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Ibogaine as a treatment for heroin addiction

Ibogaine is kind of an oddity in the world of drug addiction treatment. If the claims about it are correct, it is a kind of "magic bullet" that can cure addiction in one dose, or just a few doses.

It comes from the bark of the iboga tree, found in Africa.

Ibogaine is, for lack of a better term, a "psychedelic" or "hallucinogen". That is, people who take it may see visual effects of various types and may experience things that they describe as deeply spiritual or religious. Those who have taken it and say that it cured their addiction say that it gave them a new self-awareness and allowed them to see themselves and their problem from a whole new perspective. They say that their craving for drugs fairly vanished overnight. Like other psychedelics, the experience may last several hours.

Also, like other psychedelics, addiction to iboga is just about impossible. Users typically report the experience as pleasant, but they don't have any craving to repeat it.

Naturally, if there is anything that could cure a drug addiction in a matter of a day or so, and do so safely, then that should be a first choice.

What's the downside?

First, it is still experimental at this point. Some people claim near miraculous results (and I certainly hope they are correct) but the hard scientific research isn't there yet. People claim miracles for all sorts of modes of treatment -- and they are probably right in at least some cases -- but that doesn't mean that it is going to be a miracle cure for everyone. Any review of the medical literature on addiction -- and the number of arguments even among "addictionologists" -- rapidly leads to the conclusion "Different strokes for different folks."

Also, because it is experimental you aren't likely to find a clinic within a few blocks of you that offers ibogaine.

Second, psychedelics aren't for everyone. They provoke experiences, sensations, and feelings that are simply incomprehensible and indescribable to people who have not taken them. As one psychedelic user described it "I began to wonder that, if I ever did get straight again, how would I be able to recognize it?"  

Statistically speaking, there isn't much chance that you will suffer negative long-term effects but, if a psychedelic experience gets to be unpleasant, it can be really unpleasant for several hours.


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