The Use of Ibogaine for Heroin and Opiate Addiction

ibogaine for opiate addiction treatmentHeroin and opiate addiction are some of the most difficult to overcome. The uniquely potent addictive power of these drugs is not the only way in which opiates keep addicts using. They also come with particularly severe withdrawal symptoms that make it almost impossible for an addict to successfully eliminate their addiction.

And with drug overdose deaths over 60,000 in 2016, it’s clear that these challenges are contributing to the development of a major problem with drug addiction in the USA.

Many of the possible solutions to the growing drug crisis are not widely known or understood. One of these less understood solutions is the Ibogaine treatment method. Ibogaine offers an alternative, scientifically based method for treating heroin addiction and withdrawal that is different from almost any other method available today.

And, even though Ibogaine is not a perfect treatment, with the staggeringly low success rates of traditional rehabilitation programs, the need for science based treatments for opiate and heroin addiction is becoming much more apparent.

The Current Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic was just declared a national emergency by the United States government.

A declaration of this nature should be monumental for the future for the epidemic. However, for the most part, this announcement hasn’t brought about any actual changes made in policies.

The lack of governmental solutions to the opioid epidemic is partially due to the current mentality seems to be more about drug abuse. This mentality is centered around blame rather than healing. Blame the victims for buying drugs, blame those who smuggle drugs, and blame drugs for being drugs.

But placing blame on drug users ignores one important fact; addicts do not choose to be addicts.

Especially when it comes to opioid addiction.

Opioid abuse is a complicated issue, but statistics show that it is far more likely to happen than the blame game would make one think. One study showed that half of those prescribed opiates for 1 month ended up addicted for a year.

This means that many addicts are becoming addicts through legal prescription medications.

Prescription drug overdose numbers are also far higher than heroin overdoses. So, though it is also crucial to combat heroin addiction, the blame placed on illicit drugs will not solve the greatest issues in current epidemic.

We cannot say that DARE or the war on drugs is the solution when the majority of addicts are getting their fix from medical doctors.

Perhaps due to the misplaced solution efforts, the epidemic isn’t going away anytime soon. Statnews forecasts that, if overdose rates continue to rise, the number could hit 650,000 deaths from overdose in the next decade.

How Heroin and Opiates Change the Brain

The science behind the reason opiates, including heroin, are so hard to quit is based on how they change the chemistry in the brain.

Opiates operate on receptors in the brain.

These receptors, located at the ends of neurons, are made to pass chemical messages to the brain that control how we feel.

To work on these receptors, opiates mimic the natural chemicals of the brain and flood these receptors with messages. This flood of artificial chemicals is what creates the “high” associated with opiate use.

With continued use of opiates, the brain becomes accustomed to these unnaturally high levels of chemicals. So, the neural receptors begin to adjust to a higher supply of chemicals.

This adjustment in the brain’s structure means that it begins to take more and more opiate chemicals to make the brain feel “high.”

At the same time, higher levels of opiates are needed just for the addict to feel normal.

Eventually, the brain’s chemical receptors have changed so dramatically that addicts are no longer using opiates to get “high,” but using them just to get through their day.

This creates a miserable battle between the brain’s ability to adapt and the addict’s need to feel normal.

But that misery is nothing compared to the torturous withdrawal symptoms that come when an addict tries to quit.

Heroin and Opiate Withdrawals

Because of the way the brain has been altered, the natural chemicals that our brain produces become almost completely ineffective.

When an addict stops using, the brain cannot produce near the amount of chemicals that were being supplied by the use of opiates.

In order for an addict to feel normal again with drugs, the brain has to heal and readjust back to its natural state.

This is where withdrawal comes in.

Withdrawal happens because the brain’s receptors are no longer receiving enough chemical messages responsible for regulating their normal functions. In opiate users, the receptors affected are the ones responsible for mood and pain management.

During the withdrawal period, addicts go through intense mood swings, depression, physical pain, phantom pain, hot sweats, cold sweats, irregular bowel function, and even seizures.

For the addict, these challenges can be massively difficult to overcome. It can take days, weeks, sometimes even months to completely recover from these withdrawal symptoms.

Often, an addict will not be able to endure the withdrawal symptoms and relapse back into drug use.

And traditional drug rehab methods do little to combat the challenge of these physical withdrawal symptoms.

The Failings of Traditional Rehab

Currently, our traditional rehab system operates almost solely around the Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous methods.

This puts many opiate and heroin addicts in a position where the only medicine prescribed involves being locked up in a room, sweating it out, and positive motivation.

Along with this, the literal medicine prescribed by traditional rehabilitation methods is usually more opiates, just in a new form.

With a new prescription, the addict goes from a short-term opiate to a long-term opiate.

This means most addicts are faced with an unknown period of painful withdrawal or moving their addiction from one substance to another. Neither of these methods actually helps heal the problems in the opiate-addicted brain.

Anne Fletcher, award winning medical writer and speaker, suggests that only 10 percent of the Alcoholics Anonymous programs is based on science.

It seems we are trying to convince the brain to change its ways through positive speaking rather than helping to address the actual issues that the addict is dealing with.

In fact, Peer-reviewed studies of AA and AA based treatment programs put success rates at 5-10 percent. For a nation moving towards 650,000 overdose deaths in the next decade, that success rate is shockingly low.

Of course, some addicts do find success through these programs, and that is good news. But for the vast majority our current treatment programs are not enough for those struggling with heroin or opioid addiction.

This is why so many addicts and their families end up searching the internet to find alternative methods to treat their addictions.

Ibogaine is just one alternative.

Ibogaine and Physical Withdrawal

Since its discovery for treating addiction in 1962, scientists in Europe, Mexico, and New Zealand have learned much more about how Ibogaine works in the brain and why it is so effective for heroin and opiate addiction specifically.

What they discovered was that Ibogaine works in two ways, specifically addressing the physical issues that initiate the withdrawal process.

After Ibogaine is ingested, it begins to target the neurons and receptors that have been changed and damaged by heroin and opiate use.

Ibogaine binds to these receptors and resets them back to their pre-addicted state. It also promotes growth, and helps to rejuvenate damaged neurons—healing them and facilitating their return to their normal function.

For the addict, this process expedites what would normally take the brain months to do. Instead, the Ibogaine is able to do it with one flood dose.

A shortened withdrawal processes means immediately or quickly overcoming severe depression, physical pains, and other harsh withdrawal symptoms.

Studies put this withdrawal reduction in the range of 75% or higher—eliminating all harsh withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin and opiate addiction.

Ibogaine has been demonstrated scientifically to target and heal the areas of the brain associated and affected by opioid. This especially effective method of healing is why no other detox treatment can work like Ibogaine.

But Ibogaine treats more than the physical withdrawal symptoms associated with heavy opiate use. It also offers many addicts an intense psychedelic experience, enabling them to heal on an emotional and psychological level.

Ibogaine and Psychological Healing

Ibogaine is a powerful psychedelic medicine that can offer strong visions and emotions to those who use it. Because of this, it is often referred to as the “waking dream.”

Not all addicts will have a psychedelic experience when taking Ibogaine. Each individual’s differences and physiology will play a part in generating the intensity of the experience—although unpredictably.

Alternatively, some addicts will have a very powerful experience, but, after coming out of their “trip,” they will almost immediately forget most or all of it.

Though these are both possibilities, for the majority, the psychoactive properties of Ibogaine will take effect and offer them a powerful experience that can be displeasing.

Ibogaine can be harsh. The intense psychedelic experience invokes heavy emotions, but also generates a more accepting state for addict to deal with those emotions.

One of the ways Ibogaine helps addicts understand their addiction if by illuminating some of it’s underlying causes.

Often, traumatic experiences from the past lead addicts into their initial drug use. Heroin and opiates are often used a form of self-medication, in order to cover up the negative emotions associated with trauma.

Without guidance, addicts rarely see the correlation between their past and their addiction.

The Ibogaine experience can provide vivid illustrations of these correlations. Addicts describe being put face to face with their past—often forcing them to deal with traumatic experiences and negative choices they have made.

More helping to uncover the reasons behind their addiction, Ibogaine can help the addict see clearly what the addiction is doing to themselves and those they love.

Though the process is difficult, it can be very therapeutic. When addicts emerge from the state, they often describe it as exactly what they needed, although not something they would want to experience again.

This is what makes psychedelics such a helpful tool in treating addiction. Drugs like Ayahuasca, MDMA, Psilocybin, and LSD can have similar affects.

Ibogaine, however, is able to work on the both psychological level as well as the physical level.

When dealing with heroin and opiate addiction, the physical healing can be seen as the most important, but the psychological effects of Ibogaine help add a layer of healing that facilitates permanent change.

For those who do not experience the psychological level of Ibogaine, treatment is usually followed with a therapeutic psychedelic called 5MEO-DMT. This treatment offers a positive, although similarly very intense, experience that moves the addict towards self-awareness and positivity.

Ibogaine Success Rate for Heroin and Opiate Addiction

The information concerning long-term Ibogaine success rates for Ibogaine has a degree of variation.

When we are looking at Ibogaine treatment success rates on a 12-month scale, there are very few studies available. Those that are available contain small sample sizes, which may affect their reliability.

Even though these studies have shown very promising numbers, future studies will need to be done to better determine the efficacy of Ibogaine treatment with more precision.

Yet, the uncertainty of the conducted studies does not apply to theygftdszz immediate cessation of withdrawal symptoms.

When looking at Ibogaine and its effects on immediate opioid withdrawal symptoms, as well as the ability to interruption addiction, the numbers can be more accurately understood.

Study A

In this study, subjects reported a 55% reduction in withdrawal symptoms at 30 hours post treatment.

However, half of these patients had used methadone, an opiate blocker, in the past 30 days.

This means that those who had used methadone were much less likely to have an effective Ibogaine treatment experience.

After a 30-day period, 50% reported no opiate use since the Ibogaine treatment.

Study B

This study also shows the dramatic effects of Ibogaine. However, once again, the scale is small—making this unreliable for universal application.

But it does give us a good idea of how effective Ibogaine can be.

Of the 14 participants in this study, the average opioid withdrawal reduction was 77% at 2-4 days after Ibogaine treatment.

Although some participants were unaccounted for in the long-term, of those that were tested for drug use the results were as follows.

At 3 months – 8 tested with 1 testing positive for opioid use in the last 30 days.

At 6 months – 7 tested with 1 testing positive for opioid use in the last 30 days.

At 12 months – 8 tested with 2 testing positive for opioid use in the last 30 days.


Scientifically speaking, Ibogaine is very effective at treating opioid addiction. If we were to rely only on these studies, we would be able to say that Ibogaine is very effective at treating long-term opioid dependence.

However, once again, with such small sample sizes it can be difficult to apply these success rates to all individuals dealing with opiate or heroin addiction.

But either way, these numbers show promise. And, even if these rates are off by as much as 50%, it still would put Ibogaine treatment at nearly triple the success rate of traditional rehabilitation and AA models.

Considering Ibogaine for Heroin and Opiate Addiction

Ibogaine treatment is not for everyone. Strict medical testing and guidelines must be followed in order to limit the possible negative outcomes from Ibogaine. Even with these protocols, Ibogaine still can be dangerous.

These tests include an EKG, liver enzyme tests, urinalysis, and blood tests to help detect risks that can be exacerbated by Ibogaine treatment.

Following these exams, a test dose of Ibogaine is always given to make sure no allergic reactions result from the Ibogaine.

Ibogaine should never be taken without a trained and skilled medical team. Even with these medical precautions, the risk of Ibogaine treatment cannot be completely eliminated.

Ibogaine may not be the best solution for every addict. However, with the opioid epidemic worsening, and traditional drug rehabilitation methods showing very little success, Ibogaine has becoming an excellent alternative for those struggling with addiction.

The dangers of heroin and opioid abuse far exceed the dangers posed by Ibogaine treatment. If you have further questions about Ibogaine treatment, how it works, or if you qualify for treatment, speak to one of our treatment specialists.

Or take the time to watch some of our Ibogaine treatment reviews and testimonials.

Success and a sober future are completely possible. Every addict deserves to live a happy and productive life free from drug addiction.

There is hope. Never give up.