[ibogaine] recovery options and the concept of addiction

Bill Ross ross at cgl.ucsf.EDU
Sat Jul 13 02:54:36 EDT 2002

	Bill! That sounds really fascinating but could you
	please explain what it means? 

I'm just speculating on what kind of studies might be relevant
to the issue of whether ibogaine affects gene expression, plus
wondering if affecting gene expression indirectly might be a
relatively normal thing anyway.

It's more of a semi-literate musing than something earth-
shattering, tho ya never know :-)

	What is all that changing? 

Probably at most it could lead to some thinking and dialog
about what change consists of.

	I don't understand, even your theory or the
	possibility that you are suggesting and I am very
	interested. And also what could I read to understand a
	little more which would not be so above my head that
	I'm lost? I don't mean to put you on the spot and
	probably there are no easy answers but I am very very
	very very very curious!

Maybe Scientific American has a book on genes? A subscription
to that magazine or a more pop variant could be good to start
absorbing the concepts. Also watching for PBS Nova shows on 
genetic subjects. Beyond that, a community college class, web
searching, what have you..

Expanding a bit:

By short-term regulation I mean what the ibogaine molecules
(or e.g. noribogaine) could do while still in the body to
block the DNA of a gene from being expressed, or make it be
expressed more. 

My picture of gene expression is fairly general: a reader
enzyme-thing works its way along a DNA strand, copying it 
into a new strand of RNA. The RNA later gets grabbed and 
copied into a protein strand by another enzyme-thing. 
(The enzyme-things can be formed of multiple distinct
enzymes that associate to get the job done.) The proteins
can be enzymes like the ones just mentioned or ones that, 
say, convert ibogaine to noribogaine, or ones that 
produce/regulate our mood or energy chemicals etc..

All of this is going on in each cell of your body at this
very moment, each cell being like a bowl of soup with
all these bits bumping together and reacting with one
another, kind of at random, in the liquid or among the bits 
of more chewy stuff, to somehow get the job done. Sweet 
(and salty and bitter :-) mystery of life! In addition to 
enzymes, some proteins are more structural. 

Generally speaking, things get together because they are
thrown together in the soup, and stay together because their 
shapes fit each other.

The simplest way for a chemical to affect gene expression
directly is to associate itself with the DNA and either
block the transcription enzyme from doing its job, or
make it easier for the enzyme to latch onto the starting 
DNA of the gene. This is why I wondered if anyone had
looked to see if ibogaine bound itself to DNA. 

In principle other parts of the gene expression process
could be affected by ibogaine, so a finding that ibo
did not bind to DNA, even if conclusive, could leave
open the possibility of other mechanisms.

Then there's the more general concept: that ibogaine might
indirectly cause a permanent change in gene expression by 
its temporary alteration of the balance of chemicals in the 
body. Leaving out the gene expression for the moment, this 
is what I would guess most people here think: ibogaine tends 
to change the person in a basic way. I was wondering if any 
such basic change might actually _have_ to be embodied in 
gene expression by definition. It's more likely an idea to 
get a discussion started than something earth-shattering. 
Why wouldn't it be earth-shattering? Because it might be kind 
of normal.

Which reminds me of something I read somewhere on the net:
"Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat."

Bill Ross

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