Just because something is naturally occurring, such as Ibogaine, doesn't mean that companies can't extract the active ingredients from it and create
a drug that can be patented. In fact there is already a patented drug on the market:
Ibogaine is a psychoactive alkaloid obtained from the root of the shrub Tabernanthe iboga, found in Gabon.
Like many natural psychedelics (peyote, mescal, psilocybin) it has been used, historically, in religious contexts. In this case it is central to the
Bwiti rituals of the Fang tribe in Gabon.
But ibogaine is also now used as a medication to ease drug withdrawal. This use is credited to an American named Howard Lotsof. A former heroin
addict, Lotsof took ibogaine in 1962 as a recreational hallucinogen. To his surprise he found its effect was also to stall his cravings for heroin.
Twenty years later he founded a company, NDA International, took out a patent and started to research the drug's potential as a therapy for
By this time ibogaine had been made a Schedule 1 restricted substance in the US. Lotsof conducted his experiments in Holland, always more liberal in
this area. In partnership with Jan Bastiaans, a Dutch psychotherapist, he spent the Nineties working with volunteers.
Events turned against him. A young woman died during treatment and, though the NDA team was not implicated, too little was known about ibogaine and it
was difficult to establish an actual cause of death. This was followed by funding problems for official trials being conducted at the University of
In London a dose administered under supervision costs about £500. Private clinics have also been founded in countries where it is legally available
(such as St Kitts and Mexico), but prices for these treatments range from £1,000 to £9,000. One study of ibogaine describes its chemistry as
'awesome'. Certainly, useful research has been done on how it interacts with the serotogenic systems which modulate control.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
So people are using the drug for treatment, and it appears to work in many cases.
This article is a truly fascinating description of a trip
by a guy who
was cured of his long term crack addiction by it.
The trip descriptions I have read remind me of A Christmas Carol, where scrooge is shown how things are, with the pain and loathing he causes, to how
things could be if he was a better person. The guy in the article above has just such an experience, though it seems to be his own mind that is
showing him these things, rather than a ghost.
I've been reading about this substance for a while now and find it very interesting. I can also see why many mainstream researchers shy away from
it though, as it a "uncontrollable" treatment in many ways, and lack of control is something scientists and Drs hate.