The Legality of Ibogaine
Disclaimer: ibogaine is a potentially illegal substance, and we do not encourage or condone the use of this substance where it is against the law. However, we accept that illegal drug use occurs, and believe that offering responsible harm reduction information is imperative to keeping people safe. For that reason, this guide is designed to ensure the safety of those who decide to use the substance. We do not encourage using this drug outside of a legal or traditional context.
Ibogaine is a psychoactive compound found in several different plants, most commonly the Tabernathe iboga found in parts of Africa. It has been used traditionally by people in certain regions of West Africa for thousands of years, where it is used for its medicinal and psychoactive properties.
In the modern world, ibogaine is becoming popular as an effective treatment of addiction and withdrawal symptoms. It has been used to help people addicted to substances such as opioids, cocaine, amphetamines and alcohol. Treatment centers have started to appear in their hundreds, offering addicts a chance to recover using a natural treatment.
This is how one heroin addict described his treatment with ibogaine:
“As it starts to take effect I feel an intense wave of energy emanating from the centre of my chest that permeates my entire body. This euphoric state also brings me instantaneous relief from the discomfort I was feeling after going without heroin for almost 24 hours.
With my withdrawal symptoms completely gone, I am perplexed by the state of clarity I am in while seeing the most profound stream of visual phenomena. I am also filled with a sense of awe at the potential for a life free of heroin. Emotional memories force me to deal with some of the deep subconscious guilt I have repressed for years.
This powerful state persisted for over 12 hours. After remaining at the clinic for a week I was allowed to return home and over the next six months felt almost no cravings whatsoever.”
Despite ibogaine’s unique potential for the treatment of withdrawal and addiction, its legal status varies worldwide. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the legality of ibogaine, and where you can go for treatment.
Why is ibogaine illegal?
Studies have shown that ibogaine is an effective treatment for addiction: one study from 2000 showed that when a single dose (500-800mg) of ibogaine was administered to 27 cocaine- and opioid-addicts, it resulted in a significant decrease of cravings and depressed symptoms. A preliminary observational study by MAPS also suggests that ibogaine can prevent most patients from relapsing within two months of treatment.
So why then is ibogaine illegal in many countries?
It could be because of its potential harm: high doses can cause heart failure in people with preexisting heart conditions. However it’s most likely ibogaine’s hallucinogenic properties that have made it a victim of Nixon’s war on drugs, much like LSD and magic mushrooms.
If you’re desperate to try ibogaine, or visit a treatment center, there are still many options. Most countries do not specifically prohibit ibogaine, leaving it in a legal grey area for many treatment centers.
Here we group countries based on the legality of ibogaine:
NOTE: This information is curated to be as accurate as possible at the time of writing, but should not be treated as a ‘green light’ to perform potentially illegal activities. Always check your local laws.
Countries where ibogaine is completely illegal
Ibogaine has been a schedule I drug in the US since 1970, and it looks like it won’t change anytime soon. As such it’s illegal to possess or distribute ibogaine – so you won’t find any legal treatment centers in the US.
Ibogaine was banned as early as 1998 in Belgium by Royal Decree, where ibogaine and its isomers are specifically mentioned. Possession and distribution are illegal.
It’s illegal to possess or distribute ibogaine under the Executive Order on Euphoric Substances of 1993; however it’s possible that medical professionals could be given special permission to administer ibogaine in the future.
Ibogaine is illegal to possess and distribute, and has been since 2007. You’ll find it difficult to get treatment here.
Ibogaine is listed under a law that prevents the distribution of psychoactive substances without a license – you probably won’t find any legal treatment centers here.
Ibogaine probably falls under Ireland’s Psychoactive Substances Act, which makes pretty much everything illegal. However it leaves doors open for potential future research of ibogaine, allowing an exemption for substances that are “medicinal products intended for research and development trials.”
Possession or distribution of ibogaine is illegal in Italy, as it was added to the Schedule I list fairly recently.
All tryptamine derivatives are illegal in Norway – and ibogaine will fall into this category. It is probably illegal to possess and distribute.
It’s illegal to possess or distribute ibogaine in Switzerland, as it is specifically listed as a prohibited substance.
Ibogaine has been illegal to possess or distribute since 1985. The law was brought up for review in 2007, but ibogaine’s status was not changed.
Ibogaine technically falls under the UK’s bizarre Psychoactive Substances Act, issued in May 2016, which makes it illegal to produce or distribute “any substance with a psychoactive effect.” Although there are no cases of people being prosecuted for providing ibogaine, the government could absolutely take you to court for doing so.
Thankfully, possession of ibogaine for personal use is still legal; although buying it would be breaking the law.
Countries where ibogaine is somewhat prohibited
Ibogaine has been a Schedule IV drug in Australia for several years now, meaning it can’t be distributed without a license – and it doesn’t appear that the government have been handing out any ibogaine licenses…
Although ibogaine falls under the category of “Natural Healthcare Products” in Canada, and there are many treatment centers to be found there, its legal status is uncertain. Recently, ibogaine has been seized from several providers, amid concerns over heart risks.
In 2015, ibogaine was prohibited for distribution under an emergency declaration for 12 months. Since then, it’s unclear what ibogaine’s legal status has become, as information is murky.
Countries where ibogaine is legal
In Brazil, ibogaine is legal to possess and distribute. A recent law in Sao Paolo has decreed that ibogaine be administered in a medical environment with adequate protections for the patient.
Ibogaine is legal in Costa Rica, and one of the most famous ibogaine treatment centers resides here. However there are some negative reviews out there, and it’s best to do your research before making a choice of treatment center.
Ibogaine is unregulated in Mexico, and is a popular location for treatment centers. Be aware that a good treatment center should always adhere to clinical guidelines and be extremely safety conscious.
There is no specific prohibition of ibogaine in the Netherlands, and there are a variety of treatment centers available.
Since 2009, ibogaine has been legal by prescription in New Zealand. As such, you can find treatment centers that will offer you ibogaine from a medical professional.
Ibogaine is legal in South Africa – but you have to be granted a license to distribute it due to its potential heart risks. We’re not sure how difficult it is to obtain a license.
Don’t see a country?
Ibogaine is a relatively new drug to the Western world… as such, many countries have no specific laws to deal with ibogaine. If you don’t see a country on our list, it either has no specific prohibition of ibogaine, or we haven’t been able to find one. Always check with your local authority if you’re unsure.
If you’re interested in ibogaine treatment, read our full guide on what to expect at a treatment center. Remember that some centers aren’t legitimate, and make sure your chosen center adheres to clinical guidelines.
If you want to read more general information about ibogaine, read our ultimate guide!
The purpose of this guide is to help you find somewhere you can access ibogaine. Please don’t break the law… and please be careful with ibogaine – it can be harmful if misused.
Ibogaine could end up as an accepted and effective treatment for addiction… but only if we treat it with respect! More stories of irresponsible use and deaths in the media will only delay the approval of ibogaine as a medicine.
Be sensible and be safe!
Important Note: This is a constantly-evolving document. If you believe we’re missing something important, please let us know via the contact page.
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