Date: Sat, 8 Nov 1997 13:59:55 EST
From: Chris Jenks <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Multiple recipients of list <email@example.com>
Subject: Layman's Translation
At 02:25 PM 11/7/97 EST, Catlas <Catlas@aol.com> wrote:
>To whom it may concern,
>I read the recent submissions to the news group and am very appreciative that
>this information is being made available. I only learned of the "Ibogaine
>Option" most recently and am very interested in the medical treatment
>However, not having a chemistry background, these recent articles, to say at
>the very least, are esoteric! Would it possible for some of our friends who
>are chemists and reseachers to offer a sort of "layman's translation" and
>perhaps and "overview " for those like myself, educated in the "liberal Arts"
>and are admittedly lacking in knowedge of the "Physical Sciences".
I'm sorry, I should have provided more of an explanation with the
articles. The list of chemical sources is simple - those companies sell
ibogaine, or similar substances. One person has notified me that the phone
numbers given for several companies don't work. I had hoped that by
providing this information to the list, it might eventually fall into the
hands of doctors or researchers who can make use of it. My goal is to make
effective treatment for addiction more available to everyone who needs it,
and if I can do so by helping other helpers, I'm happy with that.
The patent was mostly very dry - I hope nobody read the whole thing! This
information needs to be made available on the Web so that everyone can
access it. If part of the text were missing, people who are hungry for
chemical knowledge might wonder if something important was left out. That
long patent had only a short message:
Voacangine has a molecule which is the same as ibogaine except there is a
group, -CO2CH3, hanging off, where ibogaine has only a -H atom. If this
group is removed, then voacangine becomes ibogaine. Boiling voacangine in
alcohol which contains lye causes the CH3 to fall off and be replaced by an
Na, so now there is a -CO2Na dangling from the ibogaine molecule. If acid
is added, the Na is replaced by H to give a -CO2H group. When warmed
gently, this group releases carbon dioxide, CO2, so that only the -H is
left, and ibogaine is obtained.
The patent also says that, given this easy conversion of voacangine into
ibogaine, it is better to make ibogaine from voacangine than to extract it
directly from Tabernanthe iboga. The reasons for this are that the Voacanga
africana tree whose bark contains lots of voacangine is much more
widespread than T. iboga, and the bark can be harvested more easily than
root can, and the bark can be harvested in a manner which allows the tree
Another part of the patent describes the synthesis of noribogaine, which
is what the human body turns ibogaine into in a matter of hours and is
believed to be responsible for ibogaine's long term effects. There is a
good chance that noribogaine can treat addiction, and may have advantages
There is a group on the ibogaine molecule which looks like -OCH3. When
your liver gets hold of it, it chops off the CH3 and replaces it with H, so
the group becomes -OH, and the resulting molecule is named noribogaine. The
"nor" means "without CH3". In the patent, the authors demonstrate that
boiling ibogaine with a mixture of acetic acid (vinegar but stronger) and
hydrobromic acid turns it into noribogaine. They also find that voacangine,
under the same conditions, also turns into noribogaine. The reason for this
is that the acid causes the CO2CH3 group to lose CH3 and become CO2H, which
loses carbon dioxide (CO2) because of the heat to turn into ibogaine.
Dickel's extraction article demonstrates the extraction and purification
of ibogaine from Tabernanthe iboga. Ground root was extracted with boiling
alcohol, and the alcohol was boiled down, filtered, and shaken with
low-boiling petroleum. Oils and similar unwanted things dissolved in the
petroleum, which was then thrown away. The extract, which was acidic (sour)
because it had vinegar in it, was made basic (bitter) by adding ammonia.
Like most drugs, ibogaine reacts with acids to form a salt which
dissolves in water. If that acid happens to be hydrochloric acid, then the
salt is called a hydrochloride. It is popular to store many drugs as the
hydrochloride because they tend to be more stable that way, and because
they will dissolve in water for easy assimilation into the body. The salt,
in the case of ibogaine, consists of each molecule of ibogaine stuck to one
molecule of an acid. If the salt is treated with a base, such as ammonia,
then the acid gets neutralized, and free base ibogaine is obtained.
Ibogaine base doesn't dissolve in water, but it does dissolve in organic
solvents which the salt won't dissolve in. This chemistry applies just as
well to other drugs, like Zantac (ranitidine hydrochloride). The salt
dissolves in water but not, say, ether, while the free base dissolves in
ether but not water. This property makes it easy to separate ibogaine from
something like sugar, because sugar dissolves in water whether it is sour
or not, and doesn't dissolve in ether.
To return to our exciting story, the watery extract containing ibogaine
was made basic (bitter) with ammonia, so the ibogaine ceased to dissolve.
The extract was shaken with an organic solvent, which dissolved the
ibogaine, and then the solvent was separated and boiled down. The black
goop obtained at this point is called the "total alkaloids", because up to
this point, any and all of the alkaloids in this root had been extracted
and isolated. Still, there was much more ibogaine than there was of
anything else. When the residue was dissolved in alcohol and then left in
the freezer, ibogaine crystallized out.
The reason for this is that alcohol can only dissolve so much of
something until the alcohol becomes "saturated". When alcohol is cold, it
usually can't dissolve as much of something as when it is warm, so the
excess separates out. Things besides ibogaine, however, are present only in
small amounts, so the alcohol isn't saturated with them, and they don't
separate out. This process is called crystallization, and accomplishes
purification of the ibogaine. The crystals can be made even purer by
recrystallizing them - dissolving them in hot ethanol and allowing the
solution to cool and deposit crystals. Again, this is a very general
>I would also like to know where or who to contact regarding the use of
>Ibogaine for "medical" addiction purposes. I am aware of the established
>Clinic's outside the US. but would appreciate any information regarding other
>"treatment options" by perhaps reseachers or others successful recipients of
>the treatment, with the ability to discuss these matters.
>Thanking You in advance!
Can you clarify what you want to know? You're welcome to send me private
e-mail if you have personal questions, or maybe I could get you in touch
with someone you're looking for.