FAQ

Before your stay

What is the cost of treatment?

Our treatments can vary in price depending on several factors. Psychospiritual treatments that are conducted in small groups (3-6 people) are $6500. We offer discounts on this service for military veterans and first responders. Detoxification or other private treatments can vary depending on your particular needs. Stays can range from 7-30 days and sometimes require medical stabilization or adjunct therapies. For the most accurate estimation, please complete an application form or contact us to speak to an intake coordinator.

Where are you located?

Our pickup point is in San Diego, CA, and we offer direct transportation from the airport and downtown hotels to our facilities.

Where can I get an EKG?

We ask that you please send us an EKG no more than three months old prior to arrival. Your GP should be able to write a request for this that you can then take to a lab for the test. If you do not have a GP, most walk-in clinics can provide one upon request. Please note: we require the full print-out of the test, not just the physician’s interpretation.

Where can I get bloodwork done?

Our detox protocols require that you have bloodwork done and sent prior to arrival, which includes a complete metabolic panel, including potassium, magnesium, and liver enzymes. Any walk-in lab can usually attend to this and provide results by email. QuestLabs in the United States has a location search feature, where you can find a lab near you.

Do I have to come off of my drugs/medication?

There are many drugs and medications that have significant interactions with ibogaine. Some of those medications, including many psychiatric medications, such as SSRI antidepressants, are incompatible with ibogaine, and we require you to taper off of these before arriving at the facility.

This is not the case for all medications. Some medications we can manage on-site, even when there are safety concerns, such as opioids and benzodiazepines.

Do I have to stop drinking alcohol?

Yes. We require people to stop drinking alcohol for a minimum of 5 days prior to arrival.

If you are at risk of experiencing alcohol withdrawals, such as tremors and seizures, this must be managed with medication and the assistance of a physician. We can provide supervised alcohol detoxification on-site at our private facilities.

How can I best prepare?

We provide everyone who comes to our facilities with access to an ibogaine-informed coach who we recommend that you meet with at least 2 times prior to arrival, and continue to meet with after you leave our facility. Your coach will help you get to know you and your reasons for taking ibogaine, and help you with practical and psychological preparations before you arrive.

Other recommendations for preparation may come from our medical team, and include recommendations regarding medications, diet, etc.

In general, we find that our treatments can help to create strong points of change in people’s lives. Working to solidify those changes as much as possible prior to coming can make these transitions much easier. This may include having a new place to stay when you return home, or it may be simpler changes such as implementing a gym routine or diet changes. Whatever it is, your coach will help you to clarify these goals so you can make the most out of your experience.

General questions

What is Iboga?

Iboga generally refers to the root bark of the Tabernanthe iboga shrub that is native to the west coast of Central Africa. Iboga has been consumed by native cultures ceremonially and medicinally for millennia. Iboga contains at least 13 alkaloids. Although ibogaine is the principal psychoactive alkaloid, other alkaloids may have other effects. In some instances we work with a standardized total alkaloid extract of iboga, which has been sourced ethically, in ways that protect access and provide benefits for traditional communities in Gabon, which takes advantage of the effects of these other alkaloids in their natural balance.

What is Ibogaine?

Ibogaine is the primary active alkaloid that occurs naturally in iboga root bark, as well as in lesser concentrations in some other plants. Ibogaine is an atypical psychoactive that many people have reported provides psychological and medical benefits that can support people with important personal changes. Treatments with ibogaine are experimental and have not been approved by the FDA or any other regulatory agency, but can still be provided legally and safely at Ambio facilities. In some cases, we use ibogaine that is produced semi-synthetically from alternate plant sources (such as voacanga africana) in order to protect natural supplies and cultural heritage of iboga and its traditional knowledge holders.

What is an Ibogaine experience like?

Ibogaine is an atypical psychoactive that can produce a variety of different effects. These can vary greatly based on dosage, as well as from person to person, and even from one experience to the other. It has been described as oneirogenic (or dream generating), since the visual and psychological experiences can have some similarities to dreams, and may be generated by a waking state of REM (rapid-eye movement) similar to when we dream. For some people these effects can be hyper-realistic and deeply significant, for others the experience can be difficult to remember, uncomfortable, or feel inconclusive, unresolved, or disappointing. What we have come to understand, both through our own relationship with ibogaine, and extensive clinical experience, is that the ibogaine experience is long. Some effects last during the night, others through the following day or two, others that last for weeks, and others over even longer periods. The experience can be, at first, very mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding. It can also ask us for a great deal of patience to reveal the benefit and meaning that it offers.

When taking a therapeutic dose (also referred to as a flood dose) the onset of effects is usually 1-3 hours. The most intense effects that follow can include visions, various physical sensations, and side effects like ataxia (significant loss of coordination), tremors, nausea, vomiting. The strongest of these effects can last 8-16 hours, but after effects can continue for another 8 to 24 hours or more. Usually, people don’t sleep during the night of the experience, or during the following day. It can take some days or weeks afterwards to return completely to baseline, which is usually the time in which people note the most significant benefits.

What is 5-meo-DMT?

5-meo-DMT is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound that is found in a variety of plants and animals, most notably in the secretions of Bufo alvarius, also known as the Sonoran Desert Toad or the Colorado River Toad. 5meo has a rapid onset when vaporized and inhaled, and produces a powerful, short-lived psychedelic experience. For some people, the experience can include letting go of a connection to the body and the surroundings, and complete immersion into a spiritual state. Sometimes the process of letting go can be temporarily challenging. Often people describe the immersive state as blissful, intense, and spiritual. Many people have reported strongly therapeutic effects from 5-meo-DMT, however the treatment is experimental and has not been approved by the FDA or any other regulatory body.

Why do you do ibogaine and 5-meo-DMT together?

The combination of ibogaine and 5-meo-DMT has become a popular and more common treatment modality during the past decade. While ibogaine’s effects are long acting, draining and sometimes take time to unpack and understand fully, 5meo can be more reliably psychedelic, more like what people are expecting, as well as more energizing and conclusive. Frequently we find that people who still feel unresolved shortly after their ibogaine experience can arrive much more quickly to a sense of completion following their 5meo experience. Many people have reported strongly therapeutic effects from the combination of ibogaine and 5-meo-DMT, however the treatment protocol is experimental and has not been approved by the FDA or any other regulatory body.

Are ibogaine and 5-meo-DMT legal?

Ibogaine and 5-meo-DMT are not legal everywhere. In the United States, for example, both are considered Schedule I narcotics, with no medicinal value. Great efforts are being taken to change the legal status in the United States, which is difficult, expensive and time-consuming. 

Ambio works in jurisdictions where both ibogaine and 5meo are unscheduled and able to be used legally, safely, and confidentially under the supervision of a medical and therapeutic team.

During your stay

What if I have a bad trip?

Ibogaine is not necessarily an easy experience. It can be mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding. Many people find the experience, and the day or two that follows to be exhausting and uncomfortable, or to feel incomplete. However, we are not used to seeing large emotional reactions to the experience. For the most part, the ibogaine experience is a powerfully internal experience. The impulse is to lie quite still, and to have the eyes closed, or to wear a blackout mask. It relaxed the body physiologically in a number of ways, including slowing the heart rate and breathing. Many find that the experience, even while there are intense aspects, takes us into a state of “witnessing.” This is not exactly feeling dissociated, but it typically allows us to retain a sense of who we are, where we are, and what is happening, even while the visionary or dream-like experiencing is playing out internally. This is commonly reported, even for people who have had difficult experiences with other psychoactives.

With that said, we have an excellent and caring on-site therapeutic team that is able to support you with experienced and encouraging guidance, as well as with medication or medical needs, throughout your experience. If you have other questions or concerns, please bring this up with us as you go through the application process. We’re used to these types of questions.

What are the risks?

It is important to note that ibogaine has resulted in some fatalities and hospitalizations. We take these risks incredibly seriously. Our team has been involved in the development of Clinical Guidelines for Ibogaine-Assisted Detoxification that is a published basic standard, but we go much further than these general recommendations in ensuring safety. For your part, it is important that you are upfront with us about your medical history and any medications that you take regularly or have taken recently. For our part, we have strong medical leadership, as well as a physician assigned to each of our facilities, and on-site medical staff available 24-hours a day during your stay. We conduct thorough onsite screening, including medical tests on-site, as well as constant cardiac monitoring during your treatment, with a robust care team on short-duration shifts throughout the night of your treatment.

We have conducted thousands of treatments at our facility without any unmanageable medical situation, and are committed and uncompromising when it comes to your health and safety.

Does it really treat opioid withdrawal?

There are tens of thousands of cases now, over the course of 4 decades, of people taking ibogaine to help mitigate withdrawal from opioids. Ibogaine is very reliable in helping to reduce withdrawal and to reduce accumulated tolerance to opioids, which can interrupt physical dependency. For those in early recovery, this can be an incredible and unprecedented gift of ease. However, the process is not necessarily withdrawal-free or discomfort-free, and it may not work the same for all opioids. For example, there are complications with fentanyl and other synthetic fentanyl analogs that require longer stabilization. There are also complications with longer-acting opioids such as those used in maintenance, like Suboxone or methadone. These can require extended periods of stabilization on short-acting opioids prior to ibogaine treatment.

If you have questions about your specific case, please contact us or submit an application and we’ll be happy to discuss. We can offer on-site stabilization during private retreats.

Does ibogaine help with chronic pain?

Pain can be a complicated topic for a few reasons. Firstly, there are so many different types of pain, with different causes. Ibogaine may be helpful for some types of pain. Recently we have conducted several case studies of treating severe treatment-resistant neuropathic pain (brachial plexus nerve root evulsions) with ibogaine, and have shown a significant analgesic and somewhat restorative effect. However, this required regular, ongoing dosages after the initial treatment.

Others who have been treating pain with opioids may notice several complications. For one, opioid induced hyperanalgesia is a term used to describe the hyper-sensitivity to pain after long-term opioid use, even when physiological causes of pain have been resolved. This can often make withdrawal from opioids overly painful. Ibogaine can, in many cases, help to reduce this.

In many cases, when you remove opioids pain management can become an issue. It is important to have a plan in place on how to manage pain going forward. Many of our clients have found beneficial results from using ibogaine to withdrawal from opioids after other pain remedies are in place, such as surgical procedures, medical cannabis, or others.

How does ibogaine work for Parkinson’s or tremors?

There are a slowly growing body of anecdotal reports from people with Parkinson’s disease who have experienced a reduction of symptoms when taking ibogaine, even in small “micro”doses. For a review of early cases and a theoretical explanation, see our blog. In short, ibogaine, and its primary metabolite noribogaine (which can stay in the body for days or weeks) can stimulate neurotrophic factors such as BDNF and GDNF, which are targets for Parkinson’s drugs.

Treatment for Parkinson’s is experimental and requires a custom program design, which we are happy to discuss when you submit an application.

Can I leave a tip for staff?

Tips are welcome. We have an incredibly caring and talented team that put their hearts into their work. Tips can be provided in cash to a facility manager or by bank transfer, and are distributed amongst all of our staff that work shifts.