To DEA Director Leonhart,
This is to let you know of public and Congressional interest in expanded research into ibogaine and its analogs, not only for treatment of addiction but for its broad spectrum antibiotic, antiviral, anti-tumor effects.
The placement of ibogaine in Schedule I discourages research, not just because of the stigma, but because of the immense practical roadblocks it puts in the way of researchers. Right now a research group at New York University that is investigating the synthetic ibogaine analog 18-MC will probably break off their work when the time comes to investigate the parent compound. It took Rockefeller University nine months just to obtain less than a gram of ibogaine.
Couldn’t you find a Schedule for ibogaine a little less restrictive than Schedule I?
Ibogaine has no abuse potential, and great potential for treatment of a number of indications that we have no good medicines for right now, including multiple scherosis, chemo-resistant cancer, parkinsons, and bipolar/binge behaviors. Clinics using ibogaine are springing up all over the world because it works so much better for abolition of narcotic withdrawal as well as craving for psycho-stimulants.
In 2005–6 ibogaine was found to express a growth factor—glia-derived-neurotropic-factor (GDNF)—that not only regenerates dopamine neurons suppressed by drugs of abuse, but back-signals to the cell nuclei to express more GDNF, establishing a benign, self-sustaining loop that obviates the need for artificial elevation of dopamine levels and persists without administration of additional ibogaine. This explains reported ibogaine efficacy against meth-amphetamine and crack cocaine — drugs against which we have no effective pharmaco-therapies right now.
Very simply, ibogaine doesn’t fall under the plain definition of Schedule I —“no accepted medical value, high potential for abuse, no safe use in treatment.” Because of aversive side-effects, it cannot be abused.
First, animals can not be trained to self-administer Ibogaine. Second, it has Sigma-two effects like thorazine or prolyxin; no one is diverting their anti-psychotic drugs to the black market. Third, if you escalate dosages (as someone binging on cocaine would) you get semi-paralysis, nausea and vomiting. Finally, if you try to do small doses daily, after about 14 days you have to quit due to insomnia and lack of concentration.
What is the statutory basis for scheduling Ibogaine in the absence of “high potential for abuse?”
Before we hold hearings, we need the outcome of more clinical research. You can help by taking the initiative and lifting the roadblock imposed by the Schedule I status of ibogaine.
All we are asking for here is some fairness, so the American people don’t have to wait another 20 years for effective treatment for addiction.