This article is directed to help give guidance to those who are seeking ibogaine treatment for either an addiction/detox or spiritual growth therapy. I decided to write this article after seeing many posts on Facebook regarding ibogaine providers, what providers say they can treat, ibogaine treatment prices and reputations of providers. I am writing this from an honest providers point of view in hopes that it can help someone seeking ibogaine treatment to get compassionate care without being ripped off. It can be really difficult to weed through the thousands of posts and information online to get a clear understanding of what is really important when researching ibogaine treatment and which provider to choose.
It is a very unfortunately reality that many providers, clinics, or specific individuals in the ibogaine community have really bad reputations and track records for poor patient treatment and lacking medical care, but this is often swept under the rug or covered up by name changes and other deceiving business practices. Ibogaine treatment is very serious, and carries with it real physical dangers and anyone interested in using ibogaine therapy as a means of healing should thoroughly research all their options. Ask questions! All providers should have the time to genuinely answer – with patience and respect – each and every question/concern you have regarding their history or protocol. There are always red flags to look for, and in this article I will discuss a few of them.
Ibogaine treatment prices should run anywhere between $3000- $4500 for about 7 days. There are a lot of people that complain about the price of ibogaine treatment, claiming that no drug addict could ever afford such a pricey program but there are valid reasons for why treatment runs at a higher price than other plant medicines like Ayahausca and San Pedro. For one, there is the whole medical aspect of treatment – which is extremely important and should never be minimized. Providers have to pay for doctors/nurses, medical equipment and emergency medications, maintenance medications for opiate detoxes, and the ibogaine itself – none of which are cheap. Combine all that with comfortable accommodations (which at the price range mentioned, should include some comfort amenities i.e. massage, pool, hot tub, how water, wifi, private rooms, additional therapies etc…) and you already have a high priced ticket. Factor in food, paying staff, bills etc…and you start to get the picture. $3000- $4500 is a fair and reasonable price for ibogaine therapy. Once you start getting into prices over $5,500 – that’s when your red flags should be going off. There is no reason ibogaine treatment should ever cost over $5,500 – unless it is some crazy fancy luxury resort style facility, and even then, to call most the facilities offering treatment in the appropriate price range ‘nice’ would be a drastic understatement. So if a facility is quoting you anything over $5,500 for 7 days – start asking questions. Why the difference in price? What makes their facility more expensive than most others? Chances are they won’t have a reasonable explanation for the increased price.
SUBOXONE/ METHADONE –
This is one is really important and constantly argued. Any provider that claims they can successfully detox you directly off Methadone or Suboxone without a sufficient amount of time on a short-acting opiate fist is flat out lying. For an ibogaine detox to be successful, you MUST have Methadone and Suboxone out of your system for a certain amount of time which ranges depending on the dose and duration of use –but generally 30 days is sufficient. These days there are more and more addicts on maintenance medications like Methaonde/Suboxone which are dramatically more difficult to get off of than heroin or other short-acting opiates. The problem with Suboxone/ Methaodone is that they are both long-acting, so they stack in your system and stick around in your brain. While this is what makes it possible to take them only once a day without going into withdrawal, which any heroin user knows would be impossible with short-acting opiates, it is also what makes using ibogaine as a detox method impossible. I am not a scientist or researcher but I know what I have seen as a provider and I know what my partner experienced after using ibogaine to detox from Suboxone directly – and that is if you use ibogaine to detox from Methadone or Suboxone directly, your withdrawal will return. You might feel great immediately following treatment, or even a few days after, but eventually when the ibogaine comes out of your system, the lingering long-acting opiates will still be there and you will start to feel withdrawal. The severity of this withdrawal will vary from individual to individual. I’m not saying there has never been anyone who detoxed with ibogaine directly from Methadone or Suboxone successfully – what I am saying is that it is very very unlikely you will. As mentioned above, ibogaine therapy is not cheap and if you are going to invest a few thousand dollars into your healing and recovery you should give yourself the BEST CHANCE you have to stay clean. That means switching from Methadone/Suboxone to a short acting opiate (Morephine/ Oxycodone) first. Additionally, there is some evidence that detoxing directly from Methadone or Suboxone can extend the QTC wave (the time your heart is at rest between beats) which when combined with ibogaine, could cause dangerous complications. So if you call any provider and they are willing to take you immediately for a detox from Methadone or Suboxone – huge red flag, it is highly highly unlikely that the treatment will be successful. Any knowledgeable provider understands this, and if they are willing to take you, especially for a 7 day detox (longer programs typically have the higher success rates), chances are they just want your money.
MEDICAL TESTS/ LABS/ EQUIPMENT
Ibogaine treatment comes with physical risk – including death. This is why it is so important that whichever provider you choose follows proper medical protocols including requiring certain medical tests/labs be completed prior to acceptance for treatment. If any facility is willing to treat you without having done any medical tests/labs – DO NOT GO THERE! If a facility is willing to accept a reservation for treatment and says the labs will be performed upon your arrival – red flag. If you book your ticket, fly somewhere and are denied treatment because of results from labs performed when you arrived, you are out the money for the plane ticket and are responsible for covering your return airfare. That can be expensive and avoided easily by having the tests done previously. All medical tests/labs should be done at home, copies should be forwarded to whichever facility you are considering and their medical staff should approve them before you send a deposit and before you book a ticket. All providers should require a minimum of and EKG, a CMP and a liver panel. Ibogaine affects the heart, usually slowing the heart rate and may extend the resting time between beats. An EKG (electrocardiogram) will show the medical staff of any irregular heart behavior that could rule you out as a safe candidate for treatment. A CMP (complete metabolic panel) and liver panel will also show whether your system is in proper balance and functioning in a way that is compatible with ibogaine treatment. If these labs are not required by any provider, do not go there, your safety and your life are at risk. All providers should also be equipped with emergency medical equipment and medications should any situation arise. Minimally they should have an on-site defibrillator, oxygen, ativan, atropine and epinephrine. Ativan is uses in the event of a seizure, atropine is uses to raise the heart rate if it gets dangerously low and epinephrine for any allergic reactions. Monitoring with a pulse oximeter should be performed every 20-30 minutes. Ask the facilities you are considering about their emergency procedures.
It is important to know who specifically will be providing your treatment – not just the name of the facility but the name of the director(s) who are in charge of the facility. Some providers have changed facilities or opened new facilities under different names. This can sometimes be due to ending partnerships, lack of proper management, or because of serious medical situations – even deaths that occurred. The facility name is buried and thus a new facility with a new name is born. These cases are rare but do exist. Ask about the history of who will be providing your treatment. Google provider’s names – you will get information. This is especially important for women as some providers have a history of inappropriate sexual behavior – with patients or otherwise. Most facility directors are happy to give background information on themselves and co-directors/staff. It is also important to note that with the rising popularity of ibogaine as a detox method, and with the high price that accompanies it, some individuals who had no previous involvement with ibogaine are now opening clinics with the only intention of making profits from those that come to them genuinely seeking healing. What these investors and new facility owners don’t realize is all those previously mentioned expenses that go into running and operating a successful ibogaine clinic and do a disservice to the industry and to all their patients when the level of care is lacking because they got involved to make money, not help people. It is really sad and it is unfortunately much more prevalent today than ever that people – who have really zero interest and no business working in a field that is based around helping and healing – are either owners, directors or staff at some facilities. All providers should have personally experienced an ibogaine ‘flood’ (a large does of iboga/ibogaine) at least once. Ask questions and use your intuition. We no longer offer ibogaine detox services but we still get frequent calls about detoxes and are asked who we recommend. I always encourage individuals to do their own research and find a facility that resonates with them. If you ever feel like someone is trying to push or ‘sell’ you on their program, it is probably not for the right reasons.
LEVEL OF CARE –
This one can be tricky as it can be difficult to determine what your level of care will be without actually being able to see the place or meet the staff in person – but a good way to gauge how well you will be cared for is by how attentive they are to you, your questions and your communication. Do they respond quickly and thoroughly to your e-mails/calls? Are they engaging? Do they respond with the bare minimum of what is required to answer your questions? Do they ask about your situation, your plan for after treatment? Do they show an active interest in your success? Are they honest with you? Do you feel like they are ‘selling’ you treatment? Do they require medical tests to be done before accepting deposits/reservations? Ask about past participants – get in touch and reach out to the ibogaine community. If you are made promises about activities outside of simple excursions (i.e. beach trips) for a 7 day program – it is unlikely that these will come to fruition, and if they do then the focus of the treatment is not on your care. Ibogaine can take a lot out of an individual physically and emotionally, the focus should be on healing – not vacationing. It is unlikely that a participant will have the energy after an ibogaine treatment to do many physical activities –snorkling, horse back riding, etc. are pretty out of the question. The focus of ibogaine therapy should be on getting in touch with what is happening inside of yourself and your mind – such activities could be a distraction from the work that could otherwise be achieved in a supportive therapeutic environment.
SUCCESS RATES –
No provider should ever guarantee success after an ibogaine treatment or even offer success rates. If a provider offers you any rates of success, they are more than likely made-up and should be a huge red flag and a testament to the integrity (or lack thereof) of the provider. Ibogaine therapy has not been studied extensively enough to produce reliable percentages of success. While there have been few studies, the experimental group was too smalls (only 24 in one study) and other aspects of the study were too varied to produce accurate data. In one study, users were treated in different environments – some at home, very few in clinic environments, and some with the support of an ‘ibogaine therapist’ all using different forms of iboga and ibogaine at different levels of purity. These drastic variables in the environment and in the consistency of the ibogaine itself could drastically change the outcome of the experiment and in my opinion should not be relied upon as any sound scientific research. Ibogaine therapy does NOT guarantee success or freedom from addiction. It in fact, in my experience, it offers only slightly higher success than any other traditional 7 day detox method. The notion that ibogaine is a ‘cure’ for addiction needs to be suppressed and an approach of healing for lasting recovery needs to be adopted by incorporating a method that includes on-going support through after-care programs. Detoxing is only the first step – in order to maintain recovery and abstinence of drug use each individual needs to make drastic changes in their lives.
If this article is useful to even one person considering ibogaine therapy then it has been well worth the time it took to write it. As a provider I am consistently amazed at how little research is done by most the people we get inquiries from. It is really unnerving actually, that so little people feel the gravity of how seriously ibogaine treatment should be taken. Day after day, hundreds of people are putting their lives (literally – ibogaine treatment can be dangerous!) in the hands of providers they know next to nothing about.
I hope this article helps show some of the dangers and scams that exist in the ibogaine world, and to steer people to making well informed decisions when choosing a treatment provider.