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Ibogaine therapy is used to aid the treatment of drug addiction and mental ailments. The psychedelic substance ibogaine has psychoactive effects, which may help people conquer their fears and face negative emotions with patience and strength. This natural property helps give patients the confidence to overcome their addictions—be they drugs, alcohol, or smoking.
A naturally growing substance, ibogaine has long been used by various tribes in Africa for its psychedelic properties. It acts as a stimulant in small amounts but may help overcome symptoms of drug withdrawal when consumed in substantial doses.
Further research still needs to be conducted to fully ascertain its effectiveness and understand any potential health concerns, even temporary effects.
Ibogaine has been used by professional medical practitioners and native African tribes because of its natural properties and effects. Its principal application is in the treatment of addicts.
When administered in substantial enough doses, it may help overpower the effects of withdrawal—and it is used in clinical therapy to treat patients addicted to alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes.
For all its effectiveness, there are certain risks associated with ibogaine as well. Listed below are its various benefits and risks:
Psychedelics have a long and convoluted history in terms of their applications. Although their usage can be traced back to prehistoric times, most research and study have been conducted in the 21st century.
Ibogaine is discovered and used by a pygmy tribe—its knowledge passed on to the Bwiti tribe in Western Africa. Tribal shamans used it to commune with their ancestors in trance-like states, while tribe members used smaller amounts to combat illnesses, impotence, stomach ache, addiction, and other ailments.
French explorers bring ibogaine back to France and sell it as a stimulant named Lambarene—a practice that continues today.
The CIA studies ibogaine and its effects as a stimulant as well as a psychedelic.
Howard Lotsof, an addict himself, discovers ibogaine’s properties as a psychedelic drug that helps overcome addiction. Up until then, it was marketed and sold simply as a stimulant. Lotsof sets up the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance.
The United States government forces Howard Lotsof to cease his research.
Persuaded by Lotsof, a Belgian company begins distributing ibogaine in small, consumable tablets and initiates trials in the Netherlands.
The US government tests ibogaine’s properties and potential applications. While its use as a drug to overcome addiction is found to be significant, funding is cut before research can be completed.
Research has recently been recommenced because of renewed interest in psychedelic therapy since the 2010s.
The extent of ibogaine’s properties, potential applications, and benefits is not yet comprehensively known or understood, even if there have been many cases that have helped people overcome addiction. However, several pharmaceutical companies, including MindMed and ATAI Life Sciences, are lobbying the FDA to allow mass production of ibogaine for research purposes.
Available research indicates ibogaine rewires the brain to eliminate, or at least mitigate, the symptoms of withdrawal—an effect which is relatively rare when compared to other drug addiction medication.
Clinical trials conducted with rats have shown how the substance can help increase proteins in the brain, enhancing its plasticity and encouraging the growth of new neurons. However, there has not been enough research done to understand its effects on the human brain fully.
Conversely, ibogaine use has, in a few cases, been linked to slowed heart rates and blocked channels in the heart, leading some researchers to deem the substance unsafe.
In contrast to most other psychedelics, ibogaine is yet to be approved as a treatment for addiction by the FDA—in large part because further research is still required, even if initial studies have shown considerable promise.
Many addicts consider independent ibogaine therapy to be the solution for their addiction problems. The substance’s use is unregulated in many countries, especially in South America—which is why people travel there to try out the wonder drug and often come back with favorable results.
Ibogaine therapy has often proven to be highly effective as an aid in treating those suffering from addiction. In treatment sessions, ibogaine is ingested orally in the form of a pill. Once consumed, the patient lays down, wearing blinders and noise-cancelling headphones so they can shut out the world and allow the psychedelic experience to take its full effect.
Patients who underwent the treatment have reported how Ibogaine therapy brought out their subconscious in full force during the process—including past trauma and a host of fantastical hallucinations, such as meeting long-dead friends and family members.
Ibogaine therapy allows for some semblance of an ‘awakening’ in the subject—to where they are better aware of everything around them and overcome their difficulties through greater understanding and courage. The substance’s effects allow for higher self-actualization enabling patients to understand the potential for a better life.
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