Scientists Develop Synthetic Form of Ibogaine

University of California, Davis researchers have created a non-hallucinogenic version of ibogaine. The new substance could prove just as effective as the psychedelic original used to treat addiction and psychological illnesses such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

David Olson, an assistant professor of chemistry at UC Davis, detailed the discovery in the December 2020 issue of Nature.   

In the study, a series of rodent experiments showed that mice decreased their alcohol consumption and experienced a delayed opiate relapse when given the non-hallucinogenic Tabernanthalog (TBG). The synthetic version is water-soluble and has fewer adverse effects than ibogaine. Olson says he’s optimistic that TBG can treat addiction and many illnesses related to addiction, such as depression and anxiety.

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Psychedelic Drug Attracts Corporate Attention

n the United States, over 2 million Americans suffered from opioid addiction in 2018. With relapse rates of traditional rehabilitative models averaging at about 50%, companies have positioned themselves within the psychedelic drug sector to bring a different therapeutic approach.

Companies such as ATAI Sciences and DemeRx are investigating ibogaine, a natural extract found in western Central Africa that has proven effective in reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Researchers also found that the same substance lessens depression that accompanies addiction. Despite the positive effects, ibogaine continues to be classified as a Schedule 1 drug not allowed for medical use in the United States. Regardless of the status, researchers continue to study precisely how ibogaine affects the brain and delivers relief to those suffering from addiction. It is believed that ibogaine affects neurotransmitter systems, including serotonin, NMDA, and opioid receptors.

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Ibogaine Attracts Addiction Research

Researchers continue to examine the therapeutic properties of ibogaine as it proves effective in addiction rehabilitation. Countries such as New Zealand, Brazil, and South Africa allow it for medical use. In the United States, ibogaine is a Schedule 1 substance, which means it is not approved for medical use. 

Ibogaine is an indole alkaloid produced by the Taberna iboga shrub native to West Africa. Traditionally, consumers used the substance to reduce fever, boost sexual arousal, and improve health. Specifically, it has been found to bring on a psychedelic experience in larger doses, while decreasing opioid withdrawal symptoms and disrupting cravings. Researchers have also shown it to be effective in combatting depression and alcohol abuse. Like with all drugs, care must be exercised when using ibogaine. It has been found to potentially cause paralysis, heart or pulmonary failure, and seizures in rare cases.

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The Promise of Ibogaine

Traditional rehabilitative models are failing to deliver results to those trying to beat chronic drug abuse. Some are hailing the increasing popular extract ibogaine for its suppressive effects on withdrawal symptoms and ultimately, addiction.

Ibogaine, derived from a central west African shrub, is a psychedelic drug that has proven effective in treating alcohol, heroin, and opioid addiction in treatment centers worldwide. Scientists continue to study ibogaine to unlock its therapeutic power. One theory researchers have for ibogaine’s effectiveness is that it may increase brain neuron growth and plasticity, which is the brain’s ability to remodel itself. While human clinical trials are underway and pharmaceutical companies and government agencies worldwide continue to investigate ibogaine’s seemingly anti-addiction properties, some U.S. military veterans have found relief using the psychedelic drug. 

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Heroin and cocaine addiction is not only physically and psychologically harmful to the addict; the impact on family members, friends, and employment is equally destructive. Ibogaine, an indole alkaloid from the West African shrub, Tabernanthe iboga, has proven effective in treating a wide range of addictions. It is part of a larger alternative drug rehabilitation movement, and a fascinating study calling on 191 volunteers details its effectiveness. 

Researchers concluded in “Ibogaine Detoxification Transitions Opioid and Cocaine Abusers Between Dependence and Abstinence: Clinical Observations and Treatment Outcomes” that ibogaine therapy administered under treatment professionals in safe doses diminishes the withdrawal symptoms from opioids and reduces drug cravings. This is excellent news not only for heroin rehabilitation but also for fentanyl detox, among others. Ibogaine treatment in Mexico has been developing rapidly and the study’s authors conclude that product development of single dose ibogaine holds great promise moving forward. 

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Ibogaine for Opioid Withdrawal

Ibogaine as a holistic approach to drug rehabilitation has been gaining popularity in certain countries around the world. In recent years Ibogaine treatment centers in Mexico and Canada have been in high demand with patients from the United States. No surprise given the impressive success rate of Ibogaine. Even a few states in the US have started to consider legalizing its controlled usage. 

The administration of Ibogaine outside of a clinical setting is strongly discouraged as cardiac issues may arise. Those who consider purchasing ibogaine and self-administering are taking a risk that is greatly reduced when administered by professionals in a well-equipped facility.

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The Multibillion-Dollar Opioid Crisis Has a Plant Medicine Solution

In “The Multibillion-Dollar Opioid Crisis Has a Plant Medicine Solution,” it’s easy to forget that author Omri Wallach isn’t referring to the US, and it’s raging opioid crisis. Rather, Wallach is commenting on Canada, a country that for most around the world has a reputation for stability and order. But that Canadian calmness is no match for opioid addiction, which has positioned alternative drug rehabilitation front and center in this northern country. 

Taking a chapter out of ibogaine treatment in Mexico and the great strides this psychedelic substance has made with opioid, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin rehabilitation, Wallach details some novel moves the Canadian private sector is taking to be an eventual global example of the application of ibogaine as a verifiable treatment. The most promising news, however, is not that ibogaine is finally being considered as one of the premier alternative drug rehabilitation psychedelics. Rather, the Canadian government is also coming along to the idea that making a dent in curbing a death toll that took 4,460 Canadian lives in 2018 can be achieved with alternatives to the norm. 

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Could ibogaine offer a revolutionary long-term solution to addiction?

The United States and many other countries worldwide have been completely ravaged by the opioid crisis. While the World Health Organization reports that roughly 3.3 million people die yearly from alcohol addiction, a staggering 31 million people suffer from substance use disorders. And the root cause of these disorders are psychological and emotional in nature. Deep-seated traumas are common with not only opioid addiction, but heroin addiction, methamphetamine, and cocaine, among others. Fentanyl is a powerful, synthetic opioid and hundreds of millions are spent each year in costly fentanyl detox. 

As this informative article, “Could ibogaine offer a revolutionary long-term solution to addiction?” from HealthEuropa, details, researchers are beginning to understand better how alternative drug rehabilitation, especially with ibogaine is different, and in many cases superior to what many have been engaged in up to now. Ibogaine was (and still is) used in religious Bwiti ceremonies by the Punu and Mitsogo people in Gabon and Cameroon. It takes the user on a journey, confronting some of their most painful and regrettable decisions, and pinpoints the root causes of said decisions. The journey is far from enjoyable, but valuable and leaving the user in many cases not seeking to self-medicate afterward.  

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Iboga in 2020: Why Now Is The Time To Embrace Oneirogenics

Heroin rehabilitation, weening yourself off cocaine, opioid addiction, these are heavy issues that most societies have had a lot of experience with. The problem – said experience has not resulted in great treatment. For numerous reasons, most treatment for drug addiction rests on the use of pharmeceutical drugs and treating patients in a very hierarchical fashion. Levels of addiction are defined, and the correspinding cocktail of drugs is subsequently assigned. 

The results have not been great, and as “Iboga in 2020: Why Now Is The Time To Embrace Oneirogenics” rightly points out – oneirogenics is poised for a big breakthrough moving forward. An oneirogneic state is achieved via high-doses of psychedelic substances such as ibogaine. Ibogaine treatment in Mexico for folks with a range of additions has been lauded as a revolutionary step forward, and ibogaine has proved successful in taking patients back through their formative years and painful moments that have resulted in a current addiction. By confronting the difficult, ibogaine hits at the root of the addiction or psychiatric state, thus giving treatment practitioners much more to work with than simply states of mind with little context. 

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How Ibogaine Can Help with the Opioid Crisis

Juliana was like many other addicts. Heroin rehabilitation was part of a never-ending cycle of breaking her addiction, only to see it return weeks or months later. She had heard of ibogaine treatment in Mexico and throughout Latin America and Europe but naturally had her doubts. It wasn’t until her mother and a close friend’s support led her to a clinic where she received ibogaine treatment for the first time. 

Adaam James Levin-Areddy takes us through Juliana’s journey in “How Ibogaine Can Help with the Opioid Crisis,” eventually leading us to the future of ibogaine treatment strategies for everything from heroin to fentanyl detox. While there have not been any double-blind, randomized clinical trials with ibogaine yet, a vast majority of those that have been surveyed, post-treatment, have experienced relapses at a lower frequency. However, convincing pharmaceutical companies to jump on board without a clinical trial will certainly be a challenge. But if Juliana’s story is any indication of the efficacy of this naturally occurring substance, people should and will continue to pay attention.

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