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Ibogaine is a natural psychoactive substance. Ibogaine is derived from the root bark of the Tabernanthe iboga which belongs to the Apocynaceae family. This psychedelic drug has gained recent popularity as a treatment for drug and alcohol addiction due to its ability to eliminate withdrawal symptoms. The psychedelic properties of the substance and the resulting risk to patients with liver and cardiac diseases have caused this drug to be banned in multiple countries. Classified as a Schedule 1 drug in the U.S., research on the drugs rehabilitative abilities was done mostly in other countries such South America, Europe and Mexico. The sale and distribution of Ibogaine is strictly prohibited in the U.S.. The History of Ibogaine will continue as is unless something changes.
The Science behind Ibogaine
While the drug itself has psychoactive properties, it is touted as an effective cure with long term effects. In fact there are claims that only a single administration of the drug can ward off dependency.
What has made The History of Ibogaine immensely popular is the fact that it helps reduce the withdrawal symptoms of drug or alcohol abuse. In addition the reflective properties of the resulting high can also help the addict identify the root cause of the initial addiction.
The reflective stage of the high causes a person to relive past experiences and put them into perspective compartmentalizing them in order to reach a conclusion about why the drug abuse was initiated.
The Bwiti Tribe
The very first case of the administration of Ibogaine or iboga occurred in West Central Africa where the Bwiti tribe would use the drug in spiritual practices. These were mainly carried out in the areas of Cameroon, Gabon and the Republic of Congo.
The administration of the Tabernanthe iboga in the Bwiti tribe is done on certain events which fall in their calendar year. The calendar followed by this cult is somewhat similar to the Gregorian calendar. Accordingly the The History of Ibogaine rituals may begin sometime during Easter or Christmas.
Apart from these yearly ceremonies, Ibogaine is also administered as a rite of passage when coming of age or at the time of initiation.
While the original ceremony included ritual cannibalism and human sacrifices, simpler methods have been adopted since then.
A fairly large dose of Iboga is given to the initiate inducing a state of trance. This trance allegedly transfers the consciousness of the initiate to the mystic worlds where the initiate is declared sacred by their Gods.
The ceremony begins with the confession of all past sins. The belief is that any concealed sins will be punished by the iboga resulting in death.
The hallucinations that the initiate goes through are considered to be a journey by the members of the Bwiti tribe. The journey includes a visit to the land of the dead where the initiate comes in contact with relatives and ancestors in spirit.
Each hallucination is meant to have symbolic significance. The iboga is administered gradually over the course of three days after which a return is initiated.
The History of Ibogaine in the U.S.
Ibogaine was first introduced in the U.S. by a 19 year old named Howard Lotsof, during the course of his own heroin dependence. After noticing a reduced dependency on heroin after administering Ibogaine he expanded his research by administering it to 20 more individuals. All participants in his study were drug addicts. The effects of the drug on all participants was noted and compared.
7 of the 20 individuals reported a decrease in cravings and the physical symptoms of withdrawal.
Ibogaine Goes Commercial
20 years after his discovery, Lotsof wanted to commercialize the drug as a means of drug recovery. He formed the NDA international and managed to obtain patents allowing him to use Ibogaine for addiction treatment under the name Endabuse.
It was at that time that the USA made Ibogaine a restricted Schedule 1 drug. Lotsof had to move his experimental treatments to Holland.
NIDA (National Institute for Drug Abuse) began studying the drug and ran clinical trials for Ibogaine in order to set up safety protocols and understand potential threats.
Two years later in 1993, the FDA approved clinical trials with Ibogaine for addiction treatment. The trials would be carried out by the University of Miami, School of Medicine on behalf of Lots of’s company; NDA international.
An Abrupt Halt
While the trials were relatively a success so far, they came to an abrupt halt when a female heroin addict met an untimely death as a result of the trial.
In addition to this problem, contractual and financial restraints caused clinical trials by the University of Miami to be closed before completion. The ensuing legal battle resulted in a standstill resulted in a suspension of any further activity.
History Of Ibogaine today
Ibogaine continues to be researched and studied today. An increased understanding of the drug and its effects has resulted in controlled trials where the drug can be safely administered on individuals in a comfortable manner.
Since it is still a Schedule 1 restricted drug in the USA, Ibogaine continues to be researched in Europe, Mexico and South America.
The method of Ibogaine extraction has also come further than before. Ibogaine Hydrochloride is extracted from the root bark of the Iboga. This is then purified in order to be used for treatment of chemical dependency.
The drug shows some amazing abilities of removing symptoms of withdrawal and can be effective when it comes to the treatment of addictions such as
- Opiate medications
Although the drug is known to be rather successful in trials, it is important to understand the risks associated with Ibogaine use. Since it can be harmful for individuals at risk of heart attacks or liver disease, it is best to refrain from its administration. In all other cases it is important to administer the drug in a controlled environment in the presence of an expert.
Although The History of Ibogaine treatment has a rich history, much of it still remains to be understood. As further research is done on the effectiveness of the drug, we can see positive signs for the presence of a permanent cure of dependency.