Ibogaine

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Chronicle AM -- March 27, 2014

No marijuana legalization in New Hampshire this year, neurologists recommend cannabis oil for MS, New Mexico pharmacists will start prescribing naloxone, Russian-US drug cooperation is at risk over the Crimea crisis, and more. Let's get to it:

Coat of arms for the Russian Federal Drug Control Service. It's getting the cold shoulder from the US these days. (kremlin.ru)
Marijuana Policy

California PPIC Poll Has Support for Legalization at 53%. A new Public Policy Institute of California poll has support for marijuana legalization at 53% among registered voters, with 60% of independents and 57% of Democrats in favor. On the other hand, 62% of Republicans were opposed.

New Hampshire House Kills Legalization Bill. A bill to legalize marijuana in New Hampshire died in the House yesterday on a 192-140 vote. The House had passed the bill once in January, but support has eroded since then. The measure was House Bill 492.

Medical Marijuana

California Supreme Court Ruling Upholds Local Cultivation Bans. The state Supreme Court Wednesday denied review of an appellate court decision upholding the rights of local governments to completely ban personal cultivation by medical marijuana patients. The ruling came in a lawsuit sponsored by California NORML, which had asked the high court to "depublish" the decision. "We are deeply disappointed by the court's decision," said CANORML Director and Prop 215 coauthor Dale Gieringer, "They have effectively undermined Prop. 215's stated purpose 'to ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes.'"

American Academy of Neurology Recommends Cannabis Oil for Multiple Sclerosis. The American Academy of Neurology is recommending oral cannabis extract to help ease spasticity symptoms and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis, along with other therapies, in new evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) recommendations. Click on the link for more details.

Kentucky CBD Medical Marijuana Bill Passes House. The House voted 98-0 Wednesday to approve a bill allowing the use of high CBD cannabis oil to treat seizures in children. Senate Bill 124 has already passed the Senate, but must return there for approval of minor changes made in the House version of the bill.

Heroin

Kentucky Heroin Bill Wins House Committee Vote. A bill that would address heroin use with a combination of increased penalties for trafficking and harm reduction measures for users squeaked through the House Judiciary Committee on a one-vote margin. But Senate Bill 5 faces an uncertain future; civil libertarians oppose some law enforcement provisions, while some elected officials oppose some harm reduction provisions.

Harm Reduction

New Mexico Pharmacists to Start Prescribing Overdose Reversal Drug. New Mexico pharmacists are the first in the nation to be certified to prescribe the overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan). The first batch of 60 pharmacists have been trained and certified by the state Health Department. New Mexico law allows pharmacists to prescribe certain drugs.

Law Enforcement

Detroit Drug Sweep Nets Arrests, Not Many Drugs. Yesterday's sweep of poor Detroit neighborhoods, the most recent in a series of mass drug sweeps, yielded 44 felony and 19 misdemeanor arrests, two grams of cocaine, three grams of heroin, 25 pounds of marijuana, 4,000 prescription pills, $14,500 in cash, and about two dozen illegal weapons. Similar raids in November, December, and February have netted similar results.

International

US Drug Official Rejects Invitation from Russian Counterpart. Deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Michael Botticelli has rejected an invitation to meet on drug issues in Moscow, citing the ongoing Crimea crisis. "Given the continued violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine by Russia, we are suspending some bilateral discussions with the Russian Federation, including this one," Rafael Lemaitre, ONDCP communications director, told Itar-Tass news agency. Russian Federal Drug Control Service chief Viktor Ivanov is one of the Russia political figures sanctioned by the US as a result of the Crimea conflict.

International Ibogaine Providers Conference in South Africa in May. The 4th International Ibogaine Provider's Conference will take place between May 7 and 10 in Durban, South Africa. Discussions will cover a broad spectrum of topics, from developments in research, treatment protocol, and legislation. The featured topic of interest for the conference will be the sustainability of tabernanthe iboga, the implications of ibogaine treatment on regional practices in Africa, and ways that international collaborations can help to ease the effects of demand on iboga's availability. Click on the link for more details and registration information.

The Promise of Psychedelic Healing: Entheogens, Psychotherapy and Spiritual Development

An evening with Neal Goldsmith and special guests John Perry Barlow, Julie Holland, Daniel Pinchbeck, Rick Doblin, and Ethan Nadelmann. And a dance party.

Join Evolver.net and Mangusta Productions for a mind expanding night of psychedelic exploration. Banned after promising research in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s, the use of psychedelics as therapeutic catalysts is now being rediscovered -- a topic covered by Neal Goldsmith's new book, Psychedelic Healing: The Promise of Entheogens for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Development (Inner Traditions, 2011). Come celebrate its publication with a kaleidoscopic conversation featuring five of the leading figures in this field, speaking on the latest theories, research, and legal developments.

How can psychedelic experiences shape personality and healing? Can psychedelic psychotherapy truly can be transformative, either individually or collectively? Can humanity change course from an impending human dieback and blossom to create a truly integral planet?

Come for a reading and discussion with:

Neal Goldsmith, Ph.D, Psychotherapist specializing in psychospiritual development. A frequent speaker on spiritual on spiritual emergence, drug policy reform, and post-modern society. Author of Psychedelic Healing: The Promise of Entheogens for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Development

Rick Doblin, Ph.D., President and Founder of Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Science (MAPS). His dissertation was on “The Regulation of the Medical Use of Psychedelics and Marijuana and his master’s thesis (Harvard) focused on the attitudes and experiences of oncologists concerning the medical use of marijuana.

John Perry Barlow, Visionary, former Grateful Dead lyricist, and a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization which promotes freedom of expression in digital media.

Julie Holland, M.D., Psychiatrist specializing in psychopharmacology. Author of Ecstasy: The Complete Guide and bestselling Weekends at Bellevue and editor of The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis and Ecstacy: The Complete Guide.

Daniel Pinchbeck, Bestselling author of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, Notes from the Edge of Time, and Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shaminism; Co-editor of Toward 2012: Perspectives on the Next Age. Daniel is the editorial director of RealitySandwich.com, and co-founder of Evolver.net.

Ethan Nadelmann, Ph.D., founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. Author of Cops Across Borders, the first scholarly study of the internationalization of U.S. criminal law enforcement, and co-author of Policing the Globe: Criminalization and Crime Control in International Relations.

Dance Celebration follows discussion with live music performance by JahFurry & Kochie Banton with the I & I Drum Link. DJ sets by Krister Linder and Winslow Porter.

Cash bar – organic beer, wine and drinks.
Astoria's own Beyond Kombucha presents a special blend for the event.
Snacks by Xango.

Doors at 7:30, panel at 8:00, dance celebration 11pm – 2am

Price - $25, $20 for Evolver Social Network Members (e-mail psychedelichealing@gmail.com for info); $15 after midnight.

To purchase tickets please go to http://psychedelichealing.eventbrite.com/. Tickets will sell out so to guarantee your entrance, get yours ahead of time.

Date: 
Fri, 02/04/2011 - 7:30pm - Sat, 02/05/2011 - 2:00am
Location: 
446 Broadway 3rd floor Safe Harbor
New York, NY 10013
United States

"I'm Dangerous with Love" Opening

 

Can a psychedelic plant release your demons?

I'M DANGEROUS WITH LOVE
An underground adventure into shamanic ritual

Opens at New York’s IFC Film Center on Wednesday January 12, 2011

"Bursts on the screen like a circus fire. A movie you'll never forget." 
- D A Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus

I'M DANGEROUS WITH LOVE is about addiction and rehabilitation, activism and shamanism. It features Dimitri Mugianis, once the heavily addicted front man for the band Leisure Class, who finally ended his long drug and alcohol addiction with an experimental treatment that uses the hallucinogen Ibogaine, and now devotes his life to helping others overcome addiction through the treatment.

African shamans have used Ibogaine in their rituals for centuries, but in the US it is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and illegal, so Dimitri must  work in underground networks to guide addicts through the same detox that he says saved his life.

I'M DANGEROUS WITH LOVE traces Dimitri's risky journey as he treats desperate drug users. It follows this man of edgy energy as he goes from one addict to the next without stopping to catch his breath. It also follows him on his own search for recovery when one session goes bad in a remote snowed-in Canadian home, and a quiet young man almost dies. Dimitri must decide whether or not to continue his mission. Is he serving the addicts or simply releasing his own demons? To find answers, Dimitri travels to Gabon, West Africa, to consult with Bwiti shamans, and puts himself through a punishing Iboga initiation. Filmmaker Michel Negroponte follows him on this journey to find his own answers.

"A haunting, visceral exploration of addiction and one contemporary man's fearless and determined quest for healing and redemption through the ancient wisdom of the Bwiti and their 'magical' plant, Iboga. For those seeking a path out of darkness, this film is not to be missed." Charles Shaw, AlterNet

“A powerhouse: brutally honest, hilarious, incisive, heroic. It capture’s a character who lives against the odds. Negroponte doesn’t just go the extra mile to capture story and character – he goes an extra light year and takes the audience with him. Its one of those docs that’s going to walk all over the festival circuit like it fucking owns the place.” -Sheffield Doc/Fest

"Laced with decidedly dark humor, I'm Dangerous with Love is both a compelling character study and an exciting excursion into an underground subculture." John Berra, Electric Sheep

"Negroponte turns a compassionate eye on the world of drug addiction, and one man's personal passionate crusade to rescue the addicted, one addict at a time.  An absorbing and at times exhilarating film that boomerangs from the underbelly of Manhattan to the jungles of Gabon and back again."  Ross McElwee

I'M DANGEROUS WITH LOVE
2009 85 minutes, USA, digital video, English, Color 
Directed by Michel Negroponte • Written by Nick Pappas and Joni Wehrli • Animation by Lisa Crafts • Music and Sound Design by Brooks Williams and Beo Morales • Photographed and Edited by Michel Negroponte • Executive Producers Julie Goldman, Krysanne Katsoolis, Caroline Stevens • Produced by Blackbridge Productions in association with Cactus Three

 

michelnegroponte.com/imdangerouswithlove.html

 

Date: 
Wed, 01/12/2011 - 11:15am - 9:30pm
Location: 
323 Avenue of the Americas IFC Film Center
New York, NY 10014
United States

Feature: Ibogaine Forum 2010 -- Mourning the Movement's "Tare," Celebrating New Hopes for Research and Development

special to Drug War Chronicle by Doug Greene

Over a cold President's Day weekend, dozens of researchers, providers and activists converged on the Yippie Museum Cafe for the Ibogaine Forum 2010, the annual conference about the controversial African rainforest addiction interrupter. This year's event was held just downstairs from the lair of conference organizer, Global Marijuana March facilitator and Cures not Wars cofounder Dana Beal (who remains free on bail from his October 1st bust following last year's NORML conference). This year's Ibogaine Forum, like last year's, was streamed to hundreds of viewers.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/howardlotsof.jpg
Howard Lotsof
Tabernanthe iboga has been used for several centuries by practitioners of the Bwiti religion in equatorial Africa. But it wasn't until June 1962 that its principal alkaloid's effects on opiate dependence were discovered. Howard Lotsof (then a Fairleigh Dickinson University dropout with a heroin habit) took a dose that a chemist friend gave him, and after a 36 hour trip full of Freudian imagery, discovered that he didn't want to cop heroin anymore. That random trip started Lotsof on his life's work and led to thousands of people participating in "a vast uncontrolled experiment" (in the words of writer Brian Vastag) to treat drug dependence. However, its status as a Schedule I controlled substance, long duration of action and intense psychological and physical effects have kept it outside of the medical mainstream.

Ibogaine has been receiving more media attention and public interest in the past few months. It was featured in the plot of an episode of "Law & Order Special Victims Unit" in November and in "I'm Dangerous with Love," Michel Negroponte's new documentary about New York based on underground provider Dimitri Mobengo Mugianis. Although the buzz about ibogaine has been slowly building for decades, efforts to develop ibogaine as a medication for drug dependence in the United States have been stalled since 1995, when a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Phase I study in humans was halted after the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) spent $2,000,000 in pre-clinical and animal testing, due to financial issues and disputes among the study sponsors.

That may be about to change, since Dr. Walter Ling, the Director of UCLA's Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, has allegedly undertaken a review of current ibogaine research for NIDA. Dr. Ling's web page states that he is a consultant to NIDA.

According to conference presenter Dr. Anwar Jeewa, co-director of the Minds Alive life rehabilitation and treatment center in Durban, South Africa, he met Ling at Schering-Plough's launch of Suboxone in Durban on Feb. 2, where Jeewa asked Ling if he knew about ibogaine. Ling admitted that he did, having received many phone calls from Lotsof, but was not aware of the amount of treatment providers and published research. He then revealed that NIDA had contracted with him to reassess ibogaine. Ling's research is overseen by Dr. Cecelia (Cece) McNamara Spitznas, PhD, of the Behavioral and Integrative Treatment Branch at NIDA's Division of Clinical Neuroscience and Behavioral Research. Adult treatment research is part of Dr. Spitznas' portfolio for NIDA.

However, according to David McCann, Associate Director (acting) of NIDA's Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse, "nobody at NIDA knows anything about it. If [Ling] is in fact writing a review, he's apparently not doing it for NIDA."

Jeewa said this week that NIDA had not officially sanctioned Ling to reassess ibogaine, but had done so unofficially. Ling had not responded to requests for clarification by press time.

Despite that and other enormously positive news, conference attendees were still reeling from Lotsof's death on Jan. 31st after a long struggle with liver cancer. Lotsof was recognized as "[the] discoverer of ibogaine's anti-addictive effects, patient activist, president of the Dora Weiner Foundation and author of the Ibogaine Patient's Bill of Rights" last November, when the Drug Policy Alliance co-awarded him the Robert C. Randall Award for Achievement in the Field of Citizen Action at their biennial conference. (The video is here).

At Ibogaine Forum 2010, Lotsof was posthumously honored by a large number of presenters and attendees during Sunday's memorial. "Ibogaine-Rite of Passage" producer and director Ben De Loenen showed footage of Lotsof he took at last March's Lotsof tribute First Ibogaine Providers and Facilitators Conference, in which Lotsof called ibogaine "a magnificent tool and road to freedom over slavery" and expressed his belief that ibogaine would eventually be used successfully in drug treatment, in contrast to his pessimism at the end of the film. That conference also marked the founding of the International Federation of Ibogaine Providers.

Another presenter, NYU Langone Medical Center Associate Professor Ken Alper, pointed out that in addition to Lotsof's personal qualities, his work was directly responsible for NIDA's research into ibogaine, a slew of peer-reviewed publications and the First International Conference on Ibogaine, which was held in 1999. But perhaps Beal summed it up best when he told the audience the best way to memorialize Lotsof was to move ibogaine forward and help realize his dream.

The sheer diversity of the presenters, attendees and topics discussed would have heartened Lotsof. Among the attendees were Midge Potts, a Missouri US Senate candidate calling for ibogaine treatment as part of her platform, a nurse from New Jersey whose boyfriend was part of a Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) long-term outcomes study on ibogaine's efficacy for treatment of opiate dependence at Pangea Biomedics in Playas De Tijuana, Mexico, and LEAP's Matthew Fogg.

Presenters included:

  • MAPS' John Harrison, discussing the preliminary results of their ibogaine study (of 20 participants, 10 were confirmed as still not using), a revised study protocol, ibogaine's potential in treating HIV, HTLV, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and other personality disorders and "aftercare as an afterthought" among providers.
  • Robert Sisko of the Addiction Research Institute on efforts to produce ibogaine according to Good Manufacturing Practice for use in clinical trials and a proposed multinational study to have the FDA approve ibogaine for alleviation of opiate withdrawal symptoms.
  • San Francisco provider Krista Howard on tips for new treatment providers.
  • Sandra Karpetas of British Columbia's Iboga Therapy House and New Zealand activist and aspiring provider Marie Cotter on ibogaine's status in their countries (where it's not regulated, but also not officially legitimized for use), the need for further research, standardizing data from ibogaine therapists, defining best practices in ibogaine therapy, and the rationale for adopting language that defines ibogaine as a natural health product.

However, none of the ibogaine enthusiasts present believed that it was going to conquer the drug treatment world in the near future. The mainstream treatment establishment remains skeptical, if not outright hostile to ibogaine -- as witnessed by the comment of Dr. Herbert Kleber, director of the division on substance abuse at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University in Lotsof's New York Times obituary, who cited a lack of controlled studies and a number of deaths to conclude that "it is [not] something that should be used in the absence of such evidence." Alper and others have attributed these deaths to factors such as cardiac risks that could have been detected by better screening and overdoses from taking opiates during or just after an ibogaine experience.

Naysayers like Kleber aside, with research, production techniques, initiates and providers experiencing rapid growth around the world, ibogaine's potential for transformation of the way drug dependence is viewed and treated seems boundless. The spirit of Lotsof, as the tare ("father" in the Fang language, which is spoken in Tabernanthe iboga's native equatorial Africa) of it all, must be pleased that so many believers are, as Krista Howard said at his memorial, "working together to finish this masterpiece, make it even more beautiful and legitimize it."

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