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Life After Ibogaine: An Exploratory Study on the Long-Term Effects of Ibogaine Treatment on Drug-Add

Life After Ibogaine: An Exploratory Study on the Long-Term Effects of Ibogaine Treatment on Drug-Add

  1. Jatelka
    Science Internship Report, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Faculty of Medicine, November 2004

    Ehud Bastiaans

    Abstract
    Ibogaine, is a psychoactive alkaloid derived from the roots of the rainforest shrub Tabernanthe Iboga. The native population of Western Africa uses ibogaine in low doses to combat fatigue, hunger and thirst and in higher doses as a sacrament in religious rituals (Fernandez 1982). The knowledge of the use of ibogaine for the treatment of drug dependence has been largely based on reports from groups of self-treating addicts that the drug blocked opiate withdrawal and reduced craving for opiates and other drugs for extended time periods (Kaplan, Ketzer et al. 1993; Sheppard 1994; Alper, Lotsof et al. 1999; Alper, Beal et al. 2001). Scientific research concerning ibogaine is concentrated in various fields including pharmacological, anthropological and to a limited amount clinical studies (Goutarel and Gollnhofer 1997; Dzoljic, Kaplan et al. 1988; Glick, Rossman et al. 1992; Judd 1994; Popick and Glick 1996; Maisonneuve, Mann et al. 1997). In addition, a number of case studies have been published (Sisko 1993).
    Due to the relatively slow progress of the research on ibogaine in the academic world, the knowledge gathered focuses mostly on the anthropological, social historical, pharmacological, physiological, immediate and the short term effects on drug use. Very little is known about the medium and the long term effects of the treatment. Moreover, the information that is available, concentrates mostly on only one outcome of the treatment, namely whether the addict ceases the use of drugs or not. There is little research concerning the effect of ibogaine treatment on the wider aspects of the addict’s life after the treatment with ibogaine, such as the medical condition and the psychological and social well-being. This report describes the methodology and preliminary results of a pilot study of the long term effects of ibogaine treatment on drug addicts. The effects explored include, as mentioned above, not only the drug use behavior, but social, psychological, medical and legal aspects of the addicts’ life. This interest in a broad range of effects is based on the theory that addiction is a multidimensional construct that includes not only a drug use, abuse and dependence dimension, but other dimensions of medical, psychological and social well-being (Hendriks, Kaplan Charles D et al. 1989; Hendriks, van der Meer et al. 1990).