Ibogaine (12-Methoxyibogamine) is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in a number of plants, principally in a member of the Apocynaceae family known as iboga. In recent times, it has been identified as having anti-addictive properties. It is a highly controlled substance in the United States. It is classified by the FDA as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it is not available to the general public. Anyone legally seeking this drug would have to travel to one of the countries where it is available, such as Canada.
Ibogaine is thought to interrupt addiction to methadone, heroin, other opiates, alcohol, methamphetamine, and cocaine. The most studied therapeutic effect of ibogaine is the reduction or elimination of addiction to opiods. An integral effect is the alleviation of symptoms of opiod withdrawal by its action on the kappa and mu opiod receptors in the brain. It has an aspect of an opiate replacement similar to compounds like methadone (this is distinctly different from Suboxone treatment.) It can only be used briefly because of its significant side effect profile. Thus, it is always linked to a “rapid detox program.” It also appears to act as a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor like many of the newer anti-depressants on the market today (like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, etc.)
Ibogaine is not the “magic pill” everyone is looking for. The programs that use ibogaine as part of their “rapid detox program” also recommend “intensive counseling, therapy and aftercare treatment” which they classify as having “significant value” in the person’s overall program. They go on to say “some individuals require a second or third treatment session with ibogaine over the course of the next 12-18 months.” They also go on to say, “A minority of individuals relapse completely into opiate addiction within days to weeks.” So ibogaine is a drug treatment that must be used over a short period of time because of its side effect profile, and the individual must have extensive counseling and follow up aftercare for there to be any chance of continued sobriety.
The side effect profile is huge, thus the risk of taking the drug is enormous. The side effects of taking ibogaine are as follows:
#1 Sensation of fear
#2 Temporary short-term memory impairment
#3 Ataxia (difficulty standing or walking)
#4 Xerostomia (dry mouth)
#5 Nausea and vomiting
#6 Cardiac arrhythmias (atrial & ventricular – some potentially fatal)
#7 Brain damage
The drug also shows adverse interaction with some heart conditions and psychiatric medications are strongly contraindicated. There are 12 documented fatalities associated with ibogaine ingestion. Grapefruit juice cannot be taken before, during or immediately after ibogaine treatment because of adverse side effects.
At this time I CANNOT recommend the use of ibogaine as a “rapid detox” drug. The risks are too high including brain damage and even death. There are other alternatives available that are significantly safer and more effective.