The Northwestern Door: Panel Discussion

Iboga and Ibogaine, in ritual and clinical practice

On October 6th, members of the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance (GITA) will host a series of events in downtown Vancouver to discuss the use of ibogaine in the treatment of drug addiction.

Ibogaine is the primary psychoactive alkaloid found in the perennial West-African shrub tabernanthe iboga. The plant has been used for millennia by the pygmies in the Gabonese rainforest, and is still used today in ceremonies of rites of passage and healing by various tribes and sects of Bwiti, a modern African spiritual tradition.

In 1962, GITA’s founder, the late Howard Lotsof, a resident of Staten Island, NY, inadvertently discovered that in addition to ibogaine’s ability to catalyze deeply healing visionary experiences, it also mitigates the withdrawal symptoms from opiate dependence by up to 90%, and can reduce cravings for months following even a single dose.

Ibogaine has a low abuse potential, is not addictive, and, unlike methadone, it is not an addiction maintenance drug. Observational studies show that, if used in a conjunction with a long-term treatment program, to make drug detox far more effective more millions of people.

“Ibogaine is a plant with nearly miraculous properties in the treatment and healing of opiate addictions – in the right hands and the right context, actually and potentially far more rapid in effect and far more helpful than any pharmaceutical devised by mainstream science. It ought to be studied widely and this conference is a necessary step in that direction.”

Gabor Mate, Vancouver physician and author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

From 1:00pm to 5:00pm on October 6th, a panel discussion in the Segal Room of the SFU Harbor Center, will feature researchers and ibogaine-assisted detox providers from around the world. The discussion will focus on current barriers and opportunities in research, as well as an in-depth presentation on ibogaine’s therapeautic potential.

Following the panel discussion, at 6:00pm in the W2 Community Media Arts Center, GITA will host a screening of I’m Dangerous With Love. This film by award-winning New York film director Michel Negroponte, follows the journey of Dimitri “Mobengo” Mugianis. Mugianis, who was a heavily addicted front-man for the New York band Leisure Class, undergoes a transformation with ibogaine and begins to provide treatments underground in the United States. When one treatment goes bad he undergoes a spiritual crisis and heads to Gabon to consult with tribal N’gangas (shamans).

Mugianis and his co-facilitator Robert “Bovenga” Payne, will be present after the film to answer questions and provide a demonstration of Bwiti ceremonial music.

Presented in association with these international and community partners:

Location Details:

The Segal Room is located in the Harbor Center of SFU’s downtown campus. The address is 515 West Hastings Street (location details).


View Harbour Centre in a larger map

Speaker Bios:

  • Dr. Kenneth Alper (New York, NY) is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the New York University School of Medicine. He is an author of over 70 peer-reviewed publications, books and book chapters. Dr. Alper is the first editor of the only English language text on ibogaine, and organized and led an international conference on ibogaine at the NYU School of Medicine. His research on ibogaine and the iboga alkaloids has combined psychopharmacology and the methodology of medical ethnography. He coauthored multiple papers with Howard Lotsof, including a frequently cited case series on the use of ibogaine for the indication of heroin detoxification and a comprehensive description of the global settings of the use of ibogaine published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Heffter Research Institute has recognized Dr. Alper’s work on ibogaine with its Public Service Award.
  • Clare Wilkins (Nayarit, Mexico) is a former intravenous heroin user & methadone patient who, in 2005, shed her chemical dependencies with Ibogaine. She is now the director of Pangea Biomedics, an ibogaine treatment facility outside of Puerto Vallerta, Mexico. Since 2006 she has facilitated over 400 treatments, and has worked together with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), to study the long term effects of Ibogaine on patients undergoing detox therapy. Currently, she is collaborating with Dr Raul Morales and the University of Guadalajara on a phase I and II open, single dose, escalating fixed dose study of the safety and efficacy of ibogaine in opioid-dependent subjects.
  • Tanea Patterson (Aotearoa, New Zealand) ceased her eight year dependency on methadone in August 2006 using ibogaine. She has since achieved a diploma in Applied Addiction Counselling through Moana House training facility. Tanea set up a charitable trust Ibogaine Aotearoa Charitable Trust or I.ACT in 2011 and has been an ibogaine therapy provider for the last five years.
  • Sandra Karpetas (Vancouver, BC) is the former Program Director of the Iboga Therapy House a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the therapeutic use of ibogaine. She has worked with ibogaine since 2003, supporting individuals seeking detoxification from chemical dependence and psychospiritual healing in a holistic, harm reduction and health-promotion based entheogenic therapy modality.
  • Dr. Thomas Kingsley Brown (San Diego, CA), from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), has been working for the past two years on a study, sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), of ibogaine treatment for opiate dependence.

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