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Ibogaine: Rite of Passage (2004)

Ibogaine: Rite of Passage follows an American heroin addict through an ibogaine session at a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico. Through a series of critical interviews with former addicts, ibogaine... See full summary »


Benjamin De Loenen


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Cast overview:
Howard Lotsof Howard Lotsof ... Self
Patrick K. Kroupa Patrick K. Kroupa ... Self


Ibogaine: Rite of Passage follows an American heroin addict through an ibogaine session at a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico. Through a series of critical interviews with former addicts, ibogaine facilitators, and other experts, the documentary asks if the controversial status of ibogaine is due to economics or to its hallucinogenic effects? [maps.org]

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The most important film on addiction ever made.
22 October 2018 | by meddlecoreSee all my reviews

I'm not going to say much about this film other than IT IS REVOLUTIONARY !!!!

Ibogaine is an absolutely amazing psychadelic originating from the African country of Gabon. It's amazing, in that it can cure you of ANY addiction safely and naturally.

Watch the documentary and see for yourself....then put on your lobbying shoes....cause its banned in many places as a result of ignorance on behalf of governments, government agencies and major drug companies.

from link written by the director ( and I HIGHLY recommend you click the link as you can link to multiple other fascinating sites from within the article):

"In September the documentary about the use of Ibogaine for the treatment of addiction, "IBOGAINE-Rite of Passage" premiered at the Dutch Film Festival in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Ben De Loenen, of the Dutch film production company LunArt Productions, produced and directed this film in co-production with Triomf Productions. Since then the film has been showcased at several film festivals and conferences, and in January of 2006 it will play at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam.


Ibogaine is a substance which is derived from the root of the 'Tabernanthe Iboga', an African plant that grows in Gabon. This plant is originally used during initiations of the Bwiti culture, to get in contact with the ancestors. These initiations are conducted for healing purposes and as a ritual when a child becomes an adult. This holy plant has become the core of this Central West African culture.

After the ingestion of the ground root of the plant, the initiated enters dreamlike visions, in which he or she commonly re-experiences elements of his or her past and in this way gains insight in their own personality. This psychoactive phase lasts about 36 hours and has its peak about four hours after ingestion, where after the effect slowly decreases to end in a short sleep.

In the beginning of the sixties, a young American man called Howard Lotsof discovered that after ingesting Ibogaine, he could instantly stop his heroin use without having any withdrawal symptoms or craving. Next to that he had gained more insight in the cause and nature of his addiction because of the psychoactive phase he had gone thru.

He started to investigate this discovery, despite the lack of interest of the pharmaceutical companies and the government of the US. After he started NDA International Inc. (New Drug Application) in 1986, he finally patented Ibogaine as an addiction interrupter with the name 'Endabuse'. The Ibogaine molecule on its own cannot be patented, because it's a natural substance. This is, according to some people, one of the reasons why the pharmaceutical companies are not interested in the development of this substance. Also the findings of a research the CIA conducted in the sixties are according to some kept strictly confidential.

Addict-care organizations rarely if ever want to have anything to do with Ibogaine, and the people who conduct treatments are often not taken seriously by the "regular" treatment providers. In America Ibogaine is classified as 'Schedule 1', which means that it is drug without any medicinal value that is considered dangerous, with serious abuse potential. It is scheduled the same as LSD, heroin, cocaine and other narcotics. That's why people such as the neurologist Dr. Deborah C. Mash conducts her treatments outside the borders of the American law. Also, in Belgium, Ibogaine was made illegal shortly after the negotiations between the Belgian pharmaceutical company Omnichem, at that time the most important producer of Ibogaine, and NDA International started.

Ibogaine is surrounded by controversy, and the decisions about the use of Ibogaine in the treatment of addiction appear to be made on a political and economical, instead of a rational, basis. Despite the results that show that Ibogaine is often a very useful tool for the treatment of addiction that can enhance the quality of the life of many heroin and poly-drug addicts (without functioning as a maintenance drug, as in the case with methadone and other anti-addiction drug currently used), the pharmaceutical companies and the government show no interest and stay very skeptical. Is it because of the economic interests or because it is a psychoactive substance?

Ibogaine has provided us with more insight into the mechanisms of addiction and the question of whether it needs to be used for treating this huge Western problem gets more and more acknowledgement.

The film

About three years ago, Ben De Loenen read an article about Ibogaine in a Dutch magazine.

The cultural/spiritual background of this substance and the economical interests of the pharmaceutical companies in particular caught Ben's attention. Ben was a second year student at the Utrecht School of the Arts at that moment, and decided to dedicate his final exam project to this subject. This was the beginning of a long research period in which he managed to get the cooperation of many people in the field. In particular Howard Lotsof has been very supportive in the realization of this project.

Three treatments were recorded for the film; one in Sara's House in Breukelen (The Netherlands), one in the Iboga Therapy House in Vancouver and the third one in the Ibogaine Association in Mexico. Because of the large amount of footage shot for the film, only the last treatment was finally used in the final edit. Also a lot of interviews were conducted with ex-addicts, treatment providers, the father of an ex-addict, a psychotherapist, scientists, a Bwiti shaman and Howard Lotsof. And finally a traditional Bwiti initiation in Central West Africa was shot in June of 2004.

What's finally used in the film brings the spectator close to the personal experience of the (ex-) addict and focuses less on the science behind Ibogaine. Next to that, the spectator becomes a witness of the spectacular traditional Bwiti-ritual, which contrasts very much to the use of Ibogaine in the Western World. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to get people of pharmaceutical companies and regular treatment centers in front of the camera, as they didn't react on the invitation, or stated that they "had no comments." For more information on the film, go to ibogainefilm(dot)com".

Probably the most important film about addiction ever made.

10 out of 10.

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Release Date:

27 September 2004 (Netherlands) See more »

Filming Locations:

Canada See more »


Box Office


EUR7,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Lunart, Triomf Producties See more »
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