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Voacanga Africana - treating trauma/depression


Apr 23, 2021

I'm a Londoner currently based in Ibadan, Nigeria. After looking around here for psilocybin, fruitlessly, to treat the depression/OCD I've lived with for 8 years, I decided to settle for a more local medicine: voacanga africana. My depression and OCD were caused, I'm guessing, by early childhood trauma. So I see the depression and OCD as symptoms of a root cause, not primary conditions on their own. I am hoping that by treating the root, I'll gain relief from the depression and OCD. I've also had past manic episodes but the jury is still out on whether I 'have' bipolar or not.

I'm being seen by a medical doctor who has specialist knowledge of the plant. I really only recommend taking this with someone who knows exactly what they're doing. I'm currently at a retreat center, miles away from the nearest city. It's very quiet here, and I have daily check-in sessions with the doctor. I take the voacanga by myself, after eating a light meal.

The doc prescribed two teaspoons of the powdered root bark, twice a day. I've been taking it for five days. He said the effects will start showing in about a week.

My preparation: stir the powder into hot water and let sit for 15 minutes. Sweeten with honey if required... and I most certainly DID require. Haha. The stuff is disgusting to taste.

It is extremely bitter (although I've tasted other more bitter substances), and makes me feel nauseous for about 20 minutes, after which I feel fine. I do NOT recommend taking it on an empty stomach: each time I did this, I vomited my guts out. I've taken it both in the morning and the evening, and it does not affect my sleeping patterns. Then again, my sleeping patterns are already messed up by -- Life.

I've not experienced most of the feelings I usually get with psychedelics, but perhaps because I'm not taking a massive dose. In fact, the dose varies by person, and by what you are trying to treat. Most of the posts I've read cite what, to me, seems like a very small dose (2 capsules of the powdered root bark, 50-100 seeds...). 2 capsules of the powder are around 1-4g -- whereas I am taking 20g a day.

The only thing I've noticed so far is: a slight antidepressant effect that comes on about 2 hours after the dose. And, at the same time, a greater sense of the totality of my being; I seem to be more aware of my positives, and not just of my negatives. Truth be told, I'd rather just take a couple massive doses over three days, à la iboga and mushroom trips... and be done with it/just microdose afterwards. It tastes like absolute shit and, for now, has been only mildly helpful. For this deep trauma work, my go-to will always be psilocybin, in the right setting, but until I can access some the voacanga will have to do.

On a side note: the recent data from psychedelic studies is great but just proves what the old-timers already know... psychedelics work. It's just a shame that when I get back to London, I'll have no access to the approved treatments (cost, distance), so will likely have to find it (MDMA, ketamine, psilocybin) from tainted sources.

I'll keep reporting back on my voacanga use as time goes on... thanks for reading through : ) here's to continued healing, for me and for all.
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ive got some Vaocanga africana 100:1 extract lying around, can report back if youre interested...
i have tried it once now. it is a from a well known online platform and sold in germany. its not very strong despite its 100:1 extract. that comes from the fact that its whole plant extract and not root bark extrakt. i have combined it with bdo and found it to be relatively nice . dont know about the exact dosage but i have used relatively much of the 1g i have in one setting, redosed 4 times i believe. it does have a certain tryptaminic feel to it.
I honestly like a lot voacanga africana
but it's not very versatile,
it's one of those herbs... similar to calamus, in terms of use
you don't wake up and say to yourself, "I'm gonna get so fucking high of Voacanga/calamus!!"
it's not like that, but it gets you high, in a very specific and singular way.
I guess it's more of a light entheogen, more than a "drug" or a recreational substance
good for focus and good for introspection, good for creating a solid zen session of whatever that needs some constant focus and propioception, perhaps it's good for dancing, yoga, and all that, I also feel that it could be great for everything related with hunter/gatherer activities, because it's psychedelic the same way calamus or kanna is: it greatly improves your senses, without too much distortion.
I only used seeds, and not too high of a dose, but it works nicely, it seems to work for kratom withdrawal, or so I've read. The pharmacology seems to be super complex, so it could have more potential than it's normally considered, but voacangine itself it's toxic (fatal...) in high doses, so it's probably not the best idea to aim at heroic doses with this stuff.

IS it a poison? It's been stated as a claim, but has anyone actually extracted the various alkaloids and tested them?

I'm not saying it's safe, I'm just wondering if any one can cite a formal source confirming the facts.