Scientists Develop Synthetic Ibogaine Compound That Can Treat Addiction, Depression

July 1, 2021 14:20:03

Researchers from the University of California-Davis have developed a synthetic version of ibogaine, a psychedelic drug that is nonhallucinogenic. The synthetic compound has the potential to treat various psychiatric disorders, including depression and addiction. The researchers’ findings were reported in the “Nature” journal.

David Olson, an assistant professor of chemistry at the institution who was also the senior author of the paper, stated that while psychedelic drugs were powerful substances that affected the brain, it was a shame that very little was known about them. What is known is that ibogaine is extracted from the Tabernanthe iboga plant.

Various anecdotal reports have cited that the substance has powerful anti-addiction effects that help prevent relapses and decrease drug cravings. However, it also has severe side effects such as cardiac toxicity and hallucinations. Additionally, the drug is classified as a controlled substance under Schedule 1 of U.S. law. Olson’s lab at the University of California-Davis is among the few that have obtained licenses that enable it to work with substances classified under Schedule 1 in the Controlled Substances Act.

In contrast to ibogaine, the synthetic molecule can be synthesized in one single step and is also water soluble. The researchers conducted experiments with zebrafish and cell cultures which led to the discovery that the compound was less toxic than ibogaine; ibogaine has been linked to a few deaths and can also give rise to heart attacks.

The compound, which the researchers named TBG, or tabernanthalog, was also found to increase the formation of new branches (dendrites) in the nerve cells of rats as well as boosting the formation of new spines on those branches. This is similar to the effect of substances such as DMT, MDMA and LSD on the connections of nerve cells. However, the compound also brought about a head twitch response as observed in the mice used in the research, which corresponds to hallucinations in people.

Other experiments of addiction and depression conducted in mice models have also demonstrated that TBG has favorable effects. The experiments were carried out in accordance with National Institutes of Health regulations and were approved and reviewed by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees.

The researchers observed that mice cut back on their alcohol consumption after one dose of TBG had been administered. This was also observed in mice that had become addicted to heroin, with the researchers noting that TBG had a lasting effect on opiate relapses.

The researchers are hopeful that this compound will not only help treat depression and addiction but also other psychiatric diseases. However, more research on the compound needs to be conducted to ascertain whether it is effective in treating other ailments.

Many other companies such as XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT) are also at work developing their own therapeutic formulations from different psychedelics, so it may not be long before any number of these novel therapies are approved for use by patients suffering from different ailments and mental health conditions.

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NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to XPHYF are available in the company’s newsroom at

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