ART by CHOR BOOGIE
As "micro-dosing" is becoming a trendy topic, I frequently receive messages like this....
"I want to start micro-dosing iboga (or ibogaine)! I've done my share of LSD / DMT / ayahuasca etc. etc., so it won't be too much of a stretch for me to do this... I am sure I can acquire some online. Can you just tell me the dose? Please advise."
And this is my response, every time...
Unfortunately, I cannot give you a simple answer to the question of micro-dosing these particular medicines.
Iboga and Ibogaine are generally the most medically tricky of all common entheogens. They can also be the most dangerous when someone doesn't know what they are doing.
In my 5+ years of experience, supporting many ceremonies and talking with many people, I know that individuals can have a very broad range of responses to iboga and ibogaine. The medicine can be unpredictable.
What might be a light microdose for one person can send someone else into a full blown destabilizing psychedelic journey with physical tremors severe enough to cause falls, fainting, and dangerous cardiac arrhythmias.
I have seen big adults occasionally pass out cold from a small bit of root bark, being saved from a serious head injury only by the swift and strong grip of assistants supporting ceremony. The organic, total alkaloid form of the medicine can vary in potency and it is not dosed according to body weight, though people assume otherwise when they try to glean general dosage recommendations from online forums. Traditionally, dosing is done by careful observations of specific, subtle physical and mental changes, and it is an art that requires training and practice.
I have seen some people nearly aspirate from intense purging, even on light doses of iboga. I have seen others, especially in drug detox situations, go into the confusional or delusional state and become highly irrational or destabilized enough to try and wander away—until they require medical intervention.
Then there are the potentially fatal cardiac issues that can occur when someone has not been properly screened by a medical professional.
A myriad of medication contraindications exist, some of which prolong the QT interval in cardiac function; those would make a risky recipe when combined even with "micro-doses" of iboga and ibogaine.
I cannot imagine working with iboga or ibogaine for the first few times—alone—or with people who don't really know these medicines.
To work with iboga or ibogaine in a safe(r) way, even for "micro-doses," this will require getting an EKG/ECG, liver panel, other medical tests, skillful psychiatric screening, and THEN having those tests evaluated by a medical professional--and not just any medical professional--but one who is knowledgeable about this medicine.
Even with ALL the necessary screening tests, certain cardiac or other medical issues can still sometimes slip through undetected, and it is essential to have an ACLS certified medical professional present in initial treatments to pick up on any adverse reactions promptly—and save a life if it gets critical.
"But the Africans don't have medical professionals present." In the industrialized West, we have many medical conditions and pharmaceutical drugs that they don't encounter in iboga territory (for the most part). There, people have often been raised with careful micro-doses as a way of life with knowledgeable elders, and would know of any bad reactions to the medicine.
There are many variables with so-called "reputable sources." Online sellers can change quality or sources in an instant. I know scientists who've tested medicine purchased online to find that it is adulterated with different cardio toxic plants or even Fentanyl, a deadly-powerful opioid.
The only time a source is trustworthy is when you actually know and trust the person who harvested the medicine, hopefully sustainably and ceremonially. Do you know the name of the one who is taking these roots out of the ground and preparing it for your healing? I echo the Bwiti understanding that the medicine is sensitive to the intentions with which it is grown, harvested, prepared, and ingested.
The message I receive in Bwiti ceremony is that sacred medicine loves relationships. We need genuine tribe—not masked dealers on cyber street corners. We need healthy community to help hold and integrate this work in a good way.
I have seen people who work with psychedelics in isolation start to cultivate extremist and paranoid views over time. Though trauma survivors often tend to isolate, there is a reason why these medicines have been held in communal structures since the beginning.
Anyone determined to risk consuming an unknown online source should have the substance laboratory tested by a knowledgeable scientist or medical professional. Online sources also risk being from an elephant poacher, because elephant poachers have been associated with some iboga sales.
More, just as important as the material substance is the WAY in which we receive it. This view reflects a deeper philosophy that traditional medicine ways have held for eons.
This is very foreign to our current passive consumer model, in which we focus strictly on "taking the substance" without attending to a more holistic model of care in which the medicinal material is but one facet. I encourage people working with sacred medicines to become active participants and students.
Micro-dosing as we know it is a traditional way of studying the medicine, and I have come to have deep respect for the body of knowledge and navigation tools from the traditional Bwiti and Bobongo people who have studied this complex medicine for eons. Iboga is a unique and multi-faceted medicine. It is capable of many things. Iboga is rocket fuel, and it's good to know how to fly the ship, and, of course, know exactly where you are going.
Even having "plenty of experience" with other medicines does not qualify someone to safely navigate iboga or ibogaine for one's self or others. Likewise, I have experienced strong ceremonial doses of ayahuasca, peyote, huachuma (San Pedro), different kinds of DMT, and sacred mushroom (all at select times, with plenty of integration between!). Yet, nothing could have prepared me for iboga. To me, it is the "brain surgeon" of medicines.
What my indigenous Bwiti relations, ibogaine medical experts, and my own soul tells me: I cannot support ibogaine micro-dose protocols for a person--until they have experienced this medicine under qualified supervision such as through a Bwiti ceremony or a reputable ibogaine clinic—so one can begin to understand their unique response, tolerance, and relationship to the medicine in a safe setting.
Sometimes people who are eager for healing will risk their life and jump in without enough information. This is unfortunate.
I'm all for DIY everything whenever possible, but this is a different situation.
Sure, some people may have had relatively positive experiences with micro-dosing from dark web material on their own. They are LUCKY. That's a roulette wheel. I hear about iboga and ibogaine deaths regularly when people are unwittingly creating risky situations or when they don't really know their source. Even healthy people have had fatalities. And these tragedies are preventable.
There are much safer medicines to micro-dose with--where it is legal, of course.
Traditional iboga retreats and ibogaine treatments with medical screening and support are indeed expensive. The accommodations, specialized medical screening & support, 24/7 care, retreat chefs, patient services, and good sourcing are all very expensive. Often dedicated providers are not profiting much or at all, even when a retreat costs thousands. So yes, it's expensive, but your life is worth it. A good experience is worth saving or fundraising for.
If someone is urgently in need of drug detox, there are actually several other natural ways one can safely and gently wean down with qualified support until iboga or ibogaine becomes accessible. I'll be writing a post on natural detox options soon. Stay tuned.
Yes, there is another BIG discussion to be had here about privilege and access to the medicine, and I look forward to exploring those topics more. I want to see a future where all these medicines are sustainably cultivated and equally accessible to all.
I do not mean to be negative here... I would love to support people in having a safe and beneficial experience with medicine! All this may sound scary, and hopefully it is scary enough from preventing anyone from making a dangerous decision that could not only risk their life but also further compromise the reputation of this sacred medicine, the safety of good providers, and the safe access for others in need. We are in a delicate global learning curve here, and it is a delicate time to create lasting social change.
When in qualified hands, this medicine can be healthy, miraculous, and life-changing. No one can guarantee 100% safety, as there are always risks--to everything, but the risks can be profoundly mitigated.
What I CAN advise is this...
Attend to a sacred altar. Call in the Spirit of the medicine. Ask for help. Do your due diligence. Build relationships with medicine community & qualified providers. Be of service. Be willing to offer of your Self as much as you ask. Pray for guidance.
And then... listen, watch, and wait for that guidance.
Honoring the sacred root in the Motherland.
Photo by CHOR BOOGIE
This page is for informational and harm reduction purposes only. This page is NOT intended as professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendation. Please always seek appropriate medical and psychiatric care for your conditions—from qualified providers that respect your personal choices for healthcare.