Effects and aftereffects of ibogaine on morphine self-administration in rats

Abstract

Ibogaine, a naturally occurring alkaloid, has been claimed to be effective in treating addition to opiate and stimulant drugs. As a preclinical test of this claim, the present study sought to determine if ibogaine would reduce the intravenous self-administration of morphine in rats. Ibogaine dose dependently (2.5-80 mg/kg) decreased morphine intake in the hour after ibogaine treatment (acute effect) and, to a lesser extent, a day later (aftereffect); while the acute effect could be attributed to abnormal motor behavior (whole body tremors), the aftereffect occurred at a time when ibogaine should have been entirely eliminated from the body and when there was no obvious indication of ibogaine exposure. In some rats, there was a persistent decrease in morphine intake for several days or weeks after a single injection of ibogaine; other rats began to show such persistent changes only after two or three weekly injections whereas a few rats were apparently resistant to prolonged aftereffects. Aftereffects could not be attributed to a conditioned aversion. Although ibogaine also depressed responding acutely in rats trained to bar-press for water, there was no evidence of any aftereffect a day or more later; the interaction between ibogaine and morphine reinforcement was therefore somewhat specific. Further studies are needed to characterize the nature of the ibogaine-morphine interaction as well as to determine if ibogaine also affects the self-administration of other drugs.

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