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    bob sisko ibogaine

    Honoring the Life of Bob Sisko & His Impact on the Ibogaine Movement

    Igor Domsac | August 22, 2022

    Ibogaine activist and entrepreneur, Robert Rand (also known as Bob Sisko) was one of the pioneers of the early ibogaine movement in the 1970s. He recently passed away at the age of 75 after a battle with liver cancer. To honor his memory, ICEERS spoke with his son Noah Rand and important figures who knew Sisko during different stages of life.

    “If he did have last words, they would’ve been ‘may the Bwiti be with you forever in your mind, body, and soul,'” Rand said of his father.

    According to Boaz Wachtel, an entrepreneur and environmental activist from Israel, Sisko took a stand against reactionary and racist forces that tried to keep ibogaine inaccessible to the people. He also mentioned Sisko acted as a mentor to him and many others. Wachtel said, “Bob Sisko was an agent of public health change. He dedicated his life and money to spreading the ibogaine medicine. Without him, there probably would not have been an ibogaine movement or dozens of clinics saving lives each day around the world.”

    An Ibogaine Legend

    The ability of ibogaine to interrupt substance use disorder was first discovered by Howard Lotsof in 1962. Lotsof was having habitual experiences with heroin and organized a group that met occasionally in New York City to study the effects of various psychoactive drugs.1 In 1985, Lotsof was granted the first in a series of patents on ibogaine for dependency on cocaine, heroin, alcohol, amphetamine, methadone, nicotine, and other substances.2

    Despite these efforts, Lotsof was unable to obtain ibogaine after 1963 due to intervention by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The United States classified ibogaine as a Schedule I drug which made it illegal in 1967. However, many other countries kept ibogaine available by prescription. After Lotsof and Sisko met with President Omar Bongo and his science advisor Dr. Jean-Noel Gassitta in Gabon in 1987, Sisko began conducting human trials with over twenty people to help verify Lotsof’s findings.

    Sisko was a vocal activist for human rights and mental health. He ran the American Clemency Committee, organized Rock Against Racism concerts, and led the Citizens Against Heroin movement in the 1980s.3 He created the International Coalition for Addict Self-Help (ICASH) in the Netherlands to provide ibogaine treatment for opioid dependence, which gave rise to ibogaine medical tourism.2,4

    Sisko was able to quit tobacco and cocaine after working with ibogaine.5 In the documentary Ibogaine in the 90s, Bob Sisko was asked in front of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “How long did it take you to get off cocaine?” He replied, “48 hours.” Sisko also reported taking ibogaine was instrumental in his quitting tobacco.5 These experiences inspired him to conduct treatment sessions with this medicine.

    Over the years Sisko examined the therapeutic potential of ibogaine, how it influenced people’s experiences, and ways to counteract adverse effects. He wrote about these treatments in the book: Interrupting Drug Dependency: A Summary of Nine Case Histories. In 2010, he produced ibogaine according to Good Manufacturing Practices to conduct clinical trials. He proposed a study where the FDA would approve ibogaine to alleviate symptoms of opiate withdrawal.6

    While Sisko reported that, “ibogaine is significantly more effective at interrupting substance abuse disorders and providing a complete reset, than anything else that presently exists,” he was well aware that it was not a cure for all problems.7 He said, “contrary to sensationalist claims found in popular media, it is not a ‘cure’ for addiction, but is an ‘addiction interrupter’ that is particularly useful for facilitating detoxification.” He believed that success should not be determined by someone being “drug-free” but rather if they can control their relationship with these substances or not.8

    Sisko’s Farewell

    Bob Sisko’s life was celebrated in an online ceremony organized by Dana Beal, a social and political activist best known for his efforts to legalize cannabis and promote the benefits of ibogaine. Beal said, “The Ibogaine Project would not have succeeded without Bob Sisko, because you needed somebody to be in there working on it constantly… Without him, the movement would not have happened.”

    Sisko’s son Noah shared tales of his father’s vast collection of friends and worldly travels, including hitchhiking through much of the USA. Noah said, “His heart was always in Gabon, with the Bwiti, and he was a religious man and he believed in ibogaine.” According to Noah, his father’s dream was for ibogaine to be an available treatment option worldwide.

    Bob Sisko was a pivotal figure in the exploration of the therapeutic potential of ibogaine. His work has made a large impression on the drug policy movement. He will be greatly missed. May the future of ibogaine treatment make Bob Sisko’s quest for public access to this medicine a reality.


    1. Alper, K. R., & Lotsof, H. S. (2007). The use of ibogaine in the treatment of addictions. In: Winkelman, W. J., & Roberts, T. B. (Eds.): Psychedelic Medicine. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, pp 43-66.
    2. Sisko, B. (1993). Interrupting Drug Dependency With Ibogaine: A Summary of Four Case Histories. Newsletter of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. MAPS, Volume 4, Number 2, Summer 1993.
    3. Ibogaine Fund. Supporting the Livelihood of the Pioneers in Iboga Research. Retrieved August 12, 2022.
    4. Anderson, K. (2019). Ibogaine and Related Compounds: Safety and Effectiveness., November 4, 2019. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
    5. De Rienzo, P., & Beal, D. (1997). The Ibogaine Story: Report on the Staten Island Project. New York: Autonomedia.
    6. Smith, P. (2010). Feature: Ibogaine Forum 2010 — Mourning the Movement’s “Tare,” Celebrating New Hopes for Research and Development., March 12, 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2022.>/span>
    7. Kroupa, P. K. (2017). Encod Bulletin 145. ENCOD, December 1, 2017. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
    8. Brown, T. K. (2013). Ibogaine in the treatment of substance dependence. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, 6(1), 3-16.

    Categories: NEWS , Iboga and ibogaine , Iboga and ibogaine
    Tags: ibogaine , drug policy , Tabernanthe iboga , drug dependence , addiction treatment