Science

The hallucinogenic tree that cures addiction in one dose

Why, in an age when nearly every party drug is being pushed into federal trials for addiction and mental illness, when drug tourists who fetishize the mysticism associated with indigenous hallucinogens are in the market for ever-bigger thrills, and when the opioid epidemic is killing tens of thousands each year, have so few Americans heard of ibogaine?

It’s most common for Americans seeking ibogaine these days to try Mexico or the Bahamas. A few will make the trip to Gabon, but it’s not exactly the most time- or cost-effective way to indulge a curiosity, even a potentially life-saving one. (Gomes also says that, from what he’s heard, people in Gabon don’t tend to be thrilled with the arrival of strangers at their door, bringing some combination of heroin addiction and/or misguided expectation of mysticism.) The most important thing is to just make sure the practitioner overseeing its administration is a legit one. Taken properly, ibogaine is generally very safe. Taken improperly, without clearing any number of pre-existing medical issues, you can die. Other countries like New Zealand and Canada have recently begun to legislate therapeutic uses, and it’s a de facto national treasure in Gabon, where members of the Bwiti religion use it in coming-of-age ceremonies. But the sparse body of controlled research, coupled with the very real risk of death, has kept it from making any real headway in the States … Iboga trees also need eight years to mature before the bark is ripe, so to speak, for harvesting, and in order to harvest the plants you do need to kill them. Labs have begun to produce a sort of synthetic ibogaine from the plant Voacanga africana in an effort to make the drug more environmentally and economically sustainable, but it’s still very much a nascent field.

Original Article (Inverse):
The hallucinogenic tree that cures addiction in one dose
Artwork Fair Use: Hiobson

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