The world has been engaging in a variety of psychedelic research, one of which is Ibogaine therapy. The Bwiti tribe of West Central Africa used Ibogaine in ancient times. The roots of the Iboga tree, native to the West African rainforests, produce the psychedelic substance. In the early 1900s, the Western culture, French explorers in particular, first discovered Ibogaine. Europe began to use it as a stimulant.
Howard Lots discovered that Ibogaine had the power of detoxifying patients addicted to heroin. Being a heroin addict, he also discovered that it did not bring about withdrawal symptoms. As a result, he founded the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance. Progressive research has shown that Ibogaine does not have toxic nor hallucinogenic properties. Apart from addiction, it helps in treating a variety of other psychiatric disorders. Such disorders include; anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this article, we look into the pros and cons of using Ibogaine to treat anxiety.
Treats anxiety without side effects
Ibogaine can be toxic and is a hallucinogen in Schedule I controlled substances in the US. However, researchers such as the Olson’s Lab have engineered a new substance with the parts of Ibogaine responsible for therapeutic effects. The new drug relieves anxiety and other psychiatric disorders without causing dangerous side effects such as hallucinations. It is termed the tabernanthalog (TBG), a name derived from the Latin, Tabernanthe iboga, to mean ‘tavern flower.’ This drug is water-soluble which renders it less toxic and likely to have no significant effect on the heart.
Deals with trauma
One of the ways to deal with anxiety is dealing with trauma. People with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder tend to exhibit anxiety. The best way to deal with PTSD is to allow yourself to internalize and relive past events. This allows you to bring out the suppressed emotions, understand how the past has affected your present life, and confront the emotions. Ibogaine brings out a reflective experience of the past. It also distributes a balance among the brain cerebral hemispheres which helps you deal with anxiety and other personality defects brought about by trauma. A study has also shown that ibogaine had a great effect in the treatment of PTSD-related symptoms such as anxiety and depression, on special forces soldiers.
Reduces withdrawal symptoms
Studies done on the efficiency of ibogaine treatment have proved that ibogaine is proven to significantly reduce withdrawal symptoms which is a major cause of anxiety. For instance, withdrawal symptoms brought about by narcotic drugs such as opioids can cause a lot of pain and difficulty in handling. Even though the effect is short-lived, Ibogaine therapy has a significant impact on anxiety caused by withdrawal symptoms.
A limited number of studies
In the US, Ibogaine is classified as a Schedule Class I substance. Though the Olson’s Lab has discovered a molecule with less negative effects than Ibogaine, the research on the drug and other effects could have, remained limited. The lab is also one of the few licensed to undertake research on psychedelic substances. Explaining how a psychedelic drug can help cure addictions and other psychiatric conditions is also a hard nut to crack.
The number of subjects tested in Ibogaine therapy is also very limited. Participation in the study is voluntary but many people question its validity owing to the limited information available. Research depends on a lot of factors. For instance, for it to take place, you must have approvals from authorities, funding, and proper reasoning. The limited research makes it hard to acquire the drug and limits the psychiatric treatment through Ibogaine among the population.
Being that Ibogaine research is yet to grow, patients should seek medical professional advice before using the drug. Micro-dosing should happen under the direct and strict supervision of a trained medical professional. This can help counter some of the serious side effects of Ibogaine. But many people opt to take matters into their own hands leading to dangerous effects such as seizures, ataxia, heart complications, or even death.
Is ibogaine addictive?
Generally, ibogaine is not an addictive substance since it doesn’t seem to cause any obsessive repeated use. Besides, ibogaine doesn’t show any significant effects once administered. However, it’s important to note that ibogaine can cause tolerance if administered on repeated doses. This, in turn, can make a person who uses it increase their dosage with time for them to achieve the same effects.
While ibogaine is not physically addictive, it’s still subject to abuse. Now, if a recovering addict decides to use ibogaine to treat anxiety, they can experience some effects of hallucinogens—especially if the addict had not fully recovered before using ibogaine. With that said, drug addicts looking for a treatment to help them cope with anxiety and other mental health issues might find the effects of ibogaine treatment to be pleasant to them. However, when used solely for its purpose to treat anxiety, ibogaine is a one-time single dose. That means anyone who uses ibogaine recurrently is abusing the drug.