Ibogaine Treatment and the History of Psychedelic Medicine

Disclaimer: The below article was written and submitted by a guest blogger who works at an Ibogaine clinic called “Experience Ibogaine” and does not necessarily represent the views of Kill The Heroin Epidemic Nationwide, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers.  Ibogaine is a controversial treatment for drug and heroin addiction and is not currently legal in the United States.  This community does not endorse Ibogaine.  However, the individual below has provided some valuable & insightful information about Ibogaine from his perspective and why he feels it may be a viable treatment for drug addiction.

Ibogaine Treatment and the History of Psychedelic Medicine

Ibogaine TreatmentAlthough psychedelic drugs have been used since the beginning of time by various cultures, it wasn’t until the 1950’s, and the discovery of LSD, that scientists began studying these drugs much closer. These studies focused primarily on psychological and mental health disorders however it soon became apparent that these powerful drugs could have a future in treating addiction as well.

Current laws classify many of these drugs as Schedule 1, or having no medicinal value, which has made gathering adequate scientific data on many of these drugs very difficult.

But are these drugs really worthwhile for treating addiction?

1950’s and the Beginning of LSD Treatments

LSD began making its way into the psychological community in the 1950’s. During this time there were many various studies done on LSD.

In one such study Dr. Humphry Osmond treated around 2000 alcoholics, thinking the LSD would scare them straight. However, most of them did not have negative experiences and 40-45% of them had not gone back to drinking a year later. Good statistics for any alcohol treatment program.

However, by the mid 1960’s LSD was illegal and considered to have “no lasting effects” in drug and alcohol treatment. After it was made illegal, and the outlaw of many psychedelics following, few US studies have been conducted in the psychedelic drug realm.

Ayahuasca and Drug Treatment

One of the greatest modern minds in the field of addiction treatment is Gabor Maté. In 2010 he became very interested in a Peruvian plant called Ayahuasca. After attending Ayahuasca ceremonies himself he became a proponent of the use of Ayahuasca for treating addiction

He believes that Ayahuasca, in a shamanic setting, can open an individual up and help them find the “hurt” at the center of those behaviors. In this way the drug, like LSD, isn’t treating the physical addiction but helping the addict unravel the inner reasons for continuing those addictions.

But although these drugs treat addiction on an emotional or spiritual level, they don’t address the addiction on a physical level.

Ibogaine: Treatment for Addiction


Many people have heard of LSD, but few seem to have heard of Ayahuasca or Ibogaine. Ibogaine itself is a drug synthesized from the Tabernanthe Iboga plant that comes from Africa.

Like Ayahuasca, the Iboga plant has been used for centuries by natives in traditional tribal ceremonies.

However, Ibogaine itself has anti-addictive properties that went unnoticed for centuries.

In the 1960’s a young Howard Lotsof was interested in psychedelic drugs and received Ibogaine from a chemist he knew. Lotsof was a heroin addict at the time and been unable to free himself from his addiction.

He took the Ibogaine and, after the effects had worn off, he realized something—he no longer had any cravings for heroin.

No withdrawal, no cravings, he seemed to no longer be addicted to heroin.

Being curious he gave the Ibogaine to a few of his heroin addicted friends.

The results were the same.

Howard Lotsof spent the rest of his life studying Ibogaine and addiction.

Why Ibogaine Treatment?


Ibogaine has a similar psychedelic experience to LSD and Ayahuasca. These drugs can help the addict find new meanings and dig deeper into the reasons they have become addicts.

However, Ibogaine also works in the brain, binding to neurotransmitters that cause addiction, and placing the addict in a pre-addicted state.

This means, in many cases, that the addict has little or no withdrawals from their addiction.

Does this make Ibogaine a cure all? Not in any way. The decision still lies in the hands of the addict to make that choice for themselves. However, if we could eliminate withdrawals of an addict, would it give them a greater chance of having a successful drug treatment?

Many would say yes.

However, Ibogaine, like LSD and Ayahuasca, is illegal in the US. This is why many Ibogaine centers have sprouted up in Canada and Mexico where Ibogaine is currently not a regulated drug.

The Future for Ibogaine and Psychedelic Drugs

Currently, a drug called 18-MC, an Iboga alkaloid, is being developed in order to offer the anti-addictive properties found in Ibogaine without the psychedelic experience. This drug has just been FDA approved for testing.

What will be interesting is seeing the outcome of such a drug. Does the psychedelic experience of Ibogaine add to the probability of the patient having long-term success? Or will a drug that can eliminate addiction with nothing more than a pill be all we need to curb the ever increasing drug epidemic? Hopefully, time will tell.

But one thing is for sure, whatever we can do to safely and effectively treat addiction should be tried and tested. Human life is too high a cost.

About the Author of This Article


Aeden Smith-Ahearn is the Treatment Coordinator for Experience Ibogaine, a drug rehab facility based around Ibogaine. As a young heroin addict he tried many traditional forms of rehab, but nothing ever worked long-term. Desperate to change he took a chance on Ibogaine and has been drug free ever since. Now, Aeden works with drug addicts to help them change their lives with Ibogaine.

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Written by By Aeden Smith, Guest Blogger and Treatment Coordinator For Experience Ibogaine

Published by William Charles, Founder/Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

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3 thoughts on “Ibogaine Treatment and the History of Psychedelic Medicine

  1. Ya know, I don’t think 18MC will be enough to curb the addiction problem. From my own experience with entheogens I know that a big part of the experience is the visionary property. This seems to actually be where the “real medicine” actually is. People not having the urge to use opiates is helpful and important, so 18MC is good for that, but it needs to be a complete shift if it’s going to last, right?

    It seems like what needs to happen is for Iboga and ibogaine to just become legit and be available to everyone. Until that happens I guess we’re stuck going to mexico for this treatment. ibogaine seems to be amazing from what I can see in the reviews. It helps people on a physical and a spiritual level, so it’s more complete.

  2. Pingback: Can Ibogaine Be Used To Fight Suboxone Addiction? - Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide

  3. Great article, I enjoyed reading your post on ibogaine. As a recovering addict, I know how helpful the drug can be, however, I do know that there are some people who are against it as it can be dangerous. I’ve been doing research on ibogaine addiction treatments and the pros and cons of this type of treatment.

    Should anyone else be interested to see how this would help others here’s the page I looked at (removed)

    Hopefully, this information can assist someone (friends and families) in choosing the best recovery treatments.

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