Joined: 14 May 2006
|Posted: Sat 05 Jan, 2008 20:04 Post subject: The ibogaine medical subculture
|The ibogaine medical subculture
Kenneth R. Alpera, Howard S. Lotsof and Charles D. Kaplan
Journal of Ethnopharmacology
Volume 115, Issue 1, 4 January 2008, Pages 9-24
Aim of the study: Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive indole alkaloid that is used to treat substance-related disorders in a
global medical subculture, and is of interest as an ethnopharmacological prototype for experimental investigation and possible rational pharmaceutical development. The subculture is also significant for risks due to the lack of clinical and pharmaceutical standards. This study
describes the ibogaine medical subculture and presents quantitative data regarding treatment and the purpose for which individuals have taken
Materials and methods: All identified ibogaine “scenes” (defined as a provider in an associated setting) apart from the Bwiti religion in Africa
were studied with intensive interviewing, review of the grey literature including the Internet, and the systematic collection of quantitative data.
Results: Analysis of ethnographic data yielded a typology of ibogaine scenes, “medical model”, “lay provider/treatment guide”, activist/selfhelp”, and “religious/spiritual”. An estimated 3414 individuals had taken ibogaine as of February 2006, a fourfold increase relative to 5 years earlier, with 68% of the total having taken it for the treatment of a substance-related disorder, and 53% specifically for opioid
Conclusions: Opioid withdrawal is the most common reason for which individuals took ibogaine. The focus on opioid withdrawal in the ibogaine
subculture distinguishes ibogaine from other agents commonly termed “psychedelics”, and is consistent with experimental research and case series
evidence indicating a significant pharmacologically mediated effect of ibogaine in opioid withdrawal.
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