Ibogaine therapy with before and after brain scans

At the end of April of 2016 I traveled to Peru with five other veterans on a mission to explore plant medicines to heal service trauma.  This experience would be captured in the documentary Soldiers of the Vine.  Before making the pilgrimage to the spiritual home of ayahuasca, the universe had some more classes in store for me on the plant medicine curriculum.

In mid-April I participated in a three-day ayahuasca ceremony with a fellow veteran for his first time.  He had his war room breakthrough on his first step to process and integrate his war trauma.

I had my most challenging ayahuasca experience to that date in that ceremony when I drank to the veterans on my first cup of the second day.  Mother Ayahuasca kicked my butt as she gave me a powerful lesson in how old these plants are and how old the earth is and I’m this tiny little creature with my aspirations and motivations to share these medicines.  Who was I to think that these medicines could heal the deepest wounds?  Who knew if veterans could safely hold space for this level of work?  The most powerful and best purges to date got me ready to receive the medicine for even deeper work in the jungle.

I promise I was not trying to cram too many credits in my semester, but in between the three week period I was invited to Crossroads Ibogaine Treatment Center in Tijuana and Rosarito [now reincarnated as veterans treatment center called Mission Within] to participate as veteran test pilot number one and take ibogaine and toad bufotoxin (5-Meo-DMT) and have before and after brain scans (electrical and blood flow) as only the second person to ever do that with ibogaine.

I flew in to LAX and stayed with Dr. Joseph Barsuglia, former Director of Clinical Research and Assessment, who would be accompanying me throughout the entire experience.  In addition to working at Crossroads, he was participating along with me as a patient, as Dr. Joe was continuing to use multiple rounds of ibogaine to treat his lyme disease.

I had been on a strict regimen for weeks to prepare for the tests and going to Peru.  No consumption of medications (natural or otherwise), no supplements, no coffee, no kombucha, etc. were all necessary to have a clean baseline.  They even had me get my microbiome tested with the world’s first sequencing-based clinical microbiome test provided by uBiome.

There was a ton of prep work to describe my complete medical history including listing every single drug I had ever taken in my life.  As a self-identified psychonaut, I figured out that was easiest in chronological order.

alcohol, cannabis, magic mushrooms, mda, mdma, LSD, mescaline, mushrooms and syrian rue, peyote, 5-Meo-DMT, DMT, ketamine, ayahuasca, 2cb, DPT, 2ct7, salvia divinorum, 2ce and 2ci.

I took all sorts of cognitive tests before and after in addition to the brain scans.

Here is the summary of my patient report.

51 year old Caucasian Male, US Army Vet, West Point grad, attorney, served in Panama during Operation Just Cause.

History of complex PTSD, anxiety/depression/excessive worry, attentional symptoms “addicted to going to fast” and “prone to becoming easily bored.”

Utilized meditation, yoga and plant medicines including ayahuasca dozens of times and over 50 healing journeys with psilocybin.

No prior psychiatric treatment.

Extensive trauma history: numerous car accidents, childhood sexual abuse, near drowning incident, near death experiences as Black Hawk helicopter pilot.

Prior history of PTSD with nightmares, extreme rage, depression.

History of 4  major TBI’s with loss of consciousness 5-10 minutes, 8 concussions as soccer player.

Seeking Crossroads Treatment for trauma resolution, test pilot for other vets.

Quantitative EEG Analyses Before:

The qEEG analyses were deviant from normal and showed dysregulation in the left frontal lobe.  LORETA showed dysregulation in the left middle frontal gyrus, left superior frontal gyrus, left inferior parietal lobule and left precentral gyrus.

The left frontal lobes are involved in executive functioning, abstract thinking, expressive language, sequential planning, mood control and social skills.

The parietal lobes are involved in visual-spatial information processing, short-term memory, executive attention, receptive language on the left and empathy control and awareness of emotional expression in others on the right (e.g., prosody).

The precentral gyrus is involved in skilled motor movements, frontal eye fields and voluntary movement.  To the extent that there is deviation from normal electrical patterns in these structures, sub-optimal functioning is expected.

Mr. K Before Ibogaine

Quantitative EEG Analyses After:

No significant deviant was found from power spectral analyses.  LORETA 3-dimensional source analyses are within normal range.

Mr. K After Ibogaine

The best way I can describe the improvements for myself if that prior to treatment with ibogaine I was overclocking my chip on my left hemisphere.  It was running faster and able to process information more quickly, but more subject to faults, unreliability, and unexpected resets.

I have a family history of mania.  Ibogaine can treat trauma, addiction/compulsion and traumatic brain injury (TBI).  I got relief in all three categories.  I processed trauma from many near death experience flying helicopters and my sister’s death.   I uncoupled programming for some of my compulsive behaviors, especially eating for emotional comfort.  I healed my brain injuries from concussions from fights and soccer and got relief from other limitations in my brain health as well.

Ibogaine can help with the integration of the left and right hemispheres through the corpus callosum.  I definitely experienced that along with the so-called iboga dexterity, which I could really appreciate in my soccer playing.

2016-08-21 15.03.30

The healing effects are still present almost two years later and I’m grateful for the gift of healing from the medicine and the chance to be an exemplar and advocate for these natural earth medicines which have helped me so much on my personal journey.

Aho, Ian


3 thoughts on “Ibogaine therapy with before and after brain scans

  1. Hello my name is brock I just looked at your story thank you for sharing. I’ve been through Ibogaine treatment and has saved my life! Keep sharing your story! Proud of you!

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About Ian Benouis

Ian is a West Point graduate, former US Army officer, Blackhawk helicopter pilot and combat veteran. He is Patient Number One for the Mission Within which treats special operators with PTSD, TBI and addiction using iboga and toad in Mexico. Ian has been helping wounded veterans for over 7 years. Ian has moderated numerous veteran’s panels including the MAPS Psychedelic Science conference in 2018 in Austin and the Bufo Congress in 2019 in Mexico City. He has founded an ONAC church chapter which was later returned to the parent church. He is a founder of a Santo Daime church which is the US chapter of a Brazilian government approved church and has founded a number of other medicine churches in the US with his law partner Greg Lake. Ian participated in Operation Just Cause in the Republic of Panama. This operation was the largest combat operation in US history focused directly on the War on Drugs and was the largest special operations deployment ever conducted. He was a pilot-in-command and his aviation brigade flew more night vision goggle hours than any unit in the military except for the Task Force 160 Special Operations which his unit was ultimately rolled up into when the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California military base was shut down. Ian grew up in Hawaii in the 1970’s where cannabis was decriminalized and fully integrated in to the culture. He has been healing himself for over 30 years with sacred plants, a spiritual practice, and being a student and practitioner of ethnobotany. Ian was a pharmaceutical representative for Pfizer after he got out of the Army witnessing firsthand the meteoric rise of the SSRI’s and synthetic opioids in the early 1990’s. He is a casualty of the drug war having been arrested for cannabis while in law school. Ian is an intellectual property attorney who has been working in the corporate world for over 20 years in the primary roles of VP of Sales and Marketing and General Counsel. He is a political activist in the cannabis and natural plant medicine space nationally and locally in Texas. Ian was previously the Chairman of the Board for a public policy foundation in Texas for over seven years. Ian was featured in the Spike Jonze produced episode Stoned Vets on Weediquette the cannabis focused series on Viceland on HBO with a number of other veterans protesting the VA’s policy on medical cannabis and trying to end the veteran suicide epidemic. In 2016 Ian organized a trip for six veterans with PTSD to Peru in May for a 10-day plant diet including ayahuasca and other plant medicines with three Shipibo trained shaman brothers that are third generation plant medicine healers. Ian also took some of the same veterans to Mexico for treatment with iboga and 5-Meo-DMT. This experience was captured on video and was released as a documentary in March 2017 entitled Soldiers of the Vine. He is member of the team supporting the movie From Shock to Awe a feature-length documentary that chronicles the journeys of military veterans as they seek relief from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with the help of ayahuasca, MDMA and cannabis. This movie premiered at the Illuminate Film Festival in Sedona, AZ on June 2, 2018 where it captured the inaugural Mangurama Award for Conscious Documentary Storytelling. Ian Benouis’ Drug War Story as part of Psymposia’s Drug War Stories – Catharsis on the Mall: A Vigil for Healing the Drug War. This was part of the Drug Policy Reform Conference November 20, 2016 in Washington, DC.