A large article on ibogaine's use in addiction treatment is making the rounds in alternative weekly papers:
Clare Wilkins, the vivacious 40-year-old director of Pangea Biomedics, pops the lid off the blender to check the consistency of the concoction Price craves: peanut butter, soy milk, agave syrup, hemp protein powder and a few scoops of chocolate-flavored Green SuperFood.
Oh, and a half-teaspoon of root bark from the tabernanthe iboga plant.
Taken in sufficient quantity, the substance triggers a psychedelic experience that users say is more intense than LSD or psilocybin mushrooms. Practitioners of the Bwiti religion in the West African nation of Gabon use iboga root bark as a sacrament to induce visions in tribal ceremonies, similar to the way natives of South and Central America use ayahuasca and peyote. Wilkins is one of a few dozen therapists worldwide who specialize in the use of iboga (more specifically, a potent extract called ibogaine) to treat drug addiction.
She pours the thick liquid into a Mason jar but agrees to hand it over to Price only on the condition heíll stay awake and out of bed and interact with his fellow residents and the staff. Price grudgingly agrees and takes a seat at the dining-room table. Sunlight pours in through a sliding-glass door that opens to a terrace with a sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean and the San Diego skyline in the distance.
"Ron, I remember when you called me [three weeks ago]; you were crying on the phone. You were so devastated you couldnít leave the house," Wilkins says gently. "When you use, you end up alone in a bathroom or something. You need a community. As weird and misfits as we are, we need this sense of community. You need to learn to deal with being in your body each day instead of relying on the fucking ibogaine."
Ibogaine and iboga root bark are illegal in the United States but unregulated in many countries, including Canada and Mexico. Wilkins, though, is hardly alone in her belief that iboga-based substances can be used as a legitimate treatment for drug addiction. Researchers at respected institutions have conducted experiments and ended up with hard evidence that the compound works--as long as you donít mind the mindfuck.