Ibogaine is a compound that features psychoactive and medicinal properties. It is found in Africa’s Tabernanthe iboga and other plants. Also, ibogaine was used in cultural ceremonies in various parts of West Africa. Here, ibogaine’s psychoactive and medicinal qualities have been treasured for thousands of years.

Following the accidental “discovery” of ibogaine’s efficacy for interrupting polysubstance abuse disorders by Howard Lotsof, an American struggling with addiction, ibogaine has generated significant interest in the modern world. Questions persist like “Is iboga root illegal?” and “Where is ibogaine treatment legal?” Meanwhile, as medical centers in different parts of the world offer ibogaine treatment for drug addiction, the demand for ibogaine therapy is increasing accordingly. In fact, ibogaine’s popularity is growing due in large part to the compound’s use as a natural treatment option for people addicted to alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, opioids, and other substances.

Although ibogaine has a unique ability to treat addiction and withdrawal, it is illegal in the United States. Furthermore, ibogaine’s legal status varies internationally. This post highlights the legality of ibogaine, so you can understand your options as you consider where you can pursue ibogaine treatment.

Ibogaine Therapy: Effective, Yet Still Illegal

Research from the world’s foremost scientific expert on ibogaine, Dr. Mash shows ibogaine is an effective drug addiction treatment. In one of Dr. Mash’s studies, one 500 to 800 mg dose of ibogaine helped patients significantly reduce their drug cravings and depression symptoms. Other research indicates patients can often avoid a relapse within two months of ibogaine treatment.

Despite this research, ibogaine remains illegal in many countries. So the question becomes: why is ibogaine illegal?

The most frequently cited reason as to why ibogaine is illegal in the United States is the compound’s potential harm. For people with certain preexisting heart issues, for example, high doses of ibogaine may cause heart failure. Conversely, with medical supervision, this isn’t a serious risk. Thus, the enduring “war on drugs culture” likely has far-flung effects on ibogaine’s legality. On the other hand, ibogaine’s hallucinogenic properties have rendered the treatment taboo. This is much in the same vein as cannabis, magic mushrooms, and LSD, which also have been shown to provide medicinal benefits for some patients.

If you are concerned about ibogaine being illegal in the United States but still want to try ibogaine treatment, many options are still available. Most countries do not prohibit ibogaine, and various treatment centers offer different levels of ibogaine therapy.

Where Is Ibogaine Legal?

If you are searching for an ibogaine therapy center, be selective. A high-quality ibogaine treatment center prioritizes safety, practices under medical supervision, and follows clinical guidelines.

Australia. In 2010, ibogaine was scheduled as a Schedule 4 substance on Australia’s Poisons List.  It remains a Schedule 4 substance pursuant to the February 2019 Poisons Standard, which means it is a Prescription Only Medicine.

Brazil. Ibogaine is legal to possess and distribute in Brazil. In Sao Paolo, Brazil’s capital city, ibogaine must be administered in a medical environment where adequate patient protections are in place. On January 24, 2016, the President of the National Association of the Study of Drug Policy (CONED-SP) in Sao Paolo issued a declaration calling for the scientific study of psychoactive substances, and approving the medical use of ibogaine “in a hospital environment, with medical supervision and control, meeting the exercise of the profession and the recommendations of good clinical practice, including rigorous clinical and psychiatric examinations and psychological assessment and psychotherapeutic monitoring.”

Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, ibogaine was legal for some time, but it is no longer legal as of 2018.

Gabon. Gabon lies on the west coast of central Africa. The national law of Gabon protects iboga plants.

Guatemala. It is legal to treat with ibogaine in Guatemala. An ibogaine treatment center is located in Antigua, which is located near Guatemala City.

Mexico. Ibogaine is legal but unregulated in Mexico. Therefore, Mexico is a popular spot for ibogaine treatment.

Netherlands. The Netherlands does not prohibit ibogaine, and there are various ibogaine treatment centers available.

New Zealand. Ibogaine has been medicalized in New Zealand and can be obtained with a prescription and taken under medical supervision. As a result, you can go to an ibogaine treatment center in New Zealand that offers an ibogaine prescription under the supervision of a medical professional.

South Africa. The South African government has licensure procedure in place for those who want to provide medical ibogaine treatment.

Ibogaine is illegal in the following countries:

  • Belgium
  • Costa Rica
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden
  • The UK
  • The United States

Ibogaine is not a scheduled substance and it’s status for medical use to interrupt drug dependence disorders remains in question in Canada, and Israel.

Is Ibogaine Legal in the United States?

Ibogaine has been classified as a schedule I drug in the US since 1970. A schedule I classification consists of “drugs, substances, or chemicals defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” It includes ibogaine — which has been proven by researchers to have medical benefits — as well as cannabis, LSD, and peyote.

The schedule I classification is active, and it appears unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. As such, it is illegal to possess or distribute ibogaine in the United States, and there are not any ibogaine treatment centers stateside that are legally owned and operated.

The US government puts ibogaine — despite its high success rate for treating addiction — in the same category as opiates. There several reasons why this is the case.

First, ibogaine treatment requires a large psychoactive healing dose to deliver the optimal results to treat drug addiction. The dose comes along with a 24- to 48-hour psychoactive “drug trip.” In a culture like ours, any psychedelic side effects and “drug trips” are viewed as unhealthy, destructive behavior.

Perhaps more importantly, ibogaine is a naturally occurring plant medicine. The molecule itself cannot be patented, only specific applications for ibogaine can receive a patent. All of the patents for ibogaine vs. opiates, opioids, stimulations, alcohol and polysubstance abuse disorders, were issued during the late 1980s and early 1990s. As of 2019, all of them have expired. No pharmaceutical company in the US can profit from bringing ibogaine to the market — something that has stalled any advancement on its behalf. Comparatively, most new treatments in the US get pushed forward by people or organizations with financial interests in them.

In addition, ibogaine is usually administered as part of a one-time treatment program. Compare this to using substitution therapies to treat a drug addiction; methadone, Subutex and Suboxone produce recurring revenue streams and usually result in a customer for life. For a company that makes methadone, it’s great business to keep demand growing. Yet ibogaine does not create an ongoing customer base like methadone. Ibogaine doesn’t support lucrative treatment centers and pharmaceutical treadmills, either.

Finally, some people allege ibogaine for drug addiction is dangerous. But there is no question that opiate addiction and alcoholism are more dangerous based on the numbers. Remember, any medical treatment — major or minor — comes with risk. With the proper medical supervision, the risks of ibogaine treatment can be eliminated.

How US Citizens Can Get Ibogaine Treatment

At the Clear Sky Recovery ibogaine treatment center in Mexico, we are here to help you achieve a drug- and addiction-free life. We are a fully licensed medical facility, with all of the amenities of a fine resort and provide all of the resources you will need to achieve your goals. To learn more about our ibogaine treatment program, please call us today at 305.901.5371.