March 21, 2012
tabernanthe iboga

Tabernanthe iboga (plant source of Ibogaine)

About Ibogaine

Ibogaine is a psychoactive indole alkaloid derived from the rootbark of an African plant – Tabernanthe iboga. In recent years it has been increasingly noted for its ability to treat both drug and alcohol addiction. Both scientific studies and widespread anecdotal reports appear to suggest that a single administration of ibogaine has the ability to both remove the symptoms of drug withdrawal and reduce drug-craving for a period of time after administration. In addition, the drug’s psychoactive properties (in large doses it can induce a dreamlike state for a period of hours) have been widely credited with helping users understand and reverse their drug-using behaviour.

Studies suggest that ibogaine has considerable potential in the treatment of addiction to heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, methadone, and alcohol. There is also indication that it may be useful in treating tobacco dependence. It has also been suggested that the drug may have considerable potential in the field of psychotherapy, particularly as a treatment for the effects of trauma or conditioning. A single administration of ibogaine typically has three effects useful in the treatment of drug dependence. Firstly, it causes a massive reduction in the symptoms of drug withdrawal, allowing relatively painless detoxification. Secondly, there is a marked lowering in the desire to use drugs for a period of time after taking ibogaine, typically between one week and several months. This has been confirmed by scientific studies. Finally, the drug’s psychoactive nature is reported to help many users understand and resolve the issues behind their addictive behaviour.

Ibogaine can be easily administered, in capsule form, and has no addictive effects itself. It is essentially a “one-shot” medication and, used in a fully clinical setting with proper advance medical screening, the drug thus far appears to be safe to use. Whilst it certainly happens that some individuals stop using drugs permanently from a single dose of ibogaine, for many the treatment should best be regarded as simply the initial component in an overall rehabilitation programme.

Although approved for clinical trials (trials on humans) for the treatment of addiction in the US in the early 1990s, problems with financial backing and other issues have so hindered the development of ibogaine that, as of early 2005, it remains undeveloped and thus unavailable to the majority of addicts worldwide. There are however now an increasing number of private clinics, located mostly around the Caribbean and Central and South America, that offer ibogaine treatment at prices starting around £2,000, (approx US$4000). Some lay treatment providers offer lower cost treatment, with varying levels of medical facilities, in Europe. In addition, ibogaine, either in pure form or as a plant extract, has become available from some lay sources on the internet.

Ibogaine’s current legal status in the UK, and much of the rest of the world, is that of an unlicensed, experimental medication, and it not therefore an offence to possess the drug, though to act as a distributor may be breaking the law. Ibogaine is a restricted substance (possession is illegal) in some countries, including the US, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium.

Please see our other pages about Ibogaine Therapy , ibogaine treatment centres and related experiences of working with Ibogaine.









Howard Lotsof – father of Ibogaine passes away

March 20, 2012


Howard S. Lotsof

Howard S. Lotsof the father of ibogaine

Announcement – Howard Lotsof, father of ibogaine passed away on Sunday January 31st 2010 after some years of illness. He was active in promoting ibogaine right up until he left. Without Howard many people would likely never have beaten addiction and perhaps the world would still not know about this amazing natural substance. We all owe him an immense debt of gratitude – Nick Sandberg, website owner.

Important information for those thinking of taking Ibogaine

March 22, 2012

With Ibogaine treatment now more available than ever before, in an ever-widening range of settings, more and more knowledge about the drug is gathering. At the time of writing, March 2007, one thing that is becoming increasingly clear is that there is a reasonable degree of risk associated with taking the drug. At least 12 people are recorded as having died in connection with taking ibogaine or other iboga substances over the last decade or so, and there is reason to believe that the number may be higher, with other deaths having occurred in non-clinical settings and without being recorded.

Here is some safety-related information about the drug:

– There is an inherent level of risk with ibogaine treatment. Twelve people are known to have died in connection with taking ibogaine or other iboga alkaloids. In actuality, the figure is likely higher, given that ibogaine is frequently administered in surroundings where people may be reluctant to contact the authorities in the event of something going wrong. Statistically, a ballpark figure for deaths during treatment is probably of the order of 1 in 300. (This is based on 12 recorded deaths having occurred within 3611 recorded treatments, outside of Africa, as of March 2007). The following factors have been identified as having caused death:

  • having a pre-existing heart condition, sometimes one not detectable by EKG
  • using opiates when on ibogaine, or shortly afterwards
  • using the rootbark or iboga extract. Ibogaine HCl is statistically much safer
  • taking ibogaine outside of a clinical facility. Persons taking ibogaine need constant supervision and, ideally, online heart monitoring

– Ibogaine is principally recognised for its ability to vastly reduce the symptoms of drug withdrawal, thus allowing addicts to detox relatively painlessly. Any other claims made for the drug, such as that it creates long-term drug-abstinence, or removes the effects of trauma or conditioning in either addicts or non-addicts, may have a degree of truth but are a great deal less substantiated.

– You must be medically tested before you take ibogaine. Proper clinical testing of heart and liver function are the absolute minimum. The site author is not aware of any reputable treatment provider who would allow you to take ibogaine without prior medical testing. Do not go with someone who does not insist on it. Ideally, you should have constant monitoring of heart function whilst on the drug, and medically-trained staff present.

– Beware of listening excessively to the advice of just one individual when deciding whether or not to take ibogaine. Ibogaine’s effects can be life-changing, and it is common for someone who has had a very positive experience to do their utmost to “spread the message,” possibly allowing their enthusiasm to override the very real concerns about safety.

– If you are thinking of taking ibogaine for personal development and haven’t yet been involved in proper therapy (therapy where there’s an open admission by the individual of the presence of emotional issues), be aware that you may be being attracted to a “quick fix” strategy that avoids really dealing with deeper issues. If this is the case, ibogaine could possibly make things worse. For some, using psychoactive substances can invoke disturbing reactions as the mind’s defences struggle to keep down rising repressed material. Drugs like ibogaine, ketamine, LSD and MDMA (Ecstasy), have been used in the past by therapists, but only as one component of an overall therapeutic strategy. Using the drug out of this context could cause more harm than good.

All the above said, ibogaine still potentially represents a major medical breaththrough, especially in the field of treating drug dependency.

Are We Being Told The Truth About The “War on Drugs”? by Nick Sandberg

March 21, 2012

The massive and ever-increasing presence of illicit drugs within our society is prompting much concern. The US government’s “War on Drugs” is demonstrably not working and further considered by many to be counterproductive.

Here in the UK, the number of people using heroin is now reckoned to be approaching 2% of the general population of some cities. Yet little effective strategy to combat the problem appears to be forthcoming from government. And the impression we’re invariably given by the media is that there is little that can be done except punish the user. My opinion is that there are in truth a great number of things that could be being done, but that for various reasons governments are highly unwilling to undertake them. Preferring instead to bombard us with laughably ineffective media campaigns to ‘just say no’ and similar.

I believe there are four principal reasons why government is allowing the drug situation to get so out of control.

Firstly, heroin, and also cocaine, are now such major commodities, any effective attack on their presence would inevitably have a considerable knock-on effect on the world markets. Some analysts suggest effective action to lower heroin and cocaine supplies could end the current bull run and cause the market to enter a phase of depression. Something those who run the worlds finances seem determined to prevent.

Secondly, it helps facilitate transnational corporate expansionism. In a world where very big companies are seeking to get bigger still; to expand their holdings, both fiscal and human; it is very useful to be able to both socially and politically disenfranchise those persons who, for one reason or another, do not quite fit into the corporate gameplan. Heroin achieves this aim admirably. It is a high-strength painkiller, the action of which is to reduce the emotional impact of incoming stimuli on the user and so lower our response to our environment. People using heroin simply ‘care’ less. Junkies typically neither vote nor riot. They are rendered socially and politically inactive by their drug of choice and so do little to threaten the advance of corporate culture. Some writers have noted that anarhist or anti-capitalism groups frequently appear to be actually ‘targetted’ by drug gangs selling heroin.

Thirdly, the international crime syndicates and local criminal gangs that are the inevitable result of the illicit drug trade permit the expansion of anti-crime legislation and the erosion of civil liberty. Greater regulation of financial transactions, increased public surveillance by camera, and increased “stop and search” powers for police being a few examples.

And finally, the obvious presence of a drug-using underclass within our society provides both a useful excuse for the prevalence of many social ills that in truth relate to government-induced social inequality and policy failure, and serves as a “warning” to those who are attracted to a life of non-conformity of what can happen to people who don’t do as society wants.

So, what could really be being done about the drug problem?

One solution to the problem of illicit drugs was explored at a recent international conference in New York. In June 1998, at a Special Session of the United Nations Drug Control Programme, newly elected UNDCP head, Pino Arlacchi, delivered an address to some 168 world leaders and their representatives. In it he outlined his “grand plan” to eliminate heroin and cocaine worldwide by the use of crop replacement programmes, (schemes to encourage or compel poppy and coca farmers to switch crops to something less damaging). Arlacchi, a former mafia-buster in his native Italy, had pioneered such schemes in places like Burma and Afghanistan with considerable success.

Arlacchi’s plan was costed at US$5 billion, divided between participating nations and spread over ten years. This is not a lot of money, especially when one considers that the US State Department openly admits illicit drugs cost the US economy alone over $75 billion per annum. There are problems but Arlacchi insists they could be overcome.

(What is also interesting about Arlacchi’s plan is that, despite the presence of Clinton and countless other world leaders at its unveiling, barely a word of it has escaped to the media. In the UK, to the best of my knowledge, it has not attracted a single column centimetre of coverage in any major newspaper. In a country where tales of playground drug dealers regale our front pages on a weekly basis, it seems it’s decided no-one would be interested in hearing about a UN head who says he can eliminate drugs at source! Needless to say, the plan to eliminate heroin and cocaine has received virtually no funding to date).

In addition, much recent research reveals that drug addiction is not some random social ill induced by hedonistic lifestyles or poverty, but rather a “coping stategy” used by people who’ve suffered childhood trauma. If further resources were diverted to both informing the public of this and treating the cause of the problem not the symptom, great progress in the battle against addiction would very likely result.

And finally, many people are also not aware of the existence of substances that can eliminate the symptoms of withdrawal associated with drug addiction. The most noteworthy of which being ibogaine, an indole alkaloid derived from an African plant source. Ibogaine, in addition to removing withdrawal symptomology, is beneficially oneirogenic. Meaning it induces a dreamlike state in which the user can begin to examine his or her drug-using behaviour from a new perspective, frequently helping to facilitate long-term drug abstinence.

To sum up, I believe that if people want to see an end to the problems drugs are presenting within their communities they need to stop listening to the opinions relayed to them by the media and go out explore the issues for themselves.

Nick Sandberg, Winter ’99

Heroin Use and the Psychology of Repression by Nick Sandberg

March 21, 2012

I hope this short piece about how repression occurs and the kinds of strategies our subconscious mind utilises to deal with it may shed fresh light on addiction issues.

Heroin, known medically as diamorphine, is in essence little more than an extremely powerful painkiller. The essential effect of heroin, like that of any opiate, is to render pain subconscious. To repress that which is causing us to experience negative thoughts, feelings or emotions. A person using heroin, therefore, is not engaging in self-indulgent behaviour, merely seeking to keep pain repressed.

Taking heroin is not a foolish action. It is not a stupid thing to do. It is a quite natural ‘coping strategy’ many people adopt to help them maintain a reasonably stable emotional state in the face of adverse conditions.

The use of ‘coping strategies’ is widespread in our society, and drug use is merely one example. Virtually everybody reading this, regardless of whether they use drugs or not, will be using coping strategies of one form or another on a daily basis. This happens because, in the typical Western childhood, we are all exposed to high levels of parental ‘conditioning’ – the restriction of our natural desire for personal freedom of expression by our parents or other adults charged with our care. This typically takes place via our parents only giving us affection when our behaviour is deemed ‘good’. And having this affection withdrawn when our behaviour is deemed ‘bad’. Parents typically condition their children because the overwhelming majority of cultural influences they’re exposed to tell them it must be done or their children will not grow up to be ‘civilised human beings’.

If we look a little deeper at what conditioning is, and what happens when it is applied to us, we will begin to understand the true reasons why so many people become drawn to heroin use. Conditioning takes place via the process of us being repeatedly compelled to block natural behaviour patterns. Conditioning is what happens to us whenever our parents, teachers or society compel us to behave in a way that is not natural to us, be it for our own good of otherwise. And conditioning can take place because of a primitive defence mechanism we all rely on when we are children – the repression response.

At the age of about 10 weeks the foetus begins to become aware of its environment. And it simultaneously develops a basic mechanism to protect itself from potentially damaging events in its new world. This mechanism is the repression response. Everything that is occurring around us is constantly being monitored by our subconscious mind, below the level of our conscious awareness. When something happens that the subconscious mind believes may be harmful to us, it activates the repression response. This response blocks our full awareness of the event and further suppresses the expression of any pain which may be associated with it. We therefore do not fully experience what it was that happened and do not express fully any accompanying pain.

The intention of the subconscious mind is to block our awareness of the event until such time as it is safe for us to experience what it was that happened and express the pain associated. To ensure that our conscious mind, as we go about our daily life, does not accidentally come across the block of memory and unexpressed pain, it covers it over with layers of fear. By doing this, our subconscious mind ensures that should our conscious mind experience anything that symbolically reminds it of the painful memory, it suddenly experiences fear, and quickly moves away.

Growing up therefore, naturally experiencing events which our young mind cannot yet comprehend and so feels slightly threatened by, the repression response will often be activated. This results in the storing up of a lot of these blocks of memory and pain, all covered over with fear to ensure we don’t accidentally uncover them.

The repression response remains available to us throughout our lives. But, as we progress through childhood, so we naturally develop an improved system known as the grieving process. The term ‘grieving process’ does not apply solely to dealing with the death of a loved one, but to any event that has a negative effect upon us. The process of grieving a painful event runs through several distinct stages and allows the body to re-balance itself at an emotional level and thus soon return to life much as before. It does not involve the storing away of lots of little blocks of pain and memory. And the grieving process proceeds naturally as soon as we become aware of what it is that has happened and express the pain associated.

So growing up, we can release ourselves from the past if we progressively become aware of what it is that has happened to us, and liberate the repressed blocks of memory and pain inside, thus initiating the grieving process. It is a good idea that we do this, for if we do not then the blocks of memory and pain will mount up and anytime we consciously experience something that symbolically relates to one of the repressed memories we will experience fear.

And if we do not take steps to clear out our subconscious mind then so, pretty soon, our life will become increasingly stressful. If bad events have happened in our past, even minor things, so we will soon begin to experience high levels of stress as our mind constantly experiences the little warning bursts of fear that occur whenever it encounters something that in any way symbolically reminds our subconscious of a repressed memory. When this starts to happen, we will find that whole areas of natural thinking and behaviour become painful to us, and so we learn to avoid them. Learning subconsciously to make changes in our natural patterns of thinking and behaviour is called adopting coping strategies.

Back to conditioning. The process of ‘conditioning’ children; compelling them to divert from their natural behaviour pattern, for whatever reason; when it first occurs will cause the initiation of the repression response. The child develops a little block of memory and pain surrounded by fear. The conditioning action could be anything. Perhaps the infant reaching out for food because it is hungry and having it’s hand gently slapped. The little block will be reinforced the first few times the action of conditioning occurs. And then the child will learn. It will learn that if it wishes to avoid the feeling of fear that now happens when it thinks of eating when its parents do not wish it to eat, it must adopt the changes in behaviour the conditioning is intended to induce. But, in doing so, the memory and pain that is associated with the original experience of the conditioning remains repressed. It remains hidden away surrounded by fear in the subconscious mind.

The degree to which we have to repress depends on not only the amount of conditioning we experience. But also on the kind of conditioning. The more painful the memory – the more it deviates from what our instinct tells us should be occurring – the deeper the repression needed to keep it down. And, if all the accumulating fear and pain repressed in the mind is not cleared out, then the child as he or she grows up will be subconsciously drawn to using coping strategies.

If we look around us, we will see that virtually everyone is using coping strategies of some form or another. Some are socially recognised as being such, others are simply regarded as being part of so-called ‘normal behaviour’. I’ll describe a few.

– the use of distractive thinking or behaviour – the frequent experiencing of a sudden need to change the subject or do something else in certain not obviously threatening situations;

– the retreat into a primarily left-brain lifestyle – the world of feelings is more accessible from the right-brain, so if feelings become painful to us then the world of logic and order seems very attractive. Many people in science and similar areas have moved into their chosen field not because it truly interests them, but because the orderly world it represented was comforting terrain.

– the adoption of antisocial or criminal behaviour – a person who experiences little real love from their parents may subconsciously insulate themselves from the memory of this with the fear that they cannot be loved, that they are simply innately unlovable. This is the deepest and darkest fear the human mind can carry and because it is so terrible, it will always be held subconsciously – away from our waking awareness. To escape from this terrifying subconscious fear, an individual will frequently attempt to prove to themselves and those around them that they are ‘bad’. For if they are ‘bad’ then this was the reason they did not receive love, not because they are unlovable. This is the true root of much criminal and delinquent behaviour.

– acting out – the compulsion to symbolically recreate repressed early situations and attempt to alter the outcome. One common example being the girl whose father never showed her affection finding herself later attracted only to uncaring men who she attempts to get to love her;

– co-dependency – the seeking out of a partner who can symbolically satisfy the unmet and unrecognised needs of childhood. Our mind will store the deviation between what its instincts tell us should be happening in our young life and what actually happened. And this will form a powerful drive within the subconscious, dictating much behaviour;

– the devout belief in the Christian God – believing in an entity who refuses to prove He loves you but simply demands total faith can prove compelling to someone who did not experience the unconditional love of their parents they were biologically preconditioned to expect. If such a person can believe that it is normal for unconditional love not to be expressed, but to later manifest with faith then the deviation between what was expected and what was experienced will cease to cause deep pain;

– the craving for fame – very frequently it will be seen that a person who has not had a natural need fulfilled through childhood conditioning – usually the need to experience unconditional love and freedom of expression – will quickly learn not to seek the fulfilment of this need directly, for fear of the pain it knows will result if it is again refused. Instead, they will learn to seek mere symbols of the need. Thus, those who did not experience unconditional love from their parents will naturally develop a deep subconscious desire for fame, for the adoration that fame represents symbolises the love that they truly crave.

– the craving for material wealth or possessions – being wealthy may represent being insulated from the effects of painful events of the past. Furthermore, our parents frequently give us things when they are pleased with us and wish to demonstrate affection, and we thus subconsciously associate material possessions with being loved;

– the craving for personal power – if we found our natural attempts to express ourselves overly restricted by our parents, acquiring personal power and establishing boundaries in relationships will naturally become very important to us;

This is just a brief selection of some typical coping strategies. There are many others. It’s important to remember that there is nothing wrong with any of the above behaviour. It is all quite natural, and simply occurs because as children we have been subjected to conditioning, an unnatural infringement on our innate desire for self-expression; and furthermore denied easy access to any strategy that can open up the subconscious mind and liberate the repressed material within. The other thing worth noting is that not one of the persons described above has any conscious awareness of what it is that is truly motivating their behaviour or thinking. Everything is being run at a subconscious level.

And now, heroin. The key to understanding heroin use is to realise that heroin is a drug that reinforces repression. The system that our mind actually uses to repress material is known to neurologists and psychologists as ‘gating’. The better we can ‘gate’ the better we can hold material in the subconscious, away from our conscious awareness of it.

If we imagine that we are our conscious mind and that a zoo full of wild animals is our subconscious, then ‘the gates’ are the bars of the cages that keep the animals from scaring us. If the gates weaken then repressed material will begin to enter into our awareness where it will become projected onto the situations we encounter and cause us anxiety.

Our gating mechanism is regulated at the opiate receptor in the brain. Taking heroin will increase gating – strengthening the bars of the cage – thus allowing the user to experience less direct interference from the subconscious mind. And therefore less anxiety. People who cannot ‘gate’ sufficiently well to keep painful material repressed; either because their gating mechanism is not functioning properly, or because the material is just too painful; will begin to become increasingly vulnerable to using heroin or other opiates. For such persons, a chance encounter with heroin will frequently turn into a long-term relationship.

So, to sum up. Virtually anyone brought up in Western society will have experienced considerable conditioning as a child. Being conditioned is what our parents do to us in the belief that it is necessary if we are to become ‘civilised’ human beings. It typically consists of the witholding of affection when we behave in a manner deemed ‘bad’, and the granting of affection when our behaviour is deemed ‘good’. Whilst conditioning does cause us to adapt our natural behaviour patterns to those which society deems ‘civilised’, it does so at the expense of us having to repress in our subconscious mind large amounts of painful material. This repression takes place via the neurological mechanism known as ‘gating’. Gating may be thought of as the ‘fencing off’ of separate parts of our mind. In this case the conscious from the subconscious, the aware from the unaware.

As this material mounts up in our subconscious mind, so we will find ourselves increasingly compelled to alter our natural thinking and behaviour patterns to avoid any form of symbolic encounter with the repressed material. The adoption of these changes in behaviour or thinking is known as the taking on of coping strategies. It can be seen that virtually everyone in our society is naturally adopting coping strategies of one type or another. However, not everyone can keep painful material sufficiently repressed by this means. Either their gating system is not functioning adequately or the material they’re trying to hold away is too painful.

Heroin, an opiate, operates at the receptors in the brain that mediate gating. And so, taking heroin will reinforce an individuals ability to repress painful material out of their conscious awareness. For a person whose subconscious mind is having trouble keeping repressed material down, the use of something to reinforce their minds gating system will be very attractive. For such a person, just one chance encounter with heroin could well turn into a lifelong relationship.

So, what can truly be done about heroin addiction? Well, from the above it can be seen that what is truly ailing addicts, and many non drug users, is the presence of repressed material within the subconscious mind, the natural result of all the conditioning we have received as children. And that persons using heroin are people who likely either do not have a particularly effective ‘gating’ system, (perhaps more sensitive or artistic individuals); or those for whom the material their subconscious mind is trying to keep repressed is so painful it keeps leaking through into the edges of awareness, (those who have suffered childhood abuse or similar deeply traumatic events).

In order that these problems be resolved permanently it will be necessary to make conscious the memories and pain repressed within subconsciousness. As a person learns how to approach and break through the barrier of fear that is surrounding the original repressed memory, so they will be able to experience the memory in it’s original context and express the pain held within the system at that point. Once this is done, the natural grieving process will be initiated, and, after it has run its course, the person will be free of the need to repress. Thus heroin will no longer be an issue, for there will be nothing for it to do within the body.

Ibogaine’s activity at multiple receptor sites within the body makes it an ideal basis for therapeutic interventions to counter heroin addiction. The drug can open up the subconscious mind, allowing slow exploration and integration of material and pain lurking within over the months after the treatment. This should happen ideally under the skilled guidance of a therapist, perhaps with ancilliary techniques employed to assist the process. Furthermore, ibogaine’s activity at the opiate receptor ensures that the body’s repressive system isn’t shut down too quickly with the removal of heroin from the user’s life. This provides a comfortable space between the states of being a heroin user and not being a heroin user and will also prevent most of the symptoms of heroin withdrawal, making detox a relatively painless process.

Nick Sandberg, April 2000.