Ayahuasca vs Ibogaine: What You Need to Know

ayahuasca vs ibo copy

Being in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, our facility is in the heart of an incomparable area of the world, one brimming with mystical energies, ancient rituals, as well as a deep respect for the Earth and the tools it provides us. Beyond the stunning beaches, magical cenotes, lush jungle, and warm culture, one thing the area has become famous for is its ‘spiritual retreats’, and among these, no substance other than Ayahuasca has been more central to the recreational ‘tripping’ movement that continues to draw visitors from around the world.

Today, as specialists in ibogaine treatment and protocols for improving wellness through natural remedies, we wanted to discuss something that is often asked of us, and we see brought up online often: how does ibogaine compare to ayahuasca? What are the unique attributes of each, and why would one choose one over the other?

Both have traditional use as plant-based medicines and have a deep history behind them. Both of them have commonly been categorized as psychedelics, and both have been described as ‘life changing’ by many who have experienced them.

While, naturally, being a facility that has developed hundreds of specific protocols for using ibogaine strategically and effectively, a crucial part of our work is to study how a variety of substances can affect the human mind and body, and effectively communicate the differences between plants that many commonly interchange, especially in an area like Riviera Maya, which is a Mecca for those seeking such experiences.

For us, it boils down to one simple comparison: psychedelic vs perception.

First, let’s define our terms.

What is a Psychedelic?

According to the most standard definitions, Psychedelics are a subclass of hallucinogenic drugs whose primary effect is to trigger non-ordinary states of consciousness (usually known as psychedelic experiences or “trips”). This causes specific psychological, visual, and auditory changes, and often is accompanied by a substantially altered state of consciousness.

Psychedelic states can often range anywhere from pensive to transcendental types of alterations of mind. The “classical” psychedelics, the psychedelics with the largest scientific and cultural influence, as well as being familiar to most casually-interested people, are LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), and DMT.

Psychedelics affect all the senses, altering a person’s thinking, sense of time and emotions. They can also often cause a person to hallucinate—seeing or hearing things that do not exist or are distorted. These can be anything from completely imaginary sensations, to the tapping into external energy and forces, all the way to deeply introspective moments.

Ayahuasca Retreats & What They Do

Ayahuasca ceremonies are usually held at night, frequently in a communal space (though private or small group sessions are indeed available) and last until the effects of Ayahuasca have worn off. Once the space is prepared and blessed by a shaman leading the ceremony, Ayahuasca is offered to participants, sometimes split into several doses.

Effects can start to emerge with twenty to sixty minutes, and can be anything including  vomiting, diarrhea, feelings of euphoria, strong visual and auditory hallucinations, mind-altering psychedelic effects, fear, and paranoia. It’s worth noting that these are usually considered a normal part of the process.

Once in the throes of the psychedelic experience, participants often feel as they’re getting in touch with powerful energies, some from within, and many from their surroundings and the universe beyond.

Since Ayahuasca is usually a very communal medicine, it’s common for energies to travel around the ceremony space, and this means that we might be processing other participant’s “stuff” along with our own.

From a certain perspective, since we indeed exist within a communal life and we are meant to support one another, this can be seen as part of the beauty of the Ayahuasca experience; however, there are potential downsides: 1) opening oneself up to random and external energies can be overwhelming, especially to a fragile psyche looking to heal some deep wounds, 2) the recreational setting that often accompanies Ayahuasca ceremonies means that dosages are doled out in a very general manner, and may not be suitable for those seeking a truly personalized experience.

Put another way, while Ayahuasca ‘sends you out’, Ibogaine brings you inward.

Ibogaine Treatment and Perception

If ayahuasca acts and an antenna to a wide range of energies and forces outside of oneself, ibogaine cracks open the infinite universe within our own subconscious.

Taken properly, under strict protocols from an expert practitioner, ibogaine has been shown to unlock areas of memory and self-analysis simply not accessible through most other substances or techniques.

One immediate distinction must be noted: unlike ayahuasca, ibogaine has not become popular in any regard for recreational use. Due to the personal and intense experience, and perhaps even due to the lack of traditionally ‘trippy’ psychedelic effects, it simply has a nonexistent market for such group or ‘vision retreat’ style applications.

Ibogaine’s introspective nature is one of its most notable characteristics. During this experience, users will feel the urge to conquer their fears, traumas and negative emotions. Evidence shows individuals feeling a sense of calm or even euphoria following ibogaine use.

With Ibogaine, there is a concept of going deeper within the mind. We’re not tripping out, we’re zeroing in on truth, accessing only what’s within us, not pulling in from a myriad of external forces, as is often the case with ayahuasca.

Shamans that have used the sacred substance for generations believe that Ibogaine helps one access the infinite nature we all contain.

For this reason, and after thousands of successful applications of ibogaine, each time with a deeply personalized dosage and protocol for each individual, we believe ibogaine, while sharing some physiological similarities with hallucinogens, enters a new category of perception that warrants new classification beyond simply psychedelic.

Both plant substances have their place in the human experience, and while we obviously specialize in helping change people’s lives through ibogaine treatment, we encourage everyone to continue their research and learn as much as possible about these differences, depending on their own personal journey and goals.

Those wishing to learn more about the ibogaine treatment process employed at our facility can do so here.


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