Identification and quantitation of ibogaine and an o-demethylated metabolite in brain and biological fluids using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry

Hearn WL, Pablo J, Hime GW, Mash DC

Metro-Dade County Medical Examiner’s Dept., Miami, FL 33136-1133, USA.


This report describes a sensitive method for quantitating ibogaine and a single major metabolite in biological fluids and brain tissue. We identified the metabolite as 12-hydroxy-ibogamine (12-OH-ibogamine or noribogaine) by full-scan, electron-impact gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Ibogaine, 12-OH-ibogamine, and o-(methyl)-ibogaine-d3 (ibogaine-d3) internal standard were isolated by solvent extraction under basic conditions. The resulting organic extract was evaporated to dryness, and the residue was derivatized at room temperature with ethyl iodide in the presence of trimethyl anilinium hydroxide in dimethyl sulfoxide. The reaction was terminated by acidification and washed with organic solvents to remove impurities. The aqueous phase was then alkalinized and reextracted. The organic extract was concentrated and analyzed by GC-MS. Quantitation was based upon the ratios of the molecular ions at m/z 310 for ibogaine, m/z 313 for ibogaine-d3, and m/z 324 for 12-OH-ibogamine ethyl ether. The limit of detection was 5 ng/mL for both ibogaine and derivatized 12-OH-ibogamine, and limits of quantitation were between 5 and 10 ng/mL for all matrices tested. Calibration curves were linear in the range of 3-1000 ng/mL or ng/g for both analytes.

Literature Review Science

Ibogaine in the Treatment of Substance Dependence

A literature review by Dr. Thomas Kingsley Brown published in the Current Drug Abuse Reviews, spanning ibogaine’s preclinical studies.

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Ibogaine is a psychoactive alkaloid derived from Tabernanthe iboga, a plant used in initiatory rituals in West Central Africa. Largely because of ibogaine’s status as a Schedule I substance in the U.S., the development of ibogaine’s use in the treatment of drug addiction took place outside conventional clinical and medical settings. This article reviews the history of ibogaine’s use in the treatment of drug addiction, and discusses progress made towards, and obstacles blocking, the establishment of controlled clinical trials of ibogaine’s efficacy. Preclinical research has generally supported anecdotal claims that ibogaine attenuates withdrawal symptoms and reduces drug cravings. Concerns about ibogaine’s safety, as well as a dearth of solid data from human studies, have hampered progress in its development as an approved medication. This article outlines major findings from preclinical studies, discusses concerns about ibogaine’s safety, and details previous and ongoing research on ibogaine’s use as an anti-addictive treatment for humans

Literature Review Science

Ibogaine Scientific Literature Compilation


Compiled in 2012 by The International Center for Ethnobotanical Education Research & Service, under the guidance of José Carlos Bouso & Kenneth R. Alper, MD.

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240 pages

Contains articles relating to:

  • Relevant Preclinical Literature
  • Toxicology & Psychological risks
  • Evidence of Efficacy in Humans
  • Regulation