Ibogaine is a psychoactive substance (indole alkaloid) that naturally occurs in plants of the Iboga family and although the substance is considered to be a hallucinogen, it does have anti-addictive properties.
While Ibogaine is an illegal substance in a select few countries, most other countries allow its use to treat people addicted to drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Read on to learn more about the anti-addictive qualities of this alkaloid.
According to a report published by researcher Jonathan Freedlander from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the liver metabolizes ibogaine to produce noribogaine. After metabolism, the substance affects multiple pathways including opioid, dopaminergic, nicotinic, glutamatergic, as well as cholingeric.
The aforementioned pathways, especially the dopaminergic system play a big role in the way the body craves and builds dependence on hard drugs such as heroin. Continuous administration of Ibogaine changes the body’s reward system in relation to substance abuse. For example, it reduces levels of dopamine in the brain. In particular, it increases the concentration level of 5-HT in the nucleus accumbens.
The glutamatergic pathways also benefits from the anti-addictive properties of Ibogaine. It works by interfering with certain channel receptors (N-methyl D-aspartate) that make the body tolerate and crave hard drugs. In addition, the alkaloid substance tends to block the desire for cocaine and methamphetamine. Another study published in the American Journal on Addictions found that it can reduce and prevent withdrawal symptoms experienced by people undergoing drug addiction treatment.
Ibogaine typically takes effect within three hours after administration and this phase can last anywhere from four to eight hours. During this period, users normally experience a dreamlike state and are able to recall events both present and that happened a long time ago. In fact, users report being able to see vivid visions of past events, according to a report published in the Journal of Legal Medicine. After the intense effects, most users will still experience mild effects for a period of up to 36 hours.
The second mild phase is the introspection stage and it is during this stage that the psychotherapeutic effects of Ibogaine manifest themselves. At this stage, most users report being able to conquer their fears. The Journal of Legal medicine cautions users that Ibogaine treatment does not eradicate the underlying addictions causes. Instead, it works as a catalyst that enables one to control the desire to abuse drugs.
Because it is such a potent alkaloid, Ibogaine doses range anywhere from 5mg/kg of a patient’s body weight. The US Controlled Substances Act regulates the use and administration of the substance. In other words, in the US you can only get and use ibogaine under the supervision of a qualified physician. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that it is more common in private clinics than hospitals.
Drug addiction treatment is not easy and requires a concerted effort from all the parties concerned. Ibogaine (an indole alkaloid) with anti-addictive properties has shown great promise when it comes to treating patients addicted to drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, alcohol, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and methadone.