The Bwiti believe that before the ceremony, the neophyte is nothing,” Daniel Lieberman told me on my first morning in Gabon, as we took a cab from the Libreville airport. “It is only through the initiation that you become something.”
“What do you become?” I asked.
“You become a baanzi. One who knows the other world, because you have seen it with your own eyes.”
“What do the Bwiti think of iboga?” I asked.
Lieberman barely hesitated. “For them, iboga is a super-conscious spiritual entity that guides mankind”.
‘Breaking Open the Head’
By Daniel Pinchbeck
A Brief History of Ibogaine in the West
The story goes that in 1960’s New York a young heroin addict named Howard Lotsof was visiting a chemist friend of his who collected psychedelics, including ibogaine.
Howard wanted to try the unknown psychedelic and took a dose. It must’ve been a strong dose because he came round a few days later. Walking home he realised that he hadn’t used heroin for days, that he was no longer dependent on opiates, that he had not suffered any withdrawal pains, and had no strong desire to continue taking them.
“The next thing I knew,”
he told The New York Times in 1994,
“I was straight.”
He couldn’t believe what had happened…. He was free of opiates. Thinking it must’ve been to do with the ibogaine he gathered up several of his heroin addict friends and dosed them with the same compound. They all experienced the same thing. Pain free withdrawal and no urgent need to return to the drug.
He had several attempts at approaching the pharmaceutical companies, but they weren’t interested “We can’t make money out of ibogaine”. Opiate replacement scripts like methadone and subutex / bupernorphine make big money for the pharmaceutical companies. It’s thought that the vested interests of these pharmaceutical companies has influenced ibogaine’s legal status in many countries with big pharma lobby groups putting pressure on governments to make it illegal. They are trying to protect their cash cows, regardless that ibogaine could be saving lives.
Howard Lotsof went on to write the Ibogaine Dossier, which was the main manual on administering ibogaine and widely used in addict self help networks and underground providers around the world, until recently (now The Global Ibogaine Alliance have released a new set of clinical guidelines), which has been modified and added to informed from the clinical trials and experience of ibogaine providers over the years.
“Afterwards, I was walking and I looked at this tree, and as I looked at it I realized I no longer had any fear of death. Also that I was no longer addicted to narcotics.”
– Howard Lotsof, describing his first ibogaine experience
For hundreds of years practitioners of Bwiti (and Pygmies in the jungles of Central Africa) have used iboga as an important part of their spiritual and community life. Bwiti is a religious group in central west Africa, primarily in Gabon, where iboga grows.
Iboga is a deeply psychoactive entheogen that the Bwiti use for several reasons, ceremonys, shamanic journeys, celebrations and once in their lifetime in a large, trip-inducing dose as an initiatory experience.
Learn about the jaw-dropping benefits of Ibogaine and Iboga. They do so much more than just addiction treatment
Ibogaine can be dangerous for some people. Educate yourself to see if you are a good candidate for this work
Learn what medication and medical health conditions are a bad mix with ibogaine and iboga.
Make sure you go to a good place! There are some shady operations going on out there…
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We wish you luck on your journey. This incredible medicine has changed so many lives, but to do safe and effective work it must be treated with respect.
It’s important that you find a good provider or clinic to do your ibogaine treatment with. Don’t end up with the cowboys!
We do our best to keep this website updated as our collective knowledge and experience of the use of ibogaine grows, and we would love you contributions and suggestions. Email us
Ibogaine Adverse Reactions & Safety – Jamie Mac – Ibogaine / Cardiac Nurse – Notes from the European Ibogaine Forum