You're confusing someone having filed for a patent with someone having an enforceable patent. Basically, if you file for a patent, you will probably receive something with a patent number, unless you patent something obviously ridiculous, like a perpetual motion machine or something that is obviously already patented. Even then, you might get a patent number for it. As a joke, a number of people have filed for (and received) patents for items like swingsets. The patent system is continually flooded with tens of thousands of applications for all kinds of things. The attorneys and patent agents who run the system are swamped. Many of the patent applications are highly technical and deal with fields of science that nobody outside them really understands, so these offices have gone from being what were supposed to be gatekeepers, keeping out frivolous applications, to just registering claims. What these applications now do is establish a prima facie case that you have claimed to be the inventor of the subject matter of the claim, and put a date on it, so you can sue over it. You don't necessarily know you really have an enforceable patent until a court says so. While there was a time when the registration of patents was manageable enough that it was justified to claim that just having a patent at all should be presumptive proof that you actually did invent something, that time is long past. There's also a growing trend in international law against (mostly Western) companies moving in, stealing native medicines and technologies, then slapping a patent on what people have been using for generations, claiming to have "invented" them. I'd be wary of wild claims of supposedly miraculous folk medicines (like ibogaine), but I'd also note the very little research that has been done is highly promising, and the reasons for not moving forward with more research are incredibly irrational. LSD and other psychedelics come to mind as substances that (when they were legal) were the subject of highly promising research, basically abandoned with no rational explanation because certain molecules are apparently considered immoral for unintelligible religious reasons dressed up as law.