OPEN Foundation

Day: 7 September 2011

Combating substance abuse with ibogaine: pre- and posttreatment recommendations and an example of successive model fitting analyses


Ibogaine is an indole alkaloid derived from the root bark of the African shrub Tabernan the iboga and it has been used for many years as a medicinal and ceremonial agent in West Central Africa. Furthermore, both anecdotal observations and recent studies suggest that ibogaine alleviates withdrawal symptoms and reduces drug cravings. Although ibogaine articles typically include information bearing on the duration of drug abstinence following treatment, little if any attention is given to the psychological and environmental factors that might facilitate a positive treatment outcome. Hence, a major purpose of the present review is to suggest a number of theory-driven, pretreatment and posttreatment recommendations that have good potential for enhancing ibogaine’s effectiveness. The second major purpose of this review is to demonstrate, through a reanalysis of previously published results, the utility of conducting successive model fitting analyses on ibogaine treatment data. Such analyses are useful for determining both the strength and form of the association between pre-ibogaine treatment variables and post-ibogaine treatment outcomes. Finally, in order to facilitate future quantitative reviews, the authors recommend that a minimum set of patient- and treatment-related variables be included in all ibogaine publications involving human participants.

Hittner, J. B., & Quello, S. B. (2004). Mechanisms of antiaddictive actions of ibogaine. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 36(2), 191-199.
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Phytochemical analyses of Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis

A total of 32 Banisteriopsis caapi samples and 36 samples of Psychotria viridis were carefully collected from different plants on the same day from 22 sites throughout Brazil for phytochemical analyses. A broad range in alkaloid distribution was observed in both sample sets. All B. caapi samples had detectable amounts of harmine, harmaline and tetrahydroharmine (THH), while some samples of P. viridis had little or no detectable levels of N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Leaves of P. viridis were also collected from one plant and analyzed for DMT throughout a 24-hour cycle.

Callaway, J. C., Brito, G. S., & Neves, E. S. (2005). Phytochemical analyses of Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 37(2), 145-150. 10.1080/02791072.2005.10399795
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Bringing Ayahuasca to the Clinical Research Laboratory

Since the winter of 1999, the authors and their research team have been conducting clinical studies involving the administration of ayahuasca to healthy volunteers. The rationale for conducting this kind of research is twofold. First, the growing interest of many individuals for traditional indigenous practices involving the ingestion of natural psychotropic drugs such as ayahuasca demands the systematic study of their pharmacological profiles in the target species, i.e., human beings. The complex nature of ayahuasca brews combining a large number of pharmacologically active compounds requires that research be carried out to establish the safety and overall pharmacological profile of these products. Second, the authors believe that the study of psychedelics in general calls for renewed attention. Although the molecular and electrophysiological level effects of these drugs are relatively well characterized, current knowledge of the mechanisms by which these compounds modify the higher order cognitive processes in the way they do is still incomplete, to say the least. The present article describes the development of the research effort carried out at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, commenting on several methodological aspects and reviewing the basic clinical findings. It also describes the research currently underway in our laboratory, and briefly comments on two new studies we plan to undertake in order to further our knowledge of the pharmacology of ayahuasca.

Riba, J., & Barbanoj, M. J. (2005). Bringing ayahuasca to the clinical research laboratory. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 37(2), 219-230. 10.1080/02791072.2005.10399804
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Various alkaloid profiles in decoctions of Banisteriopsis caapi

Twenty nine decoctions of Banisteriopsis caapi from four different sources and one specimen of B. caapi paste were analyzed for N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), tetrahydroharmine (THH), harmaline and harmine. Other plants were also used in the preparation of these products, typically Psychotria viridis, which provides DMT. There were considerable variations in alkaloid profiles, both within and between sample sources. DMT was not detected in all samples. Additional THH may be formed from both harmine and harmaline during the preparation of these products. The alkaloid composition of one decoction sample did not change significantly after standing at room temperature for 80 days, but the initial acidic pH was neutralized by natural fermentation after 50 days.

Callaway, J. C. (2005). Various alkaloid profiles in decoctions of Banisteriopsis caapi. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 37(2), 151-155. 10.1080/02791072.2005.10399796
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