By Ben De Loenen

Article by Adriana Rubio

Ibogaine is a substance that is extracted from the root of an African plant called Iboga that grows in Gabon. This plant is originally used by the Bwiti culture during specific ceremonies related to initiations, but in the sixties the anti-addictive properties of this psychoactive substance were discovered by Howard Lotsof in the United States. Howard Lotsof realized that after ingesting Ibogaine, he could instantaneously stop his heroin addiction without having any withdrawal symptoms or going “cold turkey”. Soon after that Lotsof got more and more interested in exploring the nature of his addiction because of the psychoactive phase he had experienced.

The use of Ibogaine to treat drug addiction in the United States is illegal and the entire subject is surrounded by lots of controversy. But despite the encouraging results that prove the efficacy of its use, the pharmaceutical companies and the government still show no interest and remain skeptical.
Film Director Ben De Loenen, of the Dutch film production company LunArt Productions produced and directed the film “IBOGAINE: RITE OF PASSAGE”, in co-production with Triomf Productions.

Ben De Loenen had read an article about Ibogaine in a Dutch magazine.  At that time, he was a second year student at the Utrech School of the Arts and wanted to devote his final exam project to Ibogaine. The cultural and spiritual essence of Ibogaine and the lack of economical interest of the pharmaceutical companies caught Ben De Loenen's attention. He got support from many experienced people in the Ibogaine field and very especially from Howard Lotsof. Unsurprisingly, pharmaceutical companies as well as conservative detox and rehab clinics rejected the invitation to participate in the film alleging that they “had no comments”.

Treatment scenes for the “Ibogaine: Rite Of Passage” documentary were shot in three different places: 1) Sara’s house in Breukelen, The Netherlands, 2) Ibogaine Association in Mexico, 3) Iboga Therapy House in Vancouver. A big number of interviews were done for the film with Howard Lotsof, former heroin addicts, the father of a former addict, scientists, a psychotherapist and a Bwiti shaman.

Due to the large amount of material reached for the film, a selection of it needed to be made, and only the treatment scene filmed in Mexico on patient Cy Kobey of San Diego, CA was used along with the interviews cited above. Additionally, a live Traditional Bwiti Initiation was also included.

Cy Kobey was 34 when “Rite Of Passage” documentary came out. He had on his shoulders 11 years of heroin and speed addiction. The Ibogaine treatment reveals to him all his suppressed emotions. He is a father of three kids. 

This fifty minute documentary shows the different components of Ibogaine by means of personal experiences told by former heroin addicts, treatment providers and experts in this field. This film takes the viewer right to their personal experiences and makes him/her become a witness of their treatments and knowledge. A MUST SEE!

About LunArt Productions
LunArt Productions is a film production company that was created in 2003 by Ben De Loenen and his crew. It focuses on social documentaries. With these documentaries, they do their best to inform people about significant social causes. And with the “Ibogaine: Rite Of Passage” documentary, they vividly report to people about the existence of Ibogaine and provide education on its anti-addictive properties.  They hope people can understand the message and break the stigma that surrounds drug addiction and the use of psychoactive substances for spiritual/medicinal purposes. For more information please visit: www.lunartproductions.com.

Film Director Ben De Loenen is currently working at the “International Center for Ethnobotanical, Education, Research & Service”(http://www.iceers.org/).  It is a philanthropic, non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and distribution of ethnobotanical knowledge and its practice in the interest of the intellectual, practical and spiritual advance of society. Among the ethnobotanicals this organization work on is Iboga, the potent anti-addictive tool that interrupts craving for heroin, cocaine, methadone and other drugs, while eliminating pain of narcotic withdrawal.