Clinic for psychedelic therapy a 1st for Okanagan

Researchers from UBC Okanagan identified ketamine as a tool in the fight against mental illness (UBCO)

Promising research and a new clinic are making ketamine psychotherapy more accessible for Okanagan residents.

Research out of UBC Okanagan campus on the dissociative anaesthetic identified the drug as a viable option for psychotherapy for people suffering from treatment-resistant depression and mental illness.

The research project involved systematic reviews and a meta-analysis of past studies to better understand the current research on ketamine treatments for depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety and other mental health disorders.

One of the project leads, professor Zach Walsh, from the UBC Department of Psychology, said that he finds the preliminary evidence encouraging, however additional research is still needed.

Overall, Walsh said that the dissociative anaesthetic provides people with immediate and long-term relief from their mental illness.

READ MORE: As ketamine clinics emerge in Seattle to treat mental illness, so does safety and regulation debate

Additionally, he said that cognitive-behavioural therapy following ketamine infusions was found to prolong the therapeutic effects of the drug for depression.

Kelowna residents looking to try dissociative drugs for management of their psychiatric illness can seek treatment at EntheoTech.

The business will be the first medical clinic for psychedelic-assisted therapy in the Okanagan. EntheoTech is a Canadian bioscience company based in Kelowna focused on psychedelic solutions for chronic pain and depression.

READ MORE: ‘We need emergency access’: 82 professionals request psilocybin for therapy training

“As regulations evolve, our focus will be on psychedelic medicines to promote positive change in the global mental health crisis and destigmatization of psychedelics in the Okanagan and beyond,” says EntheoTech’s President and Pharmacist Esther Simmons-Foot.

The dissociative drug appears beneficial for those suffering from treatment-resistant depression.

“If you have been struggling with depression for a long time, this could, at the very least, offer a few days of reprieve,” said Walsh.

Walsh explained that one of the benefits of the unique therapy is that it is “rapid-acting,” making it a suitable tool to help people in distress or struggling with thoughts of suicide that need urgent help.

He said “the research on ketamine is a part of a bigger picture around drug-assisted psychotherapies,” including psilocybin.

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