Ketamine has long been recognized for its anesthetic properties, but in recent years its capacity for treating mental health disorders has attracted attention. As a dissociative with effects that are often described as psychedelic at high doses, ketamine typically provides a distance from one’s familiar thought patterns and can provide profound inner journeys, sometimes inducing mystical experiences. At lower doses, ketamine may enhance the experience of dancing to music in club and rave settings.
While not considered a classic psychedelic, ketamine was the first “psychedelic” drug to receive “breakthrough therapy” status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ketamine helped initiate the broader public acceptance for psychedelic drugs to be seen as medicines that could more effectively treat mental health conditions. It is now being used off-label1 to treat depression and other illnesses. Its derivative, esketamine2 , a nasal spray used to treat depression, is the first proprietary form of ketamine to receive FDA approval (in 2019) specifically for a psychiatric disorder.
Benefits of Ketamine
Things to Know
- Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, it’s not a traditional psychedelic
- Research shows ketamine is effective at treating treat mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, suicidality, and PTSD
- An industry of ketamine providers offers ketamine therapies as infusions or via at home treatments such as lozenges
- Low doses of ketamine can help people manage pain and mental health
- People have been using ketamine in club or party environments since the 1970s
Ketamine is a versatile drug with the potential to treat an array of serious mental health conditions. Since 2006, clinical trials and other studies have suggested it to be an effective treatment for alleviating Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) because of its rapid clinical improvement in depression3 .
Research shows Ketamine has efficacy as a treatment for suicidality4 , as it has been shown to rapidly reduce suicidal ideation significantly on both the clinician-administered and self-report outcome measures.