The Iboga Insurrection (Pt.1)

Jump to Section

Jump to Section

The US-Mexico border in Tijuana with San Diego in the distance (photo by Charles Shaw)

The first time I heard former Yippie activist Dana Beal mention ibogaine I couldn’t have cared less what he was talking about. I had booked him to speak on political theater and creative resistance…you know, Yippie shit…as one of a dozen speakers featured at an all day Green Party rally we held in Washington Square Park during the 2004 Republican National Convention. Beal is a shady, self-promoting character with this Bilbo-Baggins-meets-David-Crosby vibe. Instead of offering something useful to the crowd, he gave a rambling sermon on the miracles of this obscure drug that cured junkies of addiction. Holding up a collection of papers no doubt meant to imbue his message with gravitas he ranted through a byzantine cosmology of all the evil forces that were arrayed against this miracle substance becoming a mainstream treatment.

I had no idea what ibogaine was nor that Beal was a member of the “ibogaine underground,” an ad-hoc network of doctors, researchers, activists, shamans and lay-providers who believe that this substance is the key to not only treating but unlocking an entirely new paradigm in the understanding of addiction. This network is underground because ibogaine and the iboga root from which it is made are illegal in the U.S., designated Schedule 1 with a “high potential for abuse or addiction and no known medicinal applications.” Anyone in the underground will tell you that’s patently ridiculous, “patently,” they say, because the real root of ibogaine prohibition is not that it causes addiction but that it might cure addiction, sometimes with a single dose, and that sure is bad news for an industry built around a so-called “chronic” disease.

The numbers are still small. Of the 26 million estimated addicts in the United States, only a few thousand have tried ibogaine, and there are only a handful of active practitioners around the world who are giving treatments, so few that they all know each other. But this underground is on the move, growing at a rate of some 30% a year. The reason for this is quite simple: The War on Drugs is over, and drugs won.

None of the medically sanctioned forms of addiction treatment have any success rate to speak of, particularly those for hard-core addictions to opiates, alcohol, cocaine and meth. 90% of all those who enter treatment will use again within five years, and half go right back to active addiction within a year. Worse, with the ever-increasing amount of drug-related arrests each year, what starts out as a fixable public health issue becomes a lifelong socio-legal handicap.

Ibogaine smashes through all of this orthodoxy.  Since its inception in the 1980s, the ibogaine underground has been building an alternative treatment infrastructure that completely redefines the approach to addiction. Aside from the novelty, and irony, of a psychedelic drug containing a potentially single-dose cure for drug addiction, ibogaine therapy is also attractive because it redefines success not as abstinence but as a measurable improvement in an addict’s quality of life, and this is because ibogaine is not about prohibition or substitution, it’s about spiritual evolution. Like other plant medicines, if you’ll pardon the pun, iboga is about gettin’ at the roots of the sickness. Consequently, it is leading a kind of awakening, and it will only be a matter of time before millions begin to seek it out.

Hitting the Reset Button

The story of ibogaine begins with addicts trying to help other addicts, but along the way we find it’s also about the conflict between natural and Western medicine, and the moral bankruptcy of the pharmaceutical industry, who are interested in developing maintenance drugs, and not cures. And like any tale of revolution, this story is about the internecine battles, personal perils, and professional pitfalls of trying to change the paradigm. What sets this movement apart from others is the unanimity of purpose: everyone involved in the underground wants to heal.

Ibogaine works a mysterious voodoo that combines the spiritual and the biochemical. More than anything else, it challenges the legitimacy of the “disease” model of addiction, and no one anywhere on the health care food chain wants to hear that, especially if they are profiting from the immiseration caused by drug abuse.

So what is ibogaine? The two-volume reference bible Psychedelic Medicine classifies ibogaine as a naturally occurring alkaloid of the Tabernanthe Iboga plant native to West Central Africa. The iboga root bark contains a powerful psychedelic that has been used as a religious sacrament for centuries. In the colonial era, iboga served as a vital instrument of psycho-spiritual resistance for the indigenous population against the encroachment of the white man.

Today iboga is used primarily by the Bwiti religion of Gabon in their initiatory rites of passage, like those described by Daniel Pinchbeck in Breaking Open the Head (credit the Bwiti with the title, it’s their term for what happens when one takes the drug).  During the ritual large amounts of iboga are consumed and the initiates are known to enter visionary states where they meet their deceased tribal elders — what they call “the work of the ancestors” — and confront their shadow selves as a means of becoming aware of negative behavior patterns and character traits which cause illness and impede spiritual growth.

The person credited with introducing iboga to the U.S. is the Godfather of the movement, Howard Lotsof, a former heroin addict turned ibogaine evangelist who died last month of liver cancer at the age of 66. In 1962 Lotsof stumbled across ibogaine’s effectiveness with addiction when he found that after one dose he had lost his craving for heroin, and had miraculously leapfrogged the brutal and potentially fatal withdrawal process.

Lotsof tirelessly lobbied public officials and dogged researchers and pharmaceutical companies to investigate his claims about iboga’s miraculous properties. By the 1980s he was lay-administering the alkaloid ibogaine in capsule form to addicts in the Netherlands and was given a U.S. patent. Lotsof felt ibogaine’s true significance was in unlocking the mysteries of the neurobiology of addiction. By virtue of its origin he also believed it could serve as a means of reconnecting shamanic medicine to Western medicine. Secretly, he and his inner circle harbored fantasies of a revolution in consciousness, and ibogaine was one of their most viable Trojan Horses.

Here’s how the miracle works. The conventional approach to treating opiate addiction is to employ a substitution therapy like methadone or suboxone, maintenance drugs that keep the addict addicted to a less potent, more manageable opiate analog. This means that the only available treatment does not actually stop the addiction. So what’s the point?

Ibogaine works, it is believed, by filling in the receptor sites that the opiate molecules once sought, ending the craving for the drug, while at the same time metabolizing in the liver into noribogaine, which is thought to have powerful detoxifying and anti-depressant properties. The million dollar jackpot is that ibogaine can eliminate the exceedingly painful and dangerous opiate withdrawal process, sometimes in a single dose. In effect, it has the power to hit the reset button on the brain’s neurotransmitter mechanism.

Ibogaine has never been popular as a recreational drug regardless of its legal status. There is not a single recorded case of ibogaine addiction anywhere. Those who use it do so infrequently, because, like ayahuasca or peyote, it takes a toll on the mind, body and spirit, never mind that most folks don’t consider vomiting and diarrhea to be particularly social activities. Only two iboga-related arrests are known to have occurred in the U.S., and roughly twenty people are on record as having died within 72 hours of taking ibogaine, mostly due to either heart complications or drug contraindications.

This specific focus on the treatment of addiction is what distinguishes the ibogaine underground from other psychedelic subcultures, like the rapidly growing ayahuasca community. Writing on the “ibogaine medical subculture” for the Journal of Ethno-Pharmacology, Alper and Lotsof describe the underground as, “…homes, hotel rooms and private clinics in North America and Europe, [where] individuals in increasing numbers are taking ibogaine in what has been termed ‘a vast uncontrolled experiment.'”

Because a safe and legal alternative is not available in the U.S, the ibogistas have been forced on to more tolerant legal climes in Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Europe in order to avoid becoming de facto criminals. For those who remain in the states as lay-providers, they role the dice every time they take an addict’s life into their hands, but they feel, unequivocally, that the medicine is safe and the risk is worth it.

Alper and Lotsof claim that the ibogaine subculture is not a counterculture because “its identity is not defined on the basis of opposition to conventional medicine” and it “shares with the conventional medical culture the common goal of providing treatment, which it emulates in the medical model.” This is partially true, and really more a matter of opinion. To many, the ibogaine underground is very much a counterculture, and its hard to argue that it is not defined on the basis of its opposition to the disease model of addiction. Additionally, the “medical model” they refer to –in which licensed physicians conduct treatments that usually take place in a hospital or clinic — is only one of five elements of the ibogaine underground that make up the full typology of the subculture. These include evangelizing addicts and lay providers, activists, and ritual/spiritual shamans.

The Addict as Healer

Tijuana is a junkie that is hitting bottom. She’s dying. Strung out, desperate, unable to kick, her streets are empty and decaying, her shops are closed. All across this sprawling border city of more than 1.5 million you see the shaky, splintered shells of abandoned developments. It’s as if everyone just up and vanished. It’s a ghost town, replete with a legion of narcotic zombies shuffling to and fro.

We talk about a drug war in the United States, but south of the border this war is real. It’s a shooting war that has decimated this once thriving city. In the four years since Felipe Calderon became Mexico’s President and sent in the Federales, over 16,000 people have been killed, 7,000 in the last year alone, 1400 of them in Tijuana where three different cartels battle for control. Tourism and development have evaporated, and Tijuana starves.

The American model of fighting the drug war has failed miserably in Mexico. As is usually the case, the arrest of several high-profile traffickers has done nothing to impact supply or demand. The much-maligned $1.4 billion Merida Initiative, a kind of Mexican “Plan Columbia,” has also been a dismal failure. So Mexico got creative, and decided to try something new.

Despite much wailing and gnashing of teeth from politicians in Washington, the Mexican government finally decriminalized personal drug possession in August of 2009 (four days later, Argentina did the same, releasing 150 million Latin Americans from the criminalization of their lifestyles). This was done to shift law enforcement priorities away from the users to the cartels, which is good because business is booming. The streets are filled with junkies shooting up in plain sight as you drive along the Segunda Benito Juarez border highway. There is much poverty and suffering here, and no one should be surprised that people want to escape. And if they can’t escape across the border, all they have left is to escape into dreamland.

Yet it is here, in the dark center of Mexico’s drug war, where a powerful ray of hope shines in the battle against addiction. Tijuana is home to Pangea Biomedics, more commonly known to those in the underground as the “Ibogaine Association,” one of only a handful of ibogaine treatment centers in the entire world.

Pangea’s facilities are located in an enormous home inside a secure gated community that’s situated in the Costacoronado hills high above La Playas de Tijuana. Yeah, it’s true, Tijuana is dangerous, and you can’t take too many precautions these days. But Pangea’s owner Clare Wilkins swears they’ve never felt anything but welcome and blessed in their relationship with their host city.

Born in South Africa and raised in Los Angeles, Clare first learned of ibogaine at age 30. She had been addicted to opiates since she was 15, half her short life, and she was entering her eighth year on methadone. Her sister Sarah, another former opiate addict who is now Pangea’s chef and nutritionist, gave her a copy of “Tripping on Iboga,” Daniel Pinchbeck’s 1999 article. It took Clare a few years to build up both the courage and the cash to afford the $3500 treatment fee, but in 2005 she eventually made her way down to Tijuana to the Ibogaine Association, which was then owned by a man named Martin Polanco.

Polanco was a fixture in the ibogaine underground for many years, particularly in Mexico. He is credited with breaking open many heads, including Rocky Caravelli, the owner of the “Awakening in the Dream” ibogaine therapy house in Puerto Vallarta. Pinchbeck did his second journey with iboga at Polanco’s, where he met Randy Hencken of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), who had just started overseeing a MAPS ibogaine program and would later collaborate with Polanco on a study, only to have things go terribly wrong.

MAPS tapped Valerie Mojieko to design the study and sent her down to undergo the treatment. Unbeknownst to her, Polanco was developing a bad reputation for being a provider who gave poor-quality treatments. Consequently, Mojieko had a very stressful and unpleasant experience, at one point believing she was having major heart complications. Her bad trip was made worse by the language barrier of Polanco’s staff and, ironically, their lack of training in how to care for people having difficult psychedelic experiences, a major focus of Mojieko’s work. Shortly thereafter someone died while being treated by Polanco, and the clinic had to be shut down. The MAPS study was dead in the water.

Around that same time Clare Wilkins came to Polanco for treatment and she had a similarly alienating experience. Although as an addict she respond well to the medicine, she was unable to connect with either the setting or the treatment staff on hand. None of them were addicts, and none of them had ever taken ibogaine.

“I was left completely alone when I did my treatment,” Clare says, making sure I understand how un-kosher this is. “I was the only person in the clinic at the time. It was terrifying. I didn’t want to ever see another addict go through that if I could help it.”

Intending only to volunteer for Polanco in order to have at least one other addict present who knew what the patient was going through, Clare, who has no formal training in addiction, psychology, or medicine, ended up buying the Ibogaine Association from Polanco when he ran into trouble. A chance meeting with MAPS founder Rick Doblin at the 2006 Burning Man festival led to a renewed relationship with the organization, and a new study.

Clare proved to be an autodidact, an honorary Ph.D in addiction like Howard Lotsof, but she also knew that if she really wanted to understand this medicine she needed to reach out to Lotsof in person, to pay her respects to the Godfather.

“I called and introduced myself to Howard when I bought the clinic. He asked me for my C.V. which I didn’t have, so I felt embarrassed. But he understood. He faced the same challenges in life, not having any formal training (Lostoff had a degree in film from NYU). He treated me like a colleague and told me that the underground was vital to the success of this medicine. He was right. I’ve learned more from the underground than anyone else.”

In a span of less than four years Lotsof would become Clare’s friend, mentor, and spiritual father. She loved his compassion and drive and the way he seemed to lack judgement, which she felt made him the perfect advocate for addicts. She started booking treatments immediately, modeling her approach after Lotsof’s and mostly learning on the fly. Within six months she moved Pangea into a new space, and paid off the purchase to Polanco in only eighteen months. To date she has given over 400 treatments.

They are not cheap. A full 10-day detox program runs about $7500, not including travel. The marked increase over Polanco’s fee reflects improvements Clare made in the treatment protocols in the wake of Valerie Mojieko’s bad experience, and deaths at Polanco’s clinic and others within the underground, even at Pangea under Clare’s supervision, which caused everyone in the ibogaine underground to take a good hard look at their own protocols. As a result, many of them, including Clare, implemented more medical safeguards.

Pangea’s comprehensive treatment is a complete holistic integrative health plan, and the price tag reflects the doctors, nurses, EMTs, massage therapists, and nutritionists she employs, a staff of twelve with monthly expenses of around $30,000. Ultimately, though, the medical staff are subordinate to Clare, who is the lead therapist and “guide” during sessions. Unlike Polanco, who was often absent, Clare is present for every one of her client’s sessions.

Clare is quick to point out that half of the 400 treatments she has given were either subsidized or free, which she says is common in the underground. She also mentions that three of her former clients formed a not-for-profit called “The Healing Experience” that raises money to provide free treatments for those who can’t afford them. Lots of former addicts pay for treatments for others, or assist with sessions, she tells me. It’s part of their healing process.

“The only way this message is received is if its carried on the backs and in the hearts of addicts,” she says with utter conviction. “It only works if addicts help each other.”

Bringing it Home

It pains me to think about what my life might be like today had I only known Clare Wilkins ten years ago. As my book, Exile Nation, chronicles, I spent nearly a dozen years in flagrante delicto with a brutal crack addiction, which I managed to kick the hard way shortly after 9/11. After two decades of abuse and recovery, I prided myself on knowing as much or more about addiction than any specialist, and the one thing I was clear on was that the existing methods of treatment left a lot to be desired. I am deeply cynical about the medical establishment’s position on addiction. I firmly believe, like Carl Jung did, that addiction is a spiritual sickness, and that it is not chronic, but can be cured. One does not have to saddle oneself with the “addict/alcoholic” label for the rest of their lives. It’s a permanent, and unnecessary, handicap.

At the same time, however, I began to have some ambivalence about taking ibogaine. Since I did not need detox, the technical term for the type of treatment I was going to take is called “Psycho-Spiritual.” But let’s be frank, I also knew that there was fifteen odd years of hairy addiction shit to cull through as well, and since I had heard iboga was a harsh taskmaster and didn’t pull any punches, I was growing afraid of what I was going to have to face.

After nearly four months of trying to coordinate our schedules, Clare and I finally settle on the second week in February for me to travel to Tijuana (of course, those who have taken iboga will tell you that the medicine makes itself available to you when the time is right, and not one minute before). I was in Los Angeles preparing for the trip when we all got word that Howard Lotsof had died. Clare was distraught and headed off to his funeral in New York and didn’t know if she’d be back in time for my visit.

I spent the week prior to the treatment on a strict diet of mostly fruits, greens, and nuts. I had no alcohol, very little caffeine, and drank gallons of detox tea. I crossed the border on the morning of February 8th with my close friend Kristin, a psychotherapist specializing in addiction and PTSD who works part-time at Pangea. There was no traffic going into Mexico, and nearly a two-hour line cued up on the other side waiting to get out. The night before at her place in San Diego, Kristin showed me Ibogaine: Rite of Passage, an eight-year-old film set in a Bwiti medicine ritual in Gabon, and at Polanco’s clinic in Tijuana, that featured Howard Lotsof and Randy Hencken. Kristin takes great care to point out that Clare’s protocols are nothing like what I was seeing in the film.

“You’re probably not going to take the medicine right away,” Kristin tells me, “you’re just going to get your intake work done, and prepare your system. You also need to acclimate to the setting. When the moment is right, Clare will appear out of no where and tell you its time. It could be days.”

I went through a comprehensive intake that included a clinical history, complete blood and urine panels, cardiac enzymes, the whole enchilada. I found out I was healthy as a pack mule, albeit slightly anemic. Later that night I was given the most sublimely painful two-hour deep tissue detox massage by a Thai man named Neil who had worked with ibogaine for psycho-spiritual purposes and told me it helped him heal wounds stemming from his childhood in Thailand when he was abandoned by his family, and as a result, could not experience intimacy with anyone, including his wife and children.

“The med-cine keep working with you for many year,” he said in broken English. “It working when you not know it working, and den one day you say, ‘Ah, now it make sense!'”

There were two other clients at the clinic, a 26-year-old Orange County princess strung out on Oxys, and a poly-addicted guy in his early thirties from Detroit who was as magnificent a shit-talking addict as I have ever met. When you’ve been an addict and spent your life around them, at home, in school, at work, in bed, you very quickly come to see who’s serious about cleaning up and who’s not. I had strong doubts about both, particularly the kid from Detroit, about whom I would prove correct. Both of them screamed I’m enabled, what’s your name?!

Clare and her sister Sarah show up at the house a couple hours after I arrive. They both stand just over five feet tall, and have no physical resemblance beyond that. Bespectacled Clare resembles a hippie accountant, while ink-and-bleach Sarah is more skate punk. They both project substantial presence.

Later that afternoon Chris Bava and his wife, Cat, stop by. Both are artists and former clients who are renting a beautiful beach house just down the hill from Pangea. Chris was a Category 5 poly-addicted mess, hooked on heroin, ketamine, crystal meth, and methadone. He had done three years in a federal joint for a drug related offense, and was clean and sober for a number of years before falling back into addiction. Clare had saved both of their lives through ibogaine therapy, and they now paid their respects, as many former clients did, by volunteering their time at the clinic.

“You can’t really use me as an example, though,” Chris says, waving me off. “I’m not an an ibogaine success story, it didn’t work on me the first couple of times.”

Cat quibbles, “After the second treatment he went on a ketamine rampage and we had to commit him. That was when he was ready to quit, that third time. And it worked.”

Later the three of us are walking on the beach together while Jeff, another former addict who is part of a provider training program, is keeping an eye on the guy from Detroit, who is throwing balls to Chris and Cat’s dogs. Jeff is making sure Detroit doesn’t try to cop dope from someone on the beach or street. The addicts who come to Pangea often need constant monitoring, like this guy. Within a day he is caught with a smuggled set of works and it becomes apparent to the staff that he has broken into the med closet and stolen methadone and valium. After hanging around for a week, on his parents dime, without undergoing the treatment, he eventually decides to leave, and Clare ends up having to drop him across the border.

Cat pulls up alongside me as we shuffle through the sand.

“I wasn’t expecting anything when I took ibogaine,” she says in a thick Aussie drawl, “but I found it cured me of smoking, and nicotine was definitely my drug of choice. I smoked for 35 years! I expected to die of lung cancer. I can’t tell you how surprised I was not to crave a cigarette. I was simply baffled.”

The next day I fast after gagging down a handful of supplements with a macrobiotic vegetable juice Sarah makes me, part of Pangea’s neurotransmitter replacement therapy regimen. The supplements are meant to prep the brain for the ibogaine, and most of the addicts coming in for treatment have depleted neurotransmitters and are suffering from various degrees of depression, chronic fatigue, liver issues, or viral infection. In some cases patients have to be stabilized with benzodiazapines before they can undergo the treatment, hence the valium on site. For the more benign cases, marijuana is provided for anyone who wants it, to combat anxiety, nausea, and depression. It’s also available because it’s considered medicine, and it’s not illegal. This small detail alone would be considered radical, and most likely dangerous, across the border, where just up the road in San Diego legal medical marijuana clinics are raided on a weekly basis. To be honest, the weed makes for a nice vibe, and in a place like this — a trip factory, a healing center — vibe is everything.

The last step in the preparation procedure is for me to take it in the ass, literally, with a 48oz coffee enema, what Clare calls a “crappuccino.” She takes me into the bathroom to explain to me how to do it properly.

“This significantly helps with absorption and detoxification. You need to hold it in for 15 minutes. That’s optimal because the liver cycles out toxins every 5 minutes, so we need you to hold it in for three full cycles. Just don’t take it in too fast or you’ll get involuntary contractions and it will come back out even faster and we’ll have a hell of a mess to clean up.”

We don’t get around to beginning the procedure until nearly 10pm. While I settle into my bed, Joaquin the EMT hooks me up to a cardiac pulse/ox monitor and inserts an IV port into my arm in case of emergency. I’m given one last dose of aminos along with omeprazol and metoclopromide to combat nausea, and then Clare appears with the ibogaine.

Continue with Part II here

Charles Shaw is the author of Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics & Spirituality, appearing exclusively on Reality Sandwich.

Psychedelic Resources

A Foraging Trip: Where Do Magic Mushrooms Grow?
Eager to learn more about the origin of psilocybin species? Read this article to find out where magic mushrooms grow and more!

How to Make Shroom Tea: Best Recipe and Dosage
A step by step guide on how to brew shroom tea, and why entheogenic psilocybin tea is a preferred method for psychedelic connoisseurs.

R. Gordon Wasson: Author and Mushroom Expert
Learn about R. Gordon Wasson, the “legendary mushroom expert” and popular figure within the psychonaut community.

Shrooms vs Acid: Differences and Similarities Explained
Ever wondered what the differences are between shrooms vs acid, or if you can take both together? This guide explains what you need to know.

Quantum Mechanics, Reality, and Magic Mushrooms
Scientist and author Dr. Chris Becker takes an in-depth approach in understanding how we perceive reality through magic mushrooms and quantum mechanics.

Psilocybin Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to Psilocybin has everything you want to know about this psychedelic fungi from its uses to its legal status.

The Psilocybin Experience: What’s the Deal With Magic Mushrooms?
From microdoses to macrodoses, the psilocybin experience has been sought after both medicinally and recreationally for millennia.

Psilocybin and Magic Mushroom Resources
Curious to learn more about psilocybin? This guide is a comprehensive psilocybin resource containing books, therapeutic studies, and more.

Paul Stamets Profile: Mushroom Guru, Filmmaker, Nutritionist, Scientist
Learn about Paul Stamets, read his thoughts on psilocybin mircodosing, the future of psilocybin, and his recent film “Fantastic Fungi”.

Microdosing Psilocybin & Common Dosage Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivably, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing psilocybin.

Psilocybin Nasal Spray: Relief for Anxiety, PTSD, and Depression
Microdosing nasal spray with psilocybin, is that possible?! Oregan a start-up Silo Wellness believes so and has created this new option for PTSD treatment.

Mazatec Mushroom Usage: Notes on Approach, Setting and Species for Curious Psilonauts
A look at traditional Mazatec psilocybin mushroom usage, and a comparison to the cliniical therapeutic approach, with an examination of the Mazatec setting and species used in veladas.

María Sabina: The Mazatec Magic Mushroom Woman
Magic mushrooms are incredibly popular today. How they became introduced to into American culture isn’t usually a topic discussed while tripping on psilocybin fungi. We all may have María Sabina to thank for exposing the Western world to the healing properties of the psilocybin mushroom.

Guide to Magic Mushroom Strains
Are there different types of psilocybin? Read our guide to learn about the different magic mushroom strains and their individual effects.

Kilindi Iyi: Mycologist, Traveler, Teacher
Learn about traveler and mycologist Kilindi Iyi known in the psychedelic community for his research and exploration of psilocybin.

How to Store Shrooms: Best Practices
How do you store shrooms for optimal shelf life? Learn how and why the proper storage method is so important.

Shroom Chocolate Recipes: How to Make Magic Mushroom Chocolates
This recipe provides step by step directions on how you can make mushroom chocolates with the necessary ingredients. Read to learn more!

Why Do People Use Psilocybin? New Johns Hopkins Study
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicines has just published a new study on psychoactive effects of psilocybin. Read here to learn more.

How-To Lemon Tek: Ultimate Guide and Recipe
This master guide will teach you how to lemon tek, preventing the onset of negative effects after consuming psilocybin. Read to learn more!

How to Intensify a Mushroom Trip
Learn about techniques like Lemon tekking, or discover the right time to consume cannabis if you are looking to intensify a mushroom trip.

How to Grow Magic Mushrooms: Step-by-Step
This step-by-step guide will show you how to grow magic mushrooms at home. Read this guide before trying it on your own.

How to Dry Magic Mushrooms: Best Practices
Read to learn more about specifics for the best practices on how to dry magic mushrooms after harvesting season.

How to Buy Psilocybin Spores
Interested in psilocybin mushrooms? We’ll walk you through all you need to know to obtain mushroom spores. Nosh on this delish How To guide.

Hippie Flipping: When Shrooms and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Explore the mechanics of hippie flipping and how to safely experiment.

Having Sex on Shrooms: Good or Bad Idea?
Is having sex on shrooms a good idea or an accident waiting to happen? Find out in our guide to sex on magic mushrooms.

Gold Cap Shrooms Guide: Spores, Effects, Identification
Read this guide to learn more about the different characteristics of gold cap mushrooms, and how they differ from other psilocybin species.

Guide to Cooking with Magic Mushrooms
From cookies to smoothies and sandwiches, we cover various methods of cooking with magic mushrooms for the ultimate snack.

2020 Election: The Decriminalize Psilocybin Movement
Are you curious if mushrooms will follow in marijuana’s footsteps? Read to learn about how the U.S. is moving to decriminalize psilocybin.

Oregon’s Initiative to Legalize Mushrooms | Initiative Petition 34
Oregon continues to push ahead with their initiative to legalize Psilocybin in 2020. The measure received its official title and now needs signatures.

Canada Approves Psilocybin Treatment for Terminally-Ill Cancer Patients
Canada’s Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu approved the use of psilocybin to help ease anxiety and depression of four terminal cancer patients.

Mapping the DMT Experience
With only firsthand experiences to share, how can we fully map the DMT experience? Let’s explore what we know about this powerful psychedelic.

Guide to Machine Elves and Other DMT Entities
This guide discusses machine elves, clockwork elves, and other common DMT entities that people experience during a DMT trip.

Is the DMT Experience a Hallucination? 
What if the DMT realm was the real world, and our everyday lives were merely a game we had chosen to play?

How to Store DMT
Not sure how to store DMT? Read this piece to learn the best practices and elements of advice to keep your stuff fresh.

What Does 5-MeO-DMT Show Us About Consciousness?
How does our brain differentiate between what’s real and what’s not? Read to learn what can 5-MeO-DMT show us about consciousness.

How to Smoke DMT: Processes Explained
There are many ways to smoke DMT and we’ve outlined some of the best processes to consider before embarking on your journey.

How to Ground After DMT
Knowing what to expect from a DMT comedown can help you integrate the experience to gain as much value as possible from your journey.

How To Get DMT
What kind of plants contain DMT? Are there other ways to access this psychedelic? Read on to learn more about how to get DMT.

How DMT is Made: Everything You Need to Know
Ever wonder how to make DMT? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how DMT is made.

Having Sex on DMT: What You Need to Know
Have you ever wondered about sex on DMT? Learn how the God Molecule can influence your intimate experiences.

Does the Human Brain Make DMT? 
With scientific evidence showing us DMT in the brain, what can we conclude it is there for? Read on to learn more.

How to Use DMT Vape Pens
Read to learn all about DMT vape pens including: what to know when vaping, what to expect when purchasing a DMT cartridge, and vaping safely.

DMT Resources
This article is a comprehensive DMT resource providing extensive information from studies, books, documentaries, and more. Check it out!

Differentiating DMT and Near-Death Experiences
Some say there are similarities between a DMT trip and death. Read our guide on differentiating DMT and near-death experiences to find out.

DMT Research from 1956 to the Edge of Time
From a representative sample of a suitably psychedelic crowd, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who couldn’t tell you all about Albert Hofmann’s enchanted bicycle ride after swallowing what turned out to be a massive dose of LSD. Far fewer, however, could tell you much about the world’s first DMT trip.

The Ultimate Guide to DMT Pricing
Check out our ultimate guide on DMT pricing to learn what to expect when purchasing DMT for your first time.

DMT Milking | Reality Sandwich
Indigenous cultures have used 5-MeO-DMT for centuries. With the surge in demand for psychedelic toad milk, is DMT Milking harming the frogs?

Why Does DMT Pervade Nature?
With the presence of DMT in nature everywhere – including human brains – why does it continue to baffle science?

DMT Substance Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to DMT has everything you want to know about this powerful psychedelic referred to as “the spirit molecule”.

DMT for Depression: Paving the Way for New Medicine
We’ve been waiting for an effective depression treatment. Studies show DMT for depression works even for treatment resistant patients.

Beating Addiction with DMT
Psychedelics have been studied for their help overcoming addiction. Read how DMT is helping addicts beat their substance abuse issues.

DMT Extraction: Behind the Scientific Process
Take a look at DMT extraction and the scientific process involved. Learn all you need to know including procedures and safety.

Microdosing DMT & Common Dosages Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing DMT.

DMT Art: A Look Behind Visionary Creations
An entire genre of artwork is inspired by psychedelic trips with DMT. Read to learn about the entities and visions behind DMT art.

Changa vs. DMT: What You Need to Know
While similar (changa contains DMT), each drug has its own unique effect and feeling. Let’s compare and contrast changa vs DMT.

5-MeO-DMT Guide: Effects, Benefits, Safety, and Legality
5-Meo-DMT comes from the Sonora Desert toad. Here is everything you want to know about 5-Meo-DMT and how it compares to 4-AcO-DMT.

4-AcO-DMT Guide: Benefits, Effects, Safety, and Legality
This guide tells you everything about 4 AcO DMT & 5 MeO DMT, that belong to the tryptamine class, and are similar but slightly different to DMT.

How Much Does LSD Cost? When shopping around for that magical psychedelic substance, there can be many uncertainties when new to buying LSD. You may be wondering how much does LSD cost? In this article, we will discuss what to expect when purchasing LSD on the black market, what forms LSD is sold in, and the standard breakdown of buying LSD in quantity.   Navy Use of LSD on the Dark Web The dark web is increasingly popular for purchasing illegal substances. The US Navy has now noticed this trend with their staff. Read to learn more.   Having Sex on LSD: What You Need to Know Can you have sex on LSD? Read our guide to learn everything about sex on acid, from lowered inhibitions to LSD users quotes on sex while tripping.   A Drug That Switches off an LSD Trip A pharmaceutical company is developing an “off-switch” drug for an LSD trip, in the case that a bad trip can happen. Some would say there is no such thing.   Queen of Hearts: An Interview with Liz Elliot on Tim Leary and LSD The history of psychedelia, particularly the British experience, has been almost totally written by men. Of the women involved, especially those who were in the thick of it, little has been written either by or about them. A notable exception is Liz Elliot.   LSD Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety LSD, Lysergic acid diethylamide, or just acid is one of the most important psychedelics ever discovered. What did history teach us?   Microdosing LSD & Common Dosage Explained Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing LSD.   LSD Resources Curious to learn more about LSD? This guide includes comprehensive LSD resources containing books, studies and more.   LSD as a Spiritual Aid There is common consent that the evolution of mankind is paralleled by the increase and expansion of consciousness. From the described process of how consciousness originates and develops, it becomes evident that its growth depends on its faculty of perception. Therefore every means of improving this faculty should be used.   Legendary LSD Blotter Art: A Hidden Craftsmanship Have you ever heard of LSD blotter art? Explore the trippy world of LSD art and some of the top artists of LSD blotter art.   LSD and Exercise: Does it Work? LSD and exercise? Learn why high-performing athletes are taking hits of LSD to improve their overall potential.   Jan Bastiaans Treated Holocaust Survivors with LSD Dutch psychiatrist, Jan Bastiaans administered LSD-assisted therapy to survivors of the Holocaust. A true war hero and pioneer of psychedelic-therapy.   LSD and Spiritual Awakening I give thanks for LSD, which provided the opening that led me to India in 1971 and brought me to Neem Karoli Baba, known as Maharajji. Maharajji is described by the Indians as a “knower of hearts.”   How LSD is Made: Everything You Need to Know Ever wonder how to make LSD? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how LSD is made.   How to Store LSD: Best Practices Learn the best way to store LSD, including the proper temperature and conditions to maximize how long LSD lasts when stored.   Bicycle Day: The Discovery of LSD Every year on April 19th, psychonauts join forces to celebrate Bicycle Day. Learn about the famous day when Albert Hoffman first discovered the effects of LSD.   Cary Grant: A Hollywood Legend On LSD Cary Grant was a famous actor during the 1930’s-60’s But did you know Grant experimented with LSD? Read our guide to learn more.   Albert Hofmann: LSD — My Problem Child Learn about Albert Hofmann and his discovery of LSD, along with the story of Bicycle Day and why it marks a historic milestone.   Babies are High: What Does LSD Do To Your Brain What do LSD and babies have in common? Researchers at the Imperial College in London discover that an adult’s brain on LSD looks like a baby’s brain.   1P LSD: Effects, Benefits, Safety Explained 1P LSD is an analogue of LSD and homologue of ALD-25. Here is everything you want to know about 1P LSD and how it compares to LSD.   Francis Crick, DNA & LSD Type ‘Francis Crick LSD’ into Google, and the result will be 30,000 links. Many sites claim that Crick (one of the two men responsible for discovering the structure of DNA), was either under the influence of LSD at the time of his revelation or used the drug to help with his thought processes during his research. Is this true?   What Happens If You Overdose on LSD? A recent article presented three individuals who overdosed on LSD. Though the experience was unpleasant, the outcomes were remarkably positive.

The Ayahuasca Experience
Ayahuasca is both a medicine and a visionary aid. You can employ ayahuasca for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual repair, and you can engage with the power of ayahuasca for deeper insight and realization. If you consider attainment of knowledge in the broadest perspective, you can say that at all times, ayahuasca heals.


Trippy Talk: Meet Ayahuasca with Sitaramaya Sita and PlantTeachers
Sitaramaya Sita is a spiritual herbalist, pusangera, and plant wisdom practitioner formally trained in the Shipibo ayahuasca tradition.


The Therapeutic Value of Ayahuasca
My best description of the impact of ayahuasca is that it’s a rocket boost to psychospiritual growth and unfolding, my professional specialty during my thirty-five years of private practice.


Microdosing Ayahuasca: Common Dosage Explained
What is ayahuasca made of and what is considered a microdose? Explore insights with an experienced Peruvian brewmaster and learn more about this practice.


Ayahuasca Makes Neuron Babies in Your Brain
Researchers from Beckley/Sant Pau Research Program have shared the latest findings in their study on the effects of ayahuasca on neurogenesis.


The Fatimiya Sufi Order and Ayahuasca
In this interview, the founder of the Fatimiya Sufi Order,  N. Wahid Azal, discusses the history and uses of plant medicines in Islamic and pre-Islamic mystery schools.


Consideration Ayahuasca for Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Research indicates that ayahuasca mimics mechanisms of currently accepted treatments for PTSD. In order to understand the implications of ayahuasca treatment, we need to understand how PTSD develops.


Brainwaves on Ayahuasca: A Waking Dream State
In a study researchers shared discoveries showing ingredients found in Ayahuasca impact the brainwaves causing a “waking dream” state.


Cannabis and Ayahuasca: Mixing Entheogenic Plants
Cannabis and Ayahuasca: most people believe they shouldn’t be mixed. Read this personal experience peppered with thoughts from a pro cannabis Peruvian Shaman.


Ayahuasca Retreat 101: Everything You Need to Know to Brave the Brew
Ayahuasca has been known to be a powerful medicinal substance for millennia. However, until recently, it was only found in the jungle. Word of its deeply healing and cleansing properties has begun to spread across the world as many modern, Western individuals are seeking spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. More ayahuasca retreat centers are emerging in the Amazon and worldwide to meet the demand.


Ayahuasca Helps with Grief
A new study published in psychopharmacology found that ayahuasca helped those suffering from the loss of a loved one up to a year after treatment.


Ayahuasca Benefits: Clinical Improvements for Six Months
Ayahuasca benefits can last six months according to studies. Read here to learn about the clinical improvements from drinking the brew.


Ayahuasca Culture: Indigenous, Western, And The Future
Ayahuasca has been use for generations in the Amazon. With the rise of retreats and the brew leaving the rainforest how is ayahuasca culture changing?


Ayahuasca Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
The Amazonian brew, Ayahuasca has a long history and wide use. Read our guide to learn all about the tea from its beginnings up to modern-day interest.


Ayahuasca and the Godhead: An Interview with Wahid Azal of the Fatimiya Sufi Order
Wahid Azal, a Sufi mystic of The Fatimiya Sufi Order and an Islamic scholar, talks about entheogens, Sufism, mythology, and metaphysics.


Ayahuasca and the Feminine: Women’s Roles, Healing, Retreats, and More
Ayahuasca is lovingly called “grandmother” or “mother” by many. Just how feminine is the brew? Read to learn all about women and ayahuasca.

What Is the Standard of Care for Ketamine Treatments?
Ketamine therapy is on the rise in light of its powerful results for treatment-resistant depression. But, what is the current standard of care for ketamine? Read to find out.

What Is Dissociation and How Does Ketamine Create It?
Dissociation can take on multiple forms. So, what is dissociation like and how does ketamine create it? Read to find out.

Having Sex on Ketamine: Getting Physical on a Dissociative
Curious about what it could feel like to have sex on a dissociate? Find out all the answers in our guide to sex on ketamine.

Special K: The Party Drug
Special K refers to Ketamine when used recreationally. Learn the trends as well as safety information around this substance.

Kitty Flipping: When Ketamine and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Read to explore the mechanics of kitty flipping.

Ketamine vs. Esketamine: 3 Important Differences Explained
Ketamine and esketamine are used to treat depression. But what’s the difference between them? Read to learn which one is right for you: ketamine vs. esketamine.

Guide to Ketamine Treatments: Understanding the New Approach
Ketamine is becoming more popular as more people are seeing its benefits. Is ketamine a fit? Read our guide for all you need to know about ketamine treatments.

Ketamine Treatment for Eating Disorders
Ketamine is becoming a promising treatment for various mental health conditions. Read to learn how individuals can use ketamine treatment for eating disorders.

Ketamine Resources, Studies, and Trusted Information
Curious to learn more about ketamine? This guide includes comprehensive ketamine resources containing books, studies and more.

Ketamine Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to ketamine has everything you need to know about this “dissociative anesthetic” and how it is being studied for depression treatment.

Ketamine for Depression: A Mental Health Breakthrough
While antidepressants work for some, many others find no relief. Read to learn about the therapeutic uses of ketamine for depression.

Ketamine for Addiction: Treatments Offering Hope
New treatments are offering hope to individuals suffering from addiction diseases. Read to learn how ketamine for addiction is providing breakthrough results.

Microdosing Ketamine & Common Dosages Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing ketamine.

How to Ease a Ketamine Comedown
Knowing what to expect when you come down from ketamine can help integrate the experience to gain as much value as possible.

How to Store Ketamine: Best Practices
Learn the best ways how to store ketamine, including the proper temperature and conditions to maximize how long ketamine lasts when stored.

How To Buy Ketamine: Is There Legal Ketamine Online?
Learn exactly where it’s legal to buy ketamine, and if it’s possible to purchase legal ketamine on the internet.

How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?
How long does ketamine stay in your system? Are there lasting effects on your body? Read to discover the answers!

How Ketamine is Made: Everything You Need to Know
Ever wonder how to make Ketamine? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how Ketamine is made.

Colorado on Ketamine: First Responders Waiver Programs
Fallout continues after Elijah McClain. Despite opposing recommendations from some city council, Colorado State Health panel recommends the continued use of ketamine by medics for those demonstrating “excited delirium” or “extreme agitation”.

Types of Ketamine: Learn the Differences & Uses for Each
Learn about the different types of ketamine and what they are used for—and what type might be right for you. Read now to find out!

Kitty Flipping: When Ketamine and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Read to explore the mechanics of kitty flipping.

MDMA & Ecstasy Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to MDMA has everything you want to know about Ecstasy from how it was developed in 1912 to why it’s being studied today.

How To Get the Most out of Taking MDMA as a Couple
Taking MDMA as a couple can lead to exciting experiences. Read here to learn how to get the most of of this love drug in your relationship.

Common MDMA Dosage & Microdosing Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing MDMA.

Having Sex on MDMA: What You Need to Know
MDMA is known as the love drug… Read our guide to learn all about sex on MDMA and why it is beginning to makes its way into couple’s therapy.

How MDMA is Made: Common Procedures Explained
Ever wonder how to make MDMA? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how MDMA is made.

Hippie Flipping: When Shrooms and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Explore the mechanics of hippie flipping and how to safely experiment.

How Cocaine is Made: Common Procedures Explained
Ever wonder how to make cocaine? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how cocaine is made.

A Christmas Sweater with Santa and Cocaine
This week, Walmart came under fire for a “Let it Snow” Christmas sweater depicting Santa with lines of cocaine. Columbia is not merry about it.

Ultimate Cocaine Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
This guide covers what you need to know about Cocaine, including common effects and uses, legality, safety precautions and top trends today.

NEWS: An FDA-Approved Cocaine Nasal Spray
The FDA approved a cocaine nasal spray called Numbrino, which has raised suspicions that the pharmaceutical company, Lannett Company Inc., paid off the FDA..

The Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Bioavailability
What is bioavailability and how can it affect the overall efficacy of a psychedelic substance? Read to learn more.

Cannabis Research Explains Sociability Behaviors
New research by Dr. Giovanni Marsicano shows social behavioral changes occur as a result of less energy available to the neurons. Read here to learn more.

The Cannabis Shaman
If recreational and medical use of marijuana is becoming accepted, can the spiritual use as well? Experiential journalist Rak Razam interviews Hamilton Souther, founder of the 420 Cannabis Shamanism movement…

Cannabis Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to Cannabis has everything you want to know about this popular substances that has psychedelic properties.

Cannabis and Ayahuasca: Mixing Entheogenic Plants
Cannabis and Ayahuasca: most people believe they shouldn’t be mixed. Read this personal experience peppered with thoughts from a procannabis Peruvian Shaman.

CBD-Rich Cannabis Versus Single-Molecule CBD
A ground-breaking study has documented the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant Cannabis extract as compared to synthetic cannabidiol (CBD), challenging the medical-industrial complex’s notion that “crude” botanical preparations are less effective than single-molecule compounds.

Cannabis Has Always Been a Medicine
Modern science has already confirmed the efficacy of cannabis for most uses described in the ancient medical texts, but prohibitionists still claim that medical cannabis is “just a ruse.”

Related Posts

Ready to explore the frontiers of consciousness?

Sign up for the Reality Bites newsletter and embark on a journey into the world of psychedelics, mindfulness, and transformation. It’s where the curious minds gather.

Become a conscious agent with us.

Featured Sponsor

KA! Empathogenics

The good-for-you Kanna supplement that activates full-spectrum aliveness. It’s clinically-proven to increase feelings of empathy and euphoria, helping people feel more alive, capable and connected to themselves, others and nature. Try KA!’s 30-Day Journey Bundle.

Our Partners

Welcome to Reality Sandwich. Please verify that you are over 18 years of age below.

Reality Sandwich uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By entering Reality Sandwich, you are agreeing to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.