March 14-16: Global Ibogaine Conference Seeks to Re-Define Ibogaine’s Place in Changing Drug Policy Environment

Press Release February 4, 2016

The 2016 Global Ibogaine Conference will convene experts from around the world to discuss ibogaine therapy, the climate of global drug policy, and the sustainability and traditional uses of Tabernanthe iboga this March 14-16th in Tepoztlan, Mexico.

The United States is one of only a few countries where ibogaine is prohibited. Since the 1980s ibogaine, the primary psychoactive extract of T. iboga, has increasingly been used experimentally in the detoxification from opiates and as a treatment for substance use disorders. Early clinical trials confirmed some very promising initial reports, but were later suspended because of funding and litigation. Ibogaine’s use has continued to grow, from the early peer-to-peer drug user networks, to today when ibogaine is administered under compassionate access or experimental legal frameworks in hospitals, medical centers, retreats, and private therapeutic practices around the world.

Last month, the government of the Brazilian state of São Paulo issued a statement that may signal the country’s path toward approving scientific research of psychoactive substances, including the medical use of ibogaine.  This announcement marks the first instance of a government agency in South America to recognize the need to further evaluate the potential for psychoactive drugs like ibogaine to treat addiction. The recent statement, issued by Leonardo Arquimimo de Carvalho, the President of the São Paulo State Council on Drug Policy, would allow them to move forward with their work.  It includes encouragement for clinical investigation of ibogaine and other synthetic and semisynthetic substances derived from T. iboga, calls for institutional funding for research, and permission for doctors and psychiatrists to use ibogaine to treat people with substance use disorders in São Paulo hospitals. The conference will include a presentation by Bruno Rasmussen Chaves, a Brazilian doctor who has overseen more than 1,200 treatments in São Paulo hospitals under the currently existing guidelines.

The landscape of ibogaine research and practice has changed dramatically. However, ibogaine’s continued promotion as a ‘cure for addiction’ overemphasizes its potential as a stand-alone therapy while contemporary understandings of addictions address a complex biological, psychological and social foundations of addictive behavior. This conference will bring refreshing voices from across the spectrum of traditional practice, medicine, psychology, harm reduction and drug policy in order to advance the use of ibogaine in a comprehensive therapeutic framework.

The event is a partnership between the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance (GITA), the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research & Service (ICEERS), and Espolea (Mexico City). It is the 5th international conference hosted by GITA, and the first major public conference in the series. It features influential speakers from across the fields of psychology, harm reduction, and drug policy reform, and ibogaine research.

The Drug Policy Alliance is an event sponsor and promotional partners include Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC), and many others.

The conference pre-session from March 12-13th, 2016 will be the first ever Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) Certification for ibogaine therapists. The course, available through GITA, goes beyond the standard emergency protocols certified by the American Heart Association to discuss practical concerns for monitoring patients in a clinical setting. It will also include important changes to ACLS interventions and appropriate medications to avoid negative interaction, in order to prevent emergency situations during ibogaine administration.

More information, and registration for the event as well as the pre- and post-conference sessions, can be found on the conference website:  You can also follow updates on the conference Facebook page:

Jonathan Dickinson, Director, Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance (GITA)
[email protected]
USA: +1 (415) 830-3973
MEX: +52 (777) 109-6757

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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