In 2012 Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize cannabis for recreational use, and back then I thought that would never happen in Montana. And look where we are now. We all know cannabis dispensaries are here, but it may come as a surprise that so are psychedelic-assisted therapy centers.

Though LSD and psilocybin are completely illegal in Montana, a drug legally used for mental-health treatment (at a certified doctor's office or clinic) in Montana is ketamine. I first heard about ketamine in high school by fellow students who described it as a mere party drug under the name "Special K." But in 2019 the FDA approved the use of a ketamine-derived drug called Spravato for treatment-resistant depression (at a certified doctor's office or clinic), since then ketamine has been gaining a reputation as a potential tool for mental health, among psychotherapy professionals and others.

The Harvest Wholeness Center, which established in Missoula this year, offers ketamine-assisted therapy (KAT). Their website says that ketamine "is a particularly effective modality for reprocessing and resolving mental and emotional stress, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain (i.e. fibromyalgia, migraine), and problematic substance use." For the sake of Missoulians seeking treatment for these kinds of issues, I'm glad there's a new option available.

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Their website says the "ketamine journey" lasts 30-50 minutes, though each session of KAT is "3 hours, including a 15-minute check-in with your medical provider and your KAT provider." That's to make sure you've sobered up before you walk out the door and to give you "integration time with your KAT provider" which I think means there's some form of talk therapy during each session.

The website says the KAT provider is there for the entire session, the first of which is when they determine the proper dose for the individual. It also says that KAT "does not provide significant benefits after a single treatment session" so they recommend you have a minimum of 3.

They say KAT is not appropriate for people with mental-health diagnoses like psychosis or schizophrenia, "likewise certain physical diagnoses, for example, some heart conditions, may be contraindicated, so further screening is necessary to determine whether or not KAT is a safe course of treatment for you."

Do not try to find or use ketamine illegally, that's dangerous mentally and physically. Don't break the law.

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