What is ketamine?
Ketamine is a synthetic pharmaceutical compound classified as a dissociative anesthetic. It is a widely used medication and is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. It was developed in 1963, approved for use in 1970, and adopted by many jurisdictions because of its rapid onset, proven safety, and short duration of action.
Ketamine is most commonly used as an anesthetic agent in surgical and emergency department settings due to its good safety profile. It has also been utilized successfully in managing acute and chronic pain conditions due to its analgesic properties.
While ketamine is known to be used recreationally as a street drug outside of medical applications, its use in this context is unrelated to medical and therapeutic use, which is known to be safe and associated with positive outcomes.
In the last two decades, ketamine has been increasingly clinically applied at subanesthetic doses as an off-label treatment for various chronic treatment-resistant mental health conditions, such as depression, substance use disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other mental health diagnoses. If you have any questions or concerns about ketamine itself, don’t hesitate to inquire with the Numinus medical team about it during the screening process.
What is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy?
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy combines structured psychotherapy with the medical administration of ketamine. When used in relatively small doses, ketamine is a psychoactive substance that can contribute to altered or ‘non-ordinary’ states of consciousness. Recent research has shown that, when combined with forms of counselling by trained mental health professionals, these psychedelic experiences can enable people to overcome a broad range of mental health challenges, ranging from depression and anxiety to addiction and trauma.
In the context of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, the idea is to harness the openness of this altered state with structured psychotherapy to engage with and process strong emotions that may otherwise be painful or simply difficult to access. Cultivating this emotional awareness with your therapist can then make it possible to ‘reorganize’ core experiences, see important relationships in a new light, and create a coherent and meaningful narrative that supports transformation, and coming into balance.
What is Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy with MDMA and psilocybin?
Though they are not fully approved yet for treatment, Health Canada has recently issued a statement with the intent of revising the Special Access Programme, which allows individuals to access other regulated substances for the treatment of various health issues if other means have failed. We are in the process of collecting the information of potential candidates for applications for these treatments, should the revision to the SAP go through in early 2021.