Examination of the Phenomenology of the Ibogaine Treatment Experience: Role of Altered States of Consciousness and Psychedelic Experiences

J Psychoactive Drugs. 2017 Jul-Aug;49(3):201-208. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2017.1290855. Epub 2017 Mar 7.


Psychedelic drugs have historically been used for ritualistic purposes and to help individuals gain insight. Ibogaine, a naturally occurring psychoactive substance, has been reported to have anti-addictive properties that aid in the treatment of substance use disorders. An online survey obtained retrospective data from individuals who used ibogaine in the past. Individuals who used ibogaine tended to describe thematically similar experiences post-treatment. This study adds to the literature by using the 5d-ASC, a psychometrically sound measure of altered states of consciousness (ASCs), to examine the ASCs induced by ibogaine and discusses the demographic characteristics of those who seek ibogaine treatment (N = 27). The study also examined several aspects of ibogaine treatment experience, including reasons for seeking treatment, course of treatment, and treatment outcome. Results indicated a positive correlation between the various dimensions of the ASCs and the outcome (ability to make changes in one's life, cravings, and how changed the person was as a result of ibogaine treatment). While this study is limited in generalizability due to high attrition and low sample size, it deepens the understanding of the phenomenological experience of ibogaine and explores the possible utility of ibogaine in the treatment of substance use disorders.

Keywords: Addiction treatment; heroin; ibogaine; opiate; psychedelics.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / drug therapy*
  • Chronic Pain / drug therapy*
  • Consciousness / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / chemically induced*
  • Hallucinogens / adverse effects
  • Hallucinogens / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Ibogaine / adverse effects
  • Ibogaine / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy*


  • Hallucinogens
  • Ibogaine