Frequently Asked Questions​

Cancellation Policy

At Cena Life, we understand that life’s unforeseen circumstances can sometimes affect your scheduling commitments. However, to ensure that we can provide high-quality care and make our services available to as many individuals in need as possible, we request our clients to notify us at least 24 hours in advance if they need to cancel or reschedule their program appointments. This allows us to offer the time slot to another individual who may be waiting for treatment. For appointments cancelled or rescheduled with less than 24 hours’ notice, or for no-shows, a fee will be applied. Your well-being is our top priority, and this policy helps us ensure that all our clients receive the care and attention they deserve. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in helping us serve our community effectively.

Alberta Blue Cross FAQ

Alberta became the first province to regulate psychedelic-assisted therapy in the fall of 2022.

Only psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, or regulated healthcare professionals registered with specific colleges in Alberta are authorized to provide psychedelic-assisted therapy. These include:

  • Alberta College of Occupational Therapists,
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta,
  • College of Alberta Psychologists,
  • College of Registered Nurses of Alberta,
  • College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta,
  • Alberta College of Social Workers.

Psychedelic therapy treatments, including associated services like assessment, drug administration, and monitoring that is performed on the same day as the therapy, are eligible for reimbursement. Coverage depends on the member’s plan and the specific services provided during the session.

If you are a member, you can log in to your Alberta Blue Cross Member Services account to look up the specific drugs and psychology services eligible for coverage. Member Services will show

  • psychology coverage maximums,
  • per visit frequency maximums, and
  • which mental health practitioners are eligible under the member’s psychology benefit.

Depending on your plan, coverage will be limited to

  • providers approved to perform psychedelic-assisted therapy,
  • the usual and customary fee for psychology, and
  • the member’s per visit coverage maximum.

The psychedelic drug must be a covered product under the your drug plan in order to be eligible. It must be prescribed by a psychiatrist or an appropriately trained physician in consultation with a psychiatrist, then dispensed from a licensed pharmacy.

The receipt from the pharmacy must

  • be in the member’s name,
  • include the DIN of the drug dispensed, and
  • be submitted as a drug claim.

 

Drugs that are purchased and dispensed from non-pharmacy locations (e.g., medical facilities or clinics) will not be reimbursed.

Invoices should include:

  1. Service dates for every treatment,
  2. Descriptions of services provided,
  3. Costs for each product/service,
  4. Provider’s name, address, and registration numbers,
  5. Patient’s name.

For questions about eligibility or the claim submission process, patients can contact the Customer Services line at Alberta Blue Cross. Providers with questions or concerns are encouraged to reach out to the Provider Relations Contact Centre. Contact details are provided for both local and toll-free lines, along with email support.

It is required that patients undergo a comprehensive assessment by a qualified provider to determine their suitability for psychedelic-assisted therapy. This includes evaluating mental health history, current condition, and potential risks or contraindications.

Coverage for psychedelic therapy is subject to the member’s plan maximums, existing plan coverage, and provider eligibility criteria. Members are encouraged to review their specific plan details or contact Alberta Blue Cross for more information on their eligibility.

The number of sessions covered will depend on the member’s plan benefits and maximums. It’s important for members to check their individual coverage details for specific limits on therapy sessions.

Regulating and covering psychedelic-assisted therapy marks a significant step forward in mental health treatment options available in Alberta. It recognizes the potential of psychedelic substances in therapeutic settings and ensures regulated, safe access for patients seeking alternative treatments.

Please contact Blue Cross directly to discuss your concern.

For more detailed information or specific questions not covered in this FAQ, please contact Alberta Blue Cross directly at Customer Services line at 780-498-8000 (Edmonton & area) or 1-800-661-6995 (toll free).

If you are a clinic or practitioner and have further questions, please call the Blue Cross Provider Relations Contact Centre at 780-498-8083 (Edmonton and area) or 1-800-588-1195 (toll free) Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Time. You can also reach us by email at healthinq@ab.bluecross.ca.

Ketamine-Assisted Therapy FAQs

Ketamine is an established medication that has new possibilities to treat mental health.

Combined with a psycho-therapeutic approach, ketamine supports individuals to address what is troubling them by binding to various receptors in the brain to promote regrowth and connections between brain cells that help regulate one’s mood. Ketamine’s trance-inducing and pain-relieving properties can support individuals as they work through psychological roadblocks or challenges.

Ketamine-Assisted Therapy (KaT) utilizes ketamine in conjunction with psychotherapy and can enable the healing wisdom within us to be more easily accessed.

No.

Our team will work with you to determine the best approach and options based on your medical history as well as where you are at in your healing journey. Creating an environment of compassion, wisdom, growth, and safety is our primary goal.

Our trained medical professionals ensure that ketamine sessions are safe and comfortable, and that they meet safety requirements outlined by the Government of Alberta.

KaT is for individuals looking for new tools to support their mental health healing journey.

Studies have shown, Ketamine-Assisted Therapy is a great option for adult patients with:

• Refractory Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

• Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD)

• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

• Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

No, you do not need a referral. You can reach out to us directly or book a Discovery Call through our website.

We recommend a minimum of 4 sessions. Scientific guidelines affirm evidence that clients who have tried Ketamine-Assisted Therapy may benefit the most from these sessions over a period of 6 weeks.

The most common experience from ketamine is short-term dissociation. The medication can often distort your perception of sight and sound while producing illusions of detachment from your environment or yourself.

You may feel separate from your thoughts and feelings. You may temporarily experience headaches, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, drowsiness, elevated mood, anxiety, or elevations in blood pressure and heart rate.

A licensed provider will be with you to assist and assure you throughout your session. All experiences are short-lived and resolve quickly.

Please do not come to your session if you have a cold or are feeling unwell.

When leaving your ketamine sessions, you must be driven home by a family member or a friend.

No driving, operating hazardous equipment, or engaging in hazardous activities for the next 12-24 hours.

Avoid making critical decisions for 12-24 hours.

Avoid consuming alcohol or other recreational drugs for 24 hours before and 24 hours after your ketamine sessions.

Ketamine can be safely administered in four ways; intramuscular (IM), intravenous (IV), intranasal or orally. At Cena Life, we offer Ketamine intramuscularly.

The KaT program consists of a combination of ketamine treatments and psychotherapy sessions over 6 weeks. We will require you to provide your medical history, participate in psychometric screening, and meet with our psychiatrist to determine if ketamine therapy is right for you.

Research has shown an individual’s personality and mood are improved in the days to weeks following therapy.

Many individuals have reported experiencing lasting improvement in their condition within hours of a treatment session.

The Ketamine sessions and your care plan are designed to enable personal healing, to help you achieve clarity and understanding of your experience.

Ketamine allows you to separate or disassociate from your thoughts, enabling you to look back at those thoughts from a healthy distance.

This new perspective, coupled with the support and guidance of our team members, is very different from the current medications that regulate brain chemistry.

Cena Life is a private pay service. Your insurance agency may cover a portion of the cost. We do not directly bill insurance companies but will gladly provide you an invoice.

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation FAQs

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression and other conditions, such as anxiety, PTSD, OCD and pain.

rTMS is designed for individuals who cannot tolerate, or have limited response to, other mental health treatments and medications.

There is recent evidence that rTMS helps with pain disorders and mild cognitive impairment (pre-dementia). It can also be used when other treatment (such as medication) have failed.

In patients with depression who have failed multiple antidepressants, approximately 30-40% can be completely free of depressive symptoms with rTMS, and up to 70% will have at least some improvement in symptoms. rTMS may be even more effective in patients who are not treatment-resistant. Recent systematic reviews confirm rTMS to be particularly beneficial in anxiety disorders and PTSD.

Minimal. Most people tolerate rTMS without any significant side effects. Common side effects may include

  • Headache
  • Scalp discomfort at the site of stimulation
  • Tingling, spasms or twitching of facial muscles
  • Lightheadedness

 

Very rare side effects can include:

  • Risk of seizure during treatment (1 in 1000 theoretical risk)
  • Risk of mania in patients with bipolar disorder

 

Side effects are generally mild to moderate and improve shortly after an individual session. They also tend to decrease over time, with additional sessions.

Generally, an index course of rTMS is 5 days a week for 6 weeks. The first session will be a longer 90-minute session. Each following session will be 10-25 minutes.  

If you have any type of ferromagnetic metal in your head, you are not eligible for rTMS therapy. This includes aneurysm clips or coils, stents in the neck or brain, implanted electrodes, deep brain stimulators, metal plates, or metallic implants. Braces, dental fillings, or titanium are OK. To discuss other eligibility requirements including history of seizures or substance use, please contact us.

There are no medications that interact with rTMS therapy. This includes caffeine consumption, alcohol use, and sleep. Let your provider know if your medication regimen changes at any time during treatment.

Psilocybin FAQs

Psilocybin is the psychoactive compound in what is usually known as ‘magic mushrooms.’ Once ingested, Psilocybin gets metabolized into psilocin, which interacts with your brain to induce an altered state of consciousness.  

These altered states create a sense of reality distortion, altered sense of time, changes in mood and perception, and enhanced emotional reactivity, among others. 

Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy is a therapeutic approach that involves the use of psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound found in certain mushrooms, to facilitate emotional healing and self-discovery.

In a controlled and supportive setting, individuals consume a carefully measured dose while supervised by a qualified team of healthcare providers. 

This process aims to induce altered states of consciousness, allowing for deep introspection and emotional release. 

The therapists assist individuals in uncovering meaning and integrating insights gained from the sessions into their daily lives.

Recreational use of Psilocybin usually comes from individuals ingesting magic mushrooms by themselves or with a friend or family member present. Psilocybin consumed recreationally can be more dangerous physically and psychologically, as well as less therapeutic than when done within a regulated setting. 

Treatment programs utilizing psilocybin therapy are facilitated in a regulated setting with an interdisciplinary team of professional healthcare supervisors. Eligible clients will undergo intensive screening and vigorous preparation and integration work before and after psilocybin sessions. This has been proven to increase safety and has led to more positive outcomes for long-term positive benefits.

Psilocybin’s main site of action is on the serotonin system of the brain, which is what contributes to producing an altered state of consciousness.

The brain’s natural state has demonstrated that it operates with high activity in the Default-Mode-Network (DMN). Psilocybin slows activation in this network, allowing the brain to shut down from its typical thinking patterns. 

This shift in consciousness can provide new insights and perspectives, which can lead to long-lasting benefits if the psychedelic experience is appropriately integrated into one’s own life.

Psilocybin has shown effectiveness in reducing depression and anxiety, particularly for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD), and End-of-life Anxiety.

In January 2022, Health Canada expanded the Special Access Program (SAP), making Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy legally accessible when used by regulated health professionals. Psilocybin is still considered illegal outside of a regulated setting.

The SAP is a Health Canada program that allows professionals to request access to drugs not currently authorized for sale in Canada to treat patients with serious or life-threatening conditions. 

Each application must provide supporting evidence for safety and efficacy, and applications are reviewed case-by-case to determine eligibility.

Psilocybin is generally considered safe when used responsibly, in the right setting, and with appropriate doses. However, caution must be used when considering factors like pre-existing medical conditions, mental health issues, participant unreadiness, or certain medications which may interact negatively.

Psilocybin, within the SAP, is currently used for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD), and End-of-life Anxiety. Ongoing clinical trials are exploring its potential for additional mental health conditions.

Psilocybin therapy produces long-lasting positive mental health effects and behavioral improvements, particularly against Major Depressive Disorder and end-of-life anxiety.

Strong evidence exists for cancer-related depression and anxiety, and treatment-resistant depression. Ongoing clinical trials are exploring its potential for treating migraines, addiction, bipolar disorder, chronic pain, OCD, and more.

Psilocybin can exacerbate underlying psychotic conditions and poses cardiovascular risks with chronic use. People with a history of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder should avoid it. 

Interactions with certain medications are possible, necessitating discussion with healthcare professionals.

While your insurance agency may cover a portion or all of the cost, direct billing is not provided as Cena Life is a private pay service. 

However, invoices can be provided for reimbursement.

When leaving your Psilocybin sessions, you must be driven home by a family member or a friend. No driving, operating hazardous equipment, or engaging in hazardous activities for the next 12-24 hours. Avoid making critical decisions for 12-24 hours. You will be provided with after-care instructions after your first treatment. 

MDMA FAQs

MDMA (3,4 – methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a unique synthetic stimulant that is classified as an ‘entactogen’ or ‘empathogen’ due to its ability to facilitate trust and empathy within ourselves and others.

MDMA was utilized as an adjunct to psychotherapy in the 1960s before being classified as a Schedule 1 substance with no medical use in 1970. MDMA, along with other psychedelic/entactogenic substances, were banned in what was the beginning of the ‘War on Drugs.

Decades later, after successful phase 2 trials, MDMA was granted a “Breakthrough Therapy Designation” in 2017 and approved for phase 3 trials for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

MDMA-assisted therapy combines the therapeutic effects of MDMA as a catalyst in conjunction with integration therapy in a safe and supportive setting.

The utilization of MDMA could potentially serve as a valuable link in bridging the gap between psychotherapy and psychopharmacology. By doing so, it may play a crucial role in fostering the integration of a more comprehensive and holistic approach to addressing psychopathology.

MDMA is classified as an “entactogen” as it can induce experiences of emotional communion, oneness, social relatedness, and empathy. It works by increasing neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Research proves MDMA is effective in treating PTSD by decreasing activity in the amygdala and increasing blood flow to the prefrontal cortex. It also increases levels of neurohormones associated with trust.

In January 2022, Health Canada broadened the scope of its Special Access Program (SAP). Following acceptance by an MD or Psychiatrist, and a successful application,MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is legally accessible under the SAP when used in conjunction with psychotherapy by regulated health professionals.

Prior to this recent exception, MDMA was classified under Schedule 1 in the Canadian Drug and Substance Act (DCSA). MDMA outside of the SAP is still considered an illegal substance.

In six separate phase 2 clinical trials involving 105 participants with chronic PTSD, a noteworthy remission rate of 66.2% was observed, accompanied by minimal occurrences of adverse effects. These findings suggest promising outcomes for the potential efficacy of MDMA in the treatment of chronic PTSD.

“86.5 percent of participants in a recent study experienced a clinically significant benefit.”

“71.2 percent of participants no longer met criteria for PTSD once the study was over.”

The SAP is a Health Canada program that allows professionals to request access to drugs not currently authorized for sale in Canada to treat patients with serious or life-threatening conditions. 

Each application must provide supporting evidence for safety and efficacy, and applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

While Special access to MDMA is typically only granted for the treatment of PTSD,other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety have also shown therapeutic potential.

MDMA therapy produces long-lasting positive mental health effects against PTSD and Major Depressive disorder, enabling individuals to find ease in their everyday lives.

Typically, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is used to revisit traumas with a lens of self-empathy, allowing individuals to face them without the associated fear response.

MDMA assisted by integrative therapy has been shown to be effective in the prolonged management of PTSD symptoms.

Short-term effects may include nausea, muscle cramping, teeth clenching, blurred vision, chills, sweating/hyperthermia. Withdrawal may arise after moderate use over one week, though it is rare in a therapeutic setting.

Recent exposure to antidepressant drugs that target reuptake transporters may reduce treatment response to MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy.

Conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, or problems with the heart, liver, or kidneys may be a concern. It’s advisable to consult with your doctor before trying any new medications or treatments.

When MDMA is used in a regulated health setting for therapeutic purposes, it is both safe and effective.

Short-term effects may include involuntary jaw clenching, restless legs, nausea, hot flashes or chills, headaches, and sweating. Withdrawal may arise after moderate use over one week, although this is extremely rare in a therapeutic setting.

Recreational use of MDMA can increase the risk of acute adverse health effects, which is why MDMA therapy is delivered in a controlled and regulated setting with a rigorous acceptance criterion. Additionally, it is always important to discuss with a medical professional before trying any new substance or treatment.

MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is delivered in a regulated setting with two specially trained healthcare professionals who can monitor client safety and provide physical, psychological, and emotional support during the experience.

Sessions are offered once per month for a total of 2-3 treatments, each followed by weekly integration sessions with a specially trained integration therapist.

During therapy, effects can vary, often felt in waves. Participant’s report heightened sensory experiences, intense happiness, pleasure, emotional connection, increased alertness, and energy. Side effects might include anxiety, fatigue, muscle tightness, and nausea, typically resolving within 24 hours.

Integration therapy is a process in which a person actively engages in making sense of, working through, translating, and processing the content of their psychedelic experience.

It allows the gradual incorporation of lessons and insights into their lives for greater balance and wholeness.

While your insurance agency may cover a portion or all of the cost, direct billing is not provided as Cena Life is a private pay service.

However, invoices can be provided for reimbursement.

When leaving your MDMA sessions, you must be driven home by a family member or a friend. No driving, operating hazardous equipment, or engaging in hazardous activities for the next 12-24 hours. Avoid making critical decisions for 12-24 hours. Avoid consuming alcohol or other recreational drugs.

You will be provided with after-care instructions after your first treatment session.

If you’re a new client, please take some time to review these considerations before booking an Info Session.​