Is It OK To Use Multiple Psychedelics To Treat Addiction?

Psychedelic treatment for addiction ibogaine, ayahuasca, psilocybin

An increasing number of psychedelics are now being used to facilitate recovery from addiction, and this can cause some confusion over which ones are the most effective, and whether or not it is safe to use multiple psychedelics within a short space of time. While it can be tempting to adopt the kitchen-sink approach and just use as many of these medicines as possible in the hope that something sticks, the truth is that this isn’t always the smartest way to go. To heal and get clean, it is important to prepare properly for, and to integrate, each psychedelic experience – which often means working with just one substance for a considerable period of time.

First of all, it is important to speak to an experienced psychedelic counsellor or therapist who can explain to you the different effects of each substance and help you choose the right one for you. Ibogaine, for example, is always going to be the best choice for anyone struggling with opioid withdrawals, and also tends to generate a journey inwards, bringing people into contact with the shadowy regions of the psyche, where they may gain new perspectives on their deepest traumas. Psilocybin, meanwhile, typically helps people to feel more connected to nature and the universe, and is therefore effective at alleviating the sense of isolation, inadequacy and meaninglessness that often accompany addiction.

Other substances such as ayahuasca or bufo alvarius (which contain DMT and 5-MeO-DMT respectively) may produce a more ineffable experience, akin to encountering a spiritual entity or accessing a state of non-duality.

To recover from addiction, it is necessary to remove the conditioned narratives that have become embedded into the psyche, and the pain that arises from these. All of the above insights are extremely conducive to facilitating such healing, as they each help to transform our sense of self by freeing us from this pain and connecting us to our authentic self. For that reason, many different psychedelics can have a role to play in the recovery process, as each one can help us to take another step on the path towards freedom.

However, it is essential to dedicate the right amount of time, attention and respect to each substance in order to integrate the experience properly. Often, there is a tendency to start looking ahead to the next trip before all the necessary lessons have been learned from the previous one. For instance, ibogaine is converted to noribogaine, which can remain in the body for up to three months. Throughout this period, it continues to regulate serotonin levels, making it possible to gain new insights and perspectives, and to work on reshaping the cognitive patterns that underlie our thinking and behaviour. In other words, the ritual does not end when the acute effects of iboga wear off, as healing can continue for several months afterwards. It is therefore necessary to continue to work with the plant throughout that time, and not to simply skip ahead to the next psychedelic trip.

For this reason, all of the indigenous cultures that use visionary plants for healing do so in a ritualised manner, whereby community members are obliged to undergo a period of preparation and integration either side of their psychedelic experience. Throughout this time – which can last for months or even years – all of their actions are designed to honour the plants and create the correct conditions to receive their teachings. The same is necessary for Westerners who hope to achieve recovery from addiction using psychedelics.

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