OPEN Foundation

J. Gardner

Ibogaine therapy for addiction: Consumer views from online fora


Background Ibogaine is a psychedelic drug used by for-profit clinics and lay-people to treat addiction, despite some reported fatalities and a lack of rigorous clinical research. Little is known about ibogaine therapy from a consumer perspective. Online discussions generate and disseminate information about ibogaine therapy and provide a window into how people understand ibogaine’s risks and uses. We examined views expressed in online fora in order to describe a consumer perspective of ibogaine therapy for addiction, and to elucidate the role of online fora in mediating people’s understanding of, and engagement with ibogaine. Methods We thematically analysed 40 threads comprising posts from 101 individual contributors from two popular online fora; Reddit (n = 20) and Drugs Forum (n = 20). Results Our analysis identified three primary themes: (1) online fora as a resource for do-it-yourself research; (2) the therapeutic interaction in ibogaine therapy, and; (3) therapeutic mechanisms of ibogaine. Online fora were a key resource for information about ibogaine therapy, where personal experiences and evidence-based information were valued. Treatment arrangements, risks, and harm reduction were discussed at length by forum participants. Discussions of therapeutic effects focused on pharmacological mechanisms but positive psychological changes resulting from the psychedelic experience were also reported. Clinic-based treatment was preferred by many forum participants due to safety concerns, but money and time and treatment intent sometimes necessitated lay-administration of ibogaine. Microdosing of ibogaine was also frequently discussed. Conclusion: Online fora appear to have facilitated a sense of community where individuals are held to account for the success of ibogaine therapy. Fora discussions illustrate that neuroscientific explanations of addiction and behaviour have explanatory salience for people involved in ibogaine therapy. Online fora could be used as a platform for clinician and peer-led support and harm-reduction interventions, and for further research monitoring treatment practices and long-term outcomes.

Barber, M., Gardner, J., Savic, M., & Carter, A. (2020). Ibogaine therapy for addiction: Consumer views from online fora. International Journal of Drug Policy83, 102857.; 10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102857

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Psychedelic-assisted therapies: The past, and the need to move forward responsibly.


Recent clinical studies illustrate that psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin may represent much-needed new treatment options for mood disorders and alcohol and other drug use disorders. More clinical studies are required to confirm the safety and efficacy of psychedelic-assisted therapies, but the cultural stigma that has surrounded psychedelics since the 1960s has hindered research. This problem is amplified in Australia. There has been a complete absence of research into psychedelic therapies, and Australian-based research advocates claim to have encountered a number of barriers. In this commentary, we provide a brief account of the historical stigma associated with psychedelics, and an overview of the contemporary context of research into psychedelic-assisted therapies, including the purported barriers to research in Australia. In light of the complex history of psychedelics, we identify a number of pressing questions relating to the social and legal context that need to be addressed so that clinical studies can proceed. Research is needed to address such questions so that the nature and extent of purported barriers to clinical studies with psychedelics can be properly elucidated, and strategies developed – with practitioners, patients, families and other stakeholders – to responsibly address these barriers. This is important because it will enable Australian researchers to contribute robust evidence about the possible efficacy and safety of psychedelic therapies, and to facilitate local expertise needed to implement psychedelic-assisted therapies, should they prove efficacious.
Gardner, J., Carter, A., O’Brien, K., & Seear, K. (2019). Psychedelic-assisted therapies: The past, and the need to move forward responsibly. International Journal of Drug Policy70, 94-98.,
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4 October - Online psychedelic Q&A with Rick Doblin (founder and president of MAPS)