What is Ibogaine?
Ibogaine is an isolated alkaloid with naturally occurring psychoactive properties that is found in plants of the Apocynaceae family such as Tabernanthe iboga, Voacanga Africana and Tabernaemontana undulate which grow wild in areas of West Africa, specifically Gabon and Cameroon. Today ibogaine is most widely recognized for its abilities in alleviating withdrawal symptoms from opiates but its traditional use (in the form of Iboga) was for spiritual purposes. Iboga has been used by practitioners of Bwiti for ceremonial and spiritual purposes for thousands of years and is a valuable tool 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. The story goes that 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. This is how ibogaine as a drug addiction treatment therapy was born. New Life Iboga does not offer drug detoxes.
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 to a country where it is legal or unscheduled as it is in Costa Rica, allowing us to provide safe medically supervised treatments.
Programs for spiritual discovery, depression, anxiety and PTSD
Iboga has been used traditionally for hundreds of years for initiations and rite of passage ceremonies in central west Africa. The spiritual traditions of Bwiti have been based around the use of this sacred plant medicine for thousands of years. Iboga is used for ancestral communication, spiritual growth, psychological healing and to resolve village conflicts. The visions produced by ibogaine treatment can provide insights to a spiritual realm beyond ourselves, give information and help us connect to something greater than ourselves. It is in this matter that ibogaine excels in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD and other conditions of the mind.
New Life Iboga offers a joint program with 2 ayahausca ceremonies and 2 iboga sessions to provide maximum healing benefits.
IBOGAINE FOR DRUG DETOX
Detoxing from opiates is the first step to getting clean. Ibogaine has the unique 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.
Unfortunately, Detoxing is only the first step and maintaining abstinence from drug use can be extremely difficult if they underlying causes of addiction are not understood and addressed. New Life Iboga believes that a ibogaine detox programs rarely offer any long term success and therefor no longer offer detox services.
WHAT IS IBOGAINE TREATMENT LIKE
At New Life Iboga we incorporate ceremonies based on the traditions of Bwiti into the week of iboga therapy. 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 a few days leading up to a ‘flood dose’ (the large and primary dose of ibogaine during treatment) to help the participant focus their intentions on their upcoming experience and what they want to get out of each session.
In order to prepare the mind and body for iboga ceremonies, we utilize a few ceremonies based on traditional iboga use. We implement the ceremonies to honor the traditions of iboga and to help set the tone and focus the participants intentions for iboga sessions.
FLOOD DOSE CEREMONY
The ‘flood dose’ is a large dose of iboga administered over the course of about 5 hours. The flood dose starts 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 gauge each individuals sensitivity to the medicine. Based on this reaction, we administer what the dose will be for the rest of the evening.
It typically takes about an hour or more for the effects of iboga 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 dis-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 guest 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 participant 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 recover and return to normal 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. 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 typically used for detox as it has been found to be most effective in alleviating withdrawal symptoms as well as being a medically safer alternative to iboga root bark, TA and PTA.
New Life Iboga only uses iboga root bark and iboga TA as we feel that it is necessary to have all the alkaloids present to connect with the spirit of the medicine.
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. We do constant monitoring of vital signs during the flood dose and have a medical doctor on site during treatment sessions. For more information please visit our page on Ibogaine Safety.