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Breaking the cycle of opioid use disorder with Ibogaine

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Abstract

Ibogaine is an indole alkaloid that comes from the root of the West African shrub Tabernanthe iboga. Ibogaine has been used for centuries in spiritual celebrations, coming of age rituals, and healings among the Babongo and Mitsogo people of West Central Africa. In Africa today, approximately 2–3 million members of the Bwiti religion scattered in groups throughout the countries of the Gabon, Zaire, and the Cameroun take large doses for the “Bwiti initiation ritual”—a powerful “rebirth” ceremony that group members typically undergo before the commencement of their teenage years.
The discovery that ibogaine eliminates the signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal and diminishes craving for opioids was first made in the 1960s by a group of self-treating individuals with heroin use disorder; a single oral dose administration of ibogaine was associated with a disruption of five addicted individual’s use of opiates for up to 6 months . An underground railroad of individuals in recovery helping others with addictions arose, using ibogaine to help people break their cycle of addiction to heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. Ibogaine is thought to enable individuals with opioid use disorder to transition to abstinence and establish a substance-free recovery through an ibogaine-induced experience that has personal meaning and/or other benefits. Ibogaine’s long-lasting metabolite noribogaine may reset brain circuits to block the intractable cravings and desire to use opioids that set the addiction relapse cycle into motion.
C. Mash, D. (2017). Breaking the cycle of opioid use disorder with Ibogaine. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 1-3. 10.1080/00952990.2017.1357184
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