Giving a heroin addict one of the most powerful psychedelic drugs seems like a bad idea. Yet that's exactly what a group of scientists will do this month. Ibogaine, they say, might be the best way to break drug addicts of their habit.
Ibogaine, a brown powder derived from the African Tabernathe iboga plant, has intrigued researchers since 1962, when Howard Lotsof, a student at New York University and an opiate addict, found that a single dose erased his drug cravings without causing any withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, the hallucinogen can increase the risk of cardiac arrest, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency lists it as a Schedule 1 substance, a classification for drugs like ecstasy and LSD with "no known medical value" and "high potential for abuse," making it difficult to get federal funding to run clinical trials.
Despite these successes, ibogaine lacks scientific credibility. "As great as ibogaine seems, no one knows exactly how effective it is as a treatment," says Valerie Mojieko, the director of clinical research for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Research (MAPS), a privately funded Massachusetts-based nonprofit. So starting this month, MAPS will enlist Clare Wilkins, the director of Pangea Biomedics, to run the first long-term study to gauge the drug's lasting effects at her clinic in Mexico (where patients already pay $5,000 for the treatment). She will treat 20 to 30 heroin addicts and, for the next year, MAPS will subject them to psychological and drug tests to quantify ibogaine's effectiveness.
The study will also help establish how to prescribe the drug safely. "Most psychedelics are relatively harmless," says neurologist Deborah Mash of the University of Miami, "but ibogaine has a much narrower margin for error." Mash runs an ibogaine clinic in St. Kitts and has treated more than 400 addicts without incident in the past decade. But in the early 1990s, overdoses of the drug at a clinic in the Netherlands led to several deaths, which ultimately scared off the National Institute of Drug Addiction (NIDA) from starting its own research program in the U.S.
From the limited research, though, scientists have two theories about how ibogaine works. Some say it's purely biological—that ibogaine degrades into a compound that binds with opiate receptors in the brain to quiet cravings. Others believe that it is also psychological, with the "whole-life review" part of the hallucination providing perspective on the negative aspects of drug use, and so the subject strives to quit.
Regardless of the mechanism, proving ibogaine works is essential to winning approval and funding for clinical trials in the U.S. The sooner the better: Nearly seven million Americans abuse illicit drugs, costing the nation an estimated $181 billion a year in health care, crime and lost productivity.
The MAPS study should begin to answer questions about ibogaine's efficacy and safety, but most experts think prescriptions are 10 to 15 years away. Until then, desperate patients will continue to seek out treatment in unregulated places such as Mexico, and that's ideal for neither the patients nor the researchers. Rick Doblin, the founder of MAPS, hopes this study will force regulators' hands. "If we can show great results, it could increase support for ibogaine clinics and maybe get NIDA interested again—because that's who really should be doing this research."
Too bad the writer has o open with the shallow false irony of his own opinion. Sounds pretty sophomoric. Contrary to the notion expressed above ,it has not taken 10 15 years to test Iboga because the US is lawsuit happy,it has taken almost 45 years.When LSD was made illegal almost all research into psychedelics was halted. There is a constellation of reasons,which include various culturally imprinted Calvinist fears,need for central control ,and some have suggested that elements which profit from illegal drugs effect policy too.
Robert1234: Drugs are such big business and politicians get so many rewards from the anti-drug position, this will never be approved for use in the U.S. Both political parties are pro-drug gangs because it brings in campaign contributions. Curing the drug problem would cure the prison problem, one of the nation's largest and fastest growing businesses. If you politician in "hard on crime" then he's part of the problem. We need politicians that are "smart" on crime and willing to kill the drug gangs by treatment and making drugs legal.
ibogaine worked for my 17 year opiate (Fentanyl) dependency after breaking my back at age 21. I spent about $7,000 a year on patches, pain doc visits, supplies and more. It wasn't until recently that a pain doctor planted the seed that my back was healed many years ago and that I was chemically dependent - a radical shift of thought.
My treatment was $5,800 in Mexico and it was worth it and more! Rehab is way more expensive and may or may not be effective. Knowing what I know now, I would have sold my car and mortgaged my property to have this new lease on life.
I like to stay positive = Claire is doing her best to help those of us who need it. All clinics are helping- whether you agree with the overall running of the operation or not - Ibogaine works and should be more well known.
Everyone at my clinic, Awakening In the Dream House, were AMAZING people trying to help others. All is well, live in the now and be grateful for what we get to do each day.
Pdx, what a staunch supporter of Pangea! You've obviously met Clare and possibly you are she. I've met her, and can hardly imagine anyone launching such a defense in her behalf except Clare herself.
“For the people, by the people” has changed to “for a small group of people, by a small group of people”. Governments do not like change, and they don’t like to admit when they are wrong. This drug war is wrong. Things need to change. The problem is that politicians, judges, and the like own stock in prisons. If prison population goes down, people who own stock in prisons loose money. If this drug war ended prison population would be cut in half. This drug war has cost the tax payers trillions. Drugs like ibogaine would help drug addicts but hurt the stock portfolio of the law makers. Ibogaine will stay schedule 1 in America. Sad but true.
What a great article! Thanks for increasing the awareness of Ibogaine. Please visit: www.ibogaine-treatment.com for more information.
we supply iboga,ibogaine Hcl,Iboga TA,Iboga,we have a vast area of herbal farmland as seen on the first image where we cultivate the Iboga plant and other herbal drugs used for theraphy and cleansing of patients. We have the seeds,the root, bark of the tree and the flowes for sales and for use in the treatment of patients.
View our web for more details:http://ibogasolution.org