Endabuse, ibogain, ibogaina, ibogaIne, NIH 10567,
Substance type: indole alkaloid, indole alkylamine,
Chemically, ibogaine is closely related to the ~carbolines,
and particularly to harmaline and
harmine. It belongs to the group of cyclic tryptamine
Ibogaine was first isolated from the root cortex
of Tabernanthe iboga in France in 1901 (Dybowsky
and Landgren 1901). Ibogaine and analogous
alkaloids (ibogane type) also occur in Pandaca
retusa (Lam.) Mgf. [sYll. Tabernaemontana retusa
(Lam.) Pichon] (cf. Tabernaemontana spp.), a dogbane species native to Madagscar (Le MenOlivier
et al. 1974). Many genera in the Family ApocYllaceae,
including Tabernaemontana, Voacanga
spp., Stemmadenia, Ervatamia, and Gabunea, contain
ibogaine-type indole alkaloids (ibogamine, tabernanthine,
voacangine, ibogaline) (Prins 1988, 5).
Between 1940 and 1950, most research into
ibogaine was conducted in France. Because it
exhibited potent stimulating properties, the initial
pharmacological research focused on ibogaine's
neuropharmacological effects. Only later were the
hallucinogenic effects more precisely studied
(Sanchez-Ramos and Mash 1996,357).
In the 1960s, the Chilean psychiatrist Claudio
Naranjo introduced ibogaine into psychotherapy
as a "fantasy-enhancing drug" (Naranjo 1969*).
One subject provided the following account of a
shamanic experience during a psychotherapeutic
session with the "stomach drug" ibogaine:
I am a panther! A black panther! I defend
myself, I stand up. I snort powerfully, with the
breath of a panther, predator breath! I move
like a panther, my eyes are those of a panther, I
see my whiskers. I roar) and I bite. I react like a
panther, offense is the best defense.
Now I hear drums. I dance. My joints are
gears, hinges, hubs. I can be a knee, a bolt,
could do something, indeed almost anything.
And I can loose [sic] myself again in this chaos
of nonexistence and the perception of vague,
abstract ideas of changing forms, where there
exists a sense of the truth of all things and an
order that one should set out to discover.
(Naranjo 1979, 188*)
In Europe, the Swiss psychiatrist Peter
Baumann provided the main impetus for the use
of ibogaine in psychotherapy:
Baumann reported about experiments with
completely synthetic ibogaine, which he used
on only a few patients with whom a long and
positive therapeutic relationship existed. The
dosage was usually 5 mg/kg of body weight. At
this dosage level, the effects lasted for approximately
5 to 8 hours and diminished only very
slowly. In his experiments with ibogaine, the
author found that it was not the substance as
such that triggered a specific effect but that it
induced an unspecific psychological and
physical stimulus that was then responded to
in the language that patient was accustomed
to using with this therapist. (Leuner and
Schlichting 1986, 162)
Unfortunately, an accident led to this initially
promising research being halted. Marina Prins
(1988) subsequently compared Baumann's results
with those reported by Naranjo.
Today, ibogaine is in the spotlight of
neuropharmacological research because it has
been shown that this alkaloid can be used to
reduce and cure the addictive behavior of people
dependent on other drugs (heroine, cocaine)
(Sanchez-Ramos and Mash 1996; cf. Maps 6 [2;
1996]: 4-6). For example, ibogaine has been found
to suppress the motor activity that occurs during
opiate withdrawal. It has been proposed that
ingested by opiate addicts in a single high
dosage, dramatically reduces withdrawal
symptoms while simultaneously causing a trip
that provides the patient with such deep
insights into the personal causes of the
addiction that a majority of the individuals
who receive such therapy can live for months
without relapse. However, it should be noted
that several additional sessions may be necessary before a persistent stabilization
occurs. (Naeher 1996, 12)
Experiments with primates have shown that
ibogaine reduces opiate addiction and partially
blocks withdrawal symptoms. Although the
neuropharmacological mechanism behind these
effects has not yet been discovered, Deborah Mash
and her team in Miami (Mash 1993; Mash et al.
1995) are researching this question. Ibogaine has
been demonstrated to interact with numerous
different receptors, and it has been concluded
that this breadth of interaction is the reason for
ibogaine's effectiveness in addiction therapy
(Sweetman et al. 1995).
In the United States, the use of ibogaine to treat
addiction has been patented as the clinical Lotsof
procedure (Lotsof 1995). Whether this procedure
will receive endorsement from the medical community
remains to be seen (Touchette 1995). A
novel about this facet of ibogaine (which incorporates
such actual people as Howard Lotso£) was
published in Slovenia (Knut 1994).
Ibogaine enjoys a reputation for being an
exceptionally potent and stimulating aphrodisiac
(Naranjo 1969*).500 The research to date has
entirely neglected this aspect.
Another substance of pharmacological and
therapeutic interest is noribogaine, which is
chemically and pharmacologically very similar to
Prozac (fluoxetine). In the United States, Prozac is
one of the most frequently prescribed psychopharmaca
for depression, and it is celebrated as
the "happy drug" in the popular press (Kramer1995; Rufer 1995*).
|Dosage and Application
Two to four tablets containing up to 8 mg ibogaine
per tablet may be given daily as a stimulant for
states of exhaustion, debility, et cetera. Nausea,
vomiting, and ataxiaLoss of motor coordination are possible side effects. When
used for psychotherapeutic purposes (Baumann),
dosages of 3 to 6 mg of ibogaine hydrochloride per
kg of body weight were administered. For psychoactive
purposes, dosages of around 200 mg are
recommended (Prins 1988, 47).
Commercial Forms and Regulations
Ibogaine was formerly available as a medicine
under the trade name Bogadin (Schneider and
McArthur 1956). In the United States, ibogaine is
considered a Schedule I drug and has been
prohibited since 1970. However, ibogaine
hydrochloride is marketed under the trade name
Endabuse and can be used with the appropriate
special permit. In Germany, ibogaine is not
considered a narcotic under the guidelines of the
narcotic laws and is therefore legal (Korner 1994,
See also the entries for Tabernaemontana spp.,
Tabernanthe iboga, Voacanga spp., and indole
Baumann, Peter. 1986. "Halluzinogen"-unterstiitzte
Psychotherapie heute. Schweizerische Arztezeitung
67 (47): 2202-5.
Dybowski, J., and E. Landrin. 1901. Sur l'iboga, sur
ses proprietes excitantes, sa composition et sur
l'alcaloide nouveau qu'il renferme. Comptes
Fromberg, Eric. 1996. Ibogaine. Pan 3:2-8. (Includes
a very good bibliography.)
Knut, Amon Jr. 1994. Iboga. Maribor: Skupina
Zrcalo. (Cf. Curare 18 (1; 1995): 245-46.)
Kramer, Peter D. 1995. GlUck aufRezept: Der
unheimliche Erfolg der GlUckspille Fluctin.
Le Men-Olivier, 1., B. Richards, and Jean Le Men.
1974. Alcaloides des graines du Pandaca retusa.
Lotsof, Howard S. 1995. Ibogaine in the treatment of
chemical dependence disorders: Clinical
perspectives. Maps 5 (3): 15-27.
Mash, Deborah C. 1995. Development of ibogaine as
an anti-addictive drug: A progress report from
the University of Miami School of Medicine.
Maps 6 (1): 29-30.
Mash, Deborah C., Julie K. Staley, M. H. Baumann,
R. B. Rothman, and W. 1. Hearn. 1995.
Identification of a primary metabolite of
ibogaine that targets serotoninA monoamine neurotransmitter, biochemically derived from tryptophan, that is primarily found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, platelets, and central nervous system (CNS) of humans and animals. It is a well-known contributor to feelings of well-being. transporters and
elevates serotoninA monoamine neurotransmitter, biochemically derived from tryptophan, that is primarily found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, platelets, and central nervous system (CNS) of humans and animals. It is a well-known contributor to feelings of well-being.. Life Sciences 57 (3): 45-50.
Naeher, Karl. 1996. Ibogain: Eine Droge gegen
Drogenahhangigkeit? Hanjblatt 3 (21): 12-15
Prins, Marina. 1988. "Von Iboga zu Ibogain: Dber
eine vielseitige Droge Westafrikas und ihre
Anwendung in der Psychotherapie." Unpublished
licentiate thesis, Zurich. (Very rich bibliography.)
Sanchez-Ramos, Juan R., and Deborah Mash. 1996.
Pharmacotherapy of drug-dependence with
ibogain. Jahrbuch fur Transkulturelle Medizin und
Psychotherapie 6 (1995): 353-67.
Schneider, J., and M. McArthur. 1956. Potentiation
action of ibogain (BogadinTM) on morphin
analgesia. Experimenta 8:323-24.
Sweetman, P. M., J. Lancaster, Adele Snowman, J. 1.
Collins, S. Perschke, C. Bauer, and J. Ferkany.
1995. Receptor binding profile suggests multiple
mechanisms of action are responsible for
ibogaine's putative anti-addiction activity.
Touchette, Nancy. 1995. Anti-addiction drug ibogainon trial. Nature Medicine 1 (4): 288-89.