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Opioids are commonly abused by many people. Only in 2019, about 10.1 million people who were 12 or older misused these substances. The use of opioids is growing day by day, whether we’re talking about opioids used illegally or under prescription, and the worst aspect is that it creates addictions, which may later lead to overdoses.
Many medications for opioid use disorder are utilized in rehab to help people ditch opioids. The pharmacological aspect of the treatment is very efficient – therefore, it is a key part of opioid use disorder treatments.
Three known medications used in these situations are buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone. They are all approved by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the World Health Organization. But some people also take substances such as ibogaine to treat their addiction.
What is Ibogaine?
Ibogaine is a psychoactive alkaloid that is extracted from a plant in West-Central Africa known as Tabrananthe iboga. The root bark of the plant is used to extract this substance, which is the most abundant alkaloid produced by the plant.
Back in the day, the native people of West-Central Africa were using ibogaine as part of multiple initiatory and religious ceremonies. The West only introduced the substance in the medical field in the 1900s. More and more people were interested in this substance, which was said to be effective against addictions.
There were several clinical studies done to discover the full extent of the ibogaine effects. Clinical studies on animals have shown that the substance reduced opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. But when a clinical study was conducted on humans back in 1993 in the Netherlands, one of the women participating in it suddenly died.
Ibogaine is today a Schedule I drug.
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How Ibogaine Works
Ibogaine can give some hallucinogenic and stimulator effects to users, as it contains noribogaine and 18-methoxycoronaridine. It is perhaps the most interesting medication for opioid use disorder, as it is only given as a one-time dose.
If someone used opioids such as heroin, then there will be brain receptors that the drug interacts with. Over time, if the individual keeps abusing opioids, the brain receptors will want more – therefore, cravings will be present. With ibogaine, the receptors will be reversed to the state they were in before using the opioid, so it will make the cravings go away.
What ibogaine does is basically interrupt chemical addiction. It can get rid of cravings, but also withdrawal symptoms. But while it can have some good effects against opioid use, it may also have toxic effects on someone’s heart.
Ibogaine For Addiction
Ibogaine was classified as a Schedule I drug, but the investigations on the medication were renewed during the late 1990s. But scientists haven’t tested the medication in any placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial, as a 2020 article in Nature reveals. All they did was take a look at the open-label studies of ibogaine and its potential benefits.
Some reports show that ibogaine has potential for medical use, but a lot of these reports are based only on historical accounts, observations, and hearsay. Moreover, other problems make it difficult for the medication to become a part of opioid addiction treatments. The plant used to extract it has been overexploited – therefore, it’s very difficult to get larger amounts of ibogaine.
Even worse, ibogaine is not that safe either. It may cause heart issues, severe hallucinations that sometimes last longer than a day, and even death in some individuals.
Risks of Using Ibogaine
Using ibogaine can be quite dangerous. This is one of the main reasons why it is not a medication that doctors usually prescribe for opioid addiction. Ibogaine has not been approved for medical use, and it is a Schedule I drug.
It can cause:
- Heart problems like arrhythmias
- Gastrointestinal problems
Because ibogaine hasn’t been tested thoroughly, we don’t know much about its safe administration and the right dosage. Thus, the treatment is very risky and not recommended. If used, it should only be done under a medical professional’s supervision, but even in this situation, being aware of the risks is necessary.
Possible Benefits of Ibogaine
Ibogaine has a few benefits, even if they are not enough to make the medication a recommended or widely used one. So far, it is known that ibogaine can stop cravings.
People who are addicted to an opioid can take ibogaine and will see a reduction in their cravings, while people who suffer from withdrawal will also see a resolution in their symptoms within 48 hours.
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People who take ibogaine for treatment can end up being in a psychedelic state, which usually lasts for more than 24 hours. Afterward, the drug cravings will be gone, and withdrawal symptoms will not be present anymore.
Not everyone can get this treatment as it has an increased risk for side effects, making it illegal in the U.S. Even though it seemed promising in the early research, it was classified as a dangerous medication and an illegal one.
Many researchers are still studying this substance, though, looking into its therapeutic uses and trying to discover if it could be approved as a treatment in the future. In the meantime, people should not buy ibogaine and try to use it for their addiction. If they do, they should only do it while supervised by a healthcare provider.
How Real Deal Can Help
If you are dealing with opioid addiction, you can rest assured that Real Deal will do everything to help you escape this unhealthy habit. Our services include detox as part of a longer, more complex treatment, but we also offer sober living services so people can stay in a healthy environment while they recover.
Our sober living program allows patients to start taking care of themselves, go back to work, and learn how to socialize again. Your recovery will be successful with Real Deal.
Ibogaine may have some positive effects, but it’s dangerous and not approved as a treatment for opioid addiction. If you are using opioids, you should be examined by a healthcare professional and find safer treatment options.