A German company called Atai Life Sciences is about to test ibogaine, a hallucinogenic compound modeled on the extract of an African plant, as a treatment for opioid addiction.
- The company has backing from Silicon Valley tycoon Peter Thiel.
- “In some circles, psychedelics are still associated with escape from the real world and irresponsible extravagance,” Thiel said in an email. “With FDA-controlled studies, we will come to see that their most powerful use brings people to mental health and sober sanity in a medical setting.”
- Studies have found ibogaine reduces symptoms of opioid withdrawal more effectively than methodone.
- “Patients have described their experience as a sobering trip that visualizes the negative consequences of drug abuse,” an executive with Atai partner DemeRx said. The procedure requires 24 hours of clinical monitoring since ibogaine has been linked to heart side effects.