Ibogaine Therapy

MAPS has completed two observational studies of the long-term effects of ibogaine treatment on patients undergoing therapy at independent ibogaine treatment centers in Mexico and New Zealand.

Ibogaine
Image: Christopher Hansen

Data from these studies contribute to the growing scientific literature about ibogaine as a treatment for drug addiction.

  • Mexico: Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., & Kenneth Alper, Ph.D. (2017): Treatment of opioid use disorder with ibogaine: detoxification and drug use outcomes, The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, DOI: 10.1080/00952990.2017.1320802 | view
  • New Zealand: Geoffrey E. Noller, Ph.D., Chris M. Frampton, Ph.D., & Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D. (2017): Ibogaine treatment outcomes for opioid dependence from a twelve-month follow-up observational study, The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, DOI: 10.1080/00952990.2017.1310218 | view

MAPS submitted comments to the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis for consideration prior to the Commission’s first meeting on June 16th, 2017. Read the comments here.

Ibogaine is a psychoactive alkaloid naturally occurring in the West African shrub iboga. While ibogaine is a mild stimulant in small doses, in larger doses it induces a profound psychedelic state. Historically, it has been used in healing ceremonies and initiations by members of the Bwiti religion in various parts of West Africa. People with problem substance use have found that larger doses of ibogaine can significantly reduce withdrawal from opiates and temporarily eliminate substance-related cravings.

See below for a complete timeline of MAPS' ibogaine therapy research.

 

Although first-hand accounts indicate that ibogaine is unlikely to be popular as a recreational drug, ibogaine remains classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States (it is also scheduled in Belgium and Switzerland). Yet despite its classification as a drug with a “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use,” people who struggle with substance abuse continue to seek out international clinics or underground providers to receive ibogaine treatment.

Over 30 fatalities temporally associated with the ingestion of Ibogaine have been reported in the published peer-reviewed scientific literature. Most were likely preventable with appropriate screening for medical conditions, eliminating access to abused substances by the patient during and immediately following treatment, assurance of adequate electrolyte status (particularly potassium and magnesium levels), stabilization of withdrawal from alcohol and benzodiazepines prior to ibogaine treatment, cardiac monitoring with the presence of ACLS certified personnel, IV access, preparation for recognition and management of bradycardia, and assurance of readiness to rapidly transport the patient to an emergency room.

More information about the risks and benefits of ibogaine treatment is available from the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance (GITA).

For the latest psychedelic research news, see MAPS in the Media.

Observational Studies of the Long-Term Efficacy of Ibogaine-Assisted Therapy