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Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:57 PM

Can a hallucinogen from Africa cure addiction? (BBC)

By Stephanie Hegarty
BBC World Service

Since the 1960s a disparate group of scientists and former drug addicts have been advocating a radical treatment for addiction - a hallucinogen called ibogaine, derived from an African plant, that in some cases seems to obliterate withdrawal symptoms from heroin, cocaine and alcohol. So why isn't it widely used?
***
Jeewa estimates he has treated around 1,000 people with ibogaine but it remains largely unacknowledged by the medical mainstream.

The drug, derived from the root of a central African plant called iboga, had been used for centuries by the Bwiti people of Gabon and Cameroon, as part of a tribal initiation ceremony.

But it wasn't until 1962, when a young heroin addict called Howard Lotsof stumbled upon ibogaine, that its value as an addiction treatment was uncovered.

Lotsof took it to get high but when the hallucinogenic effects wore off, he realised he no longer had the compulsion to take heroin. He became convinced that he had found the solution to addiction and dedicated much of his life to promoting ibogaine as a treatment.

***
more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17666589




So ... there's a possible cure for addiction that's been known for fifty years, but it hasn't been subjected to much in the way of controlled scientific studies ? Gee, here I thought there was some kind of "war" on drugs.

26 replies, 2552 views

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Arrow 26 replies Author Time Post
Reply Can a hallucinogen from Africa cure addiction? (BBC) (Original post)
eppur_se_muova Apr 2012 OP
get the red out Apr 2012 #1
madokie Apr 2012 #3
Lionessa Apr 2012 #2
EOTE Apr 2012 #5
eppur_se_muova Apr 2012 #26
aquart Apr 2012 #4
EOTE Apr 2012 #6
Duer 157099 Apr 2012 #8
slampoet Apr 2012 #7
Taverner Apr 2012 #9
Joe Shlabotnik Apr 2012 #13
cthulu2016 Apr 2012 #16
JNelson6563 Apr 2012 #10
stevenleser Apr 2012 #11
Aerows Apr 2012 #12
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #14
Zorra Apr 2012 #15
cthulu2016 Apr 2012 #17
duhneece Apr 2012 #18
drokhole Apr 2012 #19
Bluenorthwest Apr 2012 #20
otohara Apr 2012 #21
Teejate Apr 2012 #22
ScreamingMeemie Apr 2012 #23
drokhole Apr 2012 #24
eppur_se_muova Apr 2012 #25

Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:59 PM

1. As well as the war on drugs

Addicts wouldn't have to suffer enough with a drug that worked like that. There is an underlying need to have the "bad" people suffer to be well in our society.

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Response to get the red out (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:02 PM

3. +1

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:02 PM

2. It doesn't have to be from Africa, LSD has many similar studies, as does

 

Ecstasy, though I don't think the latter is exactly a hallucinogen.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:11 PM

5. LSD/MDMA won't do anything to kick withdrawal symptoms.

Ibogaine/Iboga does. It does seem like there are a number of entheogens which help to change one's mindset regarding addiction and a number of them seem to set people on a path where they want to change their lives. However, the physical effects of withdrawal can often prevent people from kicking their addiction. Iboga/Ibogaine seems to actually "reset" the addict's brain, bringing it to a state as it existed prior to the addiction. It's an absolutely amazing entheogen. Then again, I think most entheogens are fairly amazing.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:04 PM

4. I really need to know the other side effects of this hallucinogen.

But it's interesting.

And, of course, HOW DOES IT WORK?

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Response to aquart (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:13 PM

6. Well, with a flood dose, such as is required to kick major addictions...

you can expect to have an incredibly powerful hallucinogenic trip for sometimes more than 24 hours. Beyond the initial experience, there doesn't seem to be any negative side effects.

I think scientists are still rather fuzzy on how the substance works, but over the course of the experience, the chemical seems to "reset" an addict's brain. It's truly incredible stuff.

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Response to aquart (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:29 PM

8. Good question: how does it work?

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1995 Apr;118(4):369-76.
Receptor binding profile suggests multiple mechanisms of action are responsible for ibogaine's putative anti-addictive activity.
Sweetnam PM, Lancaster J, Snowman A, Collins JL, Perschke S, Bauer C, Ferkany J.
Source

Novascreen, Oceanix Biosciences, Hanover, MD 21214, USA.
Abstract

The indole alkaloid ibogaine (NIH 10567, Endabuse) is currently being examined for its potential utility in the treatment of cocaine and opioid addiction. However, a clearly defined molecular mechanism of action for ibogaine's putative anti-addictive properties has not been delineated. Radioligand binding assays targeting over 50 distinct neurotransmitter receptors, ion channels, and select second messenger systems were employed to establish a broad in vitro pharmacological profile for ibogaine. These studies revealed that ibogaine interacted with a wide variety of receptors at concentrations of 1-100 microM. These included the mu, delta, kappa, opiate, 5HT2, 5HT3, and muscarinic1 and 2 receptors, and the dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin uptake sites. In addition, ibogaine interacted with N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) associated ion and sodium ion channels as determined by the inhibition of MK-801 and bactrachotoxin A 20-alpha-benzoate binding (BTX-B), respectively. This broad spectrum of activity may in part be responsible for ibogaine's putative anti-addictive activity.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:21 PM

7. I first heard this in 1989.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:29 PM

9. Better keep it away from Edwin Muskie

 

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Response to Taverner (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 07:03 PM

13. HA! my 1st thought was fear and loathing on the campaign trail '72 n/t

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Response to Taverner (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 07:27 PM

16. Damn! beat me to it

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:34 PM

10. I know an opiate addict who could use this.

As with many addicts treatment is beyond their reach (financially) and the hell of going it alone is worse than the hell of addiction so the addiction rages on.

It's very sad to see this stuff get someone within it's grasp and squeeze the very life out of them.

Julie

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:37 PM

11. LSD seems to work too from what I have read. I wonder if this is a general property of hallucinogens

The below link only talks about alcohol but I wonder if like ibogaine it is more widely useful

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2111687/LSD-alcohol-Trials-59-problem-drinkers-improve-single-dose-hallucinogen.html

Can LSD cure alcoholism? Trials show 59 per cent of problem drinkers improve after a single dose of powerful hallucinogen
By Ted Thornhill

Several decades ago, a number of clinics used LSD to treat alcoholism with some success.

But until now, no research has pulled together the results of these trials to document exactly how effective LSD was.

Now a new analysis of randomised controlled trials of the drug provides evidence for a clear and consistent beneficial effect of LSD for treating alcohol dependency.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:42 PM

12. PhrMa is a blight

on the landscape of medical treatment. It started as a benevolent organization, but has become malevolent in the search for wealth.

You have people involved that will literally do *anything* for wealth and would gladly watch millions suffer or die so that they maintain their high end lifestyle.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 07:10 PM

14. This would destroy the addiction treatment biz..

It'll never be allowed on the market, far too many people will lose far too much money.

Follow the money, always.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 07:25 PM

15. But..but...the illegal opium trade is a huge transnational commercial conglomerate!

Billions upon billions of dollars in profit would be lost if the heroin market were to collapse.

And what about the law enforcement, corrections, pharmaceutical, and industries related to them, that would also suffer significant losses in revenue/profit?

Geez, do the math, you sillies.

Do we really want to cut profits for these job creators just for the sake of curing a bunch of worthless junkies?
bitterest

Occupy



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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 07:31 PM

17. maybe hallucinogens are like ECT

The effect of electro-convulsive therapy is essentially a re-boot and people sometimes get the same effects from brain trauma from accidents or strokes.

I can imagine a really good hallucinogen, like pure acid, disrupting the normal mode of brain activity enough to have a similar effect.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 11:27 AM

18. Wouldn't it be great if we treated addiction from a public health perspective

instead of from a criminal perspective?

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 12:21 PM

19. Glad this is getting the attention it deserves. A MUST-WATCH DOCUMENTARY...

...that's gut-wrenching, but well worth it:

Detox or Die

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4


Part 5


(He takes the treatment around the 4:00 mark of Part 4...but it's worth watching the whole thing to get an idea of the horrors of addiction. That includes addiction to methodone - which is the current prescribed treatment for heroin!)

Also, a great news report on the topic (features Dr. Deborah Mash, as mentioned in the OP article):

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 12:30 PM

20. Well ibogaine therapy did wonders for someone I know....

And I mean wonders. In a few short days.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 02:53 PM

22. I've Taken Ibogaine - Kids...Don't Try This At Home

As one who has taken ibogaine, in a controlled setting and under supervision which is the ONLY way one should approach this experience, I do believe that is has the properties to 'heal.' That said, it is not a magic pill. The outcome still relies on the commitment of the user.

My experience was more of a spiritual journey than an addiction 'cure.' In North America there are reputable facilities in Canada and Mexico that treat patients for addiction and a great many scattered throughout the world. The success rate is considerably higher than any other form of treatment but, again, it is not a magic pill and the treatment or "trip" is so intense it can be detrimental to a person whose body may already be weakened from substance abuse.

Ibogaine is a derivative of the iboga plant which is used as a sacrament amongst some African tribes. The method of ingestion needs to be controlled and executed by someone who really knows how it works. The trip itself is unlike anything I ever have or will experience. Ibogaine is a one time thing because not only is the idea of going through the very arduous physical journey unappealing but the lessons you learn should last a lifetime.

In my case, I was on my back for about 12 hours in a hallucinogenic state that I was unable to control. It is, quite literally, like watching a movie that doesn't go away. Typically the user will see 'scenes' from their life that are incredibly vivid and clear albeit representational and symbolic. A typical reaction is that these scenes will 'loop' so you're seeing the same sequence over and over. You are barely able to move and walk the line between being a passive observer and still somehow 'in' the moment. But the ibogaine is always in control.

The journey is intended to show you the areas of your life that need addressing. Other than the first 20 or 30 minutes when you begin the trip, which is overwhelmingly beautiful, this is NOT a drug you take for pleasure. Your mind goes to a place that is truly frightening for many and for all...it's very hard work. I slept for about 15 hours after I finally came down and was shaky for a day and a half afterwards.

What I will say is that following the journey your body feels clean. Ridiculously clean. Ibogaine resets the drug receptors in the body so the patient who was addicted doesn't physically need the drug. They are given a window of opportunity that can last weeks in which they can make the emotional commitment to stay clean.

There is work underway that is trying to separate the visual effects of the ibogaine so just the elements that effect the drug receptors is kept intact. I believe the visual component is actually necessary as it lays the emotional groundwork moving forward. Years after my experience many of the images are imprinted in my memory and always will be.

Of course, anything that provides an emotional experience like ibogaine will never be approved in the U.S. It is classified as a Class 1 substance, right along the evil weed marijuana, and despite the recent findings about the beneficial properties of psyllocibin, I can't see a day that this type of treatment will be accepted.

That said, I've seen it work on hardcore addicts. I've seen them given a new start and if they commitment is there it can truly and resolutely change lives.

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Response to Teejate (Reply #22)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 03:33 PM

23. That was fascinating to read.

Thanks for sharing. Welcome to DU!

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Response to Teejate (Reply #22)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 03:55 PM

24. Thanks for sharing, and for highlighting some incredibly important points!

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Response to Teejate (Reply #22)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 07:00 PM

25. Thanks for the personal perspective -- once again, I'm amazed at the diversity of voices on DU.

(Especially as opposed to what I find living in a thoroughly red state ...)

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