The Ibogaine Experience

History of Ibogaine Use in the Western World

Ibogaine was a little-known molecule within North America, with very minimal research into its medical applications occurring during the 1950s. Between 1955-1957 the CIBA pharmaceutical company briefly investigated ibogaine as an anti-hypertensive agent, and made some discoveries about its interesting “side effects” with regards to drug dependence, before losing interest and moving on to more promising drugs they could bring to market. Followed by Dr. Harris Isbell of the PHS Narcotic Farm experimenting with ibogaine on prisoners during roughly the same time-frame.

What would be considered the genesis of modern ibogaine treatment was a group of lay persons in New York experimenting with drugs during 1962. One of the members of this group was Howard Lotsof, who was a drug-dependent individual physically addicted to heroin at the time he tried ibogaine, only to discover that after coming back down from his trip, this was no longer the case and his addiction had somehow been “reset.”

This was the inception of decades of activism and experimentation which culminated in the University of Miami’s Ibogaine Research Project, headed by Dr. Deborah Mash, which began systematic investigation of ibogaine treatment during the 1990s and published a series of ground-breaking monographs in peer-reviewed medical journals. Mash is the only scientist in history to receive FDA approval for clinical trials of ibogaine on drug-dependent human subjects within the United States. While NIDA initially funded the research, they eventually turned their attention to the maintenance medication buprenorphine, which was brought to market as Subutex and Suboxone.

Ibogaine is a naturally-occurring molecule, which means that the drug itself cannot be patented, only specific applications of the drug; all the patents that pertain to ibogaine and its efficacy in interrupting drug-dependence syndromes were issued decades ago, and every one of them has expired, leaving little or no motivation for any major pharmaceutical company to expend the roughly $800 million to $1.4 billion dollars necessary to take any given drug through clinical trials and bring it to market. Since the patents have expired, there is absolutely no financial motivation to proceed. A pharmaceutical company will never recoup its initial investment, much less make a profit.

In addition to the lack of financial motivation, ibogaine is currently a Schedule I substance within the United States, making it extremely difficult to obtain licenses and permits to work with the molecule and administer it to human subjects.

What Does the Ibogaine Experience Feel Like?

Clear Sky Recovery only treats drug-dependent individuals. You will receive your final “maintenance” dose of opiates roughly 8-12 hours before ibogaine treatment, which means you will be at the threshold of withdrawal. Within 30-45 minutes of ingesting ibogaine, your withdrawal symptoms will dissipate and recede. The “reset” that ibogaine provides occurs almost immediately, before any visionary experience occurs. You will not be dopesick or going through withdrawal while “tripping.” Physically it’s very common to experience ataxia during the onset of ibogaine treatment, making it very difficult to move around or attempting to get out of bed.

You may or may not experience a series of dreams or waking visions, the intensity of which will vary form individual to individual and last approximately 3-6 hours. Peak intensity is reached around hour number 2-4. What you experience during this oneirophrenic phase of ibogaine treatment is a varied as any other entheogenic journey. You may experience dream-like visions. They may be scenes, dreams, actual memories, or disjointed and abstract bits and pieces and fragments with no seeming relation to your life whatsoever. Many people experience memory recall and feelings associated with childhood. The experience varies tremendously from person to person and some people have no visions at all.

Following the initial visionary stage of ibogaine, you’ll enter the processing phase which primarily consists of cognitive evaluation of the experiences you’ve just had, and lasts for a period of approximately 8-20 hours.

Post-Ibogaine Treatment

Doing a “flood” dose of ibogaine takes roughly 24 hours from onset to reintegration, and often unearths a wide spectrum of material which may have been buried within your psyche, which our experienced cognitive behavioral therapists and support personnel will help you assimilate and integrate while you’re starting the first steps of your journey on the road to recovery and living a life that’s based on a foundation of freedom and your personal truth. We’ll help you better understand yourself and get in touch with the core issues that may be responsible for your continued drug-use and self-medicating.

Knowing and accepting yourself is an important part of staying clean and starting a new drug-free lifestyle. We’ll help you with the initial stages of processing the unearthed material from your ibogaine experience, and provide you with helpful suggestions and a roadmap for your continued evolution. But it’s important to understand that no 7-day detox program is able to change years, or decades, of negative patterns of behavior. Ibogaine is an “addiction interrupter” but it’s not a magic bullet which will give you a brand new life, you need to work at it and write a new script for yourself. Decide who you want to be and what your goals are, then make reasonable, reality-based plans to move forward week by week. Most of this is foundational material which needs to be present in any successful journey through recovery, and in nearly all cases aftercare post-ibogaine treatment is strongly recommended. Some form of aftercare is very important if your overall goal is to maintain a drug-free life and not fall back into old patterns and maladaptive behaviors where you tune out all your problems and hit the mute button by self-medicating it all away.

If you’d like to learn more about what ibogaine treatment can do for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our addiction specialists and we’ll help you start the process of reclaiming your life.