Ibogaine is a compound with psychoactive and medicinal properties. It can be found in several different plants, including Africa’s Tabernanthe iboga. Ibogaine is used in traditional cultural ceremonies in some parts of West Africa where its psychoactive and medicinal qualities have been prized for thousands of years.
Thanks to an accidental “discovery” of ibogaine by an American struggling with addiction, ibogaine is becoming the subject of much curiosity throughout the modern world. As some treatment centers in different parts of the world offer addicts ibogaine treatment for their addictions, it is becoming more popular. Ibogaine’s newly discovered popularity rests in its identity as a natural treatment option for people addicted to substances such as alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, and opioids—one that’s actually effective against both addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
However, despite ibogaine’s amazing and, frankly, unique ability to treat addiction and withdrawal, it remains illegal in the United States, and its legal status varies from place to place. This post includes, a brief overview of the legality of ibogaine, so you can understand your options as you consider where you can seek ibogaine treatment.
Effective, Yet Still Illegal
Research from the world’s foremost scientific expert on ibogaine, Dr. Mash proves that ibogaine treats addiction effectively. In fact, one of Dr. Mash’s studies revealed that a single 500 to 800 mg dose of ibogaine significantly decreased cravings and depressed symptoms in 27 cocaine and opioid addicts. Other research indicates that most patients can avoid relapsing within two months of ibogaine treatment.
However, ibogaine remains illegal in many countries. Why?
The typical stated reason is potential harm. For people with certain preexisting heart issues, high doses can cause heart failure. However, with medical supervision, this isn’t a serious risk. Therefore, it’s more probably the enduring “war on drugs culture” and ibogaine’s hallucinogenic properties that have rendered the treatment taboo, much like cannabis, magic mushrooms, and LSD, which also have medicinal properties for some patients.
Fortunately, if you need ibogaine treatment, you still have many options. Many countries do not have a specific prohibition against ibogaine, so treatment centers who offer it remain in the clear. Here are some details on where ibogaine is legal—and where it isn’t specifically prohibited
Where is Ibogaine Legal?
Be choosy and cautious shopping around for an ibogaine treatment center. A good ibogaine treatment center should always be extremely safety conscious, providing medical supervision and adhering to clinical guidelines, even when that’s not required by the local law.
Brazil. It is legal to possess and distribute ibogaine in Brazil. In Sao Paolo, the capital city, ibogaine must be administered in a medical environment according to the law. That environment must have adequate patient protections.
Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, ibogaine was legal until the near-term past. There are ibogaine treatment centers here, some with better reputations than others; the ibogaine industry in Costa Rica is no longer legal as of 2018, and completely unregulated as treatment has been driven underground..
Gabon. Gabon lies on the west coast of central Africa and is the spiritual origin point for ibogaine. The national law of Gabon protects iboga plants, and for any export of the plants, government approval is necessary.
Guatemala. It is legal to treat with ibogaine in Guatemala, and there is a treatment center in Antigua, a town not far from Guatemala City where many English speaking people go to learn Spanish.
Mexico. In Mexico, ibogaine is legal but unregulated. For this reason Mexico is a popular spot for treatment centers, but there is a lot of variation from one place to the next.
Netherlands. The Netherlands does not specifically prohibit ibogaine, so there are various treatment centers available. As in Mexico, the range of possibilities along with the lack of regulation means it is very important to vet your options carefully.
New Zealand. Ibogaine can be obtained by prescription in New Zealand. For this reason, you can go to ibogaine treatment centers in New Zealand that offer you ibogaine prescriptions with the supervision of a medical professional.
South Africa. Ibogaine is legal in South Africa. The South African government has instituted a licensure procedure for those who wish to distribute ibogaine, so there is some regulation.
Ibogaine is completely illegal in the following countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, the UK, and the United States. Ibogaine’s status is uncertain in Australia, Canada, and Israel.
Is Ibogaine Legal in the United States?
Since 1970, ibogaine has been listed as a schedule I drug in the US. “Schedule I” is part of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) paradigm for regulating and controlling substances, in part based on potential for abuse. A schedule I classification includes “drugs, substances, or chemicals defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Ironically, schedule I includes not only ibogaine—which has been proven by researchers to have medical use—but also cannabis and LSD, also proven to have medical utility, and peyote, which has important cultural value to some groups.
However, the schedule I classification stands for now. It is also unlikely to change anytime soon. This means that in the US it’s illegal to possess or distribute ibogaine, and there are not any ibogaine treatment centers stateside—at least not any that are operating legally.
Why does the US government see ibogaine, with its high success rate for treating addiction, in the same category as opiates—especially when addiction to drugs like opiates is at such crisis levels in our country? There are probably several reasons.
First, in order to work, ibogaine treatment includes a large psychoactive healing dose. That dose comes along with a 24 to 48 hour long psychoactive “drug trip,” or what seems like one. In a culture like ours, which has artificially built up its anti-drug fervor to such an extent, these psychedelic side effects are lumped in together with all “trips” as unhealthy, destructive behavior.
More importantly, however, ibogaine grows in plant form. It doesn’t take a lot of processing to create, because it’s natural, and this means there’s no money in a patent for either the substance itself or a process for creating it. No pharmaceutical company in the US can make money from it, and that has stalled any advocacy on its behalf; most new treatments in the US get pushed forward by those who have financial interests in them.
In addition, ibogaine treatment is a one time thing for most patients. Compare this to the methadone strategy, which creates addicts who need methadone for life. If you’re a company who makes methadone, it’s great business to keep that demand coming. Ibogaine doesn’t create its own constant customer base like methadone does, so it doesn’t support lucrative treatment center and pharmaceutical treadmills.
Finally, some still allege that ibogaine treatment is dangerous. However, there is no question that opiate addiction and even alcoholism is far more dangerous on the numbers. Any medical treatment comes with some risk. With the proper medical supervision, the inherent risks of ibogaine treatment are virtually eliminated.
How US Citizens Can Get Ibogaine Treatment
At Clear Sky ibogaine treatment center in Mexico, we are here to help you achieve the life you know you want: one free from addiction. We are a fully licensed medical facility, with all of the amenities of a fine resort. We’ve got all of the resources you will need to start working on a happier future and a fuller life.