Ibogaine is an alkaloid with naturally occurring psychoactive properties that is found in plants of the Apocynaceae family such as Tabernanthe iboga, Voacanga Africana and Tabernaemontana undulate. Ibogaine is derived from iboga root bark from the Tabernanthe iboga shrub, which grows wild in areas of West Africa, specifically Gabon and Cameroon. Iboga(ine) has been used by the peoples of these areas for hundreds of years by practioners of Bwiti for ceremonial and spiritual purposes. Today ibogaine is most widely recognized for its abilities in treating drug addictions, specifically to opiates(heroin,methadone, suboxone), alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs. However, it is also proficient in treating conditions on the mind such as depression, anxiety and PTSD as well as for spiritual discovery and personal growth.
Howard Lotsof is responsible for introducing ibogaine to the western world. In 1962 Howard, a 19 year old heroin addict, procured the drug from a chemist friend and ingested it looking for a recreational high. After his experience he noticed not only that he was not experiencing withdrawal as he normally would despite not having used heroin in many hours, but that his desire to use drugs had also greatly diminished. Astonished by this discovery, he administered ibogaine to some of his friends that were also battling addiction and noticed similar results: ibogaine could prevent or reverse opiate withdrawal and provide insights to the root causes of addiction. This is how ibogaine as a drug addiction treatment therapy was born. Some clinical research was done on ibogaine in the years after Howard’s discovery, but in 1967 ibogaine was added to the list of scheduled substances in the United States by Richard Nixon during his war on drugs because of its hallucinogenic properties and is still illegal in the states today. Unfortunately, this requires those seeking treatment to travel outside of the US, as ibogaine is legal or unscheduled in the majority of other countries, as it is in Costa Rica, allowing us to provide safe medically supervised treatments.
IBOGAINE FOR DRUG DETOX/ADDICTION TREATMENT
Detoxing from opiates is the first step to getting clean and on the road to recovery. Opiate detox can be extremely difficult and most people are unable to make it through the detox process long enough to return to their normal state because of how unbearable the withdrawal symptoms can be. Most people will opt to use opiates to alleviate these severe symptoms and this creates the first major hurdle any opiate addict must face when trying to get clean. Fortunately, Ibogaine has the ability to greatly reduce, or in some cases, completely eliminate symptoms experienced during opiate withdrawal. The degree of how effectively it alleviates withdrawal varies on an individual basis but most users report a significant reduction of symptoms.
Detoxing is only the first step, maintaining abstinence from drug use can be extremely difficult if they underlying causes of addiction are not understood and addressed. Ibogaine is beneficial for psychological healing and providing insights to an individual of the root causes of their use. The psychedelic properties of ibogaine produce visions that are most frequently reported as being introspective in nature and relating to the past. This can allow a user to view certain aspects of their life and personalities in a unique way. Most people report experiencing these visions without judgment or emotionally attachment. This makes it possible for a person to get a clear perspective of their patterns and behaviors and changes that need to be made to allow a process of acceptance, peace, and growth to begin.
Ibogaine has been used traditionally for hundreds of years for initiations and rite of passage ceremonies. The spiritual traditions of Bwiti have been based around the use of this sacred plant medicine for ancestral communication, spiritual growth, psychological healing and to resolve village conflicts. The visions produced by ibogaine treatment can provide insights to past patterns and behaviors in an individual’s life and personality which helps people realize what changes they need and want forpersonal growth and success in their lives. These visions also usually come with feelings of gratitude, acceptance and peace from matters of the past, allowing a user to focus on their future and the potential it can hold. It is in this matter that ibogaine excels in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD and other conditions of the mind.
WHAT IS IBOGAINE TREATMENT LIKE
At New Life Iboga we incorporate ceremonies based on the traditions of Bwiti into the week of ibogaine treatment. We feel this sacred plant medicine is most effective when consumed in a ceremonial setting with respect to the way it has been used traditionally for hundreds of years. There are multiple ceremonies over 2-3 days leading up to the ‘flood dose’ (the large and primary dose of ibogaine during treatment) to help the patient focus their intentions on their upcoming experience and what they want to get out of treatment.
- Tree ceremony – this ceremony is done to ask for permission and safe passage of the banzi(patient) for their upcoming flood dose
- Bucket ceremony – this ceremony is to help the patient focus their intentions for treatment
- Bath Ceremonies(3) – this is a purifying and cleansing ceremony to prepare for the flood dose
FLOOD DOSE CEREMONY
The flood dose is administered in the evening at the beginning of an all-night ceremony focused on creating a safe spiritual environment for healing. Ibogaine affects all people differently, so for safety, we first administer a ‘test-dose’ to see how a person reacts to the medicine. Based on this reaction, we administer a dose determined by sensitivity and body weight in a clear capsule.
It usually takes about an hour or more for the effects of ibogaine to be felt. The first manifestation of the effect of ibogaine is usually experienced by a person seeing tracers. Tracers are lines that trail off objects when your eyes move from one field of vision to another. These can be enhanced by changes in lighting and can become intense, causing disorientation and un-coordination. This may cause a person to need assistance when trying to walk or move and may cause physical discomfort including nausea and vomiting, which are common.
Eventually, the patient will enter into a visionary state that can last several hours. During this time we are constantly present, with medical staff monitoring vitals to ensure the safety of the patient in the least intrusive way, as to respect the ceremony and to minimize any distractions to the participant during their experience. Ibogaine affects all people differently and while most people experience intense visions, some may experience little to no visions at all, however this is very rare.
The ceremony lasts all night and incorporates Bwiti traditions and music. New Life Iboga uses a mixture of live and recorded music to try to create an authentic spiritual environment. Bwiti music is specifically designed by the people who have used iboga for hundreds of years to help guide an individual through their experience.
They day following treatment can be quite difficult for most people. The day is spent recovering for the previous night both physically and emotionally. The visions can bring out a lot of strong emotions and leave a person with a lot to process. New Life Iboga believes ibogaine treatment is a highly individual experience and we give the participant time and support to process in their own way. We are always available to talk or listen but most people prefer to spend this day reflecting alone.
In the days following treatment, New Life Iboga staff is available to help in any way they can. Some people recovery and return to normalcy fairly quickly after ibogaine treatment, but for some it can be a longer and more difficult process. Feelings of weakness and lethargy are common. It is during this time that we take patients to the beach or waterfall to promote relaxation and reflection in a serene environment. If other activities are desired, things like white water rafting or zip lining, can be accommodated. On the last night of your stay will us, we have a bonfire where we encourage the patient to talk about their ibogaine experience and what it meant to them.
TYPES OF IBOGA/IBOGAINE
Four different types of iboga/ibogaine are typically used by ibogaine treatment providers. These include iboga root bark, TA (total alkaloids), PTA (purified total alkaloids) and ibogaine HCL. Ibogaine HCL is a concentration of a single alkaloid derived from the root of the iboga shrub. Ibogaine HCL is used for detox as it has been found to be most effective in alliviating withdrawal syptoms as well as being a medically safer alternative to iboga root bark, TA and PTA.
Ibogaine HCL is used for detox as it has been found to be most effective in alliviating withdrawal syptoms as well as being a medically safer alternative to iboga root bark, TA and PTA.
Patient safety is our biggest priority at New Life Iboga. Ibogaine treatment can be tough on the body physically so we implement a rigorous medical screening process that requires certain medical tests including an EKG and certain blood work, which is determined by our medical director, prior to treatment. If approved for treatment, we also provide an additional EKG free of any additional costs the day of treatment just to ensure safety. We do constant monitoring of vital signs during the flood dose and have a medical doctor on site during treatment and the following day. For more information please visit our page on Ibogaine Safety.