Howard Lotsof essentially laid the foundation for ibogaine research despite hitting numerous roadblocks along the way. Hey may not have legalized it, but it may not be a legal experimental substance if it were not for him either. He was the Western world’s first advocate after it became illegal. Unsuccessful in acquiring licensure, he eventually took matters into his own hands and held his own research despite the substance being outright illegal. People cite this as a reason to doubt its validity, but it turns out he was right.

Which raises another question as to why might someone risk being prosecuted or even one of his test subjects' lives if he was not confident?

Lotsof speaks of testing the anti-addictive properties of ibogaine on some colleagues after his first experience,“I don’t know if you know anything about heroin addiction, but one of the people that it worked on was a roommate of the other two that it didn’t work on. He was living with those guys for six months while they were shooting up every day, and he wasn’t using it. Now if you know anything about heroin addiction, you know how hard that is. So we knew we had something very unique here.“

After testing ibogaine on more heroin addicts he determined that if an addict desired and intended to quit using, then it produced amazing results. Even those who had not desired to quit ended up quitting after trying heroin the next time. He concluded that ibogaine roughly had demonstrated a 75% success rate for interrupting heroin addiction. Lotsof helped pioneer the way for research to be conducted from all over the world and its high potential in treating heroin and opiate addiction may have not been revealed.

The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Encompassing All Addictive Disorders
Volume 44, 2018 - Issue 1

The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse in a review of a New Zealand case study involving the use of ibogaine to treat addiction to opioids over a 12 month period determined that “A single ibogaine treatment reduced opioid withdrawal symptoms and achieved opioid cessation or sustained reduced use in dependent individuals as measured over 12 months. Ibogaine’s legal availability in New Zealand may offer improved outcomes where legislation supports treatment providers to work closely with other health professionals... ibogaine may provide an interesting prototype for discovery and development of fundamentally innovative pharmacotherapy.”

Food and Drug Administration in mid 1990s
The FDA is currently working with noribogaine because of its effectiveness as an opiate antagonist. They are attempting to isolate the noribogaine to remove the hallucinogenic properties of the overall ibogaine experience. However, the psychedelic traits of this experience provide important psycho-therapeutic insight in relation to the cause of addiction. In recent studies, rats who were administered with morphine and self- administering cocaine were given ibogaine. The rats did not continue to administer cocaine to themselves and the effects of neurological effects of morphine reduced significantly. The study concludes that noribogaine is likely a mediator in the anti-addictive properties of ibogaine.

More Recent Studies
Based on research administering ibogaine to rodents, some significant positive correlations reveal that ibogaine likely interacts as a NMDA receptor antagonist.

NMDA receptors have been known to attenuate addiction-related phenomena. This is consistent with the conclusions drawn from research involving ibogaine and rats, which demonstrates that the NMDA antagonist actions of ibogaine are involved with its surmised ability to interrupt addiction based on its reduction of neurological expression of morphine dependence.

After the effects of ibogaine subside, the liver metabolizes it into noribogaine which persists for as long as two or three months after the dose is taken. Noribogaine is gradually released into the bloodstream over this period of time, affecting the brain in lower doses of the initial flood dose, but slightly different than ibogaine does. While ibogaine has not been found to bind to any opioid receptor sites, noribogaine more than likely binds to opioid receptor sites including the mu receptor site acting as an opioid antagonist. Some other examples of opioid antagonists include naloxone (the blocker or antagonist in Suboxone) and naltrexone (Vivitrol).

This is also seemingly confirmed in separate research where ibogaine was injected into rats with a daily self-administrations of morphine and cocaine for extended periods of time. It prolonged morphine and cocaine self-administration days after the ibogaine had exited their system which suggests that noribogaine might share some of the responsibility in its ability to prevent cravings and withdrawals for opioids.

Journal of Psychedelic Studies
Volume 1, Issue 1
Treating drug dependence with the aid of ibogaine: A qualitative study
Online ISSN 2559-9283

In this research ibogaine is tested for its efficacy against people suffering from an addiction cocaine and crack cocaine. The study concludes that the data found positive correlates with the idea that ibogaine can be a valuable therapeutic tool when used in pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy among drug users who are addicted to more than one substance. Furthermore, it is stated that “new research should aim to better explore ibogaine’s therapeutic potential.”

Ibogaine also has a significant effect on the dopaminergic and serotonergic neurotransmitters. The restoration that occurs from ibogaine treatment not only consists of its role as a NMDA receptor antagonist and a mu opioid receptor antagonist, but it also helps to regulate and even restore the proper levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain.

Ibogaine has shown to boost the amount of serotonin, but prevents the brain from redistributing the excess serotonin that may be produced.Ibogaine also is known to repair dopamine receptors and regulating its levels in the brain as well.

The research all indicates that ibogaine has an immediate and extended effect on addiction. Those who have experienced it in this way knew that decades ago. More research needs to be conducted on this amazing holistic medicine capable of positively impacting millions of lives.