What Is Ibogaine?
Ibogaine is a psychedelic plant-based substance use disorder treatment. There is growing interest in the compound because of the plant’s reduction in opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms in users with addictions. Let’s look at this alternative addiction treatment and learn more about it and its potential use for people with substance use disorders.
What Is Ibogaine?
Ibogaine is a psychoactive alkaloid that is found in the Iboga plant. Iboga is a shrub that is found in West Africa. The plants are generally used in ceremonies and rituals in spiritual traditions in the Bwiti religion in Gabon.
It was first discussed as a possible anti-addiction treatment in 1962. A man named Howard Lotsof was a heroin addict who, after taking Ibogaine, had no more withdrawal or cravings for heroin.
Howard Lotsof created the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance, an advocacy group that still promotes using Ibogaine for addiction treatment.
However, the FDA considers Ibogaine a Schedule 1 drug. But places in other countries, such as Mexico and Canada, offer addiction treatment with Ibogaine.
What Is the Ibogaine Experience Like?
The Ibogaine experience can last up to 24 hours or longer. When first ingested, Ibogaine interacts with the brain’s serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate receptors. Many people report that visual memories may be experienced, which is sometimes an unpleasant event.
There are three phases of the Ibogaine experience.
Acute phase: This phase begins within one to three hours after ingesting Ibogaine and can last up to 8 hours. Many people report this stage feels like a waking dream. There can be visual experiences during this phase.
Evaluative phase: This phase begins around 4 to 8 hours and can last up to 20 hours. Some people consider this the reflective stage.
Residual stimulation phase: This phase begins around 12 to 24 hours after taking it and can last up to 72 hours. In the last stage, the psychoactive experience fades, and many people report having a higher self-awareness.
After the experience is complete, people may have days to weeks of an introspection period where they may adjust their lives to incorporate any newfound perspectives.
How Can Ibogaine Help With Addiction?
Ibogaine binds to opioid receptors, and this is thought to be what causes the reduction of withdrawal symptoms from opiates.
There have been many studies on Ibogaine and its treatment value for addiction, especially with opioid use disorder. A study from 2017 found that Ibogaine had a reduction in opiate withdrawal symptoms as well as reduced drug use.
Another study in 2018 in New Zealand suggested that Ibogaine use reduced opioid withdrawal symptoms and helped people stop opiate use altogether during the 12-month period.
Another study in the United States with Ibogaine and opioid use disorder showed that 78% of people showed no signs of opioid withdrawal after consuming Ibogaine. It also suggested that Ibogaine reduced withdrawal and cravings in the participants.
So, essentially, Ibogaine is thought to return the brain to a pre-addicted state by interacting with the various neurotransmitters related to addiction.
What Are the Risks?
Ibogaine has been linked to some life-threatening complications. The drug can cause irregular heartbeats. Some of the other reported risks include:
- Changes in blood pressure
- Loss of motor control
Individuals with an underlying heart condition are typically considered the most vulnerable to heart risks.
A Sober Companion Can Help You Stay Sober
You should look into hiring a sober companion if you’re searching for an effective method to stay sober. A sober companion is someone who is also living a life in recovery.
They can accompany you to high-risk places or even live with you for a while and help you stay away from drugs and alcohol.