Dr. Aaron Gruber
University of Lethbridge
About the researcher
PhD Student at the University of Lethbridge
Drugs of abuse cause many changes in the brain, but it remains a mystery how these changes lead to addiction. The hypothesis of this project is that a big part of the problem is that abused drugs cause an overly-strong memory, which triggers drug taking. I will test the idea that a psychedelic drug called Ibogaine can weaken drug memories, and therefore help people escape addiction. Ibogaine acts as a reset button for the brain after addictions have been formed.
Despite continuous reports of Ibogaine helping people struggling with various addictions to overcome their illnesses, this is still not a well-accepted therapeutic method. This discrepancy come in part from a lack of understanding about Ibogaines’ mechanism of action in the brain. This project aims to address that knowledge gap by using cutting-edge technology to examine how Ibogaine affects brain activity in rodents who already have an established dependency on Methamphetamine, a highly addictive drug often abused by humans. Preliminary results suggest that Ibogaine “resets the addiction-related brain activity,” which can help set the stage for recovery from addiction. This project is providing scientific insights into the effects of this naturally occurring substance, which can potentially validate it as an alternative modality for treating substance addictions as overdose deaths are rising in our communities.
This project is leading to important insights into the effects of Ibogaine, which has led to a return on investment in the form of more funding from other granting agencies. The hope is that these preliminary results get published in top-notch journals to spur other scientists to study Ibogaine further, including possible clinical trials. The ultimate goal is to create the evidence base that medical professionals need to recommend it for patients in need.