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Ibogaine – Metabolites

Ibogaine is metabolized in the human body by cytochrome P450 2D6, and the major metabolite is noribogaine (12-hydroxyibogamine). Noribogaine is most potent as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor and acts as a moderate κ- and weak µ-opioid receptor full agonist and therefore, also has an aspect of an opiate replacement similar to compounds like methadone. It is possible that this action of noribogaine at the kappa opioid receptor may indeed contribute significantly to the psychoactive effects attributed to ibogaine ingestion; salvia divinorum, another plant recognized for its strong hallucinogenic properties, contains the chemical salvinorin-A which is a highly selective kappa opioid agonist. Both ibogaine and noribogaine have a plasma half-life of around two hours in the rat, although the half-life of noribogaine is slightly longer than the parent compound. It is proposed that ibogaine is deposited in fat and metabolized into noribogaine as it is released.Noribogaine shows higher plasma levels than ibogaine and may therefore be detected for longer periods of time than ibogaine. Noribogaine is also more potent than ibogaine in rat drug discrimination assays when tested for the subjective effects of ibogaine. The Noribogaine differs from ibogaine in that it contains a hydroxy instead of a methoxy group at the 12 position

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Ibogaine – Psychoactive effects

At doses of around 3–5 mg/kg of body weight, ibogaine has a mild stimulant effect. The high-dose ibogaine experience of 10 mg/kg or greater most commonly occurs as two distinct phases: the visual phase and the introspective phase

The visual phase is characterized by open-eye visuals, closed-eye visuals, and dreamlike sequences. Objects may be seen as distorted, projecting tracers, or having moving colors or textures. When the eyes are closed, extremely detailed and vivid geometric and fractal visions may be seen. Subjective reports often include a movie-like recollection of earlier life experiences as well as dreamlike sequences with symbolism of one’s present or anticipated future. Other effects in the visionary phase may include laughing, sensations of euphoria or fear, and temporary short-term memory impairment. The visionary phase usually ends after one to four hours, after which the introspective phase begins.

The introspective phase is typically reported to bring elevated mood, a sense of calm and euphoria, and a distinct intellectual and emotional clarity. Subjects often report being able to accomplish deep emotional and intellectual introspection into psychological and emotional concerns. It is also during this period that opioid addicts first notice the absence of withdrawal symptoms or cravings. The duration of the introspective phase is highly variable, usually lasting hours but sometimes lasting days.

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Ibogaine – Formulations

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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