Why is Ibogaine illegal in the US?

Ibogaine is a natural substance that comes from the Iboga plant which is a member of the Apocynaceae family. This medicinal plant is considered native to Gabon and other parts of West and Central Africa. As a medicinal substance, Ibogaine was widely used in so-called African rituals because of its psychogenic properties. Treatment with Ibogaine is used in some parts of the world in the treatment of drug addicts especially those who have been dependent to alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and many other substances. Ibogaine is said to be effective in promoting a dream-like state and raising the level of a person’s consciousness. With this effect, patients have reported to have better memories and have better insights resulting to some experts labeling the drug as equivalent to years of psychiatric treatment or therapy. Despite its medicinal benefits though, Ibogaine is classified as an illegal substance in the US since 1969.

One basic reason for Ibogaine’s banning in the US is its very high potential for abuse. The drug itself has psychedelic and dissociative effects and is being used to treat patients who are already addicted to other substances. Exposure to another addictive drug like Ibogaine is not considered a good medical option by US experts and so it was banned. There are also limited studies in terms of Ibogaine’s actual medical benefits. There are also apprehensions towards determining what kind of medical procedure is considered safe or what dosage is not harmful to patients when it comes to Ibogaine’s use in the medical community. In terms of research funding, no organizations have presented the US FDA with enough evidence linking the substance to its supposed medical benefits. With these additional concerns, the substance is banned by the US FDA. Any drug that contains the active ingredient Ibogaine is not allowed to be used, prescribed, or sold in US territory.

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