Taking iboga to saturation levels can seem like an intimidating venture. It involves a diet preparation, a fast, ingesting the bitter medicine, about 8 hours of deep mental rewiring, a couple more days of adjustment after the rewiring, then an elongated integration period lasting anywhere from 1-4 weeks, or some even say, a lifetime. It is a deeply personal experience and for that reason cannot be understood solely from the words of others’ experiences. The following account of my experiences do not condone the use of iboga nor its extracts in this or any manner.
When I first decided to reach a saturation level with iboga, otherwise known as flood dose, I had already had a few microdosing sessions to get a feel for the plant in my system, taking a few grams of bark a day for a couple of weeks at a time. I began to understand its effects in light doses and also feel the effects of ibogaine accumulation in my body, becoming comfortable with my ultimate goal of flood dosing sometime in the future. When the time came I called a friend, Angel, who had already done many flood doses himself and I invited him to take a flood dose together with a Total Alkaloid (TA) extract I had made. Angel had only flood dosed with bark before and was not familiar with my extracts, so we measured out an equivalent weight of TA according to the amount of bark he had taken in the past, including in his Bwiti ceremonies in Gabon.
During a Bwiti ceremony, participants take many spoonfuls of bark throughout a night at 30 minute or hour intervals. The way we took the TA extract is a bit different than this method, as we took it all in one go and had to be more precise and measured with our higher limit since there’s no going back once it is inside of you. We measured out our doses and placed them in capsules to avoid any gagging reflexes from the strong bitter taste of the alkaloids. Angel turned on some Bwiti string instrumental music he had on his phone and we stretched, relaxed, and meditated until the trademark buzzing sounds of iboga began in our heads.
Our bodies became weak and we laid down from our sitting positions. A bit of nausea began to settle in so I just laid back in my bed allowing the medicine to take effect. During the next few hours my mind raced through what seemed like a rolodex of memories, my own feelings of untied relations from the past. Iboga even took me into the shoes of those I hadn’t even taken time to reflect on from events that had come and gone without resolutions. It was hard to concentrate on what thoughts were passing through my racing mind as the buzzing continued and the music kept eliciting new visions without many concrete conclusions for those passed. They say that the 8 hours or so during the episode of iboga’s effects are not the full purpose of the medicine, but a means to an end.
During this time of channel changing madness in my mind, I had an urge to purge. Angel had foreseen this physical ailment before taking the medicine and had placed a bucket near me for this purpose. What little water was inside of me from the fasting had quickly been expelled and violent dry heaving ensued. Compared to the action going on inside my mind, the purge was but a fleeting moment that was insignificant to the overall experience I was profoundly being engulfed in. My reduced muscular strength from the effects made it difficult to move to the bathroom or to retrieve some water, but it was still possible to walk, although with great effort.
We had taken the extract in the morning, the afternoon came and went, night also arrived and the visions had subsided, but my mind was in no place to rest just yet. At this point, there are clinics that give their patients Ambien to sleep, which could be a risk to mix with the ibogaine, but I wasn’t aware of this protocol so I laid in an waking sleep. To clarify, ibogaine, the active ingredient in iboga, is a neurostimulant, so you will find it very difficult to sleep during the peak and come down of a flood dose. The next day I still found it difficult to walk as I was still slightly kinetically impaired. I was fatigued from the efforts my mind had taken me through and I still required rest.
As the days passed, I regained my strength, but my mind stayed sharp and awakened by a renewed feeling of connectivity with others through empathy and at the same time, I understood my senses more objectively. It was a powerful sentiment to be able to connect and understand effortlessly. In addition, I had no want for anything. I desired nothing and felt full with myself. Integrating this understanding is key to the experience. I cannot emphasize how important it was to want to hold on to this idea. Luckily, iboga stays with you for weeks, as the alkaloids’ half-life have a duration of about 2 weeks. This allows for a slow and processed assimilation of whatever you go through during your own experience with the plant.
I’ve heard of several different types of experiences with iboga flood doses. Many involve detox, which luckily I was not needing at the time, and some use it for a spiritual cleanse or search for clarity. There is a spectrum of effects as well. Some people do not experience nausea and do not purge, while others remain laying for days in waking sleep without being able to get up until they’re ready. It’s kind of the beauty of the unknown, but also highlights the need for safety when taking iboga. You never know how it will affect you personally, so I always recommend caution in trying a small dose before going in deep. Check your sensitivity to the plant and never rush seeking answers, as plenty have died misusing iboga, and are grieved by all, their friends, family, and the community of this powerful and mystical entheogen.