Compliments of The CBC
We think of psychedelic drugs, hallucinogens, as party drugs. Drugs that let us escape our minds, and even let us feel like we’re escaping our bodies.
Magic mushrooms, Ayahuasca and Peyote have long been understood by non-western cultures to free the mind and help heal emotional trauma.
Today, researchers are discovering that the drug, ketamine, can do the same thing. Ketamine or “Special K” is known on the street as an illicit party drug. It can give users an out-of-body experience, a feeling of dissociation.
But ketamine is intended for use by doctors and veterinarians as an anaesthetic. It also has a darker side as the so called “date rape drug”.
Dr. Pierre Blier is leading research at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre using low doses of ketamine to treat patients with severe and treatment-resistant depression, and in particular, patients who have thoughts of suicide.
In fact, pharmaceutical companies are conducting multi-centre clinical trials on ketamine, and researchers are optimistic that an intra-nasal version may be on the market as soon as 2019.
Dr. David Nutt has looked at the brains of people while they’ve been on LSD, but also on other hallucinogens like psilocybin, the ingredient that makes magic mushrooms “magic.”
And he thinks the findings — as they relate to people with depression, in particular — are too powerful to ignore.