Ibogaine is a compound that is found in a mid-sized shrub known as Tabernanthe iboga, which is native to central-west Africa. Early research and anecdotal evidence suggests that the compound may be used to decrease symptoms of alcohol and drug withdrawal, reduce the risk of recurrent use and ease cravings.
The Bwiti religion, practiced in West Central Africa (especially in Gabon, Cameroon as well as the Republic of Congo), uses various parts of the shrub for certain religious (such as during coming of age rituals and welcoming initiates into the religion) and healing purposes, as it possesses anesthetic properties. For example, the shrub’s leaves can be used as an aphrodisiac while the root bark and the roots can be used to reduce fever, increase sexual behavior or arousal and restore good health. It can also be used to numb pain.
Experts believe that the compound could be a good alternative treatment for various indications including addiction, neuropsychiatric conditions, depression and alcohol use disorder. However, it is still classified as a Schedule I substance in the United States, which means that the compound is not approved for medical use and is illegal in the country.
Countries that have classified ibogaine as a pharmaceutical substance that can be used by licensed medical professionals include New Zealand, South Africa and Brazil.
Below, we look at what research on the use of ibogaine in treating addiction has found so far and the risks associated with its use.
What has research discovered about the substance?
In the 1980s, the compound was extremely popular in the U.S. and Europe as a nonaddictive treatment option for drug dependency. In the 1990s, various studies on the substance as an addiction treatment were conducted.
Thus far, research has found that, while in large doses ibogaine can cause hallucinations, it can be used as a mild stimulant in small doses. Ibogaine in larger doses can also affect neurochemical pathways in a way that may block substance cravings and decrease opioid withdrawal symptoms.
In addition to this, some studies suggest that the substance changes the addiction-related pathways between nerve cells in the brain, with some researching indicating that it may also influence signaling in the regions in the brain that play a role in the behavioral effects of addictive drugs. A 2017 study funded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies found that the use of ibogaine in treating drug addiction resulted in decreased subsequent drug use in individuals who had found other treatment options to be ineffective and improved symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
What are some of the risks of ibogaine use?
Without the supervision of a trained professional, ibogaine has the potential to cause convulsions, paralysis and death from heart failure or respiratory failure. With that in mind, ibogaine has shown potential in the treatment of various indications, as more studies on the substance are conducted. However, it is advised that individuals refrain from purchasing or using ibogaine without the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional.
The potential of ibogaine to treat a number of mental health conditions has prompted companies such as Mind Cure Health Inc. (CSE: MCUR) (OTCQB: MCURF) to invest in researching the substance to the extent of developing a pharmaceutical-grade synthetic version (https://ibn.fm/s2Pdh).
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Mind Cure Health Inc. (CSE: MCUR) (OTCQB: MCURF) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/MCURF
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