The use of psychedelics in mental health has gained much awareness over the last number of years, with ketamine having the most consistent published evidence as well as being the most realistic for a psychiatrist to prescribe within a medical model.
The majority of current ketamine use is either as a biological treatment to improve mood disorders or to ketamine assisted psychotherapy (KAP). These are very different treatment paradigms, often leading to confusion among psychiatrists, patients and regulatory bodies. In addition, multiple dosing vehicles, enduring popular myths of ketamine usage, previously unregulated private clinics and overzealous media reporting have resulted in significantly inconsistent messaging to psychiatrists, patients and the public. Unfortunately, this has polarized views of ketamine, leading to either excessive use or requirements that both stigmatize and unnecessarily limit access to this helpful treatment in their own way.
This session will briefly review evidence of ketamine in mood disorders and KAP. Newer real life data on the safety and limited abuse potential of ketamine will also be presented. Context with other off label uses in psychiatry that may be less safe and effective will also be provided. Experience with 4 years of consultation with two intravenous ketamine programs and community sublingual and intransal usage will be discussed. New Alberta government requirements for psychedelic prescribing that clearly delineate between the two uses of ketamine will also be introduced. Potential safe, realistic and accessible models of ketamine treatment delivery in conjunction with these requirements will also be explored.