Why is Ibogaine Illegal in The United States

Ibogaine is derived from the bark of the root of the Iboga tree

According to National and Worldwide statistics conventional rehab has only a 3% success rate while according to the same research statistics Ibogaine has an 80% success rate and growing.



How can the U.S. Government   ignore its medicinal properties and continue to keep it illegal when it is scientifically safer than methadone or suboxone treatment, is non-addictive, requires only a ONE time 7 day treatment  and has an extremely higher patient success rate than any other drug being administered for addiction or withdrawal.

If Ibogaine is virtually the only non-addictive substance known to alleviate or eliminate withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with opiate detox, why isn’t it used as a drug treatment more commonly?

Here are some of the reasons why you may have never heard of Ibogaine:

1)    The healing dose causes a 24 to 48 hour long “trip” with psychoactive elements

2)   Its African (you think we’re post-colonialism?)

3)   Its natural and cannot be patented (no American pharmaceutical company can make money from it)

4)   Treatment for addiction is a one- or two-time occasion, not ‘maintenance’ (you don’t keep taking     Ibogaine regularly), and very inexpensive, thus causing the pharmaceutical companies to lose literally billions of dollars annually.

5)   Its rare (not sufficiently cultivated), although this is now being done to some extent successfully.

The drug, derived from the root of a central African plant called Iboga, had been used for centuries by the Bwiti people of Gabon and Cameroon, as part of a tribal initiation ceremony.

But it wasn’t until 1962, when a young heroin addict called Howard Lotsof stumbled upon Ibogaine, that its value as an addiction treatment was uncovered.

Lotsof took it to get high but when the hallucinogenic effects wore off, he realized he no longer had the compulsion to take heroin. He became convinced that he had found the solution to addiction and dedicated much of his life to promoting Ibogaine as a treatment.

As far as scientists understand, Ibogaine affects the brain in two distinct ways. The first is metabolic. It creates a protein that blocks receptors in the brain that trigger cravings, stopping the symptoms of withdrawal and cravings.

Ibogaine tends to remove the withdrawals immediately and brings people back to their pre-addiction stage. With normal detox this is not possible.

Its second effect is much less understood. It seems to inspire a dream-like state that is intensely introspective, allowing addicts to address issues in their life that they use alcohol or drugs to suppress.

Howard Lotsof’s early campaign had little success and Ibogaine was banned in the US, along with LSD and psilocybin mushrooms, in 1967.

In most other countries it remains unregulated and unlicensed. Lotsof set up a private clinic in the Netherlands in the 1980s and since then similar clinics have emerged in Canada, Mexico and South Africa.

These clinics operate in a legal grey area. But a small group of scientists is still working to bring Ibogaine into the mainstream.

It is legal and government ran however in New Zealand and Israel.

In the early 1990s,  a neuroscientist and addiction specialist at the University of Miami, came upon the work of Dr. Stanley Glick, a scientist who had researched the effect of Ibogaine on rats.

Glick hooked rats on morphine, an opiate painkiller, by allowing them to self-administer it through a tube. He then gave them Ibogaine and found they voluntarily stopped taking morphine.

Around the same time, Mash was contacted by Howard Lotsof. They began working together and in 1995 secured full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate its potential in humans.

But these tests cost millions of dollars, and Mash applied for five separate public grants but each one was declined.

Usually, this money would come from big pharmaceutical companies but drugs like Ibogaine offer little potential for profit.

It only has to be taken once, unlike conventional treatments for heroin addiction such as methadone which is a substitute and addictive itself.

One very major reason they are not being developed is that there is no patent on these drugs anymore so there is no pharmaceutical company involvement.

Pharmaceutical companies make money by patenting new chemicals but Ibogaine is a naturally occurring substance and is difficult to secure a patent on.

Keep in mind also that the physical dangers of Ibogaine are eradicated when administered and supervised by a trained physician.

Ibogaine is now legal and clinics are free and run by the governments in New Zealand and Israel.


Apr 27th 2012 by Chip Carter

Ibogaine — The Magic Plant That Could Cure Addiction, Still Banned in the U.S.

It’s a plant that might just be the cure to substance abuse, and even though there are entire clinics built around it in Canada, here in the U.S. it remains both illegal and ignored.

Ibogaine is an alkaloid derived from the Iboga plant, a perennial rainforest shrub and hallucinogen native to western-central Africa. According to some former slaves to heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, alcohol and even nicotine, it also breaks the virtually endless cycle of addiction.

Canada isn’t the only place where Ibogaine is unregulated and available. Clinics there, as well as in Mexico, parts of Europe and dozens of other countries offer a supervised medical setting for the use of Ibogaine in addiction withdrawal.

But in America, if you’re looking to try Ibogaine as a potential addiction interrupter, you could wind up in even more trouble than when you started.

Under U.S. drug laws, Ibogaine is listed as a Schedule 1 substance — meaning it’s considered to have high potential for abuse and no medicinal value — right alongside well-known villains like heroin, LSD and everyone’s favorite bad cousin, cannabis.

Keep reading for more on this potential panacea and find out who won’t talk about it.

Junkie “Accidentally” Discovered Treatment 50 Years Ago
In the 1960s, a 19-year-old junkie from the Bronx named Howard Lotsof “accidentally” discovered that after dosing with Ibogaine, his heroin addiction disappeared. Over a period of months spanning 1962–63, Lotsof administered Ibogaine to 19 individuals. Seven of them were opiate addicts attempting to get clean. All noted “an apparent effect on typical withdrawal symptomatology.” Meaning they stopped jonesing.

After years of securing patents and promoting Ibogaine’s potential, Lotsof died earlier this year with his pet project no closer to being accepted in the U.S. as a medical treatment for addiction than it was in 1962.

“Super-Bondo” for an Addict’s Brain
Apparently, Ibogaine works — if and when it does — by sealing off receptors in the brain created or “switched on” by addictive substances. Nicotine, for instance, makes little dents in the surface of your brain that can only be filled in — thus ending the craving — by more nicotine. Think of Ibogaine as super-Bondo for an addict’s brain.

Years of research have convinced Dr. Kenneth Alper, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at the New York University School of Medicine, that the therapy is at least worth a shot.

Alper says the lack of legally available Ibogaine “has led to the existence of a distinctive, unofficial network involving lay individuals conducting Ibogaine treatments in nonmedical settings” — meaning there’s a black market in America for people trying to get off dope.

“Not the Kind of Thing People Do for Fun”
Funny thing is, unlike most Schedule 1 drugs, nobody considers Ibogaine to be the least bit enjoyable.

“It’s the not the kind of thing people do for fun, or want to do again. It’s a very rough experience,” said Dana Beal, an old-school activist, advocate and Yippie party leader who used to hang around with Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman.
In that zone, addicts lose their addiction, say Beal and others. The feel-good effects of Ibogaine persist for 4-12 months, long enough to give an addict a jumpstart on avoiding relapse.

Says Beal, “It is really serotoninergic, so it’s like Prozac every day. It’s great for mood, just what a [recovering] addict needs, actually.”

So if it’s not fun, and it’s at least anecdotally effective — check out this video of people who claim to have kicked addiction with Ibogaine — why is Ibogaine illegal and so tightly controlled in the U.S.?

“I don’t know,” Beal said. “Ask the DEA. Ask the U.S. Senate.”

We did. Or tried to anyway.

Senate and DEA Stonewall
Here are some of the people and places we contacted over a month to talk to about Ibogaine, none of whom responded: The Betty Ford Clinic, The Hazelden Center, The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, The University of South Florida, Columbia University, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Penn.), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.)

The last four entries on that list are of special significance: Those senators are the ranking members of the U.S. Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs — the people responsible for making drug laws in the U.S.

1-in-300 Chance Your Heart Will Stop
After all we’ve learned, we’re still not ready to declare Ibogaine the ultimate panacea for addiction. Much of the evidence supporting it is anecdotal. And, administered improperly, there’s a 1-in-300 chance it could stop your heart cold, but that is only without proper medical supervision. Then again, so can a shot of China White, or a snort of crystal meth. Logic would seem to dictate that Ibogaine is a lesser evil.

As of 2014, there are only 12 documented fatalities associated with Ibogaine ingestion, all eventually proved to be due to negligence, not Ibogaine itself.

This is compared to in the world total, anywhere between 2-5 million people die per year from drugs directly or indirectly, there are people that are killed due to drugs, because they were killed for their money to buy drugs, they were killed from over dose, they were killed because someone else was driving a vehicle and caused another vehicle full of people to die.

But for now, Ibogaine’s Schedule 1 status seems to signal that government officials and American clinical providers don’t agree.

If interested in Ibogaine there is a really good documentary out there called “kicking the habit”

It’s about a person that was once a successful stock broker with tons of money but began using heroin. He had tried all rehab centers and other types of treatment with none of them helping. He eventually travels to Mexico to undergo Ibogaine treatment.

It’s a great documentary. Some of it is a bit heartbreaking. But not only does it show the true nature of a person wrapped up in their addiction but it shows the strengths and weaknesses of Ibogaine therapy.