Jeremy has a PhD in European philosophy from Warwick University and is the author of the best-selling book, A Young Person’s Guide to Philosophy. Dr. Weate spent 15 years working as a consultant on natural resource governance, providing advice to governments, companies and civil society organisations in over 20 countries. Jeremy spent 12 years living in Nigeria (2003-15) and has visited over 60 countries. Jeremy visited Gabon in 2016 and was initiated into Bwiti. He is also the Executive Director of the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance (GITA). Dr. Weate is executive producer of a film about Ibogaine (currently in development) – The Ibogaine Stories and is also involved in setting up an ibogaine therapy centre in Portugal.
Lightness and Dark in the Ibogaine Scene
Research for a film on ibogaine has taken me to the UK, Spain, Portugal, Greece, South Africa, the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. I have seen light and shadows along the way. Ibogaine was studied through the MKUltra programme by Harris Isbell. In 1955, Isbell studied the effects of ibogaine in 8 detoxified subjects. I’ll explore ibogaine failing to medicalise in the 1990s examining what happened at the NIDA meetings. Was funding for ibogaine stopped for scientific reasons, a lack of commercial incentives, or more shadowy “political” reasons: Big Pharma investing in opioid-based drugs? Ibogaine went underground. A network of over 90 clinics around the globe are treating thousands of people with a specific condition, with the number of clinics growing rapidly. Safety from clinic to clinic lies along a spectrum: many 1000s of clients have had their addiction interrupted (at least temporarily), while 10s of people have died during (or immediately after) treatment. I will end with a discussion of the supply chain, with large quantities of iboga root bark smuggled out of Gabon: the plant is now threatened. I shall ask what it will take to raise more awareness of ethically and sustainably sourced ibogaine and closer relations to forest communities in Gabon.