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    ibogaine substance use disorders

    Ibogaine for the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders


    Underground ibogaine use for the treatment of substance use disorders: A qualitative analysis of subjective experiences

    Borja J. Rodríguez-Cano, Maja Kohek, Genís Oña, Miguel Ángel Alcázar-Córcoles, Rafael G. dos Santos, Jaime E. C. Hallak, and José Carlos Bouso.

    Drug and Alcohol Review



    About the study

    The aim of this study was to explore underground ibogaine use for the treatment of substance use disorders. It provides an understanding of the underlying psychological aspects of treatment and its effects on this condition from the perspective of people who took it at least once in their life.

    According to the experiences of the participants, the hallucinogenic effects caused by ibogaine gave them a sense of agency and the chance to break the cycle of substance use by reducing or eliminating withdrawal symptoms and cravings and facilitating psychological insights.
    The anti-addictive effects of ibogaine seem to be related not only to its complex pharmacology but also the subjective experience. The main aspects  seem to be related to memories of the past and valuable personal insights, helping individuals to confront their disorder in a more comprehensive way.



    Introduction: Ibogaine is one of the alkaloids naturally found in plants such as Tabernanthe iboga, which has been traditionally used by members of the Bwiti culture. Since the discovery of its anti-addictive properties by Howard S. Lotsof in 1962, ibogaine has been used experimentally to treat substance use disorders (SUD), especially those involving opioids. We aim to provide a detailed understanding of the underlying psychological aspects of underground ibogaine use for the treatment of SUD.

    Methods: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 13 participants with SUD, which motivated their self-treatment with ibogaine. The data were analysed using the grounded theory approach and considered the context of the treatment, and the nature of the occurring hallucinogenic and cognitive phenomena during the treatment experience.

    Results: We identified several psychological effects that the study respondents experienced, which seem to play a substantial role in the therapeutic process concerning SUD. The evoking of interpersonal and transpersonal experiences, autobiographical memories, and preparation, integration and motivation for a lifestyle change are important components that participants reported during and after ibogaine intake.

    Discussion and Conclusion: Ibogaine is increasingly being used for the treatment of SUD, due in part to the limited treatment options currently available. Its beneficial effects seem to be related not only to its complex pharmacology but also to the subjective experience that ibogaine induces. The main aspects of this experience are related to autobiographical memories and valuable personal insights, which together appear to help individuals cope with their SUD.


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    Categories: Studies & papers , Iboga and ibogaine
    Tags: scientific research , study , Tabernanthe iboga , psychedelics , hallucinogens , addiction treatment , substance use disorders