Dr. Surajit Sinha is professor at the Department of Organic Chemistry at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), in Kolkata, West Bengal. His research interests broadly include organic synthesis, chemical biology, drug discovery and delivery, and more specifically, iboga alkaloids. I invite Surajit on the podcast to discuss non-ibogaine iboga alkaloids, the ones most people tend to overlook, considering ibogaine, and its metabolite noribogaine, get all the attention. There are approximately 80 natural and synthetic alkaloids that share the same skeletal structure as ibogaine. (Correction: Surajit says during our conversation that scientists now know of 40-45 additional alkaloids, totaling 120-125 known iboga alkaloids.) Surajit and his colleagues discuss many of them, for example, in their papers titled “Progress in the Synthesis of Iboga-alkaloids and their Congeners” from 2011, and “Total synthesis of ibogaine, epiibogaine and their analogues” from 2012. We’re going to find out just how complex these monoterpenoid indole alkaloids are. Topics of our discussion include: how a global lack of ibogaine-rich Tabernanthe iboga plants motivated Surajit to develop a methodology to synthesize iboga alkaloids for addiction interruption; the three types of iboga-type alkaloid skeletal structures, also known as “scaffolds,” based on the shared ibogamine skeletal structure; iboga-type alkaloids are not radically different from each other; scientists mainly focus on ibogaine, paying little attention to minor alkaloids, leaving plenty of research opportunities to up-and-coming scientists; he and his team were the first to disclose a pure analog of ibogaine; the “cross effect” or phenotypic effect of minor alkaloids could have greater potential than ibogaine; the kind of research he would do in the near and distant future if he had unlimited funding; and finally, the main takeaway is: more research needs to be done and there are still plenty of opportunities to study the chemistry and effects of non-ibogaine iboga-type minor alkaloids. Also, visit my Podcast Supplements article regarding afterthoughts of Surajit and I’s conversation (https://amhouot.com/85-ep3-3_non-ibogaine-iboga-alkaloids_surajit-sinha/).
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