Drug addiction is difficult to overcome and withdrawal is often severe. For this reason, detoxification should always be supervised. Medical professionals experienced in overseeing drug detox often use medications to help a user have less severe withdrawal symptoms. Two of the more common medications used in drug detox facilities are methadone and suboxone. But a powerful illegal psychedelic called Ibogaine has been recently earning a reputation for aiding people in overcoming addictions to opiates, methamphetamines, alcohol, nicotine and other substances.
The use of this substance in treatment is polarizing. Some are avidly against its use because it is illegal and, because it is an intense psychedelic akin to LSD, the effects of Ibogaine can be dangerous. On the other hand, numerous anecdotal stories and some scientific studies have backed up the assertion that Ibogaine can work wonders for addicts. This positive potential outweighs the possible negative effects and legal repercussions of using the substance for some.
What is It, Exactly?
Ibogaine is a psychoactive substance that is derived from plants. While it is banned in some countries, it is embraced in other countries as a tool for addiction treatment. The drug is used as a part of spiritual rituals by the Bwiti in Africa, as its hallucinogenic qualities provide some users with a feeling of enlightenment. Typical side effects of Ibogaine use include loss of muscle control, nausea, vomiting and dry mouth. The use of the drug can potentially be lethal, causing deadly cardiac or respiratory complications.
How It Affects Treatment
It appears that one of the primary ways Ibogaine works in addiction treatment is through its psychological effect. Those who have achieved sobriety after using Ibogaine claim that the drug initiated hallucinations that encouraged introspection. Some people claim that the hallucinations helped them understand how they came to a place of addiction in the first place, aiding them in the exploration of their relationship with the respective substance and other personal issues that might have had an impact on their addiction.
Introspection is indeed a powerful tool, particularly in regard to addiction, but Ibogaine is an extreme method of reaching that mental state. However, studies on Ibogaine have demonstrated that lab mice voluntarily quit substances they had been addicted to, like morphine and alcohol, after receiving Ibogaine. Of course, more research is needed on Ibogaine’s use as a treatment medication before it ever has the potential to become a mainstream treatment but the nature of the drug and the risks associated with it make the prospect low. For instance, the mortality rate for Ibogaine is a staggering 1 in 300. Still, some addicts are desperate enough to travel to countries where the use of Ibogaine is not illegal so that they might seek alternative treatment for their addiction.
From the outside, this substance seems like a risky psychoactive substance that hasn’t earned its place in the field of addiction treatment. Nonetheless, the success stories of now-sober addicts are compelling. Perhaps the healing properties of Ibogaine are mostly placebo-based or perhaps it really does have the ability to neurologically alter users so that they are less susceptible to future drug use. Whatever the case, the jury is still out and the substance, which carries severe risks, will remain illegal in the U.S. until proven otherwise.