In Bwiti religious ceremonies, the rootbark is pulverized and swallowed in large amounts to produce intense psychoactive effects. In Africa, iboga rootbark is sometimes chewed, which releases small amounts of ibogaine to produce a stimulant effect. Ibogaine is also available in a total alkaloid extract of the Tabernanthe iboga plant, which also contains all the other iboga alkaloids and thus has only about one-fifth the potency by weight as standardized ibogaine hydrochloride.
Total alkaloid extracts of T. iboga are often loosely called “Indra extract”. However, that name actually refers to a particular stock of total alkaloid extract produced in Europe in 1981. The fate of that original stock (as well as its original quality) is unknown.
Currently, pure crystalline ibogaine hydrochloride is the most standardized formulation. It is typically produced by the semi-synthesis from voacangine in commercial laboratories. Ibogaine has two separate chiral centers which means that there a four different stereoisomers of ibogaine. These four isomers are difficult to resolve.
A synthetic derivative of ibogaine, 18-methoxycoronaridine (18-MC), is a selective α3β4 antagonist that was developed collaboratively by the neurologist Stanley D. Glick (Albany) and the chemist Martin E. Kuehne (Vermont). This discovery was stimulated by earlier studies on other naturally occurring analogues of ibogaine such as coronaridine and voacangine that showed these compounds also have anti-addictive properties.
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