Ibogaine for Addiction
Treatment

Who we are

Basic information to patients

Ibogaine is an alkaloid extracted from some plants originating in Africa, such as Tabernanthe Iboga and Voacanga africana. It has been used in ancestral rituals in Africa, since prehistoric times. In 1962, Howard Lotsof discovered that ibogaine has a very significant effect in the treatment of chemical dependence.

Since then, it has been used in the treatment of addiction to opioids, other psychoactive substances and non-chemical addictions. Used in a proper protocol, it is a safe substance and a single dose is able to eliminate, in a few hours, drug cravings and the effects of the withdrawal syndrome in a persistent way.

Brazil is one of the countries that has stood out the most in the current renaissance of psychedelics in science, and local legislation allows Beneva Clinics to offer treatments with ibogaine for addiction to opioids and other drugs under absolutely legal and safe conditions, with professionals with extensive experience.

Beneva is a network of clinics based in Brazil, which works with an integrative approach to mental health care. Exploring the newest frontiers of scientific knowledge about psychedelics, we help people in their quest for health and quality of life.

The opportunity to be treated with ibogaine legally in a hospital is also accessible to foreign patients, who can have the experience in a short trip to Brazil, with full support from our professionals throughout the treatment period - before, during and after the travel.

In this page, we have included the most important and most sought-after information by patients who want to treat some type of addiction. We hope they help you better understand the potential of this treatment and how it works. And if you need it, we look forward to helping you in your journey to a better life.

In this page, we have included the most important and most sought-after information by patients who want to treat some type of addiction. We hope they help you better understand the potential of this treatment and how it works. And if you need it, we look forward to helping you in your journey to a better life.

Who are we

Basic information to patients

Ibogaine is an alkaloid extracted from some plants originating in Africa, such as Tabernanthe Iboga and Voacanga africana. It has been used in ancestral rituals in Africa, since prehistoric times. In 1962, Howard Lotsof discovered that ibogaine has a very significant effect in the treatment of chemical dependence.

Since then, it has been used in the treatment of addiction to opioids, other psychoactive substances and non-chemical addictions. Used in a proper protocol, it is a safe substance and a single dose is able to eliminate, in a few hours, drug cravings and the effects of the withdrawal syndrome in a persistent way.

Brazil is one of the countries that has stood out the most in the current renaissance of psychedelics in science, and local legislation allows Beneva Clinics to offer treatments with ibogaine for addiction to opioids and other drugs under absolutely legal and safe conditions, with professionals with extensive experience.

Beneva is a network of clinics based in Brazil, which works with an integrative approach to mental health care. Exploring the newest frontiers of scientific knowledge about psychedelics, we help people in their quest for health and quality of life.

The opportunity to be treated with ibogaine legally in a hospital is also accessible to foreign patients, who can have the experience in a short trip to Brazil, with full support from our professionals throughout the treatment period - before, during and after the travel.

In this page, we have included the most important and most sought-after information by patients who want to treat some type of addiction. We hope they help you better understand the potential of this treatment and how it works. And if you need it, we look forward to helping you in your journey to a better life.

In this page, we have included the most important and most sought-after information by patients who want to treat some type of addiction. We hope they help you better understand the potential of this treatment and how it works. And if you need it, we look forward to helping you in your journey to a better life.

Science

What does science say about ibogaine's potential for addiction?

Ibogaine is traditionally used to treat chemical dependency, mainly because of its pharmacological and psychological effects that have been validated by studies published in the past 20 years.

According to different studies, taking ibogaine under medical supervision significantly reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms (BROWN, 2019 and MASH, 2001).

A 2018 study that followed 50 people with opioid use disorder treated with ibogaine, for example, found that “78% of them had no objective clinical signs of withdrawal, 79% reported minimal opioid cravings” (MALCOLM, 2018).

An additional study in Brazil evaluated a sample of 75 people who used substances problematically, mainly crack cocaine. It was concluded that treatment with one or multiple doses of ibogaine significantly increased the period of abstinence between relapses. In fact, all women in the sample and 51% of men remained abstinent at the time of the interviews (SCHENBERG, 2014).

There is also evidence that people with alcohol addiction can benefit from the positive effects of ibogaine, since the substance promotes the reduction of the rewarding effects of alcohol, as shown by research with animal models (HENRIQUES, 2021).

The effect of ibogaine is explained by different mechanisms. It acts on the serotonergic system, like other psychedelics, but also on opioid receptors and on the production of the hormone GDNF. This hormone is known to increase the connection between neurons, the formation of synapses and the balance of neurotransmitters, leading to a sustained sense of well-being and a decrease in the desire to consume drugs.

Science

What does science say about ibogaine's potential for addiction?

Ibogaine is traditionally used to treat chemical dependency, mainly because of its pharmacological and psychological effects that have been validated by studies published in the past 20 years.

According to different studies, taking ibogaine under medical supervision significantly reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms (BROWN, 2019 and MASH, 2001).

A 2018 study that followed 50 people with opioid use disorder treated with ibogaine, for example, found that “78% of them had no objective clinical signs of withdrawal, 79% reported minimal opioid cravings” (MALCOLM, 2018).

An additional study in Brazil evaluated a sample of 75 people who used substances problematically, mainly crack cocaine. It was concluded that treatment with one or multiple doses of ibogaine significantly increased the period of abstinence between relapses. In fact, all women in the sample and 51% of men remained abstinent at the time of the interviews (SCHENBERG, 2014).

There is also evidence that people with alcohol addiction can benefit from the positive effects of ibogaine, since the substance promotes the reduction of the rewarding effects of alcohol, as shown by research with animal models (HENRIQUES, 2021).

The effect of ibogaine is explained by different mechanisms. It acts on the serotonergic system, like other psychedelics, but also on opioid receptors and on the production of the hormone GDNF. This hormone is known to increase the connection between neurons, the formation of synapses and the balance of neurotransmitters, leading to a sustained sense of well-being and a decrease in the desire to consume drugs.

Why is the follow-up of a
psychotherapist necessary?

Psychotherapy is an essential part of treatment. Sessions begin at least one month before the ibogaine session and continue for at least another month. During the ibogaine session, patients often access deep memories from childhood and adolescence, and some of these can be painful.

It may not be easy to deal with the feelings that arise, but accessing these memories in a guided and protected way is precisely an improvement factor. Psychotherapeutic follow-up helps to "digest" the experiences seen and felt during the effect of the substance, helping patients to deal better with them.

Furthermore, after ingesting ibogaine, the brain undergoes a period of high neuroplasticity. Psychotherapy at this stage can greatly benefit from this state, allowing the patient to more easily reframe past events, produce and consolidate new habits and perspectives on life.

Why is the follow-up of a
psychotherapist necessary?

Psychotherapy is an essential part of treatment. Sessions begin at least one month before the ibogaine session and continue for at least another month. During the ibogaine session, patients often access deep memories from childhood and adolescence, and some of these can be painful.

It may not be easy to deal with the feelings that arise, but accessing these memories in a guided and protected way is precisely an improvement factor. Psychotherapeutic follow-up helps to "digest" the experiences seen and felt during the effect of the substance, helping patients to deal better with them.

Furthermore, after ingesting ibogaine, the brain undergoes a period of high neuroplasticity. Psychotherapy at this stage can greatly benefit from this state, allowing the patient to more easily reframe past events, produce and consolidate new habits and perspectives on life.

How it Works

How does ibogaine-assisted psychotherapy work at Beneva?

Treatment begins at least one month before the ibogaine session. In this first phase, the patient undergoes examinations, psychological preparation and a substance washout. Then he does the psychedelic session with medical supervision, in a hospital. After all, after this experience, the patient undergoes a last phase of psychological follow-up, which prepares him for his new life.

All stages of treatment are designed to increase the effectiveness of treatment and ensure a safe journey, with adequate screening, exam protocol and individualized assessment of each patient by our team of experts.

1 - Screening

At Beneva, safety comes first. Then patients undergo a screening, which assesses their general health condition, as well as their psychological and psychiatric status. The aim is to ensure that the patient does not have any contraindications to the use of ibogaine.

2 - Pre-treatment

Admitted to treatment, the patient begins the phase of medical and psychological follow-up. In addition to preparatory psychotherapy, the patient receives support from specialist doctors to perform a washout. He needs to stop using some medications and, in the case of addiction to stimulants or alcohol, complete a period of abstinence before the session with ibogaine. The objective is to prevent cardiac complications that can be caused by the interaction between these substances.

3 - Treatment

Upon arrival in Brazil, the patient and his/her companion check-in at the hotel, where they will also meet the team that will perform the treatment. The next day, early in the morning, the patient is hospitalized for his ibogaine session. The patient receives a high dosage of GMP purified ibogain. He is discharged within 24 hours and returned to the hotel. One more day and he can board back home.

4 - Post-treatment

After the session, patients spend a few days thoughtful and introspective. The first psychotherapy sessions take place on these days and help people digest their experience. Usually, the drug craving goes away, while your brain still benefits from increased neuroplasticity. Psychotherapy will support the patient in this crucial moment of resignifying and rebuilding his life from a new and promising perspective.

Doubt Box

Frequently Asked Questions

If I travel to Brazil for treatment, how long do I need to stay in the country?

From 4 to 6 days, between your arrival in Brazil and departure back home.
Why do I need to undergo treatment in the hospital?

So that the medical team can take good care of you in case of any complications, especially cardiac arrhythmias. Our protocol is designed to prevent any adversity, but at the hospital we are prepared to take care of you in any situation.
What kind of ibogaine will I take?

Ibogaine hydrochloride in capsules, with high purity (>99%), manufactured under Good Manufacturing Practices. Purity is important for the safety of the treatment, as the presence of other compounds can cause undesirable reactions. The substance is legally imported into the country, on behalf of each patient, and is delivered and stored in the hospital until the day of treatment.
Do I need to stop using drugs before treatment? Why?

It depends on the substance in question. In the case of opioids, our team will support the patient and their physician in replacing their drug of choice with one with a shorter half-life, such as morphine.

In the case of stimulants such as cocaine, crack cocaine and amphetamines, the patient must actually discontinue use for 30 days before treatment to prevent adverse cardiac reactions that can be caused by the interaction of ibogaine with these substances.

It is also necessary to discontinue the use of certain antidepressants to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment. Our team interacts with the patient's physicians and caregivers to provide comprehensive support to complete this important pre-treatment step.

How it feels

How will I feel when I use ibogaine?

There is a wide range of effects and they vary from person to person. Personal characteristics, previous substance use and expectations are some of the things that can influence the psychedelic experience. The therapeutic effect, however, does not depend on the intensity of the sensory experience. Also, the patient will deal with some side effects. The succession of events is usually divided into three main phases.

General symptoms

About 60 minutes after ingestion of ibogaine, general symptoms appear, such as nausea, dizziness and tremors, in addition to some sensory distortions. It is common for patients to hear tinnitus and feel increased sensitivity to sound and light. Duration: 30 and 60 minutes.

Accelerated thinking

Gradually, the general symptoms disappear and a phase of acceleration of the flow of thoughts begins. Most patients - but not all - have memories and visions of moments in their lives at this stage, generally from childhood and adolescence. In some cases, patients interact with people they "meet" during this phase, with memories as vivid as a movie. Some patients, however, do not perceive any psychological changes in this phase. Treatment success is not determined by the absence of effects.
Duration: 4 to 8 hours.

Consciousness expansion

As the memories fade, the patient enters a final phase of expansion of consciousness. The patient begins to have insights about everything he remembered and saw, giving new meaning to events, behaviors and perceptions about himself, about others and about life. It is common for patients to stay up all night, processing the experience.
Duration: 12 hours or more.

Safety

Why does the administration of ibogaine need to be done in hospitals?

Studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of ibogaine are carried out with high dosages, increasing the chance of cardiac complications. Because of this, despite the various precautions to prevent these situations, it is important to keep a team attentive to monitoring the heart. Keeping the fundamental principle of medicine, our first commitment is to provide a safe journey.

Is the use of ibogaine safe?

There are no reports in the literature of deaths associated with the consumption of ibogaine alone. There are cases of people who died from cardiac complications after consuming ibogaine of unknown origin, in combination with one or more drugs, and always outside the hospital environment – sometimes without any medical attention.

Researcher Keneth Alper accessed the cases of 19 patients, with information from death certificates and autopsy, and concluded that all of them had used another drug concomitant with ibogaine. That is why at the Beneva clinic we pay so much attention to the period of pharmacological preparation that precedes the treatment.

What are the contraindications and side effects?

Ibogaine is not recommended for people with serious heart, kidney, liver, and more serious mental problems, such as psychosis, for example. Among the possible side effects are nausea, dizziness, tremors, ringing in the ear and increased sensitivity to sound and light.

Legal Status

Can I take the ibogaine treatment legally in Brazil?

Yes.

The importation and use of ibogaine is guaranteed by a 2014 Resolution of the Board of Anvisa (sanitary authority equivalent to FDA in Brazil). It allows the importation of unregistered medicines in Brazil for individual use, if the patient has a medical prescription – which applies to ibogaine produced under Good Manufacturing Practices. Importation is also allowed because the substance is not included in the list of controlled substances of the country.

“Unregistered medicines can be imported and used as long as they have a medical prescription, are imported on behalf of the patient for personal use, and in quantity for short-term use (up to 180 days).”

In addition, an opinion from the State Drug Council of January 14, 2016 expressly authorizes the use of ibogaine for the treatment of addictions, in a hospital environment, with medical monitoring, in addition to encouraging the development of research on the use of the substance for this purpose:

“The active principles derived from Tabernanthe iboga and other species of the genus Tabernaemontana (Apocynaceae family), particularly ibogaine formulations, can only be administered for the treatment of problematic use of psychoactive substances, in a hospital environment, with medical supervision and control, taking into account the exercise of the profession and the recommendations of good clinical practice, including careful clinical and psychiatric examinations, as well as psychological assessment and psychotherapeutic follow-up.”

References

How can I learn more about ibogaine?


The list below is a selection of studies by Beneva's Medical director, Bruno Rasmussen.

BROWN TK. Ibogaine in the treatment of substance dependence. Curr Drug Abuse Rev. 2013 Mar;6(1):3-16. doi: 10.2174/15672050113109990001. PMID: 23627782.


BROWN TK, ALPER K. Treatment of opioid use disorder with ibogaine: detoxification and drug use outcomes. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2018;44(1):24-36. doi: 10.1080/00952990.2017.1320802. Epub 2017 May 25. PMID: 28541119.


BROWN TK, NOLLER GE, DENENBERG JO. Ibogaine and Subjective Experience: Transformative States and Psychopharmacotherapy in the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2019 Apr-Jun;51(2):155-165. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2019.1598603. Epub 2019 Apr 9. PMID: 30967101.


DAVIS AK, BARSUGLIA JP, WINDHAM-HERMAN AM, LYNCH M, POLANCO M. Subjective effectiveness of ibogaine treatment for problematic opioid consumption: Short- and long-term outcomes and current psychological functioning. J Psychedelic Stud. 2017 Nov;1(2):65-73. doi: 10.1556/2054.01.2017.009. Epub 2017 Oct 17. PMID: 30272050; PMCID: PMC6157925.


KOENIG X, KOVAR M, RUBI L, MIKE AK, LUKACS P, GAWALI VS, TODT H, HILBER K, SANDTNER W. Anti-addiction drug ibogaine inhibits voltage-gated ionic currents: a study to assess the drug's cardiac ion channel profile. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2013 Dec 1;273(2):259-68. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2013.05.012. Epub 2013 May 22. PMID: 23707769; PMCID: PMC3853361.


MALCOLM BJ, POLANCO M, BARSUGLIA JP. Changes in Withdrawal and Craving Scores in Participants Undergoing Opioid Detoxification Utilizing Ibogaine. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2018 Jul-Aug;50(3):256-265. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2018.1447175. Epub 2018 Apr 2. PMID: 29608409.


NOLLER GE, FRAMPTON CM, YAZAR-KLOSINSKI B. Ibogaine treatment outcomes for opioid dependence from a twelve-month follow-up observational study. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2018;44(1):37-46. doi: 10.1080/00952990.2017.1310218. Epub 2017 Apr 12. PMID: 28402682.


PARKER LA, SIEGEL S. Modulation of the effects of rewarding drugs by ibogaine. Alkaloids Chem Biol. 2001;56:211-25. doi: 10.1016/s0099-9598(01)56015-0. PMID: 11705109.


SCHENBERG EE, DE CASTRO COMIS MA, CHAVES BR, DA SILVEIRA DX. Treating drug dependence with the aid of ibogaine: a retrospective study. J Psychopharmacol. 2014 Nov;28(11):993-1000. doi: 10.1177/0269881114552713. Epub 2014 Sep 29. PMID: 25271214.


SCHENBERG, E. E., de Castro Comis, M. A., Alexandre, J. F. M., Chaves, B. D. R., Tófoli, L. F., & da Silveira, D. X. (2017). Treating drug dependence with the aid of ibogaine: A qualitative study, Journal of Psychedelic Studies, 1(1), 10-19. doi: https://doi.org/10.1556/2054.01.2016.002

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