#19 - David Nassim: Keep Ibogaine Sustainable

October 23, 2023

David Nassim is the co-director of Blessings of the Forest (BOTF), an organization that supports environmental and traditionalist associations, Indigenous communities and administrative authorities committed to the preservation and sustainable development of Gabon’s natural and cultural heritage – including the preservation of iboga, the West African plant from which ibogaine is derived.

What we discuss:

  • The work that BOTF does and its role in the iboga supply chain
  • The Nagoya Protocol: What it is, and how it informs the protection of the iboga plant and the communities that use it 
  • The unseen challenges of working closely with a large number of different organizations, associations, and communities
  • The role of iboga in David’s life, and the different Bwiti traditions that he has worked with
  • How iboga is viewed globally: the different interpretations and understandings in the United States and Gabon
  • What is at the root of the reverence Gabonese people have for iboga?
  • The implications of Western interest, namely the Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Program and its interest in ibogaine
  • What questions to ask when determining how a practitioner has obtained iboga/ibogaine
  • Is there any overlap between what you’ve learned from Chinese Medicine, and from your work with iboga?

Why it’s important: 

In North America, ibogaine is a compound that most people associate with opioid use disorder, but in West Africa, specifically in Gabon, ibogaine is just one part of a much greater whole. In this episode, David Nassim explains in great detail the implications of increased global interest in the iboga plant for the Bwiti communities that depend on it. By leaning on the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing, Blessings of the Forest is working to protect and preserve iboga while building meaningful relationships directly with communities that require support. David’s insights and understanding bring the issue of reciprocity into sharp focus, and challenge us to consider the global implications of pursuing a treatment like ibogaine.

Show notes

About the podcast

Can the psychedelic ibogaine really get to the root of trauma? In Ibogaine Uncovered, author and journalist Amanda Siebert explores the impact of this powerful medicine including what prompts people to seek it out and how their lives are often transformed through the teachings they receive. Guests take an honest look at their healing journey, unpacking their lived experiences with substance use disorder, complex trauma, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and grief. Expert guests also provide listeners with wisdom for their own healing journey. Join Siebert for powerful conversations that highlight the value of preparation, integration, and community in the world of ibogaine healing.

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