Why Is This Powerful Addiction-Fighting Substance Banned in the U.S.?

State legislators, medical marijuana patients, doctors and adult cannabis consumers have been stymied in many ways by the federal listing of cannabis as a schedule 1 controlled substance. However, cannabis is not unique in that regard.

For example, another powerful medicine plant, the iboga shrub, is likewise banned from medical use. What makes iboga a special case is that its major medical value has been as an effective treatment for addiction to alcohol and hard drugs.

Once again, the Drug War that is supposed to prevent addiction is used instead to withhold treatment from those who most need it.

Marijuana reformers know all too well the hypocrisy of the US Drug War. Since pot activist Jack Herer first began touring the country promoting consciousness of hemp for food, fuel and fiber, people have been talking about the Ibogaine cure for addiction. About the same time the creator of Smoke-in, Howard Lotsof, had a unique response to Nancy Reagan‘s blaming marijuana for hard drug addictions: Treat addicts using ibogaine.

Cannabis to reduce opioid use; ibogaine to treat hard drug addiction

“If we couldn’t get the government to go along with a coffee shop scheme, like the Netherlands, ibogaine was the next best way to keep crystal meth and heroin from taking over the pot scene,” recalled New York City activist Dana Beal. “Ibogaine was found to knock out withdrawal, and eliminate 98% of craving for opiates in 48 hours. And ibogaine was smart: It allows us to detoxify addicts one drug problem at a time, which is the only way you can ever do it.”

Today in a medical marijuana movement responding to an AMA that overprescribes opiates, cannabis is used to reduce the amount of opioids patients consume while ibogaine is used with kratom and heantos to transition patients off the pills to a cannabis-only regimen.

Ancient plant eliminates withdrawal symptoms

Ibogaine is naturally sourced from a number plants, most famously tabernanthe iboga. It is a nerve growth agent, expressing the endogenous neurotrophin, Glia-Derived Neurotrophic Factor which regenerates dopamine neurons desensitized by drugs like crystal meth and alcohol.

“People die every year from methadone cold turkey in midwestern jails which refuse it to prisoners. On the other hand, GDNF is the body’s own peptide for re-sprouting frazzled dopamine dendrites and trashed-out receptors,” noted Beal. “You make plenty of it in the womb — your kidneys won’t form without GDNF to orchestrate adrenal gland formation) but not enough as an adult to spring back from chronic receptor desensitization due to alcohol and drugs (which is experienced as craving).”

Ibogaine doesn’t cure addiction so much as make it a lot easier to quit.  Ibogaine causes a 10-fold increase in GDNF, which not only triggers a growth spurt in your dopamines, but back-signals to the cell nucleus telling it to make more GDNF. Ibogaine also turns into a long-lasting serotonergic metabolite, nor-ibogaine, that improves mood for a month or more while it continues to pump out GDNF in a benign, self-sustaining, auto-regulating loop.

Parkinson’s patients also stand to benefit

Recently, micro-doses of just 4 to 8 milligrams — thousandths of a gram — were found to reverse Parkinson’s disease.

Traditionally, ibogaine is given in a flood-dose of a gram or more sufficient to quell full-on heroin withdrawal about equivalent to a robust dose of methadone — except that while you have to go thru a 36 hour ibogaine trip, the opiate withdrawal isn’t back the next day the way it is with methadone.

“All you need at that point is the right bud,” noted Beal, adding that about half-a-gram is the psycholytic dose used for PTSD and bipolar disorders.

Trump’s cabinet picks worries the drug reform community

Under the new world of Donald Trump, the same phony “gateway effect” argument is about to be revived by conservative enemies of marijuana intent of reversing 20 years of progress since the passage of Prop 215. The original architect of Nixon’s Drug War, Carlton Turner, as well as Kevin Sabet, who led the opposition to several marijuana legalization initiatives that were passed by voters in 2016, are both touting a new Drug War.

While Trump ostensibly supports medical cannabis and states’ rights, his pick for DEA is Sessions, a supporter of zero tolerance and property forfeiture. Cannabis reformers are looking for ways to hold Trump to his campaign promises  down schedule cannabis and step back. Fortunately for ibogaine, while illegal in the US, it is still legally available in other countries.

“It would be good if the entire cannabis movement was ready with the rejoinder that the DEA is fundamentally responsible for the current opiate/crystal meth crisis,” said Beal. “The Feds have been keeping ibogaine out of the hands of trained medical professionals here in the USA; the very people who could administer it safely in the tricky business of getting folks off of  their addictions, from cigarettes to methadone and suboxone, which are far more difficult to break than heroin.

Americans must go to other countries for ibogaine treatment

“Fortunately, governments in other countries are more enlightened, which creates some great business opportunities while helping people break the cycle of addiction to get their lives back together.”

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