Iboga: Serious Business

I recently had the opportunity to try what is simultaneously one of the most positively transformative drugs there is, and one of the least fun. It’s totally legal in Canada, but normally a session with it would cost upwards of $10,000, and good luck finding it on your own — there isn’t much of a street market (although if you scroll down to the comments section you’ll see some entrepreneurs who’ve figured out this article would be a good place to advertise). Things have a way of finding their way to me, however, and so on the morning of Saturday, July 2, 2011, a shaman I’d only met twice previously came to my house with a small bag of dried iboga root bark, coated in mud from the jungle floor in Gabon.

What is Iboga?

Tabernanthe iboga is a very, very special tree. It’s the only well known African psychedelic, and it’s totally different from the various LSD or DMT-like substances you’re more likely to have encountered. Used mainly as part of the Bwiti religion, whose founders claim to have gotten it from Pygmy shamans, its pharmacology is not well understood. The most studied active constituent, ibogaine, is annoyingly difficult to synthesize, and its effects are sublimely complicated, seeming to work simultaneously through a number of different neurotransmitter systems. Of interest to drug connoisseurs is its kappa-opiod affinity, a trait which it shares with Salvia divinorum, and there are some distinctive features which bear that out: the visions are distinctly vocal, utterly unconnected to external stimuli, and very repetitive. However, sharing a few features with Salvia does not make the two drugs similar; iboga is fundamentally different from every other drug I have ever experienced. That its visions have more in common with those of Salvia than those of conventional psychedelics is less important than the orders of magnitude of difference in the durations of the two drugs, or the fact that you can still be perfectly aware of the world around you while deep into it on iboga.

Though we lack rigorous understanding of how exactly it works, iboga seems to have a three part effect. First, it seems to activate a REM cycle during the waking state, which leads to the curious situation in which you can literally watch yourself dream. Second, it gives an amphetamine-like stimulation: the heart pounds and the mind races (it is, therefore, contraindicated for anyone with heart problems — take this seriously, as there have been deaths). Third, it completely obliterates your sense of balance, meaning that if you try to move around you’ll become nauseated. In combination, this all means that you can’t really do anything except lie back and go into the powerful, introspective visions that come. When I ate my 5 grams of dried root bark, the mind-blowingly intense visions lasted for about 12 hours, followed by a 12 hour comedown. In Gabon, they supposedly eat 30-40 grams of wet root and it lasts for three days.

A major reason why iboga has received attention in North America in recent years is that it’s been conclusively proven to cure addictions. LSD, ketamine and other drugs are also known to help with addictions, but this is different… heroin addicts who take iboga not only have the epiphany that they shouldn’t use anymore (LSD is great for that), but it actually eradicates the physiological addiction as well. Something about its complex neurochemistry returns the brain’s homeostasis to non-addiction levels, which means that not only will it inspire you to not want to use, it’ll also make it so that you won’t have any withdrawal whatsoever (note that there’s a danger here: if a heroin user takes iboga, and then takes hir normal dose of heroin, sie may overdose. What is being reset is tolerance, of which withdrawal is a function). This has been confirmed in rat studies, and shown to not be exclusive to heroin: it also gets rats off of alcohol and nicotine, and interrupts non-pharmacological compulsions of all sorts in humans. This is a drug that literally frees your mind — and not simply from the dictates of a society intent on controlling your behaviour, which is the sense in which we usually mean that psychedelics free your mind. Iboga frees your mind from itself.

Like with most drug plants, there's a lot more than just one active chemical. Ibogaine has four isomers, and its key metabolite has some of the strongest effects

 What’s it like?

It’s basically like watching yourself dream, but more intensely. Scenes from your memory and imagination play themselves out, but you have a certain distance from them and won’t necessarily identify with them directly, which means that even though it might show you all the worst things you’ve ever done, you’re likely to experience it as “huh, I shouldn’t do that stuff in the future” rather than “oh god I’m an awful person I deserve to die.” For many people the visions focus particularly on social network relations. Who are you connected to and in what ways? Who have you hurt or disappointed? How can you be a better person?

It’s even rumoured to demonstrate the objectivity of moral principles, and to affirm the reality of the spiritual beliefs of the tribe. Because of this, it’s well-suited for an initiation ritual, but even outside of its traditional shamanic context it has a distinctly moral character, visions more normative than transcendental. Whereas LSD reveals how amazingly rich and awesome the world is, and whereas DMT demonstrates that there’s way more going on than the physical world we can normally perceive, iboga teaches what it means to be a good person.

My trip report

I dosed at around 9:30 in the morning. 1 gram mixed into yoghurt, wait 45 minutes in case of allergic reaction (it can cause respiratory failure, and I have asthma and am allergic to some trees. Caution is prudent), 4 more grams mixed into yoghurt. The 4 grams I found to be particularly foul tasting, but with the addition of some honey and salt it went down okay. I retreated to my trip space and made a few notes as it slowly came on — once it was fully on, writing was not remotely appealing.

At first the visions were strange and sometimes silly, with very direct semiotic content: symbols, numbers, words. Subtitles and surtitles scrolled past my vision constantly, words overlapping other words, and I couldn’t make sense of nearly any of it. A soundtrack of fast paced, complicated music emerged: by far the most complex auditory hallucinations I’ve ever experienced.

A giant cobra appeared in front of me and opened its mouth, and the phrase “some day, you will die” repeated five times while I was swallowed. This didn’t alarm me in the slightest, and I found it stereotypical and largely irrelevant, but yet it persisted. Many strange patterns would coalesce briefly, combined with sounds or phrases, often entirely ridiculous material that I intellectually rejected — stupid in-jokes, content repeating across several visions. The more nonsensical and annoying to my rational mind, the more likely to show up over and over and over. Anticipating its 24 hour duration, it was in no rush, and didn’t mind mucking around a little — plenty of time for serious content later.

I remembered what my shaman had said about it being great at answering questions, so I asked it what I should do in the coming weeks. Series of numbers and equations which I couldn’t understand appeared, and after a couple minutes of this, the phrase: “learn math.” Damn this stuff is straight-forward.

Then… it actually kicked in.

A sequence of small brown cells emerged. Each would say the word “do” (both spoken and written on it) and become inert, and then another would appear to the right. do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do… columns and rows emerging, rapidly increasing. A mountain of brown forming. Soil, the inevitable end result of life. Self perpetuation. Permutations upon permutations. Complex forms arising, mistakes being made. Cellular reproduction errors, disgusting deformities, horrible disfigurements. Apocalypse.

I have no way of describing my visions in any sensible narrative, but this motif of intent — life’s simple desire to do, as opposed to not-do — continued for a long time. I saw complex portrayals of the many varieties of life, all tying back to an ever increasing mass of brown. I remembered how the roots I’d taken were coated in soil from the jungle in Gabon.

The visions covered many different topics and I can’t remember the vast majority of them. A lot had to do with Africa: how people there live, the many different species, something to do with the spirit of the land. It was distinctly conversational, and I felt that the continent itself was speaking to me. Oddly, it was not black people in Sub-Saharan Africa I was seeing for the most part, but Arabs in Morocco, probably Agadir. Go figure.

At one point I saw my mother surrounded by celestial beings with serpent-like tentacle wings. Her eyes were radiant. Many hours later when the visions came to an end, the first thing I did was to call her and tell her that I love her.

A huge proportion of the visions were extremely ugly. In the first half of the trip, the prevailing theme was organic diversity, mutation and adaptation, and the majority of that consisted of horrible deformities, twisted, malformed bodies, useless organs, and things like the cellular development of twins. I understood it as an exploration of the different ways in which life, trying simply to persist and reproduce itself, can end up doing something rather different, and how for the most part that only produces suffering, but occasionally leads to adaptation and the emergence of new stable forms. In the second half of the trip, I had many visions of the destruction of my body, the prevailing theme being too personal to explain here. All pretty messed up stuff. An interesting thing about iboga though is how it gives you distance from what you’re seeing, so for the most part it didn’t really bother me that I was seeing deformed and disfigured bodies. They simply were, and I did not judge them.

As I started to sober up, I was filled with an intense and very specific urge to share an erotic video I’d seen weeks earlier with an Egyptian friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while. I did, and she loved it. So specific. So strange.

The physical experience

I became nauseated around six or seven hours in, and began vomiting water whenever I drank it. Thanks to a successful fast, there was no taste to my vomit, so it wasn’t too bad, but I was certainly dehydrated and unable to move around. The trip lasted for an enormous amount of time, and was extremely exhausting… I’d turned off my cell phone and had no way of knowing what time it was, but I definitely spent a number of hours in disbelief that the visions were still taking place, already having experienced far more than I could remember or integrate, and just wanting to rest. In the evening I began to sweat, and the physical discomfort added to the overwhelming nature of the visions, leaving me in a prolonged delirium. The intense visions finally stopped around 10 PM, but I was still extremely introspective and needing to process a lot of very heavy, highly personal material that’d emerged in the second half. I listened to the song Thank You for Talkin’ to Me, Africa, posted the phrase as a Facebook comment, and lay down to think. At 8 AM I still hadn’t slept, was still nauseated, and was still seeing tracers and flashes of light around the room. I was eventually able to stomach a bowl of porridge in the early afternoon, and went to a yoga class at 6:30 PM, during which I sweat more than I’ve ever sweat in my life. That night I had trouble sleeping, but while the fast left me  with low energy for the next day or so, at no point did I feel sleep deprived. Artificially induced REM is good for that.

After effects

Before taking iboga, I wasn’t addicted to any drugs, but I did have my share of compulsions. I also have ADHD, experienced partly as a constant excess chatter in my mind combined with a vague anxiety and restlessness, and to calm this I’ve self medicated many times with alcohol and cannabis. After taking iboga, I had absolutely no desire to drink alcohol or smoke. On Monday I had dinner with a friend and she wanted a beer, so I got one too, but could only bring myself to drink half of it. It absolutely did not interest me, and still does not, nor does cannabis. The most surprising thing is that my ADHD seems to have significantly improved. I was not expecting that, and maybe it won’t last, but after a week the excess chatter and restlessness are still far less than they were before my trip. My focus is enormously better, and I’ve had an unusually productive several days. Could iboga be a treatment for ADHD? This truly is an amazing medicine…

Update two months later: Most of these effects were not permanent. Iboga seems to interrupt compulsions, freeing you for at least a few days, but unless you make significant changes in your life during that time, your bad habits will probably creep back in.

In conclusion

Iboga is serious business. It tastes disgusting, it feels horrible, it lasts for an entire day, it’s almost impossible to acquire, and some of the visions it gave me were truly disturbing. It’s not fun in any way, shape or form. The experience was very difficult and a lot of work.

But it was also deeply rewarding. It didn’t teach me anything about morality or my social relations which I didn’t already know (though apparently it often does for others), but it brought to the surface and forced me to process some deep-rooted psychological difficulties, and has left me with substantially improved mental health. I don’t think I’ll take it again any time soon, but I’m very glad to have been through it. Almost the only reason I don’t recommend that nearly everyone try this stuff is that I’m worried about overharvesting; the jungle in Gabon is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I’d hate to see its ecosystem messed up by massive demand for a tree which only grows there.

Anyone got access to a greenhouse?

————————————————————–
Further reading:
The Healing Journey by Claudio Naranjo: http://www.ibogaine.desk.nl/naranjo.html

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    • Chris Graham
    • July 12th, 2011

    Thank you, Michael, for that excellent review. Much appreciated. Love to you.

  1. Very interesting, but I am VERy surprised that you endorse the bogus pseudo-label ADHD. I know you say you have been diagnosed yourself, but I am very against the pseudo science of it all, and Dr Fred baughman has revealed that it is 100 percent fraud.

    • I see the label ADHD, like many other diagnostic criteria, as problematic, but also as the best we’ve got at the moment. The way that I process information and react to stimulation is atypical for the general population, but conforms to certain aspects of a cluster of traits that a minority of the population shares. ADHD is the only term I know to describe this cluster, and for simplicity’s sake I therefore describe myself as “having ADHD,” rather than attempting to construct a description of all my irregularities from the ground up.

      It’s problematic because of the term “disorder,” and it comes from a psychiatric background with which I disagree about a great many things. However, again, it’s the only term I know to describe an experienced phenomena. Notably, it’s also over-diagnosed, and often the “treatment” is deeply problematic. Some people take this to mean there’s no such thing, which to me is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. As a cluster of interrelated traits which condition behaviour in a subset of the population, it certainly exists. Once I’m presented with a non-psychiatric description of this cluster that tracks to my experience and holds water, analytically speaking, I may begin to use that terminology instead of the psychiatric terminology.

      While I haven’t read Dr Baughman’s book, I am familiar with some of the concepts he employs, and I agree with only about half of them. A lot of his case seems to be highly overstated, and his views are scientifically very controversial. You would do well to not take them as gospel. The existence of one outspoken renegade who has mixed legitimate complaints, over-generalisations and fallacious arguments together to form a compelling narrative suggests a controversy, and that more research/theory building is necessary. It does not suggest that the debate has been settled on his side: he, in fact, remains in the minority.

        • Jacob
        • October 9th, 2011

        I’m really sorry you to have to deal with flack like the comments from the guy above (“ADHD is 100% fraud…blah blah bull shit, I’ve never been to college…blah blah I take the word of 1 doctor to be unequivocal truth”). I really appreciate your blog and some of your articles look like they are really going to help me out a lot in the coming months and years. Being somewhat of a practitioner of contemporary shamanism, your blog is immensely useful as a guide and as a source of anecdotal and collective information.

      • Moonrise
      • October 9th, 2011

      It’s nice to know that one doctor is the sole source of all knowledge and practice in modern psychology, wait…

      Are you a troll or are you really that stupid? “I am very against the pseudo science of it all” Are you? Where’s your Phd, or your master’s, or shit, even your bachelor’s? Oh what, you don’t have one? That’s right, you read a book from a doctor who represents a fringe theory in an extremely researched field and decided that his opinion, against the findings of thousands, was unequivocal fact. How about learning facts before you attack people on the internet for real mental problems? Or, I don’t know, maybe not judge people you have never met before based on knowledge that you have an elementary understanding of?

      There’s problems with diagnosis with literally every mental disease listed in the DSM-IV. Just because ADHD has had a vast history of misdiagnosis, it doesn’t mean that the disease is “100% fraud” especially when that claim is riding on the findings of one doctor, who according to nearly the entire rest of mainstream psychology, is making vastly overinflated claims. The fact that you would make value judgments about the credibility of the author of this blog just because he says he has ADHD when your reasons for your distrust in this statement come from a fringe doctor (who in no way reflects 90% of the field) in an immensely researched field, shows how truly ignorant and stubborn you are.

      • I didn’t feel that he was attacking my credibility. On the contrary, I took his sentence structure to imply a compliment: he was surprised that I didn’t agree with him about ADHD. That could only be the case if he on the whole respected what I had to say and felt that I was doing a good job, so as to render the one discrepancy out of place.

        While I agree with you that the claim that it’s “100% fraud” is… well… excessive (and false), I really don’t have any problem with people expressing their opinion in a venue like this, as long as they do so in a way that isn’t abusive. Calling him a troll or stupid just doesn’t seem productive here.

        There are a LOT of problems with the way that science in general, and psychiatry in particular, is conducted (this is not to say that they should be rejected outright, but we shouldn’t reify them either). People occupying fringe positions frequently have insufficient justification, but I’d rather see heterodox (though flawed) criticisms occasionally than to only ever hear the official line. And I’m also resistant to the notion that one ought to have official institutional credentials before being able to form opinions on things.

        If you want to know a bit of my politics in relation to science, you might find my recent article about the Hopkins experiments to be of interest: https://michaelvipperman.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/psychedelic-science/

  2. Jacob,

    Thanks for your comment! I don’t mind the occasional comment like the one from Juliano. As I said in my response, there are indeed problems with the label ADHD, and it’s good for those to be discussed. Just because he has leapt to a hasty conclusion not warranted by the available evidence doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be encouraged to discuss it publicly — he certainly wasn’t abusive or anything.

    The one actually abusive comment I’ve gotten was here: https://michaelvipperman.wordpress.com/2011/09/04/hallucination/

    I hope to continue to provide useful information. Is there anything in particular that you think it would be beneficial for me to cover? At the moment I’m doing more or less whatever I feel like from week to week, though with the long term goal of working towards a concise “beginner’s guide” (zine-like format) possibly as soon as New Years, and eventually getting into more advanced/complicated/trippy material. Covering the basics seems to be the short term priority is all.

      • Jacob
      • October 9th, 2011

      Yep, it was the comment from that ^ thread that I saw first and got me a little annoyed. Anyone who would read this blog and say “you have an overinflated ego” must be so vastly insecure that their own narcissism is bleeding out into their internet trolling. Your information and presentation is great with little (if any) problems with personal bias or ego driven opinions that I see scattered across all modern psychedelic and new age literature. Getting good information from a good author can be nearly impossible these days where pretty much anyone can have a voice to the public and get their words across. After having read many books recently in the field of contemporary shamanism, I would have to say that you are one of the more informative and better-to-read writers that I have come across.

      To be more specific in terms of content, some of the articles that I have found the most helpful so far have been:

      https://michaelvipperman.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/potentiation/
      https://michaelvipperman.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/cleansing-rituals/
      https://michaelvipperman.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/iboga-serious-business/

      Basically, I have had a really hard time finding informative resources on practical guides to techniques in shamanism or ritual magic (I’m not as much into ritual magic but I want to incorporate some of that methodology into my shamanic practices). I have also had a difficult time finding good trip reports of spiritual/shamanic context with good descriptions and good language; your trip report on ibogaine was one of the best I have ever read and I would love to read about some of your experiences with mushrooms since that is what I have been using the most recently. So really, anything on technique, practices, hints, guides, rituals like the banishing rituals, and any other psychedelic/shamanic related information would be awesome. Thanks!

      • Thanks for the feedback, and glad to see someone is appreciating the approach I’ve taken! Like you I’ve been frustrated with the inconsistent quality of literature on the subject, and the fragmentary nature of the same. My background in sociology seems to be helpful here because it means that I have scientific training (I know how to find and understand journal articles, what p values are, that sort of thing) but also familiarity with various forms of magical practice without being fully committed to any one such perspective. That’s allowed me to try to bring together mystical, scientific and pop culture insights, evaluating each as level-headedly as I can to find the credible and useful bits which I can then blend and present as seems appropriate.

        Of course, because I’m not actually an expert in any of these areas (I’ve done some magic and some science, but not huge amounts of either), I’m always afraid of getting something wrong or being taken as impertinent by someone with that specialised knowledge, but I think so far I’ve done an alright job of maintaining both credibility and balance. Let’s see if I can keep it up!

    • Moonrise
    • October 9th, 2011

    You’re right, sorry for the aggressive comment. I have a huge problem with disrespect in mental health and through that comment and the one on the other thread ‘hallucinations’, I figured something should be said. Thank you for the informative blog, keep the articles coming!

    Michael Vipperman :
    I didn’t feel that he was attacking my credibility. On the contrary, I took his sentence structure to imply a compliment: he was surprised that I didn’t agree with him about ADHD. That could only be the case if he on the whole respected what I had to say and felt that I was doing a good job, so as to render the one discrepancy out of place.
    While I agree with you that the claim that it’s “100% fraud” is… well… excessive (and false), I really don’t have any problem with people expressing their opinion in a venue like this, as long as they do so in a way that isn’t abusive. Calling him a troll or stupid just doesn’t seem productive here.
    There are a LOT of problems with the way that science in general, and psychiatry in particular, is conducted (this is not to say that they should be rejected outright, but we shouldn’t reify them either). People occupying fringe positions frequently have insufficient justification, but I’d rather see heterodox (though flawed) criticisms occasionally than to only ever hear the official line. And I’m also resistant to the notion that one ought to have official institutional credentials before being able to form opinions on things.
    If you want to know a bit of my politics in relation to science, you might find my recent article about the Hopkins experiments to be of interest: https://michaelvipperman.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/psychedelic-science/

    • Thanks! I really appreciate that. Mental health is such a complicated and contested area that it’s very easy to hastily form an opinion and go too far with it. This is a problem both in scientific circles and outside. We need to have people questioning things but being willing to accept the uncertainty, and accept that different people are working with different data sets. The more communication we can get along those lines, the better.

  3. I find it quite amusing and predictable the tantrum-reaction to my letting people know that ADHD is 100 percent fraud, and that this means many thousands of children (and getting younger) are being ‘diagnosed’ with this bogus disorder by shrinks who along with the pharm pill pushers will be making quite a bit of profit on this scam. The children are forced to go to schools, so it is an unnatural system to begin with, but I suppose you take this for granted do you, and then back up the pill pushers with their ‘ADHD’ BS if the kids do not ‘fit in’. (checkout John Taylor Gatto)

    For people talking about the African sacred plant, Iboga, which is supposed to wake us up to reality, I find it quite amazing how many here seem to jump to the defence of the mental illness MYTH? because even though in this case, I have only mentioned so-called ADHD as one of their bogus disorders, I could also add ‘depression’, ‘bipolar’, ‘psychosis’ ‘schizophrenia’ …etc. I can almost see some of you going purple already! But it is so. People, this is not a mumbers game, please know that in Nazi Germany, academics, professors, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists were all queueing UP to join the facists, and there were lone voices then warning about this. Millions of people were on streets giving Hitler their nazi salutes and throwing rose petals at him.

    This WORLD is full of MILLIONS of people who are contributing to its demise, pollution. deforestation, povert, mass species extinction, and so on. Dont you *KNOW* this. So please do no shoot the messenger. Wake the **** up instead!

    I have had psychedelics, LSD, and magic mushrooms, but not IBOGA. Like other psychedelics I have heard IBOGA is VERY direct–in conveying things? Well so am I.

    And if you want to see through the ‘schizophrenia’ label which has been used to HARM countless people since the mental illness movement raised its ugly head, I suggest you read TheTrials of a Visionary Mind, by John Weir Perry.

    • Do you know what the word “spectrum” means, and how it might apply to discussions of psychological variance?

      • No. is this to do with mr Ken Wilbur?

    • So the idea of a “spectrum” is that you have two qualities which seem quite dissimilar, but between which exist gradients, such that any example you find is somewhere on a continuum rather than a member of a distinct category.

      When applied to psychological theory, the idea is that there are certain axes along which we vary. So, instead of there being “introverts” and “extroverts,” we have a spectrum from total introversion to total extroversion.

      At this point you want to bring in the biological concept of adaptivity. So, for example, take anything that could vary… maybe total bodymass. You’ve got a spectrum there that’s not closed at either end but in principle extends between the colossal and the infinitesimal. But not all sizes will survive as well for a given ecological niche… too small and maybe you’re easier prey, too large and it becomes too hard to feed yourself and move around efficiently. So, despite an open ended spectrum, an “adaptive peak” emerges: a local optimum, including variance within it, where the species tends to thrive the best. But there are members who are larger, and members who are smaller.

      Back to psychology. The way your mind works can be conceptualised in just the same way. There are certain respects in which we have variance within the population, extremes of which are maladaptive for our present situation, and the evolutionary pressures exerted upon us have led to the clustering around local optima (note that adaptiveness must be in reference to a particular ecological state; because ecology is not static, what were once local optima may over time become maladaptive).

      So, let’s take your example of schizophrenia. Here we have a set of qualities that’s not necessarily detrimental in milder forms, but beyond which become quite debilitating. There’s also some recent research suggesting that schizophrenia may actually be the opposite end of a spectrum with autism: there’s zero co-morbidity between the two phenomena. So we can suggest that within our population we have a distribution of people, most of whom are clustered somewhere between autism and schizophrenia, and there’s no strict delineation at any point in that: the conditions have no firm boundaries.

      Think of it in statistical terms. You may have 100 people, none of whom are as “autistic” or “schizophrenic” as one another, and they can therefore in principle be arranged as a distribution from the most autistic on one side to the most schizophrenic on the other side. In this kind of distribution, you’re usually going to find that the people at the very extremes tend to suffer, whereas the people towards the end but not AT the end may actually be gifted in one way or another. Those close to the autism end may be highly analytically intelligent, or those close to the schizophrenic end may be visionaries and suited to becoming shamans, or whatever. But too much of either can be a big problem, and it’s very important that you realise this: mental illness is a real thing and it’s incredibly terrifying.

      Surely discrete categories (such as are implied by diagnostic criteria) do not truly exist. The way I’ve presented it leads to that conclusion, and it’s the same position you’re starting with. But, what benefits or drawbacks are there of categorising, bearing in mind that a category need not be totally discrete?

      In this case, simply having a name for “those people at maladaptive points on a spectrum” makes it easier for us to talk about and study the related traits found there. It’s also conducive to bureaucratic forms, hopefully helping people get the support they need by making it easier to identify who would benefit from what support. However, the fact is that the bureaucracy is fucking stupid, and the science is preliminary at best, but taken to be absolute and definitive, so as this plays out a lot of people actually end up getting treated very poorly, and a discrete label can obscure the possibility of fluctuations and transformation.

      These are serious concerns… but it doesn’t justify rejecting the labels outright. What it justifies is emphasising their fluid, and spectral, natures. DISCRETE categories are bullshit; categories which allow for fuzziness are not.

  4. so THATS what you mean by spectrum? 🙂 OK, I usually use that term sometimes especially when trying to explain sexuality, especially to people with homophobic tendencies. I will say LOOK, you have have at one end an extreme camp type gay (Nothin wrong in that–vivre la diversity. beautiful people, truly) and at the other a ‘straight’ dude who overdoes the ‘i am macho macho man’ –cant you just see him in his S&M leathers lol. Same with women–one end very girlsy, other very manly and you got that and BEYOND those two static descriptions and trhe WHOLE spectrum of dyanmic possibilities also, including married males that ‘turn’ etc, and of COURSE let us not forget bisexuals. I actually am in awae of bisexuals, and see them as very cool and LUCKY people heh

    I am curious. HAVE you read Perry;s book, The Trials of a Visionary Mind. he will use the term schizophrenia but with definate commas.

    I am friends with Seth Farber, and pease look out for his book published in April 2012 – The Spiritual Gift of Madness: The Failure of Psychiatry and the Rise of the Mad Pride Movement – which goes into depth how ‘madness’ is like you say in the realms of spiritual enlightenemnt when ALLOWED to be—when the dynamic healing process is not feared, and is rather attended to and nurtured http://www.sethhfarber.com/

    • tl;dr
      If you deny the existence of pathological cases, you’re as dangerous (and as wrong) as those who deny the existence of spiritual gifts.

      This is why Moonrise and Jacob attacked you. Because though you’re close to being right, you’ve made one crucial mistake. It can easily be corrected within the extant framework you have for the analysis of psychiatry.

    • Have you ever been to a psych ward? I have. I’ve been to a psych ward. I’ve met people with such bad schizophrenia and such severe mental problems that they have no idea where they are, are extremely volatile, break out crying, and are reduced to child-like states. It’s not fun.

      Have you ever interfaced with a schizophrenic? Do you know how hard it is for them to live in society, make money to sustain themselves, carry on normal relationships? To simply call them ‘visionaries’ is fucking bullshit. That’s like calling someone with cancer a ‘a genetically superior human undergoing evolution’.

      My grandmother, who, due to her intense anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations, tried to run over my father because she thought he was a “witch” with wings and an evil scepter in his heart.

      I’ve been diagnosed with Bi-polar Disorder 2. You know why? Because I have fits of mania and depression. That wasn’t induced by pharmacies. When I’m manic I do stupid things, albeit I feel good, and when I’m depressed, I try to kill myself. Point blank. Does that sound like bullshit? No. And what’s more, I don’t know who I am, because my real self lies in between my mania and my depression. It’s either I have extreme confidence or no confidence at all, and I’m usually on the lower rung of that. And none of that is in my control. Trust me, I’ve been an avid student of meditation and self-hypnosis and inward reflection and turning myself to my higher consciousness etc etc. But my brain’s chemicals are out of whack. Literally. Believe it or not, our brain’s do have chemicals in them, and sometimes their quantities maybe be too little or too much. That’s nothing we can control inwardly; it’s a physiological defect. And yes, I’m going to call it a defect, because I have to live with it and it’s not at all an enriching spiritual experience, a visionary experience or anything.

      My psychiatrist diagnosed so that she can figure out what medications I can take to balance out the chemicals in my brain. I can tell you first hand that while I’ve tried a lot of them that don’t do shit, I’m currently on Lamictal, which allows me to live like a regular human being.

      Saying that BDP2 or ADHD or autism or asperger’s or depression are jokes? That’s the most inhuman and ignorant thing I’ve ever heard. Would you claim that, say, the label “heart disease” was erroneous? That it incorrectly labeled people with fucking heart disease? Or that “Multiple Sclerosis” doesn’t really exist, and is only a label created by big pharm to make money? Lemme’ tell ya’ bud. Big pharm didn’t come up to me and say, hey, take these meds and pay us. No. I went to big pharm and said hey, I’m fucked up. Help me. If there are natural ways to get rid of the chemical imbalances in my brain, hey, I will go through any level of Iboga visions for however long I need to. But I can’t if I’m trying to fucking overdose or hang myself–two things that have happened on more than one occasion. So please, before you go claiming things are “bogus,” don’t forget that you’re describing people who actually do have serious and real life problems. Say what you want about developing children, because I do agree that there is some serious misuse of labeling, but I also know that I have friends who have been on adderall since they were young and are still intensely creative beings. One of these friends is going to NYU for acting, has a very visionary and vibrant mind, but he does suffer from a, in many cases, handicapping level of attention deficit.

      Another friend is an a successful band. Superbly creative people, but adderall has helped rein in their attention deficit and hyperactivity. I don’t know anyone with ADHD who decries taking adderall. Maybe that’s just in my relatively small social circle, but I think it says something.

      tl;dr
      stop being ignorant, shit’s real as a heartattack, these things are effecting real people. thnx

      • And before you go on saying, “oh you just have regular mood swings! read a book! you’re not actually experiencing anything you just lack control!” I’d fucking URGE you to switch bodies with me for a fucking WEEK when I’m off of my meds. I’d love for you to feel yourself become physically depressed–not just emotionally depressed–due to no outside stimuli at all. The depression that I experience isn’t an “aw she dumped me” kind of ordeal. I’m not overreacting to some incidental non-issue that happened in my life.

        I’d love for you to have to constantly fight to be normal, to have to continuously convince yourself against your most intense instinct that there’s a reason to get up, that there’s a reason to live. Depression isn’t bullshit. It’s not just being sad. Fuck no. Depression is a condition wherein you’re literally drained of your life. Completely. There’s a ball of radiating coldness that forms in my chest, regardless of external stimuli, and then it creeps up my body and my eyes become tired and my whole body just dies. That’s what it feels like. I fall hard, physically and emotionally, to the point where there’s nothing anyone can do to help me up. I have to keep myself from taking my own life all on my own. Which obviously doesn’t work all of the time.

        Mania is a cruel animal as well. When I’m manic, I am a sociopath. I have no connection to human feeling. It’s such a strange feeling. I personally love it, because to be devoid of fucking feelings is so wonderful. But, in reality, being a sociopath doesn’t work. I had a death in the family (a cousin who was pretty close but whom I hadn’t seen in a while), and when I was told I literally didn’t know what emotional response I was supposed to have. Not because of the shock or grief I felt. I didn’t feel either of those. I just kind of cocked my head, almost smirked, and thought to myself “is this good? Am I supposed to be happy? Or sad? Mad? Excited?” I couldn’t figure out how to feel. We ended up not going to his funeral, but I never correctly mourned him.

        Mania impairs your judgment. I spend hundreds of dollars on junk food and then cry afterwards. I spent $250 modifying a god damned bicycle (this was last summer, I’m eighteen, that was all the money I had at that point) and then left it out on the street. I proceeded to feel a very cool anger and break my iPad by smashing it twice in the face. I exploded in a very controlled manner about how I was going to kill him, and that’s all I could think about.

        I did a lot of bad things while manic that I’m not at liberty to post while inditing myself. But those episodes end in a dramatic downtime, where I’m reduced to uncontrollable sobbing without feeling sad, and then crumpled into a ball, regretting everything I’ve done and hating myself and hating everyone else and being angry while miserable and suicidal. It’s such a terrible time for me. My family knows when it’s happening, though, and so do my friends so they’ve been able to support me.

        Point is. This is what’s fucking going on with me. Ask other people who have been diagnosed with the “bogus” BPD2 and see how close our experiences are. In the psych ward (which I went to for a week and a half, and subsequently had to drop out of college because of) we had group sessions, in which people talked about their lives. Fuck if everyone experienced varying degrees of what I experienced. What’s that? They did?!?! HOW CAN THAT BE?!?!?! Because it’s a disEASE. Point is. Be as fucking philosophical and book-learned as you want. Just don’t call things that you’ve never experienced bogus. Please. For the integrity of your person. lrn2beagoodperson

        pce

  5. Yes. There are a number of writers espousing this perspective. I think there’s wisdom in it but that it’s dangerous if taken too far. It needs to involve a recognition that there are, in fact, situations in which a therapeutic modality is the most important. This is the role of the medicine people, healers and gurus… they’re needed because there are people who are truly broken in one way or another.

    Even in places where some people we might call schizophrenic go on to become shamans, there are OTHER people we’d ALSO call schizophrenic who are generally disliked and feared. The difference between having visions in the appropriate time and place, and starting to shout and rave during the quiet time of the hunt.

    The problem in psychiatry then is that our categories are too fixed and the gifts of those NEAR but not AT the end of the spectra are not adequately respected.

    The problem in the perspective for which you’re providing an apology on the other hand is that you don’t seem to be adequately addressing the existence of those not NEAR but AT the ends.

    Both approaches fail to truly comprehend the nature of the phenomena. One is obsessed with “treatment,” the other with “giftedness,” but BOTH perspectives are needed in a truly comprehensive theory.

  6. You still have not answered my question to you: Have you read The Trials of the Visionary Mind, by John Weir Perry?

    I would never force anyone to become a ‘shaman’. I wouldn’t use that term, anyhow as it is out of context. For one the very term is overused, and pisses many indigenous peoples off when they hear westerners call THIER ‘mendicine women or men ‘shamans’–as that term originated in Siberia. Also I feel we need to get past the idea of single people having visions etc–such as is the shamanic context which usually is that A member of a tribe goes sick, has visions, a death rebirth experiences and then acquires healing powers to help his tribe. There is another stream often avoided talking abbout (or unknown about) by researchers etc–and that is discussed in the book Shamanism: The foundations of Magic, by Ward Rutherford, and that is the Goddess rites where it was NOT the shamanic model but involved ALL eating sacramental vegetation and becoming ‘possessed’. Ie., communal ecstatic healing.

    The actual climate of our culture i consists of oppressive scientific materialism, enforced schooling, warmogering, a watr on entheogens, viewing people as machines, and the ONLY recourse one has if deemed ‘mentally ill’ is this medical model built on this system which insists in various ways and means that people ‘accept treatment’. This is very important to be aware of obviously.
    Places like Mindfreedom very much are behind freedom of information, and choice, and encourage freedom of the invidiual if they choose to take medication or not. But FOR such a choice there must be complete freedom of information so people can explore what is going on.

    • No, I have not, nor do I intend to. Every post you make you list a couple more books, and ignore the issue at hand. This is not productive.

  7. LOL, I have always found that reading books can learn you. 😉

    • Willingness to actually engage in conversation is far more important than books.

      For the record I’ve read Weir’s essay, Spiritual Emergence and Renewal, from Grof’s collection, Spiritual Emergency (also includes essays by RD Laing, Holger Kalweit, Roberto Assagioli, Lee Sannella, Anne Armstrong, Keith Thompson, Jack Kornfield, Ram Das, Gruce Greyson and Barbara Harris, Jeaneane Prevatt and Russ Park, Paul Rebillot, and Stalislav and Christina Grof). I’ve also read plenty of other works from a variety of perspectives. I’m familiar with the concepts you’re talking about. I would think this would be apparent from the comments that I’ve made, and that it’d be possible to actually have a conversation, not just play the “you should read some book I like!” game.

      One last time, really simply: some cases are truly pathological, and sometimes some form of clinical intervention is the best option, some of the time. No amount of discussion about exceptions or cases where other things are going on will change that.

  8. OK be cool. I also hate the book-pressure. I was just curious if you had read it….? I very much enjoyed it. I do not agree with ‘truly pathological’ but DO think that ignorance from this culture can make people chronically dependent on their ‘crues’ which can also damage the nervous system. I also feel that people should have the CHOICE whether they want clinical intervention or not. Ie., there should be already the alternative there for people who firstly feel they need support—not just the medical model predominating the proceedings.

    • Absolutely. Choice is imperative, as is a breadth of options. But any competent therapist/healer/shaman/whatever will begin by ruling out “organic” conditions, and will acknowledge that no matter how great the spiritual emergence model might be for some people, it’s not applicable to everyone and some people actually do need clinical interventions.

      The perpetual difficulty, of course, is telling with whom to use which approach.

  9. Well there should be medical tests and until there are it can only be subjective diagnosis and THAT is a danger either in a tribe or in modern society, because who is giving the diagnosis? Szasz goes into this more thoughly than me

  10. I am curious Michael, would you consider yourself to be coming from a Jungian perspective regarding psychedelic healing. would you support, for example, the theory of ‘the Self’?

  11. Probably? Depends what you mean by “the Self.” I certainly occasionally capitalise Self and talk about integrative processes.

    • Daniel X
    • November 20th, 2011

    re: “good luck finding it on your own”

    I’m a little perplexed when I hear about people who have difficulty finding this stuff. I had my first session a few years ago (in the US), and all I had to do was call up somebody in the Iboga community, and they put me in touch with somebody who could help. I paid $1000 in total, only $400 of which was for the session itself (the rest was for travel/hotel expenses, which I handled myself).

    Given that the substance is not illegal in Canada, you can pretty easily find some suppliers via Google (one of which used to be not far from Toronto, though I was unable to locate them again). The going rate seems about $220-230 USD per gram HCl (and much cheaper in bulk).

    I understand those clinics need to pay their fancy credentialed staff, but … $10,000? Jesus. That’s a hefty price to pay for not being able to use a search engine.

    • Well the $10,000 includes around the clock psychotherapy and nursing for several days. Which, considering that psychotherapists typically make around $100/hour, it’s going to add up pretty fast.

      Personally I think it’s disgusting that a supposed “therapist” would accept an hourly wage that high. The justification is supposedly that they have to take on the emotional issues of their clients, but so do waitresses working for less than minimum wage, so fuck that explanation, and, by extension, fuck Iboga House. Within the institutional logics under which they operate, their behaviour makes sense, but their duty as spiritual guides ought to be to resist those logics.

  12. who the HELl could afford THAT…..? wait, shhhhh, the answers comin. its blowwwing overrr the hill, shhhhhhh. ‘THE RICH’!!!

    • Or the subsidised. $10,000 for a one time treatment with a high success rate of curing heroin addiction is a bargain compared to the lost productivity and potential associated costs (health care and otherwise) of a heroin addict. If we, as a society, can pay to cure them, we’ll actually be saving ourselves money long term, even if that initial cost is $10,000. I’m personally not into this sort of strict economic calculating (thinking of illness in terms of “lost productivity” seems kind of sick), but the value of a human life has been estimated at around $8,000,000. $10,000 ain’t much to turn one around, and a robust social support system ought to be able to collectively afford it.

      but still, $10,000 is too high for this specific treatment, for the reasons already explained. Maybe $1,000 or $2,000. Compare it with other medical procedures and it’s cheap in any case. Did you know a single fMRI scan costs about $6,000?

      • Do you know what the indigenous people who use Iboga as a sacrament pay?

  13. Juliano :

    Do you know what the indigenous people who use Iboga as a sacrament pay?

    Well for one thing the people in Gabon who use it aren’t “indigenous,” we just tend to assume that anyone from Africa or Brazil or wherever who’s using a plant drug must have a long history. In actuality, the population of Gabon was very low until the 1960s and has exploded since, with the iboga using religion, Bwiti, rising to popularity during that period.

    As for whether/how much they pay I really don’t know. Probably not much if anything, but that’s a very different context than here… like they’re part of a religious organisation in which this is a rite most people go through, not some special thing the elites seek out.

  14. would you agree with this: “The Babongo are a forest people of Gabon on the west coast of equatorial Africa. They are originators of the Bwiti religion, based on consumption of the intoxicating hallucinogenic iboga plant. “

    • Well sure but they’re not exactly a majority of Bwiti practitioners or iboga users.

    • Pram
    • January 27th, 2012

    Hi,

    I would be interested in emailing you to see how you are feeling now a few months after taking ibogaine. Can you let me know if you would be willing to exchange emails.

    • Sure. Not a huge amount to say, though. The six months following my Iboga trip were very productive… got a lot written (much of which can be seen on this blog), got my best marks ever in university, worked, did a few public art projects. Too many other factors to link any of that to the iboga specifically. Also, the dose that I took was considered low. I had an exceptionally strong experience for the dosage I took, but the amount I took was geared towards a test dose rather than a full on initiatory dose… so it wasn’t expected to be long term transformational.

      In retrospect I’d say that it was extremely powerful at the time, and the next week or so was also very interesting (probably because of the metabolites’ effects on compulsions), but it hasn’t had any more long term effect on me than any of my other powerful psychedelic experiences.

      Oh, and I didn’t take ibogaine, I took iboga. Using the former to refer to the latter reductionist in nature and regrettable. Nor-ibogaine is probably the more interesting chemical, and there’s a lot of other stuff in that root.

  15. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and all.
    But think about if you added some great images or video
    clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent
    but with images and videos, this site could undeniably be
    one of the most beneficial in its field. Very good blog!

    • Most of what’s on here right now can best be considered “literature development,” ie, for later remixing in forms that might “pop” more.

  16. yes. we want more POP. ;))

  17. I just received this in my email, from here, but coming here I cannot see the comment, so I will copy it here, and then answer it.

    ” sompinlft commented on Iboga: Serious Business.”

    Have you ever read Trials of the Visionary Mind, by John Weir Perry?

    in response to Juliano:

    so THATS what you mean by spectrum? 🙂 OK, I usually use that term sometimes especially when trying to explain sexuality, especially to people with homophobic tendencies. I will say LOOK, you have have at one end an extreme camp type gay (Nothin wrong in that–vivre la diversity. beautiful people, truly) and at the other […]

    Have you ever been to a psych ward? I have. I’ve been to a psych ward. I’ve met people with such bad schizophrenia and such severe mental problems that they have no idea where they are, are extremely volatile, break out crying, and are reduced to child-like states. It’s not fun.

    Have you ever interfaced with a schizophrenic? Do you know how hard it is for them to live in society, make money to sustain themselves, carry on normal relationships? To simply call them ‘visionaries’ is fucking bullshit. That’s like calling someone with cancer a ‘a genetically superior human undergoing evolution’.

    My grandmother, who, due to her intense anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations, tried to run over my father because she thought he was a “witch” with wings and an evil scepter in his heart.

    I’ve been diagnosed with Bi-polar Disorder 2. You know why? Because I have fits of mania and depression. That wasn’t induced by pharmacies. When I’m manic I do stupid things, albeit I feel good, and when I’m depressed, I try to kill myself. Point blank. Does that sound like bullshit? No. And what’s more, I don’t know who I am, because my real self lies in between my mania and my depression. It’s either I have extreme confidence or no confidence at all, and I’m usually on the lower rung of that. And none of that is in my control. Trust me, I’ve been an avid student of meditation and self-hypnosis and inward reflection and turning myself to my higher consciousness etc etc. But my brain’s chemicals are out of whack. Literally. Believe it or not, our brain’s do have chemicals in them, and sometimes their quantities maybe be too little or too much. That’s nothing we can control inwardly; it’s a physiological defect. And yes, I’m going to call it a defect, because I have to live with it and it’s not at all an enriching spiritual experience, a visionary experience or anything.

    My psychiatrist diagnosed so that she can figure out what medications I can take to balance out the chemicals in my brain. I can tell you first hand that while I’ve tried a lot of them that don’t do shit, I’m currently on Lamictal, which allows me to live like a regular human being.

    Saying that BDP2 or ADHD or autism or asperger’s or depression are jokes? That’s the most inhuman and ignorant thing I’ve ever heard. Would you claim that, say, the label “heart disease” was erroneous? That it incorrectly labeled people with fucking heart disease? Or that “Multiple Sclerosis” doesn’t really exist, and is only a label created by big pharm to make money? Lemme’ tell ya’ bud. Big pharm didn’t come up to me and say, hey, take these meds and pay us. No. I went to big pharm and said hey, I’m fucked up. Help me. If there are natural ways to get rid of the chemical imbalances in my brain, hey, I will go through any level of Iboga visions for however long I need to. But I can’t if I’m trying to fucking overdose or hang myself–two things that have happened on more than one occasion. So please, before you go claiming things are “bogus,” don’t forget that you’re describing people who actually do have serious and real life problems. Say what you want about developing children, because I do agree that there is some serious misuse of labeling, but I also know that I have friends who have been on adderall since they were young and are still intensely creative beings. One of these friends is going to NYU for acting, has a very visionary and vibrant mind, but he does suffer from a, in many cases, handicapping level of attention deficit.

    Another friend is an a successful band. Superbly creative people, but adderall has helped rein in their attention deficit and hyperactivity. I don’t know anyone with ADHD who decries taking adderall. Maybe that’s just in my relatively small social circle, but I think it says something.

    tl;dr
    stop being ignorant, shit’s real as a heartattack, these things are effecting real people. thnx

    I have not called various psychological problems what you say I have called them, so dont put words in my mough. or else you have misunderstood. I very well am aware how life-shattering ‘schizophrenia’ and ‘bi polar’ etc etc can be. So dont in your righteous indignation underestimate what I may have been through.

    Have you ever read Trials of the Visionary Mind, by John Weir Perry?

    • “because even though in this case, I have only mentioned so-called ADHD as one of their bogus disorders, I could also add ‘depression’, ‘bipolar’, ‘psychosis’ ‘schizophrenia’” these are your words, right? am i incorrect in thinking that you’re calling ‘depression’ ‘bipolar’ ‘psychosis’ and ‘schizophrenia’ bogus disorders? because that’s what i read, friend

      • No this is your misunderstanding, though it is easily done because of how I phrased it. I do NOT mean that these psychological conditions do not exist. I am rather claiming they are not biological diseases because their is no medical tests which proves they are. That is what I mean by ‘bogus’.

      • sweet! okay. i can get behind this. i thought you were just discounting real world problems. i’m glad you clarified, haha, as you can see i was pretty upset.

        yeah, i read a really nice description of, at least, bipolar disorder and depression. one psychotherapist likened it to a hydra, with one immortal head and heads that grow back in twos, you know? you have to kill the heart. and i do believe that’s the one thing that’s missing. i’m fundamentally a nihilist because of the way my feelings make me look at the world, and i realized that that was a large part of why i didn’t want to be here anymore. i’ve always hated being human since i was a kid, but there’s a lot of deep-seated anguish and isolation that’s caused that. along with a deep spiritual feeling that my skin and humanity bars me from actually being beautiful. that there are threads in this universe that i’m not connected to because of my ego, my consciousness, my limited sensory information. it’s made me breakdown crying i don’t know how many times, and is a big driver for my depression. or, at least, it was when i was younger. now it’s running rampant regardless of how i actually feel.

        and knowing and resolving inner-issues doesn’t in any way stop my cycle. i have to have pharmecuticals for that in order to at least try to regulate my brain chemistry (doesn’t work a lot of the time unfortunately). but when i’m on them it’s a lot easier to do that sort of inner-work, because i’m not worried about the physiological concerns of an iceball forming in the center of my chest and filling my body with coldness, or my brain heating up and making everything taut and warm and fuzzy and red. unfortunately i’ve been my own psychologist. it’s been a long journey and i haven’t found anyone who i feel like i can talk to.

        but yeah, okay, i agree with that.

        i was only diagnosed with BDP2 about eight months ago. before that it was clinical depression. but my mood swings got more intense and i became was manic on the prozac and then groundbreakingly depressed, so they took me off of it. prozac was by far my favorite drug, though… unfortunately it stopped working after making me feel the best i had in the entirety of my life, for the longest time. i got a head injury and i’m suspecting that’s what threw it off, but i’m not sure. medications seem to have a short half-life with me.

        now i’m taking lamictal and abilify. lamictal sucks. i hate it, my body hates it. i’ve been titrating up on and off for at least six months, and as of right now i’m on 600mg. the drug doesn’t start working until 200mg, but you have to go up 25mg a week so you don’t catch the lethal “lamictal rash.” i haven’t seen a psychiatrist in a while but the next time i see her i’m going to tell her i’m tired of it. last time i saw her she thought about putting me on abilify, since lamictal stops me from getting lows and highs but keeps me in an uncomfortable sub-median and i never feel quite “happy,” an emotion which has been difficult for me since i was a youth.

        so to answer your question, no medication is particularly effective. i don’t think there will be an effective medication. i have a depressive personality to begin with, its like my immortal hydra head. i don’t know what modern medicine can do for me. but, at least i’m not trying to kill myself. or spending money that i don’t have, you know?

        i hope neuroscience improves more rapidly than it already is. or whatever it is that’ll help me pinpoint exactly what it is about me (and my family, as schizophrenia, suicide, depression, BPD and BPD2 run through our veins) that causes this.

        thanks for clarifying.

    • and no. it seems like interesting literature though. i’ll see if my public library has it

      • For people talking about the African sacred plant, Iboga, which is supposed to wake us up to reality, I find it quite amazing how many here seem to jump to the defence of the mental illness MYTH? because even though in this case, I have only mentioned so-called ADHD as one of their bogus disorders, I could also add ‘depression’, ‘bipolar’, ‘psychosis’ ‘schizophrenia’ …etc.

        oh look! you even called mental illness a myth! funny. i don’t think it’s a myth. mental illness is very real. unless you’ve been inside the body of a “mentally ill” person i’d advise you not to make abject statements like that

    • and farber believes i can change the world? HA. when i’m depressed i do nothing, when i’m manic i’m a sociopath. i have 0 emotion, understand nothing about other humans, have 0 thought processes, break things without looking back, spend hundreds of dollars on junk food and things i don’t need and cry uncontrollably about it for hours. when i come down from mania i am debilitated and a wreck. if i didn’t have family and friends i would’ve probably succeeded in taking my life a long time ago.

      so what. tell me how you could possibly utilize these behaviors that DESTROY me. it’s not that i can’t operate in human society (which i can’t when i’m on these manic-depressive bouts), it’s that they end up FUCKING UP MY LIFE. I DO DUMB RECKLESS SHIT, hurt a lot of people’s feelings, and then i became cold and alone and vulnerable and suicidal. does that sound fucking visionary to you? huh? does feeling presences behind you that are evil, feeling like you’re possessed, having rooms close in on you and thinking everything’s out to kill you seem visionary? i read about some psychologist who tried to treat people with psychosis in a loving environment. he tried to rehabilitate a woman with severe schizophrenia by giving her free roam to be herself. she ended up crying and shitting everywhere, lost. she drew pictures with her shit on the wall. yup! that sure is leading society!

      the people i met in the psych ward were not there because of big pharm. these are everyday fucking people who have to deal with the terror of things out to get them, a distorted reality that is more oft than not a frightening one, as one of the symptoms of schizophrenia is intense paranoia. these are people who did dumb shit or tried to murder someone else or kill themselves because of their conditions. people who can’t make livings for themselves because they have ‘bogus disorders’. what’s your argument for depression? how the fuck is that a ‘bogus disorder’? how is that a myth? how is being in the lowest pit thinkable, at the lowest tier of emotion a driver in changing and leading society? fuck you. instead of telling me to read your damn books, if you’re so fuckin smart, sit here and lay out for me exactly what your precious farber says and specifically how i am wrong. please. correct me.

  18. ssorry my reply is at beginning and end, and the ens quote should come after “real people thnx”

  19. sompinlft :

    For people talking about the African sacred plant, Iboga, which is supposed to wake us up to reality, I find it quite amazing how many here seem to jump to the defence of the mental illness MYTH? because even though in this case, I have only mentioned so-called ADHD as one of their bogus disorders, I could also add ‘depression’, ‘bipolar’, ‘psychosis’ ‘schizophrenia’ …etc.

    oh look! you even called mental illness a myth! funny. i don’t think it’s a myth. mental illness is very real. unless you’ve been inside the body of a “mentally ill” person i’d advise you not to make abject statements like that

    In fairness, “myth” need not mean that something isn’t real. A myth is a way of understanding.

    There’s actually an active debate going on right now in psychiatric circles over which psychiatric conditions can be considered to be valid “disease entities.” Probably most cannot. So the person is ill (as opposed to not well), but it’s not clear that there’s a specific thing that they have. Our neuroscience simply isn’t advanced enough to know what’s actually causing the problem in the vast majority of cases, assuming that there is, in fact, an organic cause.

    but there’s etiology (study of causes) and then there’s treatment. If somebody is suffering, you try to help them using whatever means are likely to be effective. Sometimes that includes pharmaceuticals. Since the DSM-III, treatments like pharmaceuticals have been matched to symptom based diagnoses like ADHD, BPD, etc, even when we have no idea what the underlying cause is.

    Anyway this discussion is hard to follow… the comment thread system on here is obviously not ideal… wish I knew how to fix that. :-p

    sompinlft, what medications have you found particularly useful in treating your BPD?

  20. sompinlft :

    sweet! okay. i can get behind this. i thought you were just discounting real world problems. i’m glad you clarified, haha, as you can see i was pretty upset.

    yeah, i read a really nice description of, at least, bipolar disorder and depression. one psychotherapist likened it to a hydra, with one immortal head and heads that grow back in twos, you know? you have to kill the heart. and i do believe that’s the one thing that’s missing. i’m fundamentally a nihilist because of the way my feelings make me look at the world, and i realized that that was a large part of why i didn’t want to be here anymore. i’ve always hated being human since i was a kid, but there’s a lot of deep-seated anguish and isolation that’s caused that. along with a deep spiritual feeling that my skin and humanity bars me from actually being beautiful. that there are threads in this universe that i’m not connected to because of my ego, my consciousness, my limited sensory information. it’s made me breakdown crying i don’t know how many times, and is a big driver for my depression. or, at least, it was when i was younger. now it’s running rampant regardless of how i actually feel.

    and knowing and resolving inner-issues doesn’t in any way stop my cycle. i have to have pharmecuticals for that in order to at least try to regulate my brain chemistry (doesn’t work a lot of the time unfortunately). but when i’m on them it’s a lot easier to do that sort of inner-work, because i’m not worried about the physiological concerns of an iceball forming in the center of my chest and filling my body with coldness, or my brain heating up and making everything taut and warm and fuzzy and red. unfortunately i’ve been my own psychologist. it’s been a long journey and i haven’t found anyone who i feel like i can talk to.

    but yeah, okay, i agree with that.

    i was only diagnosed with BDP2 about eight months ago. before that it was clinical depression. but my mood swings got more intense and i became was manic on the prozac and then groundbreakingly depressed, so they took me off of it. prozac was by far my favorite drug, though… unfortunately it stopped working after making me feel the best i had in the entirety of my life, for the longest time. i got a head injury and i’m suspecting that’s what threw it off, but i’m not sure. medications seem to have a short half-life with me.

    now i’m taking lamictal and abilify. lamictal sucks. i hate it, my body hates it. i’ve been titrating up on and off for at least six months, and as of right now i’m on 600mg. the drug doesn’t start working until 200mg, but you have to go up 25mg a week so you don’t catch the lethal “lamictal rash.” i haven’t seen a psychiatrist in a while but the next time i see her i’m going to tell her i’m tired of it. last time i saw her she thought about putting me on abilify, since lamictal stops me from getting lows and highs but keeps me in an uncomfortable sub-median and i never feel quite “happy,” an emotion which has been difficult for me since i was a youth.

    so to answer your question, no medication is particularly effective. i don’t think there will be an effective medication. i have a depressive personality to begin with, its like my immortal hydra head. i don’t know what modern medicine can do for me. but, at least i’m not trying to kill myself. or spending money that i don’t have, you know?

    i hope neuroscience improves more rapidly than it already is. or whatever it is that’ll help me pinpoint exactly what it is about me (and my family, as schizophrenia, suicide, depression, BPD and BPD2 run through our veins) that causes this.

    thanks for clarifying.

    Since you’re commenting on a post about a psychedelic compound, I’m curious whether you’ve ever had any psychedelic trips, and, if so, what were they like?

    • i wish. the most i’ve done is pot, which isn’t a psychedelic, but when i smoke it seems to have extremely psychedelic tendencies. when i get high i get really high. i love it. but the fact that such a non-psychedelic drug has these effects on me makes me wary of what would happen if i were to do actual psychedelics. i mean i can’t imagine what would go wrong… is there a such thing as lethal over-stimulation of the brain? i don’t know.

      but i guess, if you’re curious, my weed trips usually take me into a world where everything’s spinning away from each other, kind of being gently pulled apart from the center of my vision in a pulsing manner. my gravity shifts completely, and my 90 degrees because 70 degrees in the waking world. sometimes i change personalities, especially when i’m texting. i’ll see a reflection of myself, the most common being a wolf with very small white eyes, and i’ll feel overwhelmingly evil and giddy and mischievous. my fingers feel like they’re being controlled by puppet strings and every word feels predestined. that’s not to mention all of the muscle spasms which feel like rollers massaging my body, seeing things the color of light under your eyelids in the walls, having everything close in on me and every sound sound like evil incarnate. i love my trips. it just makes me wary of how hard i’d be hit with an actual psychedelic, you know? i wish i had someone to realistically advise me.

      i’ve been obsessed with dmt for a while now though, but i’d never be able to take it on meds. i’ve never really considered shrooms or salvia or LSD. i wanted to do peyote for a while but now all of my attention is on dmt. i came here because iboga sounds boundlessly interesting. it sounds like something i already kind of do to myself; i’ve learned how to enter some semblance of REM sleep in a waking state and can watch my imagination and memories mingle together in my mind’s eye.

      have you? what are yours like?

      • Well the post you’re responding to includes a trip report from when I took iboga.

        Pot is a lot stronger for many people than its reputation would suggest. It can actually be a good deal more inebriating than most conventional psychedelics, especially in terms of sheer confusion. When I first took shrooms and acid, the clarity of the experience was very striking to me… things made sense and I could understand them in deeper ways than usual. That said there have certainly been moments of extreme disorientation during trips, but usually when I’ve added pot to the mix.

        In terms of lethal overstimulation of the brain… excitotoxicity is a real thing but it isn’t something you need to be that worried about with psychedelics. In your case what I’d be potentially worried about is triggering a powerful manic episode in which you’d do something dangerous, because you already have a history of that. So if I were you I’d make damn sure my first trip was around somebody who *could* restrain me if need be.

        Since you asked… my first three shroom trips, all on the same dose (2.5 grams dried from the same batch of my friend’s homegrown Cambodian shrooms):
        1) Mild and beautiful. Discovered a sense of incredible awe at both nature and human accomplishment. Realised that I had a bit of a crush on a male friend who was away for the summer, and that previously I would have homophobically repressed those feelings because I identify as straight. Let that fall away and felt wonderful. Saw something moving under the ground but couldn’t identify it. Thought deep thoughts, felt peace. Only the subtlest of visuals.
        2) Holy fuck intense. Within ten minutes of eating them the ground was rising and falling in the shape of small square pyramids. Figured I should probably lie down. Many, many open eyed visuals… cryptic writing appearing on the ground, labyrinths hanging in space, microbial interactions and chemical combinations suggesting the origins of life. Holy shit the ground is alive, there are plants and insects EVERYWHERE around me and they don’t like that I’m here… so much happening at once… identity starts to collapse and break down. What am I? I can think of my job, my friends, my city… I am not these things. For a while I was not at all. Nothing is certain. All is illusion. After an hour or so it started to settle so I walked around, and gradually my understanding of and situation within the world came back to me. A friend called, and I began to cry in joy at rediscovering his existence, as someone I could see. Many humorous thoughts about intersections of time and space (he couldn’t come meet us *here* because we were moving, but he could come and meet us elsewhere even though we didn’t know with precision where we would be). Time seemed to continue in slow motion for a while and communication was difficult, until it gradually wore off. Concluded that identity is arbitrary: it’s absurd to think that I need to identify with the particular circumstances of my life, since any can be lost, forgotten or changed. But they’re there and available, and I can experience myself in relation to them if I so choose, and identify with whatever I want, not just with some default.
        3) Nothing much. Facial distortions in mirror. Bit of nausea and tiredness. Utterly uninteresting. Once it was clear nothing much was going to happen, watched Goodfellas, and a bit later went for Italian food. The penne was pretty good.

        That’s the thing about shrooms… totally unpredictable. Those three trips were on the same dose of the same batch. Go figure.

    • Sacramental James
    • March 26th, 2013

    Hello all. Just to let you know i am a direct supplier of pure and top quality iboga root bark from Cameroon. We ship these root bark chips all around the world and at very fair prices.We also work on post shipments and payments. We ship all in small and large quantities. Our Email address is sacramentaljames@gmail.com Contact us now for more details to place your order.

    • I find it VERY wrong that a session …ANY session should cost that amount of money!!! I am outraged. Why does it cost that, please will someone explain to me? In fact, why does it cost any thing at all?

      • Why should around the clock psychotherapy and nursing for several days cost money?

        Probably because the people putting so many hours into it have bills to pay.

  21. Michael Vipperman :
    Why should around the clock psychotherapy and nursing for several days cost money?
    Probably because the people putting so many hours into it have
    bills to pay.

    How much do the Bwiti people charge? Do ALL the villagers who nurse round the clock. and help person for several days charge money? Do you know?

    • Nope, never been. Certainly not everyone who facilitates trips in North America charges money either. But the ones who do it for free are probably doing it to help a friend, it’s generally not just a service anyone can ask them and they’ll do.

      • It doesn’t *have* to be for *free*, yet not the extortionate amounts of money I have found out some claim. I mean I should imagine desperate people with desperate habits aint go that much money to begin with

      • I think therapy programs like this should strive to be “by donation,” though probably telling the donor what the estimated cost would be if it *wasn’t* by donation, and specifying that if they are able to pay more then it could subsidise people who don’t *have* hundreds or thousands of dollars.

        I definitely think it should be available to those who aren’t rich. But a few hundred dollars is totally reasonable, considering the level of service required. The 5-10k they’re actually asking is kind of extreme but makes sense considering the facilitates, staffing and logistic costs. I wouldn’t pay it, and I’d try to make it available for less, but I at least understand where those numbers come from. You try to run a medical facility with around the clock psychotherapy… costs accrue very quickly.

    • juju
    • April 13th, 2013

    Hello,
    Its a profound gratitude to write to you.We have been in the Iboga business for 11 years now.Recently, we engaged in a project with the farmers of Cameroon and Gabon for the extraction in the Netherlands of PTA-HCL. Which is th best every product in the market now.1g sells at $262.00USD.But we can sell for $175.0USD/g if bought in bulk.We can make a sample shipment for a lab test.
    Regards,
    Juju

  22. juliano :

    It doesn’t *have* to be for *free*, yet not the extortionate amounts of money I have found out some claim. I mean I should imagine desperate people with desperate habits aint go that much money to begin with

    Also there are more ways of paying for it than the individual covering it. If it was covered by a national health care system, for example, $10,000 would be an eminently reasonable rate to cure something as expensive to the system as a heroin addiction. Their being addicted will cost far more than that, after all… probably hundreds of thousands of dollars, both in health care costs, lost productivity, etc. $10,000 is a drop in the bucket.

    That said, since it’s not currently covered by any health care system I know of, that’s mostly just wishful thinking at the moment. But it makes sense for them to set up clinics that operate around those costs, so as to produce good evidence that might convince, for example, Health Canada or the NHS in Britain.

    • the bottom line then is this–noone who is on low income can afford anywhere NEAR that amount of money! EVEN if they could comehow get such money together they would be in debt which in itself is more stress, AND there is the stress of after care. So for example if a user is living in a place that is danger to him starting again he would have the monetary stress ALSO of having to find somewhere to live and hopefully get better nutritionist etc. I am being realistic. it is not enough to say to someone desperate–a guilt trip eg ‘well, we know it is a lot of money, but think how long detox would take, and how soon you will be opiate-addiction free. isn’t THAT worth it. Your health. Your life back ‘ bla bla

      • Yeah. It’d be good to be able to provide the therapy for free to the people who need it. As far as drug therapies go, though, it’s a fairly labour intensive one, and the people providing the care need to be getting supported somehow. If they were living in a permaculturally designed community with no rent or food costs, that’d be different than if they live in downtown Toronto and need a lot of money to support themselves. Several days of expert labour is a lot to ask from someone, and it’s also a lot to ask someone to pay for if they need it. Which is why it should be covered by the health care system, not the individual. But of course they’re resistant to that because it’s psychoactive. So it goes.

      • well it is well known that many working class people have had to work long hours everyday and get a pittance wage. so I don’t see why someone who is supposedly dedicated to helping those who have life-threatening habits should be expecting *SO* much money for their caring for a person through an Iboga session

  23. juliano :

    well it is well known that many working class people have had to work long hours everyday and get a pittance wage. so I don’t see why someone who is supposedly dedicated to helping those who have life-threatening habits should be expecting *SO* much money for their caring for a person through an Iboga session

    I don’t know about other people, but I’d personally be satisfied with $100/day of labour (that’s about what I currently make doing landscaping). Facilitating a full initiatory iboga experience is going to account for MINIMUM five days of labour, probably more, because you’re going to have multiple people with some overlap (one guide can’t just stay up for several days), and you need both to meet with the person before and follow up after. So let’s say $500-1000, just for labour costs.

    Then there’s the space itself, so rent, maintenance, utilities, etc… then transportation costs… then medical equipment (remember: there have been deaths from iboga).

    No matter how you count, it’s not going to be cheap. Cheaper than $10,000, maybe, but poor people are going to require subsidies to be able to access it. Even $500 is way too much to ask from a desperate heroin addict who lives on the street. One way could be to charge rich people extra, and use that revenue to subsidise those who can’t pay.

    • Dr James
    • December 24th, 2013

    Hello all. Just to let you know i am a direct supplier of pure and top quality iboga root bark from Cameroon. We ship the root bark chips all around the world and at very fair prices.We also work on post shipments and payments. We ship all in small and large quantities. Our Email address is sacramentaljames@gmail.com Contact us now for more details to place your order.

    • HOW obscene, that session of Iboga healing would cost $10,000!!!!

  24. Affordable ibogaine treatment package is availabe with this provider.
    Email; ibogasolutions@live.fr, for more details.
    Ibogaine alleviates the physical withdrawal symptoms of opiate detoxification by resetting the opiate receptors within the brain to their original condition before substance abuse began. Once this process is complete, no further use of Ibogaine is necessary. Ibogaine has been proven to be the most effective cure to drug addictions. It helps in breaking both drug and alcohol addictions. Treatment info and all help you need about ibogaine and its applications will be provided.

    • “Ibogaine has been proven to be the most effective cure to drug addictions.”
      Is this actually the case? I don’t know of any studies which compared it to, for instance, ayahuasca, LSD, or iboga. If you can provide such a study, please do so.

  25. Ibogaine treatment program not just function with body but also with mind to amend probabilities to leave such drug abuse.

  26. Briliant blog!!! Nicely done! I took HCL five weeks ago and it worked but is difficult to balance, process or or try to function with barely any sleep! But I can feel the changes! It is truly a 2nd chance from God! And with what I think total of 3 deaths, vs. the billions that is Big Pharma and the #1 cause of death due to mainstream medicine it is a small price to pay for the lifetime ahead of me!

    • Thanks! And congratulations! There have been many more than 3 deaths from iboga, however… it’s not unacceptably dangerous, but it really should be used for the young and strong, while they can still handle it, and early enough to take care of their childhood baggage so they can proceed to be ethical and informed adults. I think we should prefer other psychedelics, such as ayahuasca and LSD, for people of questionable heart health, for example. Death is very unlikely if you only give it to people who are already physically health. There are a lot of heroin addicts and such who take it, though, and sometimes they have very poor health, and sometimes they don’t make it. This is not something everybody realises, but the practitioners generally do so they just tend to be selective in who they’ll give it to. Nobody wants to kill their patients by accident… this is a great medicine, but only if you can handle it

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