-=/[ Ibogaine ]/=-
The Whole Entire Everything (in its complete totality... partially)
Copyright © 2005-2008, Patrick K. Kroupa
All Rights Reserved
"Everything is Poison. Nothing is Poison."
"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix ... angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night."
–Allen Ginsberg (Howl)
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Ibogaine is a fascinating molecule. Amongst all the other things it does, ibogaine provides one of the few – if not only – direct intersection-points between soft and hard drugs. In one corner you have the tree-hugging, new-age, fruit-loops (not to forget Magical Trans-dimensional Elves, Terence would never forgive us), and way over in the other corner, live the junkies, crackheads, alcoholics, and tweakers.
Ibogaine is a nexus between two worlds that for the most part are mutually exclusive to one another, and located at antipodean regions within the United States of Altered Consciousness. There is highly limited crossover between the two realms.
One group is ingesting sacrament; psychonauts expanding their headspace by taking forays into the heart of inner space, in an attempt to understand, and redefine ... everything. Their relation to the world, themselves, and reality itself.
Fuck religion, the path I'm on is direct immersion in experience. Reading about other people's opinions regarding what it all means, is somethin' to do, but at a certain point, it's just an ocean of noise and endless interpretations. I want ignition. I want the divine within to detonate, and blow through the walls of my perceptions, and concepts of identity. Because ... the truth that lives somewhere over the rainbow is: your seperation from the divine is just another mindfuck. Erase your limited understanding, and thou art that.
To cop a line from Einstein, "I want to know God's thoughts. All the rest are details."
The other group, likes to get fucked up n' shit, and turn off their brains. 'Cuz having too many thoughts, leads to unhappiness, so pass the dope, and kick it down a few notches, adjusting the filters of consciosuness somewhere out past the ocean of comfortably numb, just a few clicks this side of almost dead. Peace mahn. Like for real, not just talking about it. If that gets old, spin the dial all the way to absolute fucking overload, white heat, white light, nervous system go <BanG!> in a beautiful supernova of energy ...
Which isn't to say that dope and crack, or being a pharmaceutical power user, have nothing to teach you. It's just that the lessons tend to be extremely harsh, and your new level of profound insight is of limited value; 'cuz chances are, if you've ridden the elevator all the way down to the last sub-basements of drug dependence, what you're gonna discover is: you're fucked. Congratulations, you now completely understand a lotta shit that most human beings never think about. You've done things, they'll never do. You have amassed an incredible and beautiful collection of human experience, because all experience is sacred. And, by the way, there is no exit. Good luck with all that.
And then there was ibogaine.
"... So your sickness weighs a ton, and God's name is smack for some."
–Alice in Chains (GodSmack)
I've done nearly every psychedelic drug that exists. No matter the molecule or dosage level, whatever insights into yourself you gain, or places that you travel while altered, once you come back down and are in the process of landing – if you are drug dependent – then none of it is going to make a difference. Because even if you found God, connected yourself to spirit, and completely realigned your internal universe; if you're a junkie, then you're still a junkie, and right around the time you're gliding back down to earth and your ego boundaries are reintegrating... You're gonna need a fix.
Your headspace may have changed, but your drug dependence is alive and well. And there's nothing like having a habit to knock all that shit out of your head, and focus you right back into meat reality. The flesh doesn't let you forget.
Heaven is deception, the light is a hallucination, and your body is a prison cell; welcome home asshole.
Except ... ibogaine has one additional magic trick, that no other substance that has ever been discovered, can do: ibogaine appears to hit a reset. You come back down fundamentally rearranged. Things are not the same, there is an entire spectrum of changes taking place, which have absolutely nothing to do with tuning your headspace or watching shit melt. In some manner, ibogaine resets the system, and brings you back to a pre-addiction modality.
Ibogaine unsnaps the clicks, and allows you to step out of drug dependence and begin making choices again. Probably you've forgotten what that feels like if you've spent any extended period of time being physically dependent on drugs.
After many years of heavy opiate addiction, I had tried pretty much every available detox on the planet, ranging from UROD (Ultra Rapid Opiate Detox), Dr. Richard Resnick's "black box" (NeuroElectric Therapy), methadone, Buprinex, tapering down using clonidine and Valium, the home version of UROD (naltrexone with a handful of Xanax and clonidine tossed into the mix), and of course the various unplanned detox's in hotel rooms with Bacardi 151 and whatever I could get my hands on at the time.
Any or all of these methods "work." In the final analysis all you really need in order to get off of opiates is an empty room and some time. In the end you wind up feeling the same anyway. Which is to say, physically unwell – to put it mildly.
Personally, this is also right around the time I always remember that heroin addiction isn't really my problem, it's my solution. My problem is that I have come undone physically, spiritually and mentally. Even after heroin has stopped "working" (you're taking it just to get normal and function), it still provides emotional anesthetic, kills off my feelings, and stops the noise in my head. When all this gets stripped away – no matter the method of physical detox – I always wound up feeling like I needed quadruple bypass surgery, and someone handed me a Band-Aid.
Prior to detoxing with ibogaine, my self-medicating had risen to a daily intake of 200mg. of methadone, roughly two grams of heroin on top of that, and 12-16mg of Xanax; with an occasional drink thrown into the mix. Doing a back of hand calculation that combination is enough to kill 25-30 adults who don't have tolerance. Upon actual administration of Ibogaine, the entire process of withdrawal is over within about an hour.
"Withdrawal" itself, is something of a misnomer – there is nothing except a sensation of heat in your solar plexus, which dissipates rapidly. It is unlike anything else I have ever experienced.
On a physical level what occurs amounts to a miracle – as far as opiate addiction is concerned – your habit is simply non-existed and you are reset to a pre-addiction modality. The only physical symptoms afterwards are a lack of energy, and occasional insomnia.
This sets the stage for the "visionary" phase of the experience. What you experience while in this state, is highly dependent on the individual. The points of commonality that other participants have shared include: being in a space where you are confronted with yourself - all of yourself – whether you want to call this the subconscious, superego, whatever; what it amounts to is a few decades worth of therapy with a really good therapist.
You are forced to deal with what's inside, and come to terms with who and what you are, and process why you have taken the actions that led you here in the first place. You also come in contact with basic, underlying principles that govern your existence. In short, you establish or re-establish a connection to your own spirituality – whatever this might mean to you. This tends to have a profound impact, since you are experiencing and living it, not reading about someone else's conception of what it should be.
Opiates do not provide pleasure. Heroin doesn't feel "good," it feels like nothing – it numbs you out. When you're in agony, numbness is like the hand of God passing over you. If you process the pain, and actually experience what it's like to feel good again – at least some of the time – then desensitization isn't an improvement, and for the first time in a very long time, heroin doesn't seem all that seductive anymore.
I can honestly say that without ibogaine it is extremely unlikely I would have ever gotten clean and stayed that way. Instead of being opiate-free longer than any period of time since the age of 14, I would be stuck in the endless cycle of detoxing, re-realizing "ya know, this really hurts a lot, and talking about it in groups or with shrinks just doesn't cut it. Fuck this, where's the dope," and getting sprung again.
The treatment for opiate addiction has seen remarkably little change in the last century. There are now a wider variety of molecules you can use to taper off, you have a greater choice of substances to do maintenance on – or you can subject yourself to something truly barbaric, painful and disgusting like a UROD followed up by Naltrexone depot. (Please note, the last part of the previous sentence reflects my personal experience with UROD followed by Naltrexone – which I was stupid enough to do twice. If you are one of the few who has obtained positive results using that methodology, congratulations, but you are definitely in the minority. The minority of "clients" anyway, the people selling this garbage experience much better results, financially speaking.)
Okay great, you're "clean," you're sick, you're fiending, and hell is coming down in your head. Now what? Well, you can try to just get over it; you can sit and spin in therapy for a while and try to convince yourself that you really don't feel this bad, and perhaps loading up on some other meds would help; or you can go to a meeting and share.
Because, obviously, you have a mysterious disease, you are flawed, powerless, and addicted forever. In fact stand up, say your name, follow it up by "addict." This is your new label, and how you will define yourself forever. Now siddown, shut up, and start working the steps, or we're gonna beat you over the head with a bible big-book, 'cuz you're a sinner, I meant to say, addict.
When my drug-use first attained the level of being a problem, I wasn't a homeless person living in a bus-shelter, and I didn't search for solutions by consulting a psychic, or asking the local voodoo-priest or faith healer for advice. I had access to significant funds, and bounced through the offices and treatment centers of some of the biggest names in addiction treatment and research. I tried – literally – everything that was available for the treatment of opioid dependence. When all was said and done, towards the end of days, during any given year, I was setting fire to about as much money seeking "treatment," as I was spending on heroin and coke. All of it produced Absolutely No Results. In retrospect I would have been better off (physically, emotionally, and spiritually), if I'd just invested all that cash in heroin.
Being at the receiving end of that wonderful mountain of nonsense and pseudoscience that passes for "addiction treatment" at this point in time, isn't much fun. The field of addictionology is in an extremely embryonic state. Which is a really nice way of sayin', "okay so, see, we apply leeches until the Evil Spirits leave the patient! Except we're using happy fun science, so we won't call it demonic possession; instead it's a Mysterious Disease which can go into remission if you join a cult attend a lotta 12-step meetings!" Woo hoo!
Uhm, ya gotta be fuckin' kidding me. You're not? That's it? What century are we living in again?
Ibogaine really isn't a response to "The Establishment." It's a direct response to the utter lack of any significant progress whatsoever, in the development of pharmacotherapeutic agents that help drug-dependent individuals.
Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive indole alkaloid derived from the roots of the African rain forest shrub Tabernanthe iboga (Apocynaceae family). Ibogaine is traditionally used by indigenous peoples of Western Africa (the Bwiti) in low doses to combat fatigue, hunger and thirst; and in higher doses as a sacrament in spiritual initiation ceremonies.
Ibogaine HCl was first extracted from the Tabernanthe iboga root in 1901 by Dybowsky and Landrin, and research into the central nervous system and cardiovascular actions of ibogaine has appeared in scientific literature since the early 1900s. After the introduction of Rauwolfia and general interest in the Apocynaceae family of which Tabernanthe iboga is a member, the pharmacology of ibogaine was extensively studied by French pharmacologists early in the 20th century.
These chemical, pharmacological and behavioral studies led to the initial introduction of ibogaine in France during the 1930s, in the form of a pharmaceutical medication, introduced under the tradename Lambarene.
Lambarene was marketed in France as a mental and physical stimulant, for healthy individuals during times of greater than normal physical or mental exertion and contained approximately 5-8MG of ibogaine, per tablet. Lambarene was prescribed in cases of depression, asthenia, convalescence, and infectious disease.
Lambarene was finally removed from the market in 1967 when the sale of ibogaine-containing products was prohibited.
It was the 60s, mahn (1962 to be exact). This dude named Howard Lotsof was doin' a lot of drugs; it seemed like a good idea at the time. Anyhoo, in addition to being strung-out, he was doing up a lotta psychedelics, including this whacky thing his chemist friend gave him, called ibogaine.
So anyway, Howard doses with ibogaine, trips out, and then ... notices something extremely interesting – and overwhelmingly fucking significant – he wasn't sprung anymore. Most people experimenting with hallucinogens aren't junkies; yet, it would have to be a drug-dependent person to make this observation in the first place. I mean, your habit isn't this random thing that you can put on timeout whenever it's handy. Your habit runs the show, it's all-important when you're strung out. Coming down off a trip and discovering that your habit got lost somewhere in inner space, and didn't glide back down to Earth with you ... leads to having one of those Holy Fucking Shit, what just happened here...? Moments.
If you're a junkie, the boundaries of the known world were just significantly rearranged.
Uhm, I meant to say: the history of using ibogaine to break the cycle of drug-dependence is relatively short. While it is likely that the CIBA pharmaceutical company -- who were investigating ibogaine as an anti-hypertensive agent, and made an interesting series of discoveries regarding ibogaine's other "side-effects" in the process. CIBA abandoned further research, because they were unconvinced of ibogaine's commercial viability -- and the U.S. government (who were busy dosing prisoners with ibogaine, at the happy fun, PHS Narcotic Farm in Lexington, Kentucky), were aware of ibogaine's anti-addictive properties as early as 1955-57, the anecdotal observations of Howard Lotsof in 1962 are generally accepted as the starting point of modern, anti-addiction research, utilizing ibogaine; initiating waves of interest that have continued spreading since that date.
As years flashed by, whispers, rumors and legends of a psychedelic plant from the jungles of Africa that would spontaneously heal drug addicts began emanating from the epicenter of the Lower East Side, in NYC. It didn't matter if you were a junkie, a basehead, an alcoholic, or everything all at once. Ibogaine would somehow miraculously fix you.
I never paid much attention to any of that shit when I first started hearing the stories in the early 80s, since the sources of all these tales, tended to be gifted storytellers, engaged in the age-old tradition of passing on the myths and legends of one generation, to the next. The secret unwritten history of the colorful lunatics who made up the collective consciousness of the LES.
Great storytellers, but not the most reliable sources of information.
Ibogaine was always a textbook definition of snake-oil. A mysterious substance, from a far-off land, imbued with miraculous healing powers that bordered on magic and stumped science, which only a small group of zealots and true believers, ever had actual access to. By the way, it's expensive as fuck, and perpetually unavailable. Plus, also, the people who keep ranting about this shit, are a buncha counterculture whackjobs who have done so much acid, their entire life is a flashback.
Fascinating and all, but ... whateverTheFuck.
In The Beginning, before anti-addiction research kicked-off, ibogaine was a hard sell. Until you watched it work. Or experienced what it does personally. Either of the latter two events turned people into true believers, pretty fucking fast. One by one, and year by year.
In the year 1967 ibogaine was classified by the United States government as a Schedule I substance. Ibogaine, LSD, and a variety of other previously unrestricted psychedelic compounds, were officially placed into the most restrictive category of the Controlled Substances Act; molecules which have absolutely no medicinal value and high abuse potential.
In 1982 Howard Lotsof formed a non-profit named for his grandmother, called the Dora Weiner Foundation. The purpose of the foundation was promoting the development of ibogaine. After a coupla years of getting shot down by every pharmaceutical house that was approached regarding the possibility of medical ibogaine development for the treatment of drug-dependence, he eventually formed a for-profit corporation called NDA International, in 1986.
NDA stands for: New Drug Application. An NDA is the method through which pharmaceutical companies formally propose that the FDA approves a new molecule for sale and marketing within the U.S. Data gathered doing preclinical animal studies, followed by human clinical trials of an Investigational New Drugs (IND), become part of the NDA. You cannot file an NDA as an individual, so, Howard's response to this was forming NDA International, Inc.
In 1985 the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted Howard Lotsof a patent for utilizing ibogaine as a Rapid method for interrupting the narcotic addiction syndrome (USPTO #: 4,499,096). Following the original patent for opiates ("semi-synthetic" natural products such as heroin, hydromorphone, and oxycodone) and opioids (full synthetics like methadone, meperidine, and the fentanyls), between 1986-1992, Howard was awarded an additional series of patents related to ibogaine's apparent ability to "interrupt" a wide range of substance abuse disorders, including: stimulants (cocaine and amphetamine. USPTO #: 4,587,243, ), alcohol (USPTO #: 4,857,523, ), and nicotine (USPTO #: 5,026,697, ). This process culminated in 1992, when the USPTO granted Lotsof's final patent, using ibogaine as a Rapid method for interrupting or attenuating poly-drug dependency syndromes (USPTO #: 5,152,994, ).
Since ibogaine was a Schedule I substance within the U.S., ibogaine treatments could not be legally provided to patients in the United States. In 1989 the International Coalition for Addict Self-Help (ICASH) – an advocacy group founded by Bob Sisko – began providing ibogaine treatment in the Netherlands, to individuals recruited by NDA, International. ICASH was joined by the Dutch Addict Self-Help group (DASH) in 1990. DASH was an organization founded by Nico Adriaans, who was also the founder of the first needle exchange in 1981, as well as the Rotterdam Junkies Union (the Dutch Junkiebond). Eventually both of these groups blended and fused into an organization known as INTASH (InterNaTional Addict Self-Help). Bob Sisko, Nico Adriaans, and Howard Lotsof's NDA, International, were eventually joined by Boaz Wachtel (a former medic in the Israeli Army), in providing treatment to drug-dependent individuals. The results of the ICASH/DASH/INTASH treatments were presented by the Erasmus University group.
This data was originally based on anecdotal reports from groups of American and European self-treating drug-dependent individuals, which indicated that ibogaine completely obviated opiate withdrawal and significantly reduced craving for alcohol, opiates, opioids, cocaine and a variety of other addictive drugs for extended periods of time.
The early 80s also saw blips and bursts of ibogaine support through the work of Dana Beal.
I first met Dana ... lifetimes ago. I was 12 or 13 years old, sitting in a rundown old diner that ceased to exist decades ago. Every week a lotta dudes from the hacker underground would gather there, and talk shop. That was the theory anyway. The meetings were the very last gasp of a "technological outreach" program started by Abbie Hoffman, called YIPL, the Youth International Party Line.
YIPL didn't last very long, it lurched to life with a poorly-written, Xerox-copied newsletter bearing the same name, in June of 1971. By 1973 they'd found an offset printer somewhere and changed the name to TAP. TAP stood for a lot of different things, but after a few permutations, the Technological American Party, had become the Technological Assistance Program and mostly shed its thin veneer of Yippie politics; focusing on more important and pressing issues, like utilizing technology to steal shit, cause problems, and act up in interesting new ways.
I had absolutely no interest or awareness of 60s counter-culture politics when I arrived at TAP in the early 1980s. This didn't make much of a difference. We were a bunch of kids who were very smart and easy to exploit, all the Old Weird People had to do, was give us drugs and maybe buy us some food, and we'd figure things out and solve problems– uhm, no, I meant to say: they saw the beautiful light, which is truth, that is knowledge, shining within us and wanted to nurture it.
If my parents broke my mind, and society stepped on the pieces, then the freaks at TAP fine-tuned the wreckage and helped articulate the ISSUES inside, and provided a handy, all-encompassing, pre-packaged focus for acting out and causing problems. The Cause, mahn.
And it was ... funny, ridiculous, stupid, and beautiful. All at once. My thoughts at the time were how interesting it was to meet a lot of grown-ups that never made it past age 5.
Although I couldn't articulate it to myself back then... TAP changed us, and the Yippies infected us with what they had: hope ... and a very twisted, amusing perspective on the concept of reality. They were crazy, dysfunctional, and acted like lunatics... But they were fundamentally good human beings, who meant well, and wanted to change the world, and make it... better.
To cop a line from David Peel, "We are from the Lower East Side, and we don't give a fuck if we live or we die." Anarchy, punk, and psychedelia, blended, fused, and blown through a big-ass, peace-sign-shaped, bong. Okay, sure ... and why not? Beats the fuck out of becoming some mindless drone, laboring as a cog in the police state, mahn! Rise Up!
Dana has managed to avoid prison (for the most part), death, mental hospitals, and ... reality, for longer then I've been alive. I have a lotta respect and love, for him. In spite of himself, he has affected positive change, on a global scale, over, and over, and over again.
By the time the late 80s arrived, Dana had watched many of his compatriots go down in flames after becoming addicted to heroin and cocaine. He was profoundly affected by the suicide of his friend, High Times founder and publisher Thomas King Forcade. Ibogaine appeared to provide a solution to the blight hard drugs were casting over the counterculture.
Dana began directing a lot of his focus towards ibogaine, often backing up his activism with hefty-bags stuffed full of 100 dollar bills (I meant to say: financing). Dana's financial support helped kickstart medical anti-addiction research, provided additional resources to the fledgling NDA International, and paid for ibogaine conferences to keep spreading the word; while he continued throwing cash in the general direction of whomever needed it most at the moment.
Dana didn't just talk, he went off and did incredibly stupid, crazy things, which were brilliantly effective ... some of the time anyway.
Medical Research / The Ibogaine Research Project
By 1991 the Medications Development Division of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) was sufficiently impressed with the existing scientific evidence in animal models, demonstrating ibogaine's putative ability to attenuate withdrawal symptoms, to begin investigating ibogaine for use in addiction treatment.
On July 15, 1992, the FDA convened a Drug Abuse Advisory Committee to review their policy on research with Schedule I drugs. The advisory committee recommended that Schedule I drugs should be evaluated utilizing the same standards the FDA uses for all other molecules.
In 1993, the FDA granted Dr. Deborah C. Mash, and researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine, permission to conduct a limited Phase 1 Pharmacokinetic and Safety Trial in human subjects (IND 39,680).
The clinical protocol approved by the FDA was initially limited to include only ibogaine veterans. In April of 1995, the FDA approved a revised protocol to conduct these studies in all human drug-dependent volunteers (in other words: it was the first time in history that the FDA approved testing ibogaine on human, drug-dependent subjects, who had no prior experience with the molecule).
In a television interview aired in 1993, Frank Vocci the director of antiaddiction drug development at NIDA, reaffirmed NIDA's unbiased commitment to ibogaine research and publicly expressed the high level of enthusiasm regarding the Ibogaine Project within his organization, "I think that the bad press that LSD got in the 1960s is not going to help ibogaine, because I think the American people will expect that this is something gone awry, that the people in Washington are off their rockers, they really lost it."
While I'm extremely confused by Vocci's statement – looking at NIDA's mission statement, NIDA's PR department claims that NIDA is actually a governmental research institute, and its purpose for existing, is "leading the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction." Somehow it fails to mention that one of NIDA's main priorities is being careful not to upset the ultra-conservative middle-class with that science thing – I feel deeply indebted to everyone at NIDA for looking out for my best interests. I certainly wouldn't want to think anybody in Washington was off their rocker. Other than that drug addiction problem, America as a whole is doing Just Super. This is completely obvious. I am absolutely thrilled, and filled with unspeakable joy, with what the US Government is doing with my tax dollars. Hooray!
That's nice... So, the medical benefits of ibogaine are irrelevant, because it happens to be a psychedelic, and this in turn will upset some random collection of cretins with room-temperature IQ's, who will feel strangely uneasy, before getting back to reading bible verses, watching TV, or checking the listings for the next local book-burning. Wow, gosh, well fuck, thanks for putting all that into perspective for me. Obviously science and medicine should never do anything to upset the delicate sensibilities of the lowest common denominator comprising the status quo.
Except that's politics not science or medicine. And, life is change. The last time I checked, the dark ages were officially over. Science is theoretically no longer part of the officially banned agenda. It's alright to mention that the Sun doesn't actually orbit the Earth, without fear of being lynched. If the progress of science is that upsetting to somebody, perhaps they need a special, nurturing environment, where their delicate psyche won't be jarred by any contact with reality whatsoever. Like, for instance, checking into a mental hospital is great for that.
And, ya know ... back over here in 2008, I have this strange feeling that even ultra-conservative middle-America would welcome pretty much anything that fucking worked for ending the cycle of drug-dependence with open arms. Thanks to the dual miracles of OxyContin and crystal meth, much of middle-America seems to be turning into the same wasteland of the walking-dead, which larger cities have always had the privilege of hosting. Congratulations, your own personal version of armageddon has arrived, you don't need heroin and crack from the bigger cities, you have one helluva disaster of your own, courtesy of Purdue Pharma and Billy Joe Jim Bob's trailer-park meth lab.
Absolutely none of this bullshit, has anything whatsoever to do with the single, salient question: does ibogaine work, or doesn't it? That's it. Is it effective for ending the cycle of drug-dependence. And if yes, then, how does it work? See, there's that science thing kicking up its shit again.
Presupposing that NIDA doesn't want ibogaine for political reasons <gasp>, then surely an organization that's "leading the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction," has something even better in the pipeline!
[Patiently waiting ... the passage of years can now be measured in decades. There is the profound sound of: absolute silence, and no progress whatsoever.] Oh, I guess they don't. Total bummer...
Unfortunately, after several years of sustained interest, 1995 was also the year that a review committee at NIDA decided to suspend further funding for ibogaine research. As a result of this lack of financial support for the clinical research trials, dose-escalation studies never progressed beyond the 2MG/KG range.
Love ya, lot's n' lots, forever n' ever! That ibogaine thing? It so rox! We're totally behind this, absolutely committed to giving it a fair chance, and supporting your efforts to figure out what the fuck it's doing! By the way, apropos of nothing in particular, all your grants pertaining to ibogaine research have been turned down with, "Not For Further Consideration." Good luck with all that, we're holding our breathe waiting for the results, gotta go!
@Legal / NDA, incomplete.
• The FDA & NIDA •
Two governmental agencies which have primarily decided the fate of ibogaine's development as a medication for drug-dependence, are the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and NIDA.
The FDA is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. As their name implies, they have regulatory power over food, drugs, dietary supplements, and basically a truly staggering collection of stuff that people ingest, inject, swallow, or put on their skin. The agency is extremely large, and compartmentalized into a variety of major subdivisions which all focus on different sub-specialties. Overall, the FDA has regulatory power over roughly .25 cents, out of every dollar spent in the United States.
In the old days, the FDA mostly sucked. This was the agency that pretty much banned anything the DOJ (Department of Justice) asked them to, without really bothering to look at what it was adding into the CSA (Controlled Substances Act).
But, that was yesterday. In recent years a lot of positive change has happened. The division within the FDA that blocked all potential research with psychedelics during the 1970s and 1980s, had their power to review drugs within Schedule I, taken away from them in 1989. Authority was handed over to a new experimental division called the Pilot Drug Evaluation Staff.
And that, was a really good thing. The stated mission of the FDA is, "To develop medicines to reduce human suffering." They are not a political organization, and they are neither pro nor con, any particular molecule. What they support is scientific and medical research and evaluation.
Since 1990, the FDA has approved human studies with: DMT, MDMA, psilocybin, mescaline, LSD, marijuana, and ibogaine. They actually have a relatively outstanding track-record, lasting nearly two decades, of consistently fulfilling their stated mission, and evaluating drugs based upon science rather than politics.
In recent years, the FDA has gone so far as to stand against the DEA, when the Drug Enforcement Agency wanted control over Marinol (an oral THC pill). The FDA joined with Big Pharma, physicians and patients, to successfully oppose the DEA.
It's an imperfect world, but all things considered, certain departments of the FDA really aren't doing a bad job lately. Giving credit where it's due: the Pilot Drug Evaluation division of the FDA does not suck.
Bravo, and ... thank you.
Which brings us to the fail machine: NIDA.
If you've read this far, the astute reader may have noticed that I don't seem to be a real big fan of NIDA and its accomplishments, and I'm spending a lotta time denigrating their efforts to help humanity.
Well, that'd be because ... I am. Allow me to clarify: NIDA blows dead goats. They suck. Period.
Let's very briefly examine NIDA's Mission Statement:
"NIDA's mission is to lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction."
Uhm, okay, so what exactly are you doing? Lessee, you finally got around to getting buprenorphine out there. And you meant well with LAAM, but it causes QT-prolongation, torsades, and kills people <Whoopsie!>. Shit happens, bupe worked out, there is Yet Another highly-addictive synthetic opioid to do maintenance on, which is certainly a legal improvement and enhances the lives of opioid-dependent individuals, by allowing them to just pick up their prescriptions like human beings, instead of being subjected to methadone maintenance. Hooray.
Let's continue with NIDA's mission statement:
"This charge has two critical components. The first is the strategic support and conduct of research across a broad range of disciplines."
NIDA mints grants. If you're involved with addiction research within the United States, the primary gateway to obtaining the funding you need to do your work, is either NIDA, or private industry.
NIDA decided to kick ibogaine to the curb on March 8, 1995. After their decision to curtail all further funding, the FDA still encouraged NIDA to at least allocate funds for a small Phase I ibogaine safety study. On March 10, 1995, the FDA's Dr. Curtis Wright sent a memo to Frank Vocci, urging NIDA to continue ibogaine research.
"I believe that is it the public's best interest that research with ibogaine go forward [...] The methods of the major pharmaceutical firms are without equal in developing a new drug in a manner that produces a safe and effective pharmaceutical [...] Unfortunately they do not usually produce breakthrough products for new indications.
The normal process of peer review is excellent at deciding how best to undertake research in a new area, but often not a good way to decide if to undertake original new research. My recommendation is to use your strength to help those [such as venture capital firms, subsidiaries of major firms formed to take risks, iconoclasts within industry, or individual physicians] who will undertake such risks."
Frank Vocci and NIDA proceeded to do ... absolutely nothing.
So what does NIDA fund? Well, they seem to be particularly fond of using your tax dollars to finance junk-science that makes the DEA happy, and allows politicians who are pro- War on Drugs, to add NIDA propaganda to their spin-control and make it sound like science supports whatever their whim of the moment happens to be.
For instance, they seem to love George A. Ricaurte, best known for, "Whoops, that paper I published about MDMA neurotoxicity? Well, actually, uhm, heh, totally by accident, I used a shitload of speed instead. Sorry, my bad! Somebody musta switched the vials or sumthin' Darn those whacky guys who supply research chemicals, they're always playing practical jokes, never know if I'm gonna get coke, dope, or This Week's Mystery Surprise!"
By complete coincidence, the sequence of events looks like this:
• George submits an MDMA neurotoxicity paper, which is utterly full of shit has some problems. Perhaps the most significant problem being that he didn't actually use any MDMA in his MDMA research, and instead shot up a buncha monkeys with overdoses of methamphetamine.
• George's junk science gets published in the September 2002, issue of Science.
• During early 2003, Ricaurte's bullshit is widely quoted by Congress, to amp up support for the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act (the "Rave Act").
• Congress passes the Rave Act on April 10, 2003, proudly declaring that one hit of Ecstasy can destroy your brain.
• There is a growing backlash against George's bullshit within the research community; scientists begin contesting his methodology and findings, and Science begins publishing a series of progressively angrier letters from other researchers.
• On September 12, 2003, we've come full circle. Science officially retracts George's paper. Naturally, Congress does not do same with the Rave Act.
Other than minting nearly anything that reinforces how incredibly dangerous and super-bad every molecule that lives within Schedule I happens to be, NIDA also grows really shitty pot (ostensibly for medical research, 'cept they don't seem to ever manage to make it available to anybody, even when legally obligated to do so); of the variety that would sell for 'bout $10 bucks a pound, on the street, if you could ever find anybody stupid enough to buy the crap. More [HERE], [HERE], and [HERE].
And, the last part of NIDA's mission statement: "The second is ensuring the rapid and effective dissemination and use of the results of that research to significantly improve prevention, treatment and policy as it relates to drug abuse and addiction."
Translation: NIDA issues a lotta spin control which basically says, exactly what you'd assume it would. Drugs are super-bad Mmmmmmkay? One problem with their propaganda seems to be, that it doesn't actually work. In fact, on the obverse, people exposed to NIDA's spin seem to feel a greater than average urge to go out and get high.
"D'oh! There went $1.4 billion."
Taking the high road, and presupposing that NIDA is not a thoroughly corrupt, morally and ethically bankrupt, collection of wannabe politicians, and their actions can actually be attributed to abject incompetence rather than conflicts of interest, or malice ... then NIDA is a colossal, bloated, leaking garbage-barge of an organization, led by a staff of paper-pushing monkeys, with room-temperature IQ's, whose primary concern is keeping their lips super-glued to the DEA's ass, issuing meaningless press releases, sitting n' spinning, and accomplishing nothing of any tangible value whatsoever. And they're burning through 'bout $1 billion a year to do that.
In brief, NIDA as an organization, is a perfect microcosm of everything that is wrong and broken, with big government.
What's perhaps the saddest part of this whole equation that truly angers and offends me, is NIDA's abject refusal to provide even minimal funding for ibogaine, when personally urged to do so by the FDA's, Dr. Curtis Wright. Weighing that against the billions of dollars that NIDA readily sets fire to, which produce absolutely no results, it becomes extremely difficult to believe that NIDA's refusal to continue ibogaine research did not come at the behest of some other agency, or collection of individuals.
If you rate high on the sociopathy scale, and also happen to be a pathological liar, there are many career options available to you, where you can become a productive, successful, functioning member of society, and share your gifts with the world. Politics, law, finance, and the entertainment industry to name just four. But individuals with this psychological makeup really should not be running an organization which claims to be dedicated to science and medicine, with a focus on addiction research. Sorry, but that's just ... wrong.
The Science of Things
The slideshow contains photographs of ibogaine HCl crystals, taken using an AxioCam HRc digital camera. Input was provided via a AxioImager Z1 microscope. Both are products of Carl Zeiss Vision/Optics, Germany. The filters used were primarily UV (excitation 365nm), and blue (exc. 450-490 nm). UV filters provide predominantly blue colors, while blue filters light up the green spectrum. Several pictures are taken in normal light. Grateful acknowledgement to: Aleš Kladnik, and the University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Biology.
"What are the real issues here? One real issue is hard-core heroin and cocaine addiction and the hard-core shamanic cure – a dramatic cure that imparts psychic powers on the survivor. Another issue is talking to the dead. A further issue is talking to angels and demons during the iboga visions. Let's not forget the issue of time travel, commonly reported. And the issues of heaven and hell, both of which open their gates – what about this? And, oh yes – somewhere in the midst of all this are the issues of neurology and brain science."
–Thomas Lyttle (Reviewing the Proceedings of the First International Ibogaine Conference at NYU, for Jon Hanna's publication Entheogen Review.)
That one paragraph managed to infuriate or amuse, pretty much everybody I know who has a Ph.D., and spends any amount of time trying to unravel the extremely complex pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic splat, which is ibogaine. How dare you trivialize my life's work you psychedelic whackjob. I am a serious scientist, performing important research! It made me laugh my ass off, because, it's an excellent summary; especially taken within the context of what he's reviewing: a scientific and medical book, written primarily by a large collection of Ph.D.'s and M.D.'s, devoted to ibogaine, and targeted towards the higher-education marketplace (there aren't too many casual readers who are gonna be paying $185 bucks for the thing, much less reading or comprehending it).
This is yet another one of those intersection-points unique to ibogaine.
While research with psychedelic drugs is undergoing a major renaissance in the 21st century, most of the scientists working with ibogaine are not the Usual Suspects who drift in and out of issues of MAPS, and show up at entheogen conferences to preach to the choir. They really don't give a shit about the divine within, nor the psychological benefits that can be derived through entheogens.
@Legal / NDA, incomplete.
Most of the researchers working with ibogaine, just want to understand What The Fuck Is It Doing?
• Pharmacokinetics and Mechanism of Action •
So anyway ... what the fuck is ibogaine doing?
As of 2008, the answer is: we still don't know. And it's not for a lack of trying. If you cruise PubMed, you'll find a truly huge and constantly-growing pile of monographs published in peer-reviewed journals attempting to unravel what exactly ibogaine does.
We do know that ibogaine is an extremely "dirty" molecule; a molecule that has high affinity for multiple receptor sites, and works on every neurotransmitter system that we presently know about.
@Legal / NDA, incomplete.
• Summary •
So anyway, here we are again. What the fuck is ibogaine doing? A better question might be: what is it not doing, because thus far, it seems to be doing pretty much everything, all at once. Not the simplest mechanism of action to unravel.
To kick this across, utilizing another paradigm: attempting to understand everything that ibogaine is doing, and whether any individual element has greater importance, or the synergy of the sum total accounts for the effects, is a lot like reverse-engineering extremely dense object-code. Wherein we're not really sure what the program we're reverse-engineering is actually doing; we have only partial awareness and understanding, of some of the other programs it's interacting with, and on top of that, we have only basic familiarity with the operating system that it's running on in the first place. Furthermore, this basic understanding is a constantly moving target, that gets revised and changed, continuously, as other groups of people work on reverse-engineering the operating system itself.
It's extremely complex yo. Everything would be a lot simpler with access to the source code, and a comment or 300 thrown in.
To reiterate, ibogaine is unlike any other drug that has been discovered to date. Ibogaine affects pretty much every neurotransmitter system that we know about. It directly and indirectly interacts with a wide spectrum of targets within the CNS, including dopaminergic, cholingeric, glutamatergic, opioidergic, adrenergic, serotonergic, nicotinic, muscarinic, sigma, and GABA systems and pathways. Ibogaine binds to, and competitively inhibits NMDA receptors, and kicks GDNF into overdrive.
Ibogaine is rapidly metabolized by the liver – via O-demethylation mainly through the CYP2D6 enzyme – into a metabolite called noribogaine. Depending on how you wanna view the process, noribogaine is either a metabolite of ibogaine, or ibogaine is a short-acting prodrug for noribogaine. The half-life of ibogaine is about an hour. Noribogaine sticks around much longer.
Noribogaine affects many of the same systems as ibogaine. It also <drum roll please> does so in a manner that is significantly different than ibogaine itself. For example, ibogaine exerts some effects on the opioid system, but it appears to be neither a conventional opioid agonist or antagonist; ibogaine displays very low affinity for opioid receptors. Noribogaine on the flipside displays significantly higher affinity for δ, and κ-opioid receptors, and acts as a full agonist at the μ-opioid receptor.
To sum it all up: we're starting with an extremely complex, dirty molecule, which attaches itself to pretty much everything, and proceeds to do stuff we don't fully understand. First-pass metabolism of this short-acting molecule yields a long-acting metabolite, that's doing something completely different than the parental compound, some of the time anyway. Didja get all that?
At the end of the day, answering the question of how ibogaine works, is extremely fascinating, and completely irrelevant. How does it work? The honest answer is: we don't know. This is precisely the same answer that can be applied to a large spectrum of molecules that all live within the PDR and are prescribed to people every single day. How do they work? We don't actually know exactly, but they seem to.
A more pragmatic answer to how ibogaine works, would be: just eat the shit, and find out. Something simply magical occurs- your habit is non-existed.
Okay, so, after doing ibogaine 50 times in a row you start to glow in the dark, levitate, and grow a third-eye ... but all medications have side-effects; shit happens, are you asking your bartender or crack dealer for health warnings?
Possibly ibogaine is performing sacred magic from the dawn of time; perhaps trillions of tiny-little miniature, nano-sized, psychedelic cannibal pygmies run wild through your nervous system, carefully resetting, retuning, and making adjustments; maybe ibo flips 353 different switches all at once, and the resulting cascade clicks the master Addiction switch, back to the OFF position; I'm totally okay with any one of those <Shrug>.
On the flipside, unraveling the extremely complex mechanism of action, will increase our understanding of how the brain works, and eventually bring to market an entire spectrum of 2nd and 3rd generation derivatives, which may finally see the light of day within Western medicine, and bring the benefits of ibogaine to a much larger group of individuals.
"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress...
But I repeat myself."
Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of the United States, ibogaine is a Schedule I substance. What that means is: ibogaine is considered to be a molecule that currently has absolutely no medical value. This is particularly ironic, considering the fact that ibogaine provides an extremely effective and gentle detoxification from pretty much every other addictive drug that can be found in the PDR – and most street corners – while having highly limited abuse potential, and no addictive qualities itself.
Ibogaine is also a controlled substance in Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, and France. Ibogaine's legal status in the rest of the world is that of an unlicensed, experimental medication.
The Road to Nowhere
"The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it."
–George Bernard Shaw
Hurdles on the Path to the Development of Ibogaine as a Medication:
The last decade has seen extremely limited, virtually non-existent progress on the development of ibogaine as a medication for drug dependence.
• Ibogaine is currently a Schedule I substance. There's that "annoying side effect" with ibogaine, where you trip out for 8-12 hours. In addition to all the other costs associated with development of ibogaine, additional time and money will need to be spent, getting ibogaine re-classified into a less restrictive schedule.
The Controlled Substances Act is incredibly important, if drugs were legalized law-enforcement agencies all over the planet would instantly lose one of their most important sources of funding, the economies of entire Third-world countries who are propped up by this shit, would collapse; and what about lawyers, drug dealers, and the private-prison industry? C'mon they gotta make a living too!
Pardon me, I wuz clearing my throat and all that came out. Moving right along: taking an extremely brief detour, the Controlled Substances Act, is a bad joke with no punchline. The entire CSA is in desperate need of a complete overhaul. Much – if not most – of the "data" that went into deciding what schedule drugs are placed in, tends to be complete nonsense.
The classification system utilized by the CSA is almost entirely based on politics, and has very little – bordering on nothing – to do with science, medicine, or the harm that controlled substances actually cause.
Opiates do absolutely no damage to any cell in the body. Every time you light up a cigarette, eat another Twinkie, or have some drinks with dinner, you're killing yourself a lot faster, then by doing some heroin.
The number of people who have died due to cannabis use, is incredibly easy to remember, because that number is: ZERO. None. Nobody has ever died from smoking pot.
While LSD-25 is one of the safest drugs that has ever existed, if you eat a bunch of acid, it's entirely possible you may go forth and do incredibly ill-advised and stupid things, and you can do a lot of damage to yourself and others.
Of course, you can also get Really Fucking Drunk, jump in your car, run over a nun, a pregnant lady, 3 small children, and finish up your performance art by causing a 52 car pileup...
The salient point in both cases being: most people don't.
It isn't possible to construct a completely safe, childproof world, without turning the Earth into one huge prison-planet. The United States is already well on its way towards achieving this goal, we have more people in prison, than any other nation on Earth. We account for only 5% of the world's population, and a staggering 25% of the world's prison population. An extremely large number of the prison population, are locked-up due to non-violent, drug-related offenses.
The amount of time, energy, and money, that has been spent on the unwinnable, "War on Drugs," is mind-blowing. It is a disaster of epic proportions, that has turned an entire strata of society – people who choose to alter their consciousness through the use of molecules – into the last tribe of niggers on planet Earth.
Who you are, and what actions you take, have become completely irrelevant. The human being that is you, has effectively been erased, and the only thing that matters under this paradigm, are what metabolites you're excreting in your urine. In present-day America – and "civilized" nations all over the world – people who choose to use mind-altering substances, are afforded about as much dignity and freedom, as the Jews during Nazi Germany.
While this state of affairs is neither unique, nor without precedent in human history (see also: organized religion and the dark ages), extensive change is desperately needed.
Fortunately for us, the dark ages seem to be over for now; unfortunately, the priest caste, has largely been replaced with politicians and legislators, who would flunk an 8th grade biology, or introduction to science class, and submit bills based upon the prevailing mentality of hysterical mobs, the specific needs of isolated groups of individuals at a given moment in time, and kickbacks from special interest groups.
Erm, ignore that paragraph up there, it wuz just a typo that slipped out while I was being crazy. Anywaze: what makes a molecule "dangerous" to any given individual or society as a whole? Thankfully, in addition to lobbyists and activists, there are quite a few scientists and medical doctors, who lack a political agenda, asking themselves exactly the same question.
An excellent example of their findings can be found in a landmark paper published in The Lancet last year, "Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse," The Lancet, 2007; Vol: 369, Pages 1047-1053 (DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60464-4).
So what are the most dangerous and addictive drugs in existence? Scoring at the very top: alcohol, cigarettes, and a plethora of molecules living within the PDR which are prescribed to people every day. Least dangerous? Coming in towards the lower-end of the curve on the harm scale: LSD, cannabis, anabolic steroids, and MDMA. Psychonauts, stoners, bodybuilders, and club kids, rejoice!
The publication of this paper in the Lancet was significant, because it represents medical research being done in the name of, what was it again, oh yeah, right: science. The methodology employed, utilized parameters that deal with that mythical place called The Real World. Drugs were classified and rated according to 3 primary categories: Physical Harm, Dependence, and Societal Damage. The recommendations didn't take place within a vacuum, isolated in a Perfect Universe, where all prohibition has been repealed. Existing laws were taken into consideration.
While it's definitely a step in the right direction, and does an admirable job of viewing the Big Picture; utilizing this methodology, what's the biggest, baddest, scariest molecule in the known universe? Everybody's favorite demon is still: heroin. But you knew that was coming already.
This entire summary is brief, but necessary, because due to its relatively unique structure, and psychoactive nature, ibogaine is one of the molecules that's trapped dead-center, in the middle of this entire morass.
A real-time update of your tax dollars at work
• Ibogaine is not idiot-proof.
Unlike most entheogens – where the end-results tend to have a lot more to do with set, setting, and intent, rather than any specific mechanism of action brought about by the molecule itself – ibogaine can kill you. Like dead and stuff. No longer alive. Catcha in the next life dude.
Ibogaine is not suitable for all individuals. There is a relatively narrow margin between what constitutes an effective, therapeutic dose, and a lethal one. Ibogaine potentiates other molecules. Less is more. Even if you dose with ibogaine in a medically-supervised, "safe" environment, reset your habit down to nothing, and then decide to pick up drugs again ... if you pick 'em up, right where you left off, it's entirely possible that it'll be your last dose, of anything, ever. Buh-bye.
• Ibogaine is typically administered in a Single Administration Modality. SAM doesn't generate a lot of profit. There's no money in a drug that people only take once (or once or twice a year, when their habits are starting to get out of control).
• Drug-dependent individuals are an extremely marginalized demographic.
Additionally, members of this wonderful clique tend to drop dead with 7 times the frequency of straight people. In case that didn't register: the mortality rate of drug users is much higher, then for "normal" people. Nobody really wants this particular collection of walking time-bombs, attached to their bottom-line. It doesn't look so great. I mean, what the fuck is their problem anyway? If you want to stop doing drugs, then just fucking stop.
Ahum, whoopsie. Obviously I meant: the fatality rate of the drug-using population, is roughly 5-7 times greater, than that of the general populace. The potential liability associated with those fatalities, is that much higher to the corporation in question.
• Ibogaine is a naturally-occurring molecule. The molecule itself cannot be patented. Only specific uses can be patented. Howard Lotsof was already granted a series of patents, pertaining to utilizing ibogaine for interrupting drug-dependence.
As of 2008 all of these patents have expired.
Bringing any new drug to market within the United States, costs a truly staggering amount of money. An extremely conservative estimate is somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 million to $1 billion dollars, to take a drug from pre-clinical trials in animals, and move it through Phase 1-3 clinical trials in human subjects.
So, that's a billion dollar price-tag, and an average waiting time of over 90 months, before a pharmaceutical company can begin marketing their new miracle product.
With ibogaine some of that work has already been done, so it'll slide in at the bargain price of maybe $375-550 million.
Except, all those patents that pertain to utilizing ibogaine for drug-dependence have expired. They're gone. All of them. The purpose of any given pharmaceutical company is not curing diseases and solving medical problems. The purpose is pretty much the same as every other corporation in existence: generating profit for the shareholders.
The question is not, "Can we solve this problem?" The real question is, "Can we make a lot of money solving this problem?" In the case of ibogaine, the answer is pretty simple and clear-cut: No.
Even presupposing there was the Shining White Light Pharmaceutical Company that wanted to Better Mankind... It's still not happening, because after they've spent that half a billion... they're never going to recover it (nevermind make a profit).
And lest it sound that way, the specific problem is not pharmaceutical companies. There isn't a single company within Big Pharma, that's not actively working on developing Incredibly Cool Shit. The problems as they pertain to development of ibogaine, are:
All of the Points Listed Above
Ibogaine is way-fucked.
Development of ibogaine as a for-profit medication is simply not going to be happening. It's dead, game over, that particular window of opportunity slammed shut as we entered the 21st century.
Be Here Now
"The Center is Everywhere."
While establishment acceptance of ibogaine seemed entirely possible in the mid-90s, that particular dream has died.
With a bureaucracy as complex and tangled as the one that exists within the United States, there is in fact a possible roadmap to follow, which is already in existence: ibogaine could be developed under the Orphan Drug Act. It could be, but, probably won't be. Maybe, eventually, in a few decades, if some sort of massive re-structuring in Western Civilization takes place, ibogaine will finally find it's rightful place in the medical pharmacopeia.
Unfortunately, as things stand in 2008, any possible progress that happens along the road to legitimizing ibogaine treatment, is years away from reaching fruition – which is not too terribly helpful if you happen to need ibogaine right now (or the day before yesterday). And saying "years" is being kind... and extremely optimistic. The unit of time more applicable and better-suited to measuring this near-endless process is the afore-mentioned: decades.
It would have been nice if this happened a little sooner. The difference to you would be obvious. Instead of reading these words, your doctor would be presenting ibogaine treatment to you (and your insurance company) as a possible solution to your problem, uhm, situation. If you decided to try ibogaine, your treatment would take place in an extremely safe, medically-supervised environment.
But, oh well, shit happens, and it's yet another example of the distance to there, and the perpetual dividing line between what is, and what should be.
On the flipside: it's really not that dark. A lot of things have changed in the last decade.
If you needed ibogaine in the mid-90s, you could get treatment ... if you had access to $22,000 - $35,000 which is what medically-supervised ibogaine treatment was going for. Your chances of being accepted in one of the extremely limited clinical trials that existed – presupposing they managed to obtain funding, and keep going – were about equal to your chance of winning Lotto. And the best of luck trying to actually find somebody who had access to ibogaine and was willing to sell it to you or engage in "underground" treatment.
In the 21st century, that particular scenario has been rearranged. Considerably.
While it makes me feel all sad and empty inside that NIDA kicked ibogaine to the curb... I've mostly gotten over it, a lot of the time. Okay, well, The Establishment won't be accepting ibogaine anytime in the near future. That's a real bummer n' all, but, on the other hand: fuck 'em.
You really don't need governmental approval to decide what molecules you choose to attach to your receptors. If you're a junkie or basehead, you already knew that anyway. You also know it if you're into entheogens, because you're committing a felony every time you choose to ingest your sacrament and go to Church; so much for freedom of religion. You might not know it yet if you're addicted to prescription drugs – 'cuz obviously, that's the doctor's fault, you can't take responsibility for any of that (although, if you're here, reading these words, you're probably getting the idea, because nothing you've tried has worked, and the dawning realization that you're fucked is lighting up, and solidifying within your headspace).
Governmental approval and establishment acceptance are nice, but, at the end of the day, completely irrelevant. To cop a line from William Gibson, "The street finds its own use for things." Yeah it does.
It's been one extremely long and strange trip from the jungles of the Gabon, to the streets of the Lower East Side .. where the street first found that amazing side-effect which Tabernanthe iboga bestows on its initiates: freedom.
The worldwide ibogaine treatment network has grown, branched out, and is in the process of covering the entire planet. Availability and access to ibogaine, has significantly expanded and increased. If you want it, ibogaine is available. And somewhere on planet Earth, it's available at a price you can afford.
Information about ibogaine is being bounced all over the planet, pretty much constantly. There have been countless articles in newspapers, magazines, a coupla books, 2 or 3 movies at last count, a bunch of special reports on television; the pile keeps growing. Every coupla weeks yet another person, involved in some facet of the glorious communications / media / entertainment industry, trips over the Psychedelic Soap Opera, and goes, "Hum. Ya know, this is pretty fucking amazing. Why doesn't anybody know about this!?!? I am going to Notify, The World!!!1!2!" Yeah, please, by all means, go do that. It's one of the main reasons that ibogaine has gotten as far as it has to date.
We knew that our tribe was growing. When MindVox first opened The Ibogaine List, it was actually a private forum for a small handful of treatment providers and initiates. There were about 25 of us, and we all knew each other. It opened to the public back in 2001 when we subsumed the original Calyx ibogaine list, which had been in existence since 1997. There were no more than 350 people at that point in time. As of 2008, we have passed 10,000 members of an extremely self-selecting demographic: people who have done, are interested in, or – and perhaps most importantly – know about, the existence of ibogaine.
One by one, people whose lives have been affected by ibogaine, spread the meme. One by one, then ten by ten, hundreds have become thousands.
In 2005, Frank Vocci the director of antiaddiction drug development at NIDA (remember him? From way back here), made a very accurate observation in relation to ibogaine, "There's basically a vast, uncontrolled experiment going on out there."
Yeah, there sure is. And this Vast, Uncontrolled Experiment, has metamorphosed into something brand new: a Medical Subculture.
Contrary to what it may sound like, a medical subculture isn't a group of people who like to dress in latex, do drugs, and play with sharp instruments while having kinky seX (though, I mean, there's a lot to be said for that too). The term Medical Subculture, as it pertains to ibogaine proponents was coined by Dr. Ken Alper, who first used it in a scientific monograph, back in 2001. Ken has been studying ibogaine for a very long time. Over the years, in addition to doing research with ibogaine itself, Ken has been examining the people working with it, and how all the geographically dispersed "scenes" interlock and inter-relate.
On January 4th, 2008, a monograph that Ken had been working on for a few years, was published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Ken's paper was extremely special, because it's quite possibly the Most Important Scientific Monograph that Has Ever Existed.
A Medical Subculture, Distinct from other Drug Subcultures
"The ibogaine subculture is not a counterculture because its identity is not defined on the basis of opposition to conventional medicine. The subculture is to a significant extent an innovation by its participants in response to a demand for a treatment that is unavailable in the conventional medical setting. Although it involves alternative means, the ibogaine subculture shares with the conventional medical culture the common goal of providing treatment, which it emulates in the medical model type, or the utilization by lay treatment providers of medical tests for pretreatment evaluation. Criminality per se is not a significant focus of the subculture, which exists because of ibogaine’s lack of availability within the institution of clinical medicine, and not its illegality.
Activist self-help providers often view their activities as a form of civil disobedience affirming the right to better treatment for a stigmatized group. A nexus exists involving the harm reduction movement and the ibogaine subculture. Ibogaine is not illegal and available by Internet in most of the world. It is illegal in the US, Australia and five EU countries, but it is available throughout Europe and the Americas including Canada and Mexico.
The incidence of opioid-related deaths in the US doubled between 1999 and 2004, with methadone and oxycodone accounting for most of this increase. In contrast to trends regarding opioids, there was no increase in use of hallucinogens and MDMA among young adults in the US between 2002 and 2005 suggesting that the recent expansion of the ibogaine subculture is not an epiphenomenon of popular interest in psychedelic drugs and the availability of psychoactive substances on the Internet.
The clinical focus on the treatment of opioid withdrawal distinguishes the ibogaine subculture from subcultures associated with psychedelic or other illegal drugs. The reason for taking ibogaine was more frequently to alleviate the symptoms of opioid withdrawal than to pursue spiritual or psychological goals."
Kenneth R. Alper, Howard S. Lotsof, Charles D. Kaplan, The ibogaine Medical Subculture
J. Ethnopharmacology, V 115, 1 (9-24), 2008. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2007.08.034
As the chart located over there on the right, Clearly Demonstrates, Ken has used that science thing – addictionologists, please note, science is even better than utilizing crystal balls, gazing raptly at goat entrails, or inspired readings from the Bible Big Book – to provide conclusive, undeniable, incontrovertible PROOF that ibogaine is metamorphosing into a Giant, Addiction-Eating, Psychedelic Pac-Man.
We rest our case.
Look at The Chart. You know you want to, it's shiny happy pretty eyE Candy! While facts only get in the way of things – what it's saying is extremely important.
As a collective whole, what we're doing is working. Ibogaine treatment, access, and information that this weird thing even exists... is getting out there. There has been significant progress in the past half-decade.
In 2001, our tribe was extremely small. The aggregate estimated total number of ibogaine initiates from 1955-2001 was less than a thousand individuals worldwide.
As of February 2006, an estimated 3414 individuals had taken ibogaine. This represents more than a fourfold increase in the past half-decade vs. all of recorded history prior to 2001 (a time period spanning nearly half a century of documented ibogaine research).
According to Ken's paper, 68% of this aggregate total, sought ibogaine-treatment for a substance-abuse-related disorder, and 53% were treated specifically for opioid dependence.
Those numbers are extremely fucking significant – and quite likely, much higher by now.
The ibogaine movement is gathering momentum and picking up speed. That mythical intersection-point where a marginalized subculture comprised of desperate people, true believers, and a small handful of scientists who have continued pursuing their science hobby instead of engaging in politics – is moving ever closer to the tipping-point where the Psychedelic Soap Opera collides head-on with mainstream addiction treatment.
Rock the fuck out!
"My whole existence is flawed, you get me closer to God."
–Nine Inch Nails (Closer)
• Sacrament of Transition •
During late 1993/early 1994, a friend of mine in Slovenia named Marko Resinovič began working with ibogaine. Marko is another one of those extremely unique individuals who seem to collide with ibogaine through some cosmic intersection-point. Marko was neither a drug addict, nor personally affected by drug addiction through someone in his family or group of close friends. He first learned of ibogaine's existence, by coming in contact with Dana Beal's Yippie publication: Overthrow, which featured ibogaine in one of its issues.
Marko is a person with a beautiful mind, and a very old soul; who followed a life-long interest in examining states of mind and exploring consciousness, across several continents, and walked through a myriad of different doorways that psychedelic molecules blow open. In the beginning he wasn't even particularly interested in ibogaine's neat side-effect of interrupting drug-dependence; he simply wanted to add ibogaine to his collection of bioassays.
Word of Marko's experimentation with ibogaine began to spread throughout Eastern Europe. As the years passed and his work continued, he gained a tremendous amount of experience and insight working with ibogaine within a spiritual context, and began applying his knowledge towards working with drug-dependent individuals – who by and large, comprised the vast majority of people who felt an overwhelming need to have the ibogaine experience.
Towards the end of the 20th century, Marko's loosely organized enclave of psychonauts experimenting with ibogaine, had grown considerably, and he registered Sacrament of Transition (SofT), with the Office for Religious Communities of the Republic of Slovenia. In 1999, Sacrament of Transition (Sakrament Prehoda) became an official religion of Slovenia, recognized as being in compliance with all applicable laws.
Although Sacrament of Transition is based in Slovenia, it has a world-wide network of priests who are empowered to conduct initiation ceremonies. There is no official, single, unified initiation ceremony which all priests within Sacrament of Transition adhere to. SofT has no official dogma, no membership fees, and exists purely as a religious organization which does not claim to cure or treat any medical condition.
While ibogaine is the "Sacrament" part of Sacrament of Transition; it's not necessary to ingest ibogaine, to became a member of the SofT religious community. Ibogaine is an entheogen which enables individuals to experience their own innate spirituality and connection with the divine. Ibogaine provides a doorway, but SofT recognizes that it's far from being the only gateway to accessing these states of mind.
As of 2008 Sacrament of Transition has priests and communities located in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, England, the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Costa Rica, and Hong Kong.
• Crazy White People Go Native / Neo-Bwiti •
1999 was also the year that ibogaine and Central West-Africa first started making a noticeable blip on the drug-tourism radar, and began attracting travelers from around the world who enjoy visiting strange and distant lands, and getting fucked-up on their local drugs, I meant to say: experiencing their spiritual initiation ceremonies firsthand.
Nick Sandberg a longtime ibogaine proponent from the United Kingdom wrote at length about his experience in an essay titled: Iboga-tourism in Central Africa. Nick's account was followed a few months later by Daniel Pinchbeck's article Tripping on Iboga, an initial version of which appeared in Salon, and was later expanded and turned into the opening chapters of his book, Breaking Open The Head (2002).
While Nick and Daniel's overall motivation for experiencing an iboga initiation with the Bwiti differed (Daniel was in the process of writing a book about doing psychedelic drugs, while Nick was a long-time supporter of utilizing ibogaine to help free people from drug-dependence, and wanted to journey to the place where it all began), their overall experiences and impressions matched almost exactly regarding one significant point – despite the fact that Daniel was initiated in Gabon, and Nick journeyed to Cameroon, and both dealt with completely different intermediaries (guides) and Bwiti sects – their sacred initiation ceremonies, seemed to be highly focused on turning them into The Great White ATM Machine that sheds cash. Nobody was too terribly concerned with their spiritual evolution, and everybody wanted more money, at every conceivable intersection-point along the journey.
Total bummer and all, but ... not exactly unexpected. People who live in Third-world countries are usually extremely poor. Poor in the sense that the amount of money you banged up last week, was more money than an entire family is going to see that year. And, they're not stupid. They tend to have awareness of the fact that you're not there because you're interested in their plight, political issues, or culture; you're there to dose with one of the only exports they have which is of any interest to anybody else on planet Earth. Being aware of these basic facts of life prior to making your journey, is a really great idea. It tends to make things much simpler.
• The Bwiti •
• Stand or Fall •
Addiction encompasses a broad cross-section of different, interlocking systems; psychology, biology and neurology. There's physical dependence, which ibogaine will eradicate. While we still don't know exactly how ibogaine works, we do know that it does work. We can for example demonstrate that a specific strain of rat – genetically bred to be extremely susceptible to drug-dependence – will suddenly stop hitting the lever upon exposure to a particular molecule (in this case: ibogaine).
Now this is interesting, 'cuz I mean, what happened...? Did the rat go to rodent therapy and work out its lousy childhood, gain insight into its self-destructive behavior, and connect itself to a higher power of its understanding? Uhm... Probably not.
The only higher power it has come into contact with is the God whose religious tomes can be found under the heading: molecular pharmacology.
However, this is the part where it all spins in the opposite direction, because if the rat had a higher level of cognitive function, it would take very little time to arrive at the understanding, "Hmmm, I'm a rat, trapped in a cage, getting stuck with sharp objects. The only thing I have to look forward to is that they're gonna kill me pretty soon and throw me in the garbage. Ya know what, fuck this, why don't I hit that lever a few thousand more times, it's not like things could possibly get any worse."
Because when you come down to it, your "disease" is being a human being, and your life is just a relapse from death. And the headspace you're in when you're actively using drugs... it's not all that different from the one that many of the people on the planet maintain throughout their lives. Most people are not all that deliriously happy or thrilled with things, a lot of the time.
The only thing that separates you from them, is you have partially learned something they don't know about. If you're feeling like shit, or even if you're feeling really good, and just wanna get high – you have the knowledge that when you bring this or that molecule into your bloodstream and it attaches to the receptors it likes; everything's the same, but somehow totally different.
Having learned this, you cannot unlearn it.
What all this means is: congratulations, you're human. Human beings are born to get high and seek altered states of consciousness. Sex, drugs, music, religion, little kids spinning around in circles until they get dizzy. It's all the same thing.
It also means that having spent years, or decades, of your life, where daily existence is super-glued together thanks to your drug of choice; when you remove the variable of physical dependence, you're left with one helluva void, which isn't going to magically go away. There's self-medicating, there's the wide spectrum of shit you're not dealing with, and then there's just ... your day-to-day identity, your persona, who you believe yourself to be.
Alright, you finally made it, you're clean. You have actually detoxed, and been reset back to a state where you are no longer physically dependent on any exogenous substances. Ibogaine will detox you. It won't change your entire life and make it completely different. You have to do that part.
However you got here, you are in a weird space. It's gonna last for a while, and, well, it's extremely easy to pick up dope and get right back on the roller-coaster ride. So the primary question is: what gets you through this space of time, and allows you to move forward to some other way of living...
In the past I might have said that some sort of connection to spirituality, God, your higher power, whatever you want to call it, will do that for you – and it certainly can. I personally, absolutely do believe in my own conception of God.
I could easily write 20,000 words on this topic and just be getting started. But I don't have that kind of space right here, and the reality is: it doesn't matter that much, because everything can be distilled down to exactly one word: BELIEF.
You must believe in something. What you choose to believe in, is almost completely irrelevant. It can be your higher power, it can be your own ability to surmount the obstacles you will face, and make it through to something else; it can be almost anything. However, without this belief... You're not gonna make it.
What you need to do is as simple or complex as you choose to make it. You need to change your definition of who and what you are; to rewrite your own mythology.
How long does all this take? It can take months, years, a lifetime... It's as simple or difficult as you choose to make it. Having spent many years living in a really negative headspace, you're probably gonna make it extremely hard on yourself. It doesn't have to be. It takes exactly the amount of time that you need to stop defining yourself as a junkie, and begin believing you are something else.
It is that simple.
Your "mysterious disease" is not a necessary component; you have problems? Okay, well, welcome to the human race. Your belief in God is not particularly necessary – although it can be very helpful. In the last couple of years I have met people who haven't had therapy, didn't go to any meetings, and do not believe in God; who spent a good 15-20 years bangin' up heroin, and are clean right now. Why are they clean... Because they believe they could be.
Out of the variety of friends I have who are holding it together, if I had to sort through all the possible things they do to maintain, and come up with common qualities they possess... It would be belief and purpose.
Belief that it's possible to live without a habit. And some sort of purpose in their lives. They are human beings, some more fucked up than others, but they define themselves as individuals; not a summation of their symptomology.
Western models of mind are extremely good at isolating and pinpointing a near-endless series of things that are wrong with you. Unfortunately they are also almost completely useless in helping you fix any of that.
What can you learn from all this? If you keep digging in shit, you're gonna be covered in it.
You have problems...? Welcome to the human race. There are a lotta different ways you can deal with things, but it's extremely helpful if you can at least occasionally get out of yourself, and find something to do which gives your life some sort of meaning.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
–Martin Luther King, Jr.
On one end of the spectrum, are extremely high-tech, results-oriented ibogaine clinics, which attempt to blend and fuse the best of all possible paradigms, resulting in a treatment experience which is both respectful of the spiritual and entheogenic nature of ibogaine, while providing an extremely all-encompassing safety-net comprised of the very best that medicine and science have to offer. Needless to say, this can get pretty expensive, and your insurance is not gonna be paying the bills.
At the other end of the scale are people who work with ibogaine utilizing a purely shamanic paradigm. They have no formal medical training, quite often they are working with ibogaine extract – as opposed to the purified HCl – which contains all the alkaloids present within Tabernanthe iboga (of which ibogaine is merely one), and providing their patients with other entheogenic compounds before and after dosing, to provide a more holistic synergy.
From a scientific and medical perspective, what they're doing can be some seriously scary shit. "Okay, so, you're treating people without requiring any medical tests whatsoever, you have no idea what their pre-existing medical conditions happen to be, except for what the patient is already aware of and has chosen to disclose... and then you're whacking them with megadoses of ibogaine, ibogaine extract, some flowers you found growing in your garden because they're pretty and blue, and you happen to like the color blue, and after all of this, you're also dumping 15 other psychoactive plants into the mix. Do you have any idea whatsoever what the pharmacokinetics of that huge tangled-up <SplaT> happen to be? Basically, what you're doing here, is Completely Fucking Crazy, and trying to unravel what all of this shit does to the body and brain, is making my head hurt."
Yet... some of the most improbable success-stories, originate within exactly this paradigm. And surprisingly few people have dropped dead utilizing this methodology, while laying on someone's couch in Eastern Europe, or tripping in Gabon. On the flipside, a little over half of all known ibogaine-related fatalities on planet Earth, have occurred in medically-supervised ibogaine treatment clinics, under the care of MD.'s.
What does all of this mean? Who knows. God loves idiots, crazy people, and little children. When it's Your Time to Go Into The Light, it's just your time <Shrug>. Or, possibly, there's a lot to be said for shamanism, which cannot be quantified by our present level of medicial and scientific understanding.
It also means that new ibogaine treatment clinics are opening pretty much constantly. This is another upside and downside, to ibogaine being a completely unregulated and unrestricted molecule in most parts of the world. Nobody needs to undergo any special training in order to work with ibogaine. All you really need to do in order to open an ibogaine clinic, is figure out where to get some ibogaine. <Presto> You're no longer just a resort hotel, new-age health spa, or whacky schizotypal person with an apartment/house/seKreT Lair located in TheMiddleOfFuckingNowhere, Planet Earth; you are now an Ibogaine Treatment Provider. Hooray!
When a clinic states that they have medical supervision, most of the time what they're really saying is, they have a marketing department, and that statement looks good in their brochure or embedded within a web site (fly-by-night "ibogaine clinics" always have web sites, and advertising budgets ... those practicing shamanism never seem to. They arrive in dreamZ and visIOns, through word-of-mouth, or occasionally email). It also hopefully means that there is an actual medical doctor (as opposed to an EMT or nurse), certified to practice medicine in whatever country they happen to be located in, somewhere nearby (or <Gasp> actually on the premises) in case an adverse medical event occurs.
The problem is, none of that is too terribly helpful if the M.D. happens to have little or no personal experience working with ibogaine. The ibogaine universe is a very small and insular place. Working with ibogaine is not taught at medical school. If an adverse event occurs, and an untrained, ibogaine-naive clinician attempts to intervene, the chances that they will do something useful, are running about equal with the odds that they will do something which seems like a good idea, but in actuality is incredibly idiotic and stupid, and can turn a bad situation into a catastrophic and fatal one.
Caveat Emptor. Ask questions. Read the Ibogaine Patients' Bill of Rights.
• • •
A Short List of Reasonable Things to Ask your Prospective Treatment Provider:
• How long have you been treating people with ibogaine?
• How many patients have you had in that length of time?
• Do you have an actual M.D. present?
• Where did your doctor learn about ibogaine? What is his or her training?
• What is their speciality. Okay, they're an M.D., but other than dosing people with ibogaine, did they work in an E.R., orthopedics, geriatrics, what?
• Has your doctor ever done ibogaine personally?
• Am I being monitored on medical equipment while I'm tripping?
• What equipment, what does it do for me?
• Is it cool if I talk to some people who have been treated by you already?
• Killed anybody ... lately?
• The Ibogaine List •
The Ibogaine List on MindVox, is the single largest and oldest ibogaine-related discussion forum that exists on the internet. It contains an extremely broad cross-section of individuals who are interested in Tabernanthe iboga in general, and the ability of ibogaine to interrupt chemical dependency issues in particular.
The list is neither moderated, nor censored. While the vast majority of those who subscribe, never post or engage in public conversations, it can be an extremely high-volume list, generating upwards of 150 messages on extremely busy days.
While the majority of the participants are not ibogaine experts, and many are drug-dependent individuals who are currently experiencing a lot of stress and crawling through their own personal dark night of the soul; leading to occasional outbursts of being Completely Fucking Psychotic unfocused anger... over the years, some of the angriest and most trivial discussions, have spun sideways and turned into extremely all-encompassing and highly-focused threads rich with information that is not available anywhere else.
Over the years, the participants have included pretty much everyone in the ibogaine universe; ranging from all the major – and minor – ibogaine treatment providers, a variety of Ph.D.'s and M.D.s, various Bwiti from different sects, and nearly everyone who has ever made an impact within the relatively insular universe of ibogaine.
The Ibogaine List on MindVox is the only online forum that has ever been referenced in ibogaine-related monographs, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and utilized as a resource by scientists who are studying ibogaine, to gather data for publication.
The list is for all intents and purposes, a functioning anarchy. This is the exact-opposite methodology employed by most discussion forums, which tend to feature moderators who systematically delete, censor, remove, or edit and append message deemed inappropriate, while attempting to focus conversation on <some specific topic> and urging the participants to play nice and be friendly with one another.
While the above paradigm generally succeeds in creating a fake-cheerful and welcoming atmosphere, conducive to making people feel like everybody took their Thorazine today right on schedule – Joo get a shiny gold star! – and then time-warped back to preschool; the end results tend to be less than stellar.
The downside of being a working anarchy, is the noise to content ratio. The list contains a lot of ranting, and many off-topic conversations bounce back and forth. The upside being, all the noise is shot-through with a tapestry of pure gold. Pretty much every ibogaine expert in the world is accounted for, and posts at least occasionally. If you have specific questions, you can ask, and a large variety of individuals with varying backgrounds will give you a direct, first-person answer. There are over a thousand people present, who have actually done ibogaine, for myriad reasons, with varying degrees of success. Over the years, roughly one-third of all human beings who have ever been dosed with ibogaine, have found their way to MindVox. And there are some truly amazing members of our tribe, who have come full circle from being the sprung as fuck, walking dead; experienced what ibogaine had to offer; and have spent years working on themselves prior to founding or co-founding clinics and offering ibogaine treatment to others.
Their insights and advice can be extremely valuable to anyone who is attempting to make the difficult journey out of drug-dependence.
• Ibogaine Treatment Centers •
If you are interested in ibogaine treatment for yourself, or somebody you care about, a short list of options is available HERE.
Visit the websites. Call the phone numbers. Ask questions. Interact with people. Make sure that you are interacting with different treatment centers (as opposed to 3 websites which are all spam-farms leading to the same "intake"). Then decide on one or two that seem to have the greatest possible resonance with your specific situation and needs, and ask people on the Ibogaine List.
Wherever it is that you plan to go, odds are extremely high that someone (usually many someone's), have gone through that same treatment provider, and are active on the Ibogaine List.
This will still not provide you with a final answer, because quite often what sucked and was totally awful for one person, who will express that at length; worked miracles for somebody else. People are unique individuals, who have different needs.
Deciding to do ibogaine tends to be a somewhat monumental decision for most people, often precipitated by a combination of pressing legal issues, financial apocalypse, and a headspace of total desperation. Quite often seeking treatment with ibogaine, is a person's Absolutely Last Attempt to break free from addiction, because they're tried everything else, and nothing has worked, "what the fuck do I have left to lose?"
Well ... honestly. Your life. Ibogaine can kill you, it is not a recreational drug. Of course there are many things which can kill you, including the heroin and crack you're doing and the lifestyle that comes with it; bangin' shit into your veins that you copped off some guy standing on a street corner, or hittin' the base-pipe are not really known for their life-prolonging, vitality-enhancing, health-giving benefits.
You should try to keep the following in mind though... as mentioned, ibogaine is a Schedule I substance in the United States. No it really doesn't belong there. And yes, the whole "War on Drugs," is a fucking bad joke; except, having spent most of my life at the receiving end of it ... I'm not very amused. Being sprung and broke sucks. There are a lotta people who need help.
However: when you send out messages to the Ibogaine List, asking random people you don't know, to help you get ibogaine, if you happen to live within the United States, or one of the small handful of countries where ibogaine is a controlled substance; what you are doing is soliciting people to commit a felony – actually, a series of felonies – and enter into a conspiracy with you. And you're doing that on a public forum, being read by 10,000 people you do not know.
If anybody wants to fuck with you, they will have no trouble tossing another half a dozen charges into that picture.
What everybody does outside the confines of The Ibogaine List, is really none of our business. Dunno, doan' wanna know, don't care.
Just to repeat this one more time, so it has a better chance of imprinting itself within your consciousness and gaining some traction: The Ibogaine List is an open and public forum. While a very small subset of the total population here are active participants in the conversations which take place ... It has over 10,000 people reading it at the present time.
We do not know who the vast majority of the subscribers to The Ibogaine List are. We do know that a variety of scientists, doctors, legislators and law-enforcement personnel from a neat collection of three-letter acronyms are reading this forum. And those are just the individuals who have signed on utilizing their agencies official email address, and aren't bothering to hide behind some random Gmail, Yahoo, or WhateverTheFuck account.
If you do stupid shit, then it's entirely possible that you're gonna have an entirely brand new set of problems to deal with – in addition to being sprung.
To reiterate: we don't care what anybody does outside the context of this list. We don't want to know about it. God bless and good luck. But please keep in mind that this is NOT the magical, secret, special clubhouse at the end of the universe which nobody else knows about.
It's a public discussion forum about ibogaine. Anybody who types "ibogaine" into a search engine, can wind up here in one click.
If you cannot afford to dose with ibogaine in a medically supervised setting: do as much research as you can. About the materials you are attempting to obtain, about the reputation of the person(s) making them available to you and/or providing you with ibogaine treatment; and especially dosing guidelines from people who have used those same materials in the past.
None of this is a guarantee, it's more like a very basic prerequisite. If you don't know what you're doing, have no idea what materials you're actually taking, or where they came from; if they turn out to be real, and you miscalculate... the mistake can be fatal.
Nobody listens to warnings anyway, but please try to educate yourself to the best of your ability to do so. Everyone's going to do whatever they're gonna do, but it doesn't hurt to take action with at least a little bit of knowledge backing it up.
... Peace. And welcome to the Ibogaine area of MindVox ...
• Bibliography • Disclaimer • Full Disclosure •
"Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think."
–Jean de La Bruyère
Much of the history presented here bounces back and forth between subjective experience, objective spin-control, and official historical records. Prior to winter of 1999, I spent my entire adult life being a junkie. Dope was an integral part of my existence from age 14, until a little past age 30. Sixteen years is a long time.
I detoxed with ibogaine in late 1999. I have been off dope this entire millennium.
I realize that for most straight people reading these words, this accomplishment falls soundly within the category of, "uhm, that's splendid! Really special n' all, but, whateverTheFuck." Drug addiction is a lot like competing in the special olympics. OhMyGawd joo didn't bang up or suck on a crackpipe today! I am SO PROUD of you!
And, true that. Drug addiction is a very bad comedy routine. The problem is ... when you're sinking in it, it's not very funny. It never arrives at a punchline. It just keeps going <kA-bo0m!@> all over everybody's life that intersects with yours; as you go down in flames ... usually, on the long-term layaway plan. While there are many people who drop dead from doing incredibly stupid, ill-advised shit ... there are many, many more of us who have done every idiotic thing imaginable, over and over and over again, and just keep waking back up. Dying is easy, life is a motherfucker.
• • •
I was the Chief Technology Officer, and one of the only employees of the University of Miami's, Ibogaine Research Project, from 2000 until May of 2008.
• • •
The information that pertains to scientific research with ibogaine, was taken from a large stack of monographs, published in peer-reviewed journals, which all live within PubMed. If you'd like a reasonable overview, go here, and cruise through the top 25-35 papers which have been published within the last half decade, and hit with the search term, "ibogaine." There's spin control, and then there's actual science. Personally, I'm a real big fan of that science thing, it's a great fad, it'd be nice if it catches on someday.
Additional reference material cited within this document is primarily contained within the following three books:
• The Neurochemistry of Drugs of Abuse: Cocaine, Ibogaine, and Substituted Amphetamines. Edited by: Syed F. Ali. Published by: New York Academy of Sciences (1998). ISBN-13: 9781573311458
• Ibogaine: Proceedings of the First International Conference (The Alkaloids). Edited by: Kenneth R. Alper and Stanley D. Glick. Published by: Academic Press (2001). ISBN-13: 9780120532063
• The Ibogaine Story: Report on the Staten Island Project. By: Dana Beal and Paul DeRienzo. Published by: Autonomedia (1997). ISBN-13: 9781570270291
• • •
Statistics and other lies, are never exactly perfect or representative of objective truth, but occasionally they get pretty close. Places where I'm presenting statistics as facts, are taken directly from the Official Office of Propaganda, which is pertinent to that specific dataset. By which I mean to say: ONDCP (the Office of National Drug Control Policy), NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse), SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration) / DAWN (the Drug Abuse Warning Network), the DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration), the FDA (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration), the DOJ (U.S. Department of Justice), and the TCSDD (Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development).
"Dude, statistics are bullshit!" Yeah, and, so? <Shrug> What's your point? If you're gonna quote statistics, at least quote officially-sanctioned bullshit (or nobody's gonna mint your grant. Sadly, surveys in High Times don't actually count as data). Anywhere I quote statistics, you're gonna find they match exactly, with whatever the Official Department of Spin-Control, for the glorious United States of America, circa early 2008, had to say about the same subject. I'm just not quite as enthusiastic about some of the numbers as they seem to be.
• • •
Disclaimer: my opinions regarding ibogaine, the state of addiction research, and the overall Big Picture; are obviously, mine (most especially my opinions regarding NIDA. Everybody I know who has a Ph.D., and is busy submitting grants; loves, adores, and greatly admires NIDA). They are the subjective observations of a person who has spent pretty much his entire life performing bioassays with most of the molecules that live within the PDR (and many street-corners). I have also lived at the receiving end of the "War on Drugs" and addiction treatment, for nearly as long. I have spent time locked up in little cement cells, with bars instead of windows, while dopesick, for the "crime" of altering my state of consciousness against the government's wishes. I'm not highly appreciative of the experience, it did not fill me with peace, love, and understanding, while teaching me the error of my ways. On the contrary, these experiences dramatically increased my levels of: Go Fuck Yourself, when I want your opinion, I'll give it to you. If there is one thing in this world that I absolutely own, it's the body my consciousness resides in. No government has the right to dictate what molecules I'm allowed to attach to my receptors. What do molecules do? They effect change within the systems running your body, and can have a profound impact on altering consciousness. When you get past all the bullshit, the "War on Drugs" is a War on Consciousness, states of mind, and human beings. This is pretty much a textbook definition of fascism. These topics are not abstractions to me, but rather forces that were a constant part of my daily existence, for an extremely long time.
Disclosure: I have personal relationships with nearly everybody mentioned in this article. I am not a shareholder in any ibogaine-related detox or treatment center, at the time of this writing. It really makes no difference in my life what you do with yourself, or where you seek treatment. MindVox has hosted the Ibogaine List for over a decade at this point. It is a non-commercial entity which accepted no advertising since its inception. Funding from 2001 - 2011 was provided by The MindVox Corporation, and occasional donations from various organizations and individuals. I am High Priest of the Sacrament of Transition (actually, my legal title is: H1gh Pr!35T).
Document v:0.8. All content is Copyright © 2008, Patrick K. Kroupa, The MindVox Corporation, or individual parties as noted. All images are used with permission. All rights are reserved.
Public Notice: Any use of this document, in any manner whatsoever, will increase the amount of disorder in the universe. Although no liability is implied herein, the reader is warned that this process will ultimately lead to the heat death of the universe. Furthermore, some quantum physics theories suggest that when the reader is not directly observing this document, it may cease to exist or will exist only in a vague and undetermined state. In conclusion, the entire physical universe, including this document, may one day collapse back into an infinitesimally small space. Should another universe subsequently re-emerge, the existence of this document in that universe cannot be guaranteed.
–Susan Hewitt and Edward Subitzky (The Journal of Irreproducible Results, Vol. 36, No. 1)
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