Ibogaine: The Groundbreaking Cure for Addiction

The iboga shrub.


by Aaron Kase

on May 8, 2015

In this video, Coconuts TV explores the amazing addiction-beating properties of a little-known psychedelic.

The video visits the Thai island of Ko Pha Ngan, known for its hedonistic Full Moon parties that attract people interested in unbridled revelry and drug use. But more recently, the video tells us, a different kind of drug altogether is gaining a reputation on the island: Ibogaine.

Ibogaine is a substance that comes from a shrub common in West Africa, where it is used traditionally for religious ceremonies. It has been banned in the United States and other countries, but the Western world is finally realizing its potential to deal with addiction, one of the greatest modern day public health crises.

“I can’t even believe it’s from planet earth,” a man identified in the video as Brock Gorgeous says. “It’s that powerful.”

Gorgeous spent 15 years battling a heroin addiction and had suffered over 20 overdoses during that time. “If I go back to using heroin, it means death,” he says.

Another subject, John, was hooked on mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant. “I want to be a good member of the family, I want to fall in love, I want to be a good friend,” he says. “With the drug in the way, I couldn’t have any other relationship but with the drug.”

Both came to a treatment center to seek help through psychedelics. Mike Picone, one of the founders of the Ibogaine Thailand clinic, explains that the substance acts as an addiction interrupter by attaching to opiate receptors in the brain to block the cravings and withdrawal symptoms. “That spirit reprograms your subconscious,” Picone says. “It’s hitting the reset button.”

The practitioners obtain the ibogaine in powder form, derived from the root bark of the Gabonian Iboga tree. They administer it to the patients, and the experience can last for 24 hours, typically in two phases: a softer introduction, with old memories or psychedelic visions popping into the brain, followed by a period of deep introspection.

After the trip was over, Gorgeous reports, “It felt like I had a new operating system put in my body… it was really scary.” He says he felt like he was running from his life, and like he was going to die, but then he popped out of it. “Whatever your issues, it clears them,” he says.

“I felt like I got a second chance at life,” John tells the camera. “And I’m not going to fuck this chance up.”

Studies have shown that ibogaine can be successful in treating addictions in two out of three people, far surpassing other treatment methods like methadone or the 12-Step program. Picone notes that the center gets more people seeking to break methadone addictions than any other drug.

For Brock Gorgeous and John, it looks like two more success stories on the books, and two more lives saved.

“There’s nothing like it on the planet,” center co-founder Victor Cracknell says. “For what it does to a person physically, metaphysically, spiritually, it’s just a gift from God.”