A gentler, safer ibogaine experience
Pangea was founded in 2006 in Tijuana, Mexico, a colorful and turbulent city that shares its border with Southern California. Clare Wilkins took over management of the clinic, originally named the Ibogaine Association, approximately 8 months after her treatment for methadone addiction in 2005.
The treatment model that we inherited was similar to that still used by many ibogaine providers today. Clients arrived on a Monday for a 5-day treatment, and underwent further blood work, a medical evaluation, and a clinical history by an MD. That evening they were administered a test dose, followed by a large single dose of ibogaine hydrochloride.
Multiple doctors were present throughout the night and into the next morning, and clients were attached to monitors that would set off alarms when oxygen levels or pulse fluctuated beyond certain parameters.
We built upon the model that we inherited from the very best information that we had could access about how treatments could be offered safely and effectively, a commitment that we maintain. Yet, even with all of these precautions and medical supervision we experienced emergencies on a regular basis due to unseen factors and the strength of pure ibogaine hcl, especially with already physically compromised clientele.
Of course, during this time, many of clients experienced intense epiphanies, some with visions that clearly explained the roots of their addiction by emphasizing their relationships with loved ones. Occasionally these included portentous visions of their own demise if they continued on the same path of self-harm.
Yet amidst our successes, we gradually came to find that this model wasn’t working to our standard. In a 5-day period we could not begin to address the myriad of factors, including the chronic malnutrition, which underlie the states of disease and addiction we were treating. These are marked by neurological patterns and habits shaped over a lifetime by false/negative beliefs, poor diet, enculturation, trauma, and even undiagnosed brain injuries.
Neural pathways are embedded. It requires vigilant daily awareness and practice to override the default modes of decision-making, and nutritional support to assist in the enduring task of lifestyle remodeling. We continually found that we needed more time to give clients access to some of the other therapeutic modalities available for cultivating wellbeing and balance, and that we wanted to be closer to nature.
Today, our program is dramatically different in many ways. Our main location is further south, in a tiny subtropical fishing and surfing village on the central Pacific coast of Mexico. Nature dictates life here, with a symphony of plants, birds, insects, animals and cultural elements setting the pace. We find that this rhythm reflects and punctuates the individual awakenings that take place.
When clients first arrive they are stabilized for several days, during which we initiate a cleansing diet and develop a personalized nutritional protocol. Iboga is introduced slowly and concurrently with psychotherapy and somatic therapy, allowing for much deeper and more fruitful self-reflection and awareness practice to occur. Over the course of days and weeks, iboga cultivates a mind state conducive to powerful realizations about one’s agency and responsibility, as well as the ability to more clearly identify life’s obstacles and their purpose.
Specifically, it becomes important to examine commonly held notions of the shadow, suffering, or anything believed to be negative or wrong, and to diffuse the emotional charge and magnetism around harmful language and action.
The minimum length of our stay is 2 weeks, and we encourage anyone that is able to extend his or her stay in a self-styled aftercare setting. The treatment environment is much more relaxed. We have found that with a very carefully tailored dosing protocol, proper preparation and diet, and enough time, most of the medical equipment we used to rely on became unnecessary.
Our journey began as a high-turnover clinic operating out a city that experienced high tensions because of immigration and drug war violence. We averaged about three clients per week, and had a high staff to client ratio. However, although most of our doctors were formally trained they were naïve to the experiential aspects of ibogaine and addiction.
Where we would have previously offered 80 to 100 treatments in a year, we now offer closer to 35. This has allowed for our small team to provide longer, more focused treatments, and our experience has been rewarding.
In the past three years we have stopped as much medical machinery, except for occasional diagnostics. During that time we have offered many successful treatments without a single emergency episode, and we’ve been able to treat patients with conditions that are conventionally considered contraindicated with ibogaine. In fact, in a lot of cases, we’ve seen these risk factors improve over the course of treatment.
Now working with only a few select clients per month in a location surrounded by dense nature, using the highest quality supplements and foods that we are able to source, we are continuing to cultivate a holistic and intuitive program that has witnessed some remarkable transformations.