenging – albeit worthwhile – one.

During the trip, you may experience:

  • Ataxia
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

You will most likely experience some degree of hallucinations, too, in the form of “waking dreaming,” CEV (Closed-eye visual imagery), and/or memory retrieval.

Most patients wouldn’t necessarily describe those as negative experiences, though. To some degree, being able to relive past events without the negative emotions that are associated with them may actually go a long way toward helping patients cope with emotional scars that are fueling their addictions.

Is Ibogaine Safe?

Undertaking ibogaine treatment with an experienced medical professional is safe. They will explain the entire process in detail, so you know what to expect. They will then monitor you throughout the experience to help ensure as much comfort as possible.

As with any drug, taking ibogaine without a complete understanding of what it entails and/or requisite supervision can be dangerous, even deadly.

That said, a study released in 2012, titled, “Fatalities temporarily associated with the ingestion of ibogaine 1990 – 2008” found that there were only 19 deaths attributable to the drug over the course of 18 years.

Furthermore, when the researchers looked at the 14 incidents that offered sufficient postmortem data, they found that 12 of the fatalities involved advanced preexisting conditions (mainly cardiovascular) and/or the patient abusing another substance. The other two deaths happened because of a self-administered dose.

In short, ibogaine is incredibly safe, provided you seek treatment from an experienced professional.

Where Can I Experience Ibogaine Treatment?

Despite all of its promise, ibogaine is actually illegal in the United States.

Fortunately, Canada and Mexico – among a number of other countries – have not outlawed treatment using this drug.

So, if you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, mental illness, or both, consider how ibogaine treatment and our experienced team could help. Contact us today, and we would be more than happy to review how our treatment practice works and answer any questions you may have.

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