It is often said that ibogaine ‘resets’ the brain, thanks to its ability to remove withdrawals, reduce cravings and provide clarity on some of the subconscious patterns that underlie addiction, depression and other conditions. While this may be largely true, it is extremely foolish to believe that this amounts to a cure for addiction, and a lot of work is required if this reset is to become the cornerstone of a lasting recovery rather than just a temporary period of abstinence.
On top of all this, ibogaine has also been found to reset people’s tolerance to opioids and other drugs. This means that while those who have been in addiction for many years may require high doses of certain substances in order to feel an effect, after their ibogaine treatment they are likely to find that taking a small amount of a drug affects them in the same way as it would a first-time user.
Furthermore, ibogaine acts on many of the same brain receptors as drugs like heroin, and enhances opioid signalling in the brain. Because of this, using drugs immediately after ibogaine is extremely dangerous, and the chance of an accidental overdose is massively increased for anyone who uses during this period. Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for people to die as a result of taking opioids, benzodiazepines or other substances in the days following their ibogaine treatment.
Understanding this risk is essential for anyone considering ibogaine treatment for addiction, as it is important to take measures to minimize this risk while preparing for treatment. For example, many people turn up for their ibogaine experience carrying drugs, “just in case” they need a hit at any point after their treatment is complete. While ibogaine may eliminate the physical need to dip into this secret stash, just knowing it is there can sometimes be enough of trigger and can lead to an unnecessary and potentially fatal decision to take a hit.
Similarly, keeping drugs at home is often a recipe for disaster immediately after ibogaine treatment. Returning to an apartment that is stocked up with substances often creates a psychological temptation to use, despite a lack of physical withdrawals.
Learning to approach ibogaine treatment with the right mindset is the key to understanding what needs to be done to maximise the chances of a successful recovery, fully harness the tools that ibogaine provides, and ensure that the reset becomes the beginning of a new, happier life.