With opioid addiction rates rising, the need for alternative treatment methods has never been greater. Traditional treatments are failing make a lasting impact on the heroin and opiate problem, and an undercurrent of methamphetamines, cocaine, and other drugs is also contributing to this national crisis.
The Evolution of Addiction
Addiction is nothing new. However, our ability to synthesize new and more powerful drugs and make them readily available has turned addiction into an increasingly dangerous landscape.
The US is facing an uphill battle with the introduction of prescription opioids. Pharmaceutical companies under exaggerated the addictive nature of these drugs, leading to a serious problem in the country.
As new laws prohibit the excessive prescription of these types of drugs, severely addicted patients have turned to illicit substances like heroin to fill the need. The opioid epidemic has compounded a problem that we were already struggling to solve.
It’s no surprise that addicts and industry professionals have renewed their interest in the use of psychedelic alternatives, like Ibogaine, in the fight against addiction.
But what is Ibogaine and how does it treat addiction?
Ibogaine is a powerful psychedelic that’s been proven to have a unique and hopeful impact on the addicted brain. It’s harvested from the root bark of the Tabernanthe Iboga shrub that grows wild in west Africa.
Native tribes have used Iboga, the raw plant that Ibogaine is derived from, in spiritual and healing rituals for thousands of years—embracing its unique psychedelic properties.
The Bwiti religion of Africa has developed many of their cultural beliefs around the effects of Iboga and they use it for both religious purposes and traditional rites of passage.
However, Iboga didn’t find its way to the US until the 1930s. After being extracted, Ibogaine became popular when it was used in small doses by Olympic athletes as a performance enhancer. It was later prohibited for use in professional sports but saw a renewed interest during the psychedelic revolution of the 1960s.
Ibogaine and Treatment for Addiction
In 1962, a young heroin addict discovered Ibogaine’s ability to treat addiction by accident. Howard Lotsof wanted to try the drug in the hope of experiencing its psychedelic effects.
Lotsof got more than he bargained for when, shortly after ingesting the Ibogaine, his withdrawal symptoms from heroin use completely disappeared. Even after the experience was over, Lotsof found that he no longer needed heroin. The Ibogaine had stopped his withdrawal symptoms.
He shared the surprising revelation with other addicts who reported similar results. Psychedelic drugs had been studied for their medicinal properties, but Ibogaine’s potential to fight physical drug withdrawal made it particularly interesting and completely unique.
The scientific community started testing the way that Ibogaine treated addiction and saw that it had the ability to virtually eliminate the withdrawals and promoted better long-term success with sobriety.
Their progress was cut short when Ibogaine was classified as a Schedule One drug in 1968—making it illegal for consumption and placing it on the same level as illicit drugs like heroin and crack cocaine.
Research was moved to other countries where Ibogaine was still legal and led to the creation of several Ibogaine therapy and treatment facilities.
Ibogaine’s Ability to Treat Addiction
Addiction is a product of both psychological and physical dependence. Both of these aspects have to be treated in order for any hope of real recovery. Ibogaine creates a multitiered treatment process that’s unique in its capabilities.
The Physical Effects of Ibogaine
Ibogaine targets the physical addiction inside the physical brain of the addict.
After taking Ibogaine, addicts often see a reduction of 80 to 100% of withdrawal symptoms almost immediately. Ibogaine works in the brain of the addict to reset the brain’s chemistry and help heal neurological damage caused by the addiction.
Normally, it can can take weeks or even months for the body to do this naturally.
For an addict trying to quit, this can be extremely beneficial. Often, especially in the case of heroin and opiate addiction, withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that the addict often returns to using drugs in order to stop withdrawals.
With Ibogaine, addicts are able to free themselves from the intense physical symptoms associated with drug withdrawal, and they are able to choose for themselves whether or not to use drugs.
This physical addiction treatment is unmatched by any drugs we know of today. However, this is not the only way Ibogaine treats addiction. There are also underlying, subconscious reasons that can often be a part of the overall addiction problem.
The Psychological Effects of Ibogaine
Ibogaine is a strong psychedelic medicine. However, it does not always induce a psychedelic experience.
For the majority that do experience this psychedelic experience, they often claim that Ibogaine helped them address underlying issues, trauma, and pain that they have experienced in their lives.
Past trauma can often lead to drug use. Many addicts use drugs or alcohol in order to self-medicate.
However, this approach is merely a band-aid for the problem. Ibogaine can often help addicts address this underlying trauma and pain in a positive way.
This allows them to confront traumatic experiences and troubling parts of their pasts without fear or anxiety. Understanding how all of these things connect with drug use sheds light on the personal nature of addiction.
Sometimes, people are able to see who they’re meant to be without the influence of negative factors in their lives. It can also help them to identify their personal drug triggers, and to see themselves in a new light.
The connection between the conscious and subconscious can provide personal revelations that can take years of therapy to uncover.
Are There Risks Involved?
Treatment with Ibogaine is an intense experience that merits a lot of thought and research before any commitment.
Just like with any other medical procedure, you may be expected to undergo a series of tests. This can include bloodwork, EKG, drug screening, and other tests to make sure that your heart is healthy enough for treatment.
It’s also imperative that you are honest about your medical history with any Ibogaine clinic you are considering. Transparency is a key element to successful treatment.
Never attempt to take Ibogaine on your own, Ibogaine should only be administered by a licensed medical professional at a specialized facility. Experienced staff will be able to monitor you around-the-clock to help ensure safety and to make sure that the Ibogaine works as it should.
Make an Informed Decision
Ibogaine isn’t a miracle drug that forces an addict to change. Recovery and sobriety are things that can only be truly achieved by the addict themselves. The long-term outcome is dependent on the commitment of the patient and ongoing therapy.
No treatment will work unless the addict embraces the need for it and works hard at it. There is no cure for addiction, but with the right tools any addict can find their way to a happy and sober life.