[Paleopsych] BH: Confirmed: Hallucinogen Fights Addiction

Premise Checker checker at panix.com
Sat Feb 5 10:59:38 UTC 2005

Confirmed: Hallucinogen Fights Addiction

Ibogaine reduces alcohol consumption and increases addiction-fighting brain

    Betterhumans Staff
    1/18/2005 7:40 PM

    Breaking the cycle: The hallucinogen ibogaine activates a brain
    protein that blocks increased alcohol craving and consumption
    following periods of abstinence

    A hallucinogen advocated as a potent anti-addiction drug has received
    support from research showing that it can block alcohol cravings in
    rodents by boosting an addiction-fighting brain protein.

    The drug, [8]ibogaine, is derived from a West African shrub called
    [9]Tabernanthe iboga. For years it has attracted attention for its
    ability to reverse withdrawal symptoms and cravings for alcohol and
    other addictive substances.

    Used outside the US to treat addiction, it is not approved in the
    country by the [10]Food and Drug Administration. Side-effects such as
    hallucinations, which made it a popular recreational drug in the
    1960s, have impeded clinical studies of its addiction-fighting

    American researchers at the [11]University of California, San
    Francisco have now shown in mice and rats that the drug reduces
    alcohol consumption, and that it does so by increasing levels of the
    brain protein glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). The
    researchers have also shown that GDNF alone decreases alcohol

    "By identifying the brain protein that ibogaine regulates to reduce
    alcohol consumption in rats, we have established a link between GDNF
    and reversal of addiction--knowledge of a molecular mechanism that
    should allow development of a new class of drugs to treat addiction
    without ibogaine's side-effects," says study coauthor [12]Dorit Ron.

    New treatments possible

    For their research, Ron and colleagues first gave rats alcohol until
    they became daily drinkers. They then withdrew alcohol for two weeks,
    which is known to greatly increase drinking when alcohol becomes
    available again.

    Administering ibogaine, however, significantly reduced the heightened
    craving and consumption. The drug was given by injection or directly
    into the brain. Rats receiving it drank less and were less likely to
    fall off the wagon and revert to their previous drinking habits.

    "The discovery that Ibogaine reduced binge drinking after a period of
    abstinence was an exciting finding for us because this is the type of
    behavior in alcoholics for which very few effective drugs exist," says
    study coauthor [13]Patricia Janak.

    The researchers also confirmed in a cell model that ibogaine
    stimulated GDNF activity. They then confirmed that this was
    responsible for the drug's anti-addiction effects by using a GDNF
    inhibitor in the rats. This blocked ibogaine's ability to decrease
    alcohol craving.

    "If we can alter the GDNF pathway, we may well have a new treatment
    against alcohol and drug addiction without the unwanted side-effects
    of Ibogaine," says Ron.


    8. http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibogaine
    9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iboga
   10. http://www.fda.gov/
   11. http://www.ucsf.edu/
   12. http://www.ucsf.edu/pibs/faculty/ron.html
   13. http://www.ucsf.edu/pibs/faculty/janak.html
   14. http://www.jneurosci.org/

More information about the paleopsych mailing list