What Is Ibogaine Used to Treat?


Quick Answer

Ibogaine is potentially able to treat drug addiction, reports the Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS. As of June 2015, the long-term effects remain unknown. As of 2015, Ibogaine has a mortality rate of 1 in 300, by some estimates, primarily due to liver problems, bradycardia or other conditions.

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Full Answer

Ibogaine is described by MAPS as a psychoactive alkaloid that occurs in iboga, a West African shrub. While in small doses ibogaine acts as a mild stimulant, in large doses it triggers a psychedelic state. It traditionally appears in West Africa as part of the Bwiti religion, which uses ibogaine in healing ceremonies and member initiations. It is believed that ibogaine reduces symptoms of opiate withdrawal and may alleviate or eliminate cravings.

Ibogaine's purported ability to treat substance addiction was discovered in 1962, according to DrugWarFacts.org. A 19-year-old heroin addict, Howard Lotsof, observed with his friends that ibogaine failed to produce the euphoric high they were seeking and instead alleviated the cravings. Over the next six months, he and the majority of his group of friends quit heroin, cocaine and other drugs, which has been attributed to their initial dose of ibogaine. In 1986, Lotsof founded NDA International and began distributing ibogaine to heroin addicts in Holland.

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