There’s no doubt ketamine is a topic on everyone’s tongue at the moment. 

For years, scientists have completed studies to prove the benefits of using ketamine as a treatment for a number of ailments, in particular, depression and chronic pain. However, until recently, although they knew it DID assist with depression in particular, they weren’t sure HOW.

This year, a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) as part of the National Institutes of Health has discovered ground-breaking results that have sent the science (and medical) world into a spin. 

What we know about ketamine

Ketamine was originally used as a veterinary medicine, but was introduced in the 1960s as an anaesthetic – predominantly used in emergency departments around the world. It has also been used as an analgesic drug and a hallucinogen.

In recent years, it has received a bad rap as people take advantage of the psychedelic effects when taken in large amounts. It can make people feel as though they are disconnected from their body, and it’s this affect that led to be classified as illegal when taken in the form of Special K, a party drug.

However, the benefits of ketamine (when used properly) cannot be overlooked. Ketamine in the United States is legal, but only when it is provided by a trained health professional, like the Ascend Ketamine clinic. It can be administered by mouth, nose, injection, or – as we do at our clinic – intravenous drip.

The Study: How Does It Work?

Numerous studies, and first-hand testimonials, have found that ketamine infusion therapy does provide relief from depressive symptoms. But, scientists were still unsure how this worked, until recently. Here’s what the study found:

Research was conducted on mice that had been exposed to stress, and were displaying signs of depression-related behaviour. The researchers examined neurons in the pre-frontal cortex (brain) of those mice that were exposed to long-term stress. 

Interestingly, mice that were showing behavior similar to depression were found to have loss of, and decreased formation of the dendritic spines in that cortex. 

Those affected mice were given depression-treating levels of ketamine. And the results were astounding. To start with, the behaviour of the mice changed within just a few hours. But more interesting was what happened in regards to the loss of dendritic spines. Researchers didn’t find that ketamine stopped the spine-loss, but rather it led to the growth of new functional spines. 

Formation of the new spines took between 12 and 24 hours, and this was found to be a crucial element for reversal of the negative effects of depression. When the mice were taken off ketamine treatment and again faced with stress, they began to show depressive symptoms again.

Although the study was completed on mice, it’s believed these insights may help researchers develop a way to promote the lasting remission of depression in humans.

How Could Ketamine Help You?

Ketamine infusion treatment has helped hundreds of people overcome adversity. If you suffer from pharmaceutical treatment-resistant depression, you could find that ketamine infusion therapy helps alleviate your systems. Visit our Houston Ketamine Clinic, or visit us at our soon to be open San Antonio clinic. It could change your life.