A narrative review of the pharmacological, cultural and psychological literature on ibogaine

Journal article

Underwood, M., Bright, S. and Lancaster, L. 2021. A narrative review of the pharmacological, cultural and psychological literature on ibogaine. Journal of Psychedelic Studies. 5 (1), pp. 44-54. https://doi.org/10.1556/2054.2021.00152
AuthorsUnderwood, M., Bright, S. and Lancaster, L.
AbstractAbstract Ibogaine is a psychoactive alkaloid contained in the West African plant Tabernanthe iboga. Although preliminary, evidence suggests that ibogaine could be effective in the treatment of certain substance use disorders, specifically opioid use disorder. This narrative review concentrated on the pharmacological, cultural and psychological aspects of ibogaine that contribute to its reputed effectiveness with a specific focus on the ibogaine state of consciousness. Although the exact pharmacological mechanisms for ibogaine are still speculative, the literature highlighted its role as an NMDA antagonist in the effective treatment of substance use disorders. The cultural aspects associated with the use of ibogaine pose questions around the worldview of participants as experienced in the traditional and western contexts, which future research should clarify. From a psychological perspective, the theory that the ibogaine state of consciousness resembles REM sleep is questionable due to evidence that indicated ibogaine supressed REM sleep, and contradictory evidence in relation to learning and memory. The suggested classification of the ibogaine experience as oneirophrenic also seems inadequate as it only describes the first phase of the ibogaine experience. The ibogaine experience does however present characteristics consistent with holotropic states of consciousness, and future research could focus on exploring and potentially classifying the state of consciousness induced by ibogaine as holotropic.
KeywordsIbogaine ; Non-ordinary states of consciousness; Holotropic states; Bwiti
JournalJournal of Psychedelic Studies
Journal citation5 (1), pp. 44-54
PublisherAkademiai Kiado Zrt.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1556/2054.2021.00152
Official URLhttps://akjournals.com/view/journals/2054/5/1/article-p44.xml
Publication dates
Online03 Mar 2021
Print11 May 2021
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Dec 2021
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
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