What is psychedelic medicine?
Psychedelic medicine refers to various techniques using psychedelic molecules for improving mental health and overall wellbeing. Scientifically, it is believed that the power of psychedelics to promote mental wellness and healing are the result of a temporary quieting of the ego, and a suspension of the Default Mode Network (DMN) of the brain. When combined with therapeutic support for integrating into your daily life, psychedelics can offer a path toward healing and transformation. Multiple evidence-based studies from world-class institutions have demonstrated that using psychedelics can produce profound, sustained results in as little as one session. Ongoing benefits include improved well-being and optimism, and increased neural plasticity.
Aren’t psychedelics drugs of abuse? How is this different?
There is little evidence to suggest that experiences with psychedelic substances result in long-term addiction or physical harm. In fact, a growing set of studies indicates that these substances, when taken in a therapeutic setting, can be quite positive for mental health issues. However, as with any drug, there is potential for abuse and harm if not taken safely and under medical supervision. Field Trip only promotes the safe use of legal psychedelics under the supervision of our expert medical team in a therapeutic setting.
What about scary or “bad” trips?
Psychedelics are powerful substances that have the potential to cause profound changes in perception and patterns of thinking. They can be unpredictable and, at times, overwhelming for some people. That said, it’s often the difficult journeys that lead to the most significant breakthroughs and long-term benefits. Even difficult experiences can be wonderful opportunities to see life from a new perspective. Experienced professionals can help to minimize the anxiety felt during the experience. They serve as trusted guides and interpreters, while also maximizing the effectiveness of the treatment. By creating safe, comfortable environments and helping you establish an open, relaxed mindset, therapists help facilitate a beneficial experience.
Who are your providers?
Field Trip’s providers are professionally trained and licensed medical health practitioners. They range from experienced doctors and psychiatrists to registered psychotherapists. Every Field Trip Health clinic has a medical director and a psychiatrist on staff to screen our patients for safety and fit. All of our psychotherapists have been trained in using specific techniques and protocols during integration therapy. Field Trip also has a highly experienced and respected medical advisory team, made up of key opinion leaders in the mental health space, as well as scientific experts who have worked at major pharmaceutical organizations.
What conditions do you treat?
Currently, Field Trip is focused on addressing treatment-resistant depression in our Toronto clinic. This refers to medically-diagnosed depression where patients have previously attempted at least two other treatment options without success. We will be expanding this list of conditions in both Canada and the US in the near future.
Are there conditions that would exclude me from treatment?
Although the use of ketamine therapy is generally safe for most individuals, there are some conditions that may disqualify you from this treatment. These conditions include, but are not limited to pregnant women and nursing mothers, and individuals with a history of psychosis or schizophrenia, active mania/hypomania, or poorly controlled hypertension or hyperthyroidism. The Field Trip medical team closely screens each new patient during our consultation process to ensure they are a safe fit for our program.
Do I need a referral?
In Canada, Field Trip currently requires a medical referral from your doctor or psychiatrist. Download our standard referral form. Once we have received a referral, our staff psychiatrist will screen prospective clients to ensure your safety and confirm ketamine-enhanced psychotherapy is the right fit for you.
How should I prepare? What can I expect?
During your consultation, our medical team will walk through the treatment process with you in detail. You will then be provided with additional resources and exercises to prepare for your initial ketamine experience. Our approach to ketamine-enhanced psychotherapy uses ketamine as a catalyst to unlock deeper therapy sessions with a trained psychotherapist. We then blend these intensive sessions with mindfulness, self-care, and personalized integration activities to deliver a holistic treatment approach that heals on multiple levels.
How long is a treatment visit?
Our initial medical consultation is conducted in person. It takes approximately 45 mins to one hour in our clinic. If you qualify for the treatment, you will be asked to return for four to six ketamine therapy sessions in the presence of medical health professionals, scheduled over a period of approximately four weeks. Patients should expect to be in our clinic for approximately two to three hours during each of these sessions. During this four-week period, you will also be joining us in our clinic for several standalone, one-hour psychotherapy integration sessions.
How many visits will I need to make?
Following your initial consultation, under a normal treatment regime you will undergo four to six ketamine dosing and post-dosing therapy sessions, and two to three standalone integration therapy sessions. This will all take place over a period of approximately four weeks.
Is this treatment covered under public health insurance in Canada?
Given this is a new and novel treatment, our program is not currently covered under OHIP or other public health options in Canada.
How much does the treatment cost?
Under the Field Trip treatment you will be guided through a program that includes consultation, preparation, ketamine dosing and post-dosing therapy, and several personalized psychotherapy sessions. The pricing for these services is broken down as follows:
Initial consultation with psychiatrist to determine if the therapy is suitable:
No charge (OHIP covered)
Initial preparation session with psychotherapist:
$200 one-time fee
Ketamine therapy sessions:
4-6 sessions per course of treatment: $400 per session
Post-dosing psychotherapy session:
4-6 sessions over treatment: $200 per session
Integration psychotherapy session
2-3 integration sessions over treatment: $300 per session
Is this treatment covered by extended-benefit insurance providers?
Given this is a new and novel treatment approach, you will need to ask your individual insurance provider or employer about your coverage options. We are happy to provide documentation to you for your own submissions to existing providers.
Is ketamine safe?
Ketamine-enhanced therapy is conducted at lower doses of ketamine than what has been used safely in anaesthesia for decades. It is known to be safe and well-tolerated in both healthy adults and children. Despite its common use in modern medicine, ketamine’s application in lower dosages for the treatment of mental health challenges, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD, is relatively new. During your consultation, our medical team will screen you carefully to ensure you are a safe candidate for our treatment.
How does ketamine work?
Ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist that interacts with some of your brain’s neurotransmitters. Its effects can include relieving anxiety and pain relief, and acting as an antidepressant. Under medical supervision, lower doses of ketamine can relax your mind and allow you to temporarily disengage from your routine thought patterns. When combined with psychotherapy, studies found it can be helpful in reducing anxiety and depression.
How does ketamine feel?
Every psychedelic experience is unique to the individual and environment, and ketamine is no different. There are some commonalities in reported sensations from psychedelic doses of ketamine. You may experience a sense of disconnection—that you are observing your mind and body from outside rather than within. The experience has also been described as “euphoric,” “calming,” and “mystical.” Many people experience changes in energy level, becoming either more relaxed or more energetic. The heart rate is also often increased. It’s important to recognize that for some people these unfamiliar sensations can be overwhelming or difficult. Even with experiences that may seem negative in the moment, the insights gained are often tremendously valuable.
Are there any side effects or risks?
As with any powerful substance, there are some potential side effects while under the influence of ketamine. Below are some potential effects you may experience during and after administration, until the effects of the drug have worn off:
- A feeling of dissociation or disconnection from your normal self
- A sense of impaired balance and coordination
- A feeling of drowsiness, mental confusion, and/or slurred speech
- Impacts to visual, auditory, or tactile processing, including diminished ability
to see, hear, or feel objects accurately
- Ketamine can worsen psychotic symptoms in people who suffer from
schizophrenia or severe personality disorder
- Feelings of anxiety, fright, nausea, and/or vomiting
More severe side-effects, much more rare and typically only seen at much higher doses, can include:
- Under surgical ketamine doses, there are reports of decreased immune
- Chronic, high-dose abuse of ketamine may cause urinary tract symptoms
and permanent bladder dysfunction
How is ketamine taken?
Ketamine can be administered to patients in a variety of ways, including intramuscular injection, intravenously, nasally, or sublingually. At Field Trip, a health professional administers it directly via intramuscular injection. This means it typically takes effect within five minutes. Effects normally last from 30 to 45 minutes.