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About Ketamine

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication that was first synthesized in the laboratory in the mid-1960s, and has been FDA-approved in the United States for anesthesia and analgesia since the early 1970s. It is a tiny molecule that easily passes through the blood-brain barrier. It can be administered by mouth, through an IV, by injection, or through a nasal spray.

Ketamine acts to increase glutamate in the brain, which results in rapid antidepressant effects. Studies suggest that ketamine promotes neuroplasticity, which is the ability of the brain to adapt and form new neuronal connections. In practice this means it becomes easier for a person to break old thought patterns and adopt new healthier ways of being.

What conditions can Ketamine be used to treat?

There has been a resurgence of interest in the therapeutic properties of ketamine as a tool for the treatment of:

The psychedelic properties of ketamine

The word psychedelic is a combination of the Greek words “psyche” (mind) and “delos” (to reveal). This gives us the common definition of psychedelic as “mind-manifesting”. The hallmarks of the psychedelic experience include novel experiences/insights, timelessness, ego dissolution (loss of the sense of self), higher-order reality and third person perspective. Ketamine shares these properties with the so-called “classical psychedelics” such as psilocybin (found in psychedelic mushrooms) and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). However, while the classical psychedelics work primarily on the serotonin receptors in the brain, ketamine acts on the brain’s glutamate system and NMDA receptors.

There is no “typical” ketamine experience, and each person’s journey with the medicine will be unique. Regardless of the nature of the experience, it is recommended that the individual assumes an active role in it. For most people, there is the perception that medical treatments are done to them. But, to get the most from ketamine therapy, it is important to realize that each person contains what Dr. Stanislav Grof calls the “inner healing intelligence”. This means that each individual contains within them the ability to heal from trauma. As such, one should become an active participant in the ketamine session, exploring their consciousness for insights and pearls to bring back. The medical team is there to support this work and to integrate the wisdom received.