Two medicinal plants, kratom and iboga, have been used for hundreds and thousands of years in other parts of the world and show promise as tools in addiction treatment. Yet the United States’ outdated drug war approach is standing in the way.
The naturally-occurring substance ibogaine is derived from the iboga plant, which native to West Africa, where it has been used in healing rituals and initiation ceremonies as part of the Bwiti religion in Gabon for hundreds of years. Since the 1960s, it has been used to help treat people suffering from seemingly-intractable problems with addiction. Larger doses of ibogaine can briefly eliminate substance-related cravings and reduce withdrawal symptoms from opiates.
Like many of the most-known psychedelic drugs – LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca – ibogaine has long been used as an adjunct to psychotherapy and other therapeutic modalities.Ibogaine, however, is rarely used as a recreational drug, due to the overpowering intensity and long duration of its effects, often lasting 24-48 hours.