What is Ibogaine?
Ibogaine is an isolated active alkaloid from the root bark of the central West African shrub Tabernanthe Iboga. It has been used for thousands of years for spiritual development and as a rite of passage into adulthood. Its properties as a treatment to stop opiate withdrawal were unknown until the late 1960’s. Since that time, studies undertaken by leading research and academic facilities have shown that Ibogaine is a highly effective addiction interrupter.
The Effects of the Medicine
Ibogaine alleviates physical withdrawal symptoms of opiate detoxification by resetting and refreshing the opiate receptor sites. How this is done is still not fully understood; no other known substance has shown this method of action. Once this process is complete, no further use of Ibogaine is necessary.
It functions in a similar way to treatments that block or take residence in the receptor sites that normally harbor chemical substances. However, unlike methadone or suboxone (which lead to chemical dependency) Ibogaine is non-addictive and doesn’t need to be taken on a continuing basis. Ibogaine treats the chemical dependency by cleansing the body of the drug(s), and then resetting the brain’s neuro-chemistry. Essentially, the result is that the memory of the dependency is removed from the mind as well as the body. Cravings are addressed from the metabolite nor-Ibogaine. This may take a few days to come into full efficacy for stimulant and alcohol detox.
Ibogaine also works to rebalance the brain chemistry and level out dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, adrenaline etc., essentially returning the individual to a pre-addicted state. This helps the individual to feel better much more quickly, especially when compared to quitting ‘cold turkey’ in which can take weeks or months to regain the neurotransmitter balance. Those coming off anti-depressants may also go through this experience. We have actually found that pharmaceutical drugs take longer to recover from than street drugs. They get very deep into the body and mind, and create a mental dependency as well as a physical addicition and an emotional attachment.
In post-Ibogaine therapy, there is still a lot of physical recovery needing to take place to restore complete balance. Despite the fact that cravings and chemical dependency relief occurs rather quickly, Ibogaine therapy is most effective when combined with the initiation of a healthy lifestyle. The quick onset of ‘craving relief’ is also why Ibogaine works so well for stimulants and sexual addiction (associated with the use of stimulants). Sexual expression is often a common motivator for wanting to use in the first place.
After ingestion, Ibogaine is converted by the liver into nor-Ibogaine, which stores itself in the fat cells of the body. Nor-Ibogaine is the true healer for the recovering addict; it curbs the cravings and takes away the thoughts of using. It can take 72 to 96 hours post treatment for these effects to really be experienced. Ibogaine also has a documented anti-depressive effect that establishes an overall state of well-being, and frees the individual from negative thought patterns.
The Awakened Dream State
Ibogaine can provide individuals with critical insights into the origins of their addiction process or other unhealthy behavior patterns. This is experienced acutely during the first hours after administration when the conscious and unconscious aspects of the mind are merged. During this “awakened dream” state, past events, even those which the individual is not conscious of, may come to the surface of your thoughts. Many individuals have suddenly understood or clarified past traumatic events or situations that, in part, have led to their present life condition. In effect, years of therapy can be replicated in a matter of hours. This is not experienced visually by everyone. It varies depending on what you are using and current health conditions etc. This can be a very beneficial experience, but even if there are no dreams or even clear messages the Ibogaine still does the job of resetting and rebalancing the body and mind.
The Introspective Phase
This initial phase is followed by a period of introspection during which the information that was revealed during the journey is processed. The full range of emotions may be experienced during these first 24-36 hours, and most people require some down time to recuperate physically. This medicine can be very hard on the body. Some people feel so depleted that they are unable to leave their bed. Occasionally individuals may be completely overcome emotionally by what has been revealed to them, and some may become very depressed. Ibogaine moves energy in the body around, so many things may need your attention emotionally. It’s like a release valve opens, and it’s suggested to allow everything to come out, whatever it may look like. This is a large part of the healing process.The thoughts and emotions that come up during this time are being released from the body and psyche. While this may be uncomfortable for some, it is important to remember that, in large part, the success of your treatment is dependent on allowing this process to fully run its course. There is a fine balance between talking too much and withdrawing into oneself. Many people find that discussing their experiences with us freely and without judgment or shame makes them relax into the revelations and insights gained during the session. We are available in whatever capacity necessary during this time, but if we feel that you are avoiding going inward, we will not hesitate to guide you back in that direction. We understand this is a new experience for everyone who comes. We wish to keep that balance for each person and not interfere with your individual needs for processing, while being sure you feel fully supported and safe.
Cultivating the Art of Living
After this period, there is a window of opportunity, anywhere from 12 to 24 days, for one to witness what previously was acted out in a completely unconscious manner. You may now experience these actions consciously. This is a chance to cultivate the art of living from a place of self compassion and humility.
The Spirit of Iboga
For thousands of years humans have evolved with plants- using them them for the healing of mind, body, and soul. Some of these plants, such as Iboga, have emerged as strong teachers recognized as sacred medicines used in the healing of the most deeply spiritual aspects of our being. People of the equatorial regions of Africa have worked with the Tabernanthe Iboga plant as an herb of initiation and as a rite of passage for millennia. Absolutely no discussion of the role of Ibogaine in the West can be complete without taking the spiritual aspects of the medicine into consideration. We have personally witnessed Iboga exhibit incredible intelligence in its actions. It seems to know what each person can handle at any given moment. Some people are treated gently, while others are pushed beyond the edge of comfort and are asked to face difficult issues at the core of their being. We are asked to see ourselves in our wholeness, leaving behind notions of good and bad. We are empowered to see ourselves as we actually are. We are empowered to see the true consequences of our actions, and we no longer have to react to situations based on habitual responses programmed by past experience. We are given the freedom to exist in the present moment in connection with our true being and the whole of creation.