Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in plants belonging to the Apocynaceae family. This plants may include Taberanthe Iboga, Vocanga Africana and Tabernaemontana Undulate. However, the highest concentration of Ibogaine is usually found in the root bark of the iboga plant, while the lowest concentration of Ibogaine is found in the other part of iboga plant, as well as with other indole alkaloids of the same family.
Most of these plants are often used for medicinal and ritualistic purposes in African traditions; an example is the Bwiti religion in Gabon. It was initially promoted in the west as having an anti-addictive property and was marketed as Lambourne in France later on, where it was used as a stimulant. Today, Ibogaine is illegal in the United States and some other states, while it is available in limited quantity to various European countries like the UK. Regardless, it is primarily used in treating addiction for opiates and other highly-addictive drugs but are often utilized as a tool for personal and spiritual development.
History of Ibogaine
The first reports of Ibogaine used in the west came from some French and Belgian explorers, who were observing the African spiritual ceremonies in the second half of the 19th century. In 1901, the chemical compound of Ibogaine was isolated by two independent research groups, while a complete synthesis was accomplished in 1966. Ibogaine was reportedly sold as a stimulant in France around 1930s and 1960s under the brand name Lambarene. However, it was later withdrawn from the market in 1966, when the sale of all Ibogaine-containing products was declared illegal in France. During this period, the World Health Assembly also classified Ibogaine as a substance that may endanger human health, and the Food and Drug Administration agency marked out Ibogaine.
Ibogaine Treatment and Success Rate
Ibogaine acts as a mild stimulant when taking in small doses. However, when they are taken in large doses, it can lead to a severe psychedelic state. Research suggests that large doses reduces opiate withdrawal symptoms, and can help with substance-related cravings.
Most people, with substance use addiction, have used large doses of Ibogaine to reduce opiates withdrawal and substance-related cravings. In most cases, the effect of Ibogaine treatment for addictions is short-lived, and even when successful, the safety and long-lasting effect of this treatment is questioned. Most of the recorded studies on humans have shown severe side effects, including; unexplained death after treatment, which may be linked to the use of Ibogaine for treatment.
Studies on Ibogaine Treatment
Researchers and scientists have conducted various researches on the effect of this treatment option. However, a recent study on substance abuse changes in 30 people seeking Ibogaine- based addiction treatment solution measured the frequency and dosage of opiate use. The researcher also conducted a survey that asked some specific questions on the following:
- Questions relating to individuals medical status
- Individual family history
- Employment status
- Medical history, including their psychiatric condition
According to the research result, one-third of the participants relapsed within the first three months of the survey. 80% relapsed within the first six months, 60% relapsed within the first two months, about 20% relapsed after six months without any aftercare, while 4 out of the 30% of the participants barely relapse for more than a year, using the same single treatment option.
In summary, the researchers concluded that Ibogaine is not a clear-cut solution for addiction, but only interrupts addiction. Regardless, it is important to note that this research was only conducted using 30 participants, which means that the conclusion may differ when applied to a larger sample size or population.
Contrary to the above-listed result, another trusted source also conducted a study in 2014 to check for the effectiveness of Ibogaine treatment in treating addiction, and this time around it found Ibogaine treatment to be effective in treating addiction when used with long side psychotherapy. The study size was also small but was conducted using 75 participants.
There are limited studies that have shown the long-term effect on Ibogaine treatment, and further research is primarily needed for definitive proof of how it either benefits or damages the body. However, while studies may have supported the use of Ibogaine as a treatment option for addiction, there should be more and better-controlled studies that can be used to determine the safety and efficacy of this treatment, and we are yet to see one.
What are the Risks of Ibogaine Treatments?
It is no longer surprising that Ibogaine treatment may come with serious side effects during and after use. This may include the following complications:
- Cardiac Disorders
Although, the relationship between Ibogaine and the heart is still relatively unknown; Ibogaine treatment may increase your heart rate and inhibit the particular gene channels that affect cardiac action, making cardiac arrest one of the most common causes of death-related risk after Ibogaine treatment.
- Mental Illness
This is another major topic surrounding the use of Ibogaine treatment. This is often attributed to the fact that most people use Ibogaine to treat addiction, which often overlaps with mental disorders like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
However, some patients that have used Ibogaine for treatment have recorded some level of mental disorder. Regardless, more research – meanwhile, it is recommended that all patients get a personality assessment and mental health test before treatment.
Other complications may include:
- Gastrointestinal issues.
- Other heart complications like arrhythmias.
- For severe cases, death.
Ibogaine treatment is extremely risky, and a lot is still not understood about the amount of dose to be administered and safe administration in general.
In essence, this treatment option should only be used under the direction of a medical professional, where you will be monitored and advised about the underlying risk of the medication before treatment ensues.
What an Ibogaine provider should ask for during the treatment process.
The majority of risks associated with Ibogaine will be mitigated if an improved medical screening process is carried out before treatment ensues. Since Ibogaine treatment is still a daunting treatment solution, patients must be completely assured of their provider professionalism before any treatment is carried out. The more information gathered before treatment, the better.
The following are four key things every Ibogaine provider should ask before treatment
- Medical History: Every reputable Ibogaine provider will ask for your complete medical history by assessing your medical files. You must be completely honest when answering these questions, to avoid any form of risk.
- Mental and Personality Assessments: This is an important measure that needs to be taken before Ibogaine treatment. Some mental disorders, like depression, may also serve as an immediate disqualifier for this treatment.
- EKG Tests: An EKG (electrocardiograph) test for electric imbalance in your heart helps to determine if you have an existing cardiac condition. A patient undergoing Ibogaine treatments is expected to submit an EKG test before treatment, to confirm their cardiac health.
- Blood Work: This helps determine the patient overall medical condition. More specifically, it helps to determine the health condition of the patient liver.
Additional Treatment Options for Addiction.
If you have addiction issues, it is best to speak with your doctor before carrying out any treatment plan. However, most treatments for addiction will typically follow the process below:
- Detoxifying the Body: It is important to detoxify the body, to rid the body of any toxins. This process can either be done at home, with the help of a medical professional or at a treatment center.
- Behavioral Analysis and Counseling: This process is usually carried out by experienced psychologists that are trained in drug addiction. During this process, psychologists work with the affected patient to help ease them into a drug-free life. You will also be evaluated for any mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
- Medication: After patients provide their medical history, suitable medications are prescribed depending on the severity of their condition.
Overcoming addiction is tough, and may generally follow a lengthy treatment process, which is why we advise against managing it on your own. There are varieties of treatment options that can be used in overcoming addiction. If a particular treatment does not work, your doctor can come up with a new treatment plan to get you back on the road to a healthy life.
The discussion on Ibogaine, its effectiveness for treating addiction, and health risks are far from over. But even with these controversies, it is clear from the research that Ibogaine can be useful as an addiction interrupter. Nevertheless, it is only through sensitizations and transparent communications between individuals and Ibogaine provider that these risks can be mitigated or reduced to the bare minimum, while maximizing its unique benefits to the society as a treatment option for addiction.
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