Humans have probably consumed plants for healing and spiritual development as long as we existed. Observing animals use them for treating their injuries or aches was probably how we learned about medicinal use of herbs. We learned in time, that some of these plants can alter the state of one’s consciousness and can be used in spiritual practice. Tabernantheiboga (or just iboga) is one of those plants that has been used in spiritual practice of Pigmey people, and later adopted by the Bwiti (Gabon, Cameroon). It is a rainforest shrub, native to Central Africa (mostly the western parts), green leafed with orange fruits, but the most interesting part of the herb is its yellow root-bark which contains ibogaine in the high concentration.Iboga root has been used in massive doses for centuries in ceremonies and rituals for spiritual healing and development, and rite of passage in tribal initiations. In smaller doses, it was used for efficiently sharpening the senses while hunting. Even the African colonizersen couraged the use of ibogaine by laborers in 1920’s railway construction for it sstimulating and fatigue delay effect.
Ibogaine was first isolated from a root-bark in 1901, and as early as 1931, it was sold in France in the form of Lambere tablets mostly for treatment of depression and chronic fatigue.Lambere was popular among athletes in the 50’s right until ibogaine got banned by the International Olympic Committee as a doping agent in the 1960’s.
Year 1961 was a turning point for understanding ibogaine’s possible use for addiction treatment. A 19 years old heroin addict, Howard Lotsof, took an African hallucinogenic drug formerly unknown to him, which effect, as told by his chemist friend, can last up to 36 hours. After this lengthy trip, he felt much exhausted and disliked the whole experience but immediately noticed absence of withdrawal symptoms, and that the psychoactive side of ibogaine helped him face the world without fear.Lots of realized that he stumbled upon an interesting attribute of ibogaine that can be used for addiction interruption. His later addiction to methadone, which was government-approved „cure“ for drug addiction, fixed his motivation to make ibogaine a medially viable drug for kicking addictions.
Since Lotsof’s early efforts did not have much success, ibogaine was outlawed in U.S. in 1966 (along with some other psychoactive drugs), but remained unontrolled in most other countries which enabled Lotsof to found a clinic in Netherlands in 1980’s.Finally, a U.S. patent was registered to Howard Lotsof (for utilization of ibogaine in opiate addiction therapy), and few years later, in Paris, the first international ibogaine conference was held. It was attended by the world’s most famous expert, which helped Lotsof in his later efforts (until early 90’s) on pursuing his goal to obtain the National Institute on Drug Abuse’sappraise for ibogaine’s prospective use in treating addiction.
Experiments on rats in the early 90’s, by Dr. Stanley Glick, showed that after taking ibogaine, rats that were hooked on morphine, willingly stopped taking it. Encouraged by the results of this research, Lots of and neuroscientist Deborah Mash started their work together and attained full FDA approval to research ibogaine potential in humans.Human trials require large scale financing which would usually be granted by the large pharmaceutical companies, but drugs like ibogaine do not have much profit potential, because it is a naturally occurring substance.Lack of success to obtain funding, impelled Mash to open a private clinical research center in the Caribbean where she used ibogaine to detox 300 addicts and had roughly a 70% success rate.
Mash is currently developing a variety of the drug that will be much more desirable for big pharmaceuticals, which should, in future, bring ibogaine addiction therapy to much more people.
Ibogaine Treatment and Drug Rehabilitation Center Dr Vorobiev
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