Since the dawn of pharmacopoeia in the Seventeenth Century, scientists have been synthesizing and extracting various alkaloids from medicinal plants, and Chinese peasants have been sapping the resin of poppies. Soon after, addiction emerged as a foul side effect of the noble quest to heal and comfort. Addictive behavior comes in all shapes and sizes; drugs are not the only outlets. Every human being has at least one or two bad habits or vices, be they drinking, drugs, gambling, sex, or some type of eating disorder: anorexia, bulimia, body dysmorphia, etc.
Vice on its own is not necessarily problematic. However when affinity turns to addiction, and lives spiral out of control, these addictive behaviors need treatment. The current standard is often ineffective: interventions and “twelve-step” programs are regarded as a panacea for all types of destructive and/or addictive behavior, while a huge arsenal of anti-depressants, mood elevators, and “maintenance opiates” such as Methadone and Buprenex trade one addiction for another. Yet there is another option. Not just for opiate addicts as originally intended, but for destructive behaviors in general. New to western medicine, but an ancient right of passage among African tribes for centuries, Ibogaine works on the very nature and root causes of addictive behavior, while taking those who ingest the hallucinogenic drug on a journey deep into their subconscious and beyond.
Ibogaine HCl, the main active alkaloid in the Tabernathe iboga plant is a Schedule I drug in the good ole’ US of A. The plant itself is however legal in many countries, such as Canada, Mexico, Sweden… even 20 miles off shore in tropical St. Kitts and a few clinics off the coast of Florida. By now you’re no doubt wondering, “Why am I reading about some cure for addictive behaviors? Where’s the bodybuilding application?
Let me introduce you, my readers, to Roman DeNiro, a bodybuilder from Florida who experienced Ibogaine at a clinic no more than 40 miles from his apartment! Rome, as he prefers to be called, was sick of the life he was leading: taking handfuls of pills, injecting himself with homebrewed or UG gear, popping pills, all just to stay sane near the end. He also developed quite a Vicodin habit. At this point, his live-in girlfriend suggested he try Ibogaine. “It was so enlightening,” says Rome. “I saw myself, the way I was living my life; how it would have turned out if I continued down that path. Then I saw other paths. And when I say ‘saw’ I mean I really saw it, right there before my eyes.”
Rome’s eyes were closed of course, as he lay in a semi somnolent state for hours, one of the effects of a large dose of Ibogaine. Later that evening he recalls waking up and wanting to eat a healthy breakfast. Feeling fueled with ambition and desire, he recalls that “everything fell into place. I saw the changes that needed to be made in my life, and I made them right there. That was over a year ago and the changes are still in place, with only one booster.”
A “booster,” as the name implies is a dose boost. Chemically, Ibogaine converts in the liver to nor-ibogaine, which bonds to opiate receptors for a period of 2-4 months, depending on one’s metabolism, hence the need for a booster As most of you know, opiate receptors, when properly bonded, make ya feel on top of the world. When blocked with antagonists such as Naltrexone, you’re pretty much screwed if not in legitimate pain.
When overloaded with heroin or any other potent opiate, opiate receptors become addicted and rapidly tolerant of the same dose. Once that dose is gone, they start screaming like a banshee and the body goes haywire with withdrawal (I’m sure you’ve all seen it in a movie, if not experienced it yourselves). Here is where Ibogaine works the second part of its magic: by bonding to the receptors, rather than filling them as opiates do, or blocking as an opiate-antagonist would, Nor-Ibogaine fits nicely around it, making Rome, and thousands of others nice and comfy when they would otherwise be going through a hellish withdrawal.
Believe it or not, many real citizens such as doctors, academics, lawyers, social workers, etc. are backing Ibogaine therapy to be legalized in the US. Dr. Debra Mash of Harvard (among other med school affiliations) brought Ibogaine to the forefront of addiction research throughout the early to mid nineties, and is currently applying to patent the drug nor-ibogaine as a maintenance drug for addictive behavior, and opiate addiction specifically.
Jill Stammer, an Ibogaine “care-giver,” counselor, and research coordinator currently works under Dr. John Halpern, along with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). They treat patients for various ailments, all of which are psychological, destructive, and reversible through Ibogaine therapy.
So will Ibogaine replace bodybuilding supplements? Of course not. Is it willpower in a pill? Nope. But it’s about as close to it as medical science has come. It’s a way of reprogramming one’s brain, awakening something inside. Call it a spirit, your “mojo,” whatever. Ibogaine, as well as its metabolite Nor-Ibogaine are soon to change addiction treatment and psychiatry in general in a major way. Just make sure to get your “research powders” once the Nor-Ibogaine patent is approved and the drug is put into production. Because unlike Ibogaine, Nor-Ibogaine causes no hallucinogenic or oneriophrenic (dream inducing) effects.
The bottom line: Ibogaine therapy can be a useful tool for treating many psychological afflictions common to those practicing the bodybuilding lifestyle. As far as dosage, frequency, and the two different approaches to Ibogaine therapy, stay tuned for Part II. Maybe you could even ask me a question or two in the Mind & Muscle forum so I know you actually want to see a Part II.