November 11, 2021

May 12, 2021

Ibogaine: Is it the Best Solution for Addiction?

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Opiate addiction is a global crisis. 

Opiates refer to controlled prescription drugs derived from opium, a naturally-occurring chemical found in various plants and seeds. Used to treat pain, these drugs have a high rate of abuse that can result in addiction. 

It is believed that nearly 1 percent of people who are prescribed these pain killers end up developing an addiction. This might sound like a low number but it runs into millions considering nearly 300 million of these prescriptions are written in the US alone (per year).

In fact, in 2019, approximately 50,000 people in the US died from opioid-related overdoses. The situation has been worsening and the medical and pharmaceutical communities are struggling to find solutions to this problem. 

Recently, ibogaine has come out as a promising solution to opiate addiction. In this article, we’ll talk about ibogaine including the benefits and risks associated with using it to fight addiction.

What is Ibogaine?

Derived from iboga, a West African shrub, ibogaine is a psychedelic substance that has historically been used to treat a variety of illnesses, including depression. Ibogaine isn’t new to the world of medicine and has been used since the 1860s.

While it is yet to be approved for treatment by the Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada, it’s being used to treat opiate addiction in some parts of the world. 

Ibogaine itself is classified as a Schedule I drug in the US and is on the Prescription Drug List in Canada due to its potential for abuse and the lack of research. However, research into ibogaine is becoming more available as MINDCURE is developing pharmaceutical grade ibogaine for research and clinical use.

Using Ibogaine to Treat Addiction

The understanding of ibogaine is developing. The drug is known to produce stimulating effects when in small doses and can reduce pain, which is often the root cause of opiate use. However, unmonitored and unregulated large doses can have serious consequences without the supervision of treatment professionals, and for people with existing cardio vascular issues, ibogaine use can lead to cardiac arrest.

According to the neuroscience book series, Progress in Brain Research, small doses of iboga root bark can trigger euphoria and a dose of 5 mg/kg of a person’s weight can cause stimulatory effects. Increasing the dose can launch a visual phase that can last up to 4 hours followed by a deep, introspective stage that can give patients valuable insights into their behaviors. 

Alternatively, in a clinical setting, researchers believe that administering large doses of ibogaine can help fight cravings and addiction for those fighting opiate addiction.

Dr. Bryce Pardo, a cannabis and opioid researcher suggests that, “The benefits of treating opioid use disorder with ibogaine would be immense.” He admits, however, that, “From time to time you hear stories that, in patients with existing CVD, it can cause death.”

What Does Science Say?

Research on the topic of ibogaine is ongoing. US Federal agencies allocated more than $700 million to ibogaine-related projects between 2008 and 2018.

A Mexican team of researchers studied 30 individuals seeking ibogaine-based treatment for opiate abuse and found these results:

  • Around 33% relapsed in less than 30 days
  • Around 60% relapsed in less than two months
  • Around 80% relapsed in less than six months
  • 20% made it past the six month mark without requiring any aftercare
  • Slightly over 1% (4 individuals) went above the one year mark after a single treatment

According to the team, ibogaine can temporary pause on it. This can give people struggling with addiction the opportunity to begin healing. Additionally, a team of researchers found that the use of ibogaine can lead to the resolution of patients’ opioid withdrawal syndrome within two days. 

Researchers acknowledge that ibogaine as a medicine is not sufficient in treating addiction, but could benefit psychotherapy. One study that consisted of 75 patients found ibogaine to be effective when used with psychotherapy. However, most researchers agree that information on the topic is scarce and more research is needed to determine the efficacy and safety of ibogaine treatment.

Ibogaine is one of the more promising points of hope in this massive crisis. Check out how MINDCURE is helping to bring ibogaine research and treatment to life by manufacturing ibogaine for research and clinical use.

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