PANEL: Insights from Contemporary Ibogaine Research for Addiction
Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D. and Geoff Noller, Ph.D.
Moderated by Clare S. Wilkins
Saturday, April 22, 2017 • 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM • Jr. Ballroom
This panel will explore issues arising from two recently completed 12-month follow up studies on ibogaine treatment outcomes for opioid-dependent individuals in Mexico and New Zealand. With these studies providing evidence of sustained long-term positive treatment outcomes, the historical resistance to the use of ibogaine in the treatment of the addictions must be re-examined. This is particularly the case for ibogaine's psychoactive effects, and whether these should be viewed as a solely disturbing side effect or a significant element in addiction recovery for those experiencing them. The impact of legislation on best practice in treatment and the evolution of treatment guidelines is also examined, as concerns over ibogaine's safety remain. Ensuring safety with ibogaine is complicated as while its legal availability (e.g. in New Zealand and South Africa) may promote the greater involvement of medical professionals, this does not automatically translate into safer treatments.
Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., began his education at the University of Pittsburgh where he earned a BS in Chemistry with a minor in Psychology. He then attended Caltech where he earned an MS in Chemistry while working in a neurobiology lab. His thesis topic was the structure and function of post-synaptic densities, specifically proteins involved in memory and learning. He later entered the PhD program in Anthropology at UCSD, focusing on psychological anthropology. His master’s thesis was a cross cultural phenomenological and brain-states comparison of shamanic and trance states. His doctoral thesis, “Spiritual Seekers and ‘Finding a Spiritual Home,’” detailed the life histories and religious practices of people who experienced mystical experiences and converted to Christian Spiritualism. In 2009 he started anthropological research on ibogaine treatment when he conducted interviews with patients at Pangea Biomedics in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico and collected data for the purpose of studying quality of life for those patients. Since 2010 he has been working with MAPS on a Mexico-based observational study of the long-term outcomes for people receiving ibogaine-assisted treatment for opioid dependence. That study is complete, and the first research article on the study has been submitted for publication. In 2013, he published a review article on ibogaine treatment in Current Drug Abuse Reviews. He has presented his research at numerous conferences, including anthropological meetings, the 2nd International Congress on Traditional Medicine and Public Health, and conferences of the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance.
Geoff Noller, Ph.D., is an independent researcher focusing on substance use and drug policy analysis. A medical anthropologist, he graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Otago's Department of Psychological Medicine in 2008. His thesis examined cannabis use in New Zealand as a cultural practise and from the perspective of drug policy. He has since established a research consultancy - Substance Use and Policy Analysis (SUPA) - specialising in psychotropic drug research.
Clare S. Wilkins is a former intravenous drug user and methadone patient who shed her chemical dependencies with the aid of ibogaine in 2005. As founder of Pangea Biomedics, she has facilitated over 600 treatments and has collaborated with MAPS to study the long-term effects of patients undergoing detoxification therapy with ibogaine for opiates. Since 2010 she has been an active board member of The Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance (GITA) and is a co-author of the Clinical Guidelines for Ibogaine-Assisted Detoxification, a comprehensive risk-management resource and minimum standard of care. Clare also serves on the board of advisors for Symbio Life Sciences. Mentored by Howard Lotsof, she is committed to advancing scientific research of iboga, including ibogaine, its alkaloids and analogs. She is currently collaborating with ICEERS to develop a clinical trial for methadone patients utilizing the cumulative administration method she developed over 10 years of clinical practice in Mexico. As a member of INPUD, an international drug user rights organization, she is devoted to reducing stigma and harm, promoting the health of people who use drugs and every human’s basic right to medicine.