MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy

what it is and it's use in mental health settings

From the Beginning

MDMA, or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is a synthetic psychoactive substance that alters mood and perception. Commonly known as “Ecstasy” or “Molly,” MDMA can produce feelings of increased energy, pleasure, emotional warmth, and distorted sensory and time perception. It primarily affects serotonin levels in the brain, promoting a sense of euphoria and emotional openness. 

Our Approach

We invite clients to consider the potential benefits of the SAP program as a pathway to access Psilocybin and MDMA therapies in Canada. While these treatments have not yet received official approval from Health Canada, the SAP offers a unique opportunity for those facing challenging health conditions.

To qualify for the SAP program, healthcare providers will need to submit an application on behalf of their patients. Patients themselves must have a serious or life-threatening condition and have explored all available conventional treatment options, which may not have yielded the desired results or may have been unsuitable for their specific situation. The SAP is designed to assist individuals who have exhausted these options and are seeking alternative solutions.

We encourage interested clients to explore the SAP program as a potential avenue to access innovative therapies that may offer relief and hope in their healthcare journey.

Advantages

Compared to tobacco/nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine, classic psychedelics have an exceptional safety profile for users.

MDMA and psilocybin are among the lowest risk endogenous compounds commonly consumed today.

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

Program & Pricing

The MDMA-assisted therapy program includes a psychiatry assessment, 23 hours of psychology, NP assessment, & 20 hours of nursing care, for 2 medication sessions led by a psychologist & nurse.

The total cost for an individual’s treatment is $7000

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

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.