The Truth about Ibogaine “Success” Rate

We’re often asked about Ibogaine treatment success rates for opiate dependency.  From our point of view as harm reductionists, our smug answer used to be 100% success, as every participant who came for Ibogaine experienced little to no withdrawals from opiates.

The frequent inquiry about success rates should, above all else, point to the “black or white” mentality that is emblematic of outdated attitudes that still exist in the field of addiction research and treatment.    

Nonetheless, ibogaine success rates need to be explored within this context, which most often demands an answer to the question “Does ibogaine cure addiction?” 

In addition to disagreeing with the disease model of addiction, we believe instant, long term abstinence is a measurement that puts the least likely outcome as the only standard – not just for Ibogaine treatment but for any addiction treatment.  This undermines the unavoidable journey of recovery which most often calls for a gradual, nuanced, and highly personal process of self rediscovery that should eventually empower each unique individual.  Ibogaine treatment can be an amazing tool to start or revive this journey and goes hand in hand with our tenets of not judging drug users and our devotion to meeting them wherever they happen to be.

Just as people’s reasons for using are individual and highly nuanced, so are their chances of ‘success’ or time of recovery with or without ibogaine treatment. Another difficult factor when considering ibogaine success rates is the lack of scientific research available.

Of course: ibogaine success rates are dramatically higher than cold turkey detox with the added benefit of being much less painful and mostly withdrawal free (80-100% alleviation).  With Ibogaine treatment, we can say that detox is actually the simplest part of recovery.  Additionally, most participants agree that treatment with ibogaine is much more than a pain free detox in that it also affords you a deep, honest self-check that can help you to stop unwanted thought patterns that may have caused drug abuse in the first place.

More variables include the quality of the ibogaine used, the set and setting for the treatment, the expertise of the providers, the accuracy of the dosing. Also, each ibogaine consumer has a unique reaction to the process, and that reaction is not easily predictable.

Ibogaine Aftercare

Famously important for many people’s success is aftercare. Oka Center sends its clients to one of our post-treatment follow-up centers. This additional time is just what some people need to reevaluate and rearrange their life.

We must consider the age, family status and time spent using. A 19 year old has less chance of truly benefiting from what ibogaine offers and may not appreciate the opportunity afforded. We say this age group (18-25) has not ‘finished their run’ and are the most likely candidates for immediate relapse.

Whereas a 50 year old with years and years of dependency and multiple cold turkey kicks is very likely to have a long-term abstinence from their drug of choice.

Any person serious about beginning recovery with ibogaine treatment should consider aftercare, which can have a great  effect on their success rate.  It cannot be stressed enough that Ibogaine treatment is the easiest part of anyone’s recovery.  It would be ideal if consuming a few capsules of plant extract could instantly change someone’s mind about leading a problematic life of drug abuse, but unfortunately it’s never that simple.  The most significant factor in long term abstinence is also the most difficult one, which is the enduring determination to continue life drug free despite the odds.


Thus, the obstacles to assessing ibogaine treatment success rates are tremendous in that they point to a broader, more significant question that begs a reevaluation of addiction treatment standards and ethics:  “What is success?”  The answer is different for each individual. To respect each person’s process without further stigmatization is the foundation to which we begin our work.  Any provider who simply conveys that ibogaine treatment is a cure-all for problematic drug use is lying or is not doing follow up. Therefore, while ibogaine’s efficacy in recovery is not easily summarized, it is at the very least a tool that can significantly catalyze the recovery process.