Source: Harry Forestell, CBC
“As you can imagine, someone who’s suffering from chronic depression, anxiety or trauma, it is really, really hard to break that cycle of thought. Something like 95 per cent of our thoughts every day are the same. By taking a dose of ketamine and slowly graduating over a number of sessions, what we can do is suspend all those ordinary thoughts.
“And what patients will tell us is for the first time in a very long time, they get a whole new perspective at looking at their life, and it’s that new frame of reference or new perspective that starts to initiate a healing process.”
A longtime proponent of cannabinoid therapy to treat PTSD, Verbora is now one in a growing group of doctors promoting hallucinogens for the same purpose.
Ketamine is one of an arsenal of psychedelics once popular as recreational drugs, but now showing more promise treating trauma.
“It felt like a warm blanket kind of just trickling down over me,” Leblanc said. “Like it was just a comforting feeling. I had an eye shade on, the room was black. It wasn’t scary. And then immediately I just started falling and I started to kind of like, ‘Oh, what is going on?’
“And then, boom, I was 10,000 feet in the air over one of the incidents that occurred in Afghanistan, watching the big picture unfold.”
Leblanc said he then started to talking to himself, but to his younger self.
“Like I sat down and said, “Listen, what do you need to do?’ And actually, it was me now, a much older me, saying, ‘OK, you need to change some things in your life. You need to smarten up.”‘
As the drug wears off, Leblanc is questioned by a psychotherapist about what he experienced. This is the most crucial part of the session, according to Verbora.