What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a safe, legal, and highly effective psychedelic medicine being used to treat depression, trauma, anxiety and addiction. It is a dissociative anesthetic commonly used in surgeries and hospitals worldwide and has been safely administered on humans for decades. Dissociation is a sense of disconnection from one’s ordinary reality and sense of self.
At the Center for Medicinal Mindfulness, we use a sub-anesthetic dose to induce a non-ordinary state of consciousness (NOSC) which leads to psychedelic and euphoric effects. Ketamine is proving successful in providing symptom relief for depression, traumatic stress, anxiety, and other mental health conditions when administered in conjunction with professional support and guidance.
What is ketamine-assisted psychedelic therapy?
Ketamine-Assisted Psychedelic Therapy (KAPT) is a modality that combines the professional oversight of a medical doctor, the emotional support from a trained therapist or guide with the medicinal effects of ketamine. Ketamine serves as a catalyst to bring forward therapeutic content within a non-ordinary state of consciousness while the therapist or guide is present to support clients with deepening and integrating these experiences.
At the Center for Medicinal Mindfulness, we support clients in working with ketamine, not only for symptom management or reduction, but also for
addressing the root cause of why these symptoms manifested in the first place. In this setting, meaningful personal growth and transformation is common with this medicine, in addition to basic symptom management.
Who is it for?
Ketamine-Assisted Psychedelic Therapy is an alternative treatment option for people seeking relief from depression, anxiety, trauma, or other major life challenges. This modality can work in conjunction with other forms of treatment, or can be used when other forms of treatment have not achieved one’s desired results or efficacy. It is also for people who are interested in depth work, spiritual experience, and personal exploration.
Is it a safe treatment?
Yes. Ketamine-Assisted Psychedelic Therapy is a safe treatment when administered and supervised by a team of trained professionals. Additionally, before participating in KAPT with the Center for Medicinal Mindfulness, you will have a full medical evaluation performed by our Medical Director. To explore the extensive research being done on this modality, check out the Ketamine Research Foundation website.
What does the overall process look like?
In your initial consult, we will discuss treatment options and help you make an informed decision about whether this treatment is right for you.
Prior to KAPT treatment, clients are required to meet with our medical doctor to explore the potential risks and benefits of this treatment. Following this, we
provide preparation sessions to set goals and orient to the ketamine-assisted sessions. In our experience, the more a person prepares for the experience, the more they will get out of it.
KAPT sessions are typically 3 hours long and often include a booster dose. These sessions are tailored to each individual. Ketamine is prescribed and administered by an MD either orally with lozenges, or intramuscularly via injection. Dosage will be determined by our medical team and discussed with you prior to your session.
KAPT is often offered as a series of multiple sessions, so that each session can build on the next. This allows clients ample time and space to really get the most out of the process and truly experience the transformational benefits of this medicine.
How is Ketamine-Assisted Psychedelic Therapy with Medicinal Mindfulness different from typical medical ketamine clinics?
KAPT is a modality that combines our style of psychedelic therapy (Mindfulness-Based Psychedelic Therapy) with the medicinal and clinical effects of ketamine, as well as oversight by licensed medical professionals. These sessions provide a full body and soul holistic psychedelic experience with the clinical and medical oversight required to work with this medicine safely and effectively. Sessions combine trauma-informed and evidence-based practices with mindfulness practices, ceremony, ritual, and somatic therapies, within a spiritual orientation and energetic/transpersonal paradigm (if requested). A standard session is scheduled for 3 hours, creating space for a deep journey and gentle landing. Many other ketamine clinics offer only 60-90 minute sessions. In typical medical ketamine clinics and private practice settings, clients are offered only low-dose (psycholytic) sessions instead of psychedelic ketamine sessions, and are not provided with the psychological support needed to get the most benefit out of ketamine therapy. Our center is committed to maintaining best practices in KAPT and, because of that commitment to the healing and wellbeing of our clients, our approach offers much more than the medical-only trend.
Another factor that makes the Center for Medicinal Mindfulness different is that we also offer Cannabis-Assisted Psychedelic Therapy at our clinic. While some clients are intuitively drawn to just cannabis or just ketamine, many of our clients prefer a psychedelic therapy protocol which allows for multiple sessions with each medicine (the medicines are not combined together in one session). Psychedelic cannabis and ketamine, while profoundly different from one another, work well together to address psychological and psychospiritual concerns from different angles. By combining a protocol in this way, clients are able to experience the best of both medicines safely (with medical oversight and professional guidance) and in a relatively short period of time.
What’s the difference between Intramuscular (IM), oral (aka lozenge or troche), and intravenous (IV) ketamine?
The Center for Medicinal Mindfulness offers two different administration options for ketamine: Intramuscular (IM) injection and oral lozenges. We do not offer an IV option. For educational purposes we will provide information on all three options.
Intramuscular (IM) Ketamine
IM ketamine allows you to drop in completely. You are not tethered to an IV drip, you have the freedom to shift your body, to be fully covered in a blanket, to be fully immersed in the experience. Additionally, many people prefer IM ketamine due to the decrease in side effects, such as nausea, that are more prevalent with the lozenges, while still retaining the ability to fine tune your dosage. Overall, the experience feels less medical and more ceremonial. It can improve set, setting, and physical comfort, thus allowing you to fully explore and participate in the entire spectrum of the psychedelic experience.
Intravenous (IV) Ketamine
IV ketamine is administered at a lower dose over a 40-60 minute time period. IM ketamine is administered all at once, with an optional booster. The IM experience will come on quickly and can be more rich as a psychedelic experience, while the IV experience is a slow, steady experience.
Sublingual (oral lozenge) Ketamine
Ketamine can also be administered by a lozenge or troche. This is a common and effective way in which KAPT occurs in many clinical settings. The lozenges are dissolved under the tongue, then held in the mouth for 15-20 minutes in order to fully achieve the medicine’s desired effect, and, for this reason, it can sometimes take a couple of sessions to find your preferred dose. Please note, the lozenges have a bitter taste that some people find unpleasant, while others are not affected by the taste at all. In comparison to IM ketamine, which takes about 2-6 minutes for the onset of effects, sublingual experiences take a little longer to come on (usually about 15-30 minutes after administration), and sometimes the effects last longer than IM ketamine.
Sublingual ketamine may induce deeper psychedelic states, but it is not reliably as immersive as an IV or IM process. Lozenges are better than IV or IM for lower dose and psycholytic Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) experiences as opposed to Ketamine-Assisted Psychedelic Therapy.
Lozenges require a medical evaluation and a prescription, but do not require a doctor on site to administer the medicine. This reduces the price, therefore making it more accessible to clients who can’t afford the intramuscular experience. Lozenges are available only to Colorado residents.
If intramuscular ketamine allows for a deeper experience, why is IV ketamine so common?
IV ketamine is the most common modality used by ketamine clinics for two reasons. The first is that many clinical trials involving ketamine use IV; this is not because IV ketamine is superior, rather that it allows a nurse to take blood samples before/after the ketamine is administered. The second is that IV ketamine can be turned off in the middle of the procedure to stop the experience.
The Center for Medicinal Mindfulness is a psychedelic therapy clinic, not a typical medical ketamine clinic. Sometimes psychedelic experiences are difficult. All of the practitioners at Medicinal Mindfulness are trained to safely guide you through a difficult experience. The seldom difficult experiences often turn out to be the most healing. Most other ketamine clinics do not have practitioners trained in holding space for big experiences, so they will stop the experience by suddenly turning off the IV. At the CMM, we believe that this practice may impede true healing and we have ethical concerns around this practice.
Part of any psychedelic experience is dropping in, trusting the process, and feeling prepared to face whatever shows up. IM ketamine asks you to fully engage with the process, which sets you up to fully engage with healing. For this reason, IM ketamine is our most common route of administration for our clients.