About ketamine


What is ketamine?

Ketamine is a safe, effective, and legal NMDA receptor antagonist that interacts with glutamate, the most abundant neurotransmitter in your brain.

Research has proven that ketamine re-establishes and strengthens neural connections via dendrites—microscopic, spine-like structures that send and receive information.

What can ketamine do for you?

We use ketamine infusions to treat depression, anxiety, suicidality, PTSD, chronic pain, and other difficult-to-treat mood conditions.

At lower doses, it helps guide you beyond the superficial layers of your everyday mind and heal unhealthy neural pathways. It enables you to achieve the clarity you want to live the life you deserve. Our nurses and therapists guide you along this journey. We are with you every step along the way.

Its healing power activates within just hours, providing a quick and effective way to reconsider your life choices and reorient your direction.

Why ketamine?

Currently, the only legally prescribable psychedelic medicine, ketamine has a short duration of 45-90 minutes.

It typically provides a pleasant experience with few to no negative after-effects. Substantial clinical research demonstrates its safety and efficacy for treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain, and more.

What does ketamine feel like?

Ketamine produces a pleasant sense of disconnection from one’s ordinary reality and usual self.

Ketamine experiences are unique and may induce or enhance feelings of creativity, purpose, perspective, serenity, insight, inspiration, gratitude, empathy, connection with others and the world, openness to new ideas, psychological rebirth, and traveling outside of one’s self, among others. You may also experience visual, auditory, and other sensory effects.

Occasional, more intense experiences arise.  Our experienced team is by your side to guide and support you throughout all infusions.

Ketamine’s history

Today, ketamine is administered in safe doses by medical professionals for effective treatment—but, like many medically sanctioned treatments, that wasn’t always the case. This brief overview showcases the highs and lows of its growth and development including how it is now being repurposed from anesthesia to a mental health medication.

Ketamine is created

Ketamine was first synthesized in 1962 by Calvin L. Stevens, professor of Organic Chemistry at Wayne State University in Michigan.

FDA approval

After promising trials, the FDA approved ketamine as a field anesthetic for soldiers during the Vietnam War.

Just a party drug?

Ketamine use as a party drug began to increase in the 1980s, spreading across the U.S. Its healing properties mainly went unnoticed by the broader medical community.

Controlled substance

In an effort to stop its illicit use, the U.S. made ketamine a federally controlled substance in 1999. Its use as a safe anesthesia medication increased.

Promising studies

Numerous studies showed ketamine to be a viable alternative treatment for depression, a development many consider a monumental advance in antidepressant research.

Ketamine clinics

Today, thousands of ketamine clinics operate across the country. Clinical research and trials continue to provide evidence of intravenous ketamine's effectiveness in treating mood conditions.

Discuss your options

Chat with an expert

Experts at Northwest Ketamine Clinics are pioneering effective treatments to optimize ketamine's results and ensure it is provided in safe, therapeutic environments. Our knowledgeable staff is ready to talk with you about your options.

Ketamine research

Hundreds of studies attest to the effectiveness of ketamine for mental health and chronic pain.  We’ve hand-picked and analyzed some of the most prominent.

Level of evidence
Magnitude of effect
One of the first studies looking at the anesthetic properties of ketamine
Many patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) experience inadequate symptom relief from available treatments. Ketamine is a potent N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonist with a potentially novel mechanism of action to treat anxiety disorders. This proof-of-concept trial provides initial evidence that ketamine may effectively reduce anxiety
This study sought to evaluate the effect of weekly ketamine treatments for three months on anxiety ratings, safety, and tolerability in patients with treatment-refractory generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD), and subsequent assessment of remission post-treatment. Patients reported marked improvements in functionality and in their personal lives. Maintenance ketamine may be a therapeutic alternative for treatment-refractory GAD/SAD patients
Ketamine acts faster than traditional anti-depressants
Intravenous ketamine administration for treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is generally safe and well-tolerated when administered by trained professionals. An initial case series of 10 subjects with TRD who received six open-label ketamine infusions over 12 days found that, throughout treatment, depressive symptoms were reduced by an average of 85%
Meta-analysis revealed rapid and robust anti-depressant effects of single-dose ketamine in treatment-resistant depression (TRD) patients. By pooling data from RCTs, we showed for the first time that repeated ketamine administration is effective in sustaining initial anti-depressant effects observed after single dosing
Several studies now provide evidence of ketamine hydrochloride's ability to produce rapid and robust anti-depressant effects in patients with mood and anxiety disorders that were previously resistant to treatment. Despite the relatively small sample sizes, lack of longer-term data on efficacy, and limited data on safety provided by these studies, they have led to increased use of ketamine as an off-label treatment for mood and other psychiatric disorders
The quantitative meta-analysis showed that ketamine significantly reduced depressive symptoms. The large and statistically significant effect of ketamine on depressive symptoms supports a promising, new, and effective pharmacotherapy with rapid onset, high efficacy, and good tolerability
This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of a broad range of subanesthetic IV ketamine doses in the acute (72 h) treatment of TRD patients when added to stable anti-depressant therapy. The results suggest evidence for the anti-depressant efficacy of the 0.5 mg/kg and 1.0 mg/kg subanesthetic doses of IV ketamine and no clear or consistent evidence for clinically meaningful efficacy of lower doses of IV ketamine
Depression, fast-acting
The therapeutic onset of traditional anti-depressants is delayed by several weeks. Many depressed patients fail to respond to treatment altogether. In contrast, subanesthetic ketamine can rapidly alleviate symptoms of depression within hours of a single administration, even in patients who are considered treatment-resistant
A small number of clinical studies assessed the anti-depressant effects of oral ketamine. Initial results suggest that oral ketamine has significant anti-depressant effects with good overall tolerability; however, anti-depressant effects are not as rapid as those associated with IV ketamine
Ketamine re-establishes and strengthens neural connections via dendrites
Rapid anti-OCD effects from a single intravenous dose of ketamine can persist for at least one week in some OCD patients with constant intrusive thoughts. This is the first randomized, controlled trial to demonstrate that a drug affecting glutamate neurotransmission can reduce OCD symptoms without the presence of an SRI and is consistent with a glutamatergic hypothesis of OCD
Ketamine provides potent analgesia in subanesthetic doses in chronic pain, and limited data suggest it may alleviate headaches in some patients. Maximum improvement occurred 4.56 days (mean) into treatment. Ketamine was associated with short-term headache relief with tolerable adverse events
The study of 61 patients found that almost 75 percent experienced an improvement in their migraine intensity after a three- to seven-day course of inpatient treatment with ketamine
Ketamine can address both physical and psychological pain. It's widely used as an analgesic, and many people with depression also experience physical pain. This study found that ketamine had a stronger anti-depressant effect in patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and pain than with TRD alone
A metanalysis of studies examining ketamine's effect on pain. Among 696 studies assessed for eligibility, 7 met inclusion criteria. Evidence suggests that IV ketamine provides significant short-term analgesic benefit in patients with chronic refractory pain, with some evidence of a dose-response relationship
Veterans and service members with PTSD who failed previous anti-depressant treatment were randomized to 8 infusions administered twice weekly of either placebo, low dose, or standard doses of ketamine. The standard ketamine dose ameliorated depression measured by the MADRS significantly more than placebo. Ketamine produced dose-related dissociative and psychotomimetic effects, which returned to baseline within two hours and were less pronounced with repeated administration. Secondary analyses suggested that the standard dose exerted rapid anti-depressant effects
This small study demonstrated clear superiority of six intravenous infusions of ketamine compared with midazolam (a psychoactive control) over two weeks, with two-thirds of patients considered responders to ketamine compared with one-fifth of those receiving midazolam
In 2020, a retrospective study analyzed internet posts on the Bluelight website, a public forum intended to provide a platform for people to discuss their drug use. It evaluated the self-reported use of ketamine in patients with PTSD [49]. The results found that patients with self-perceived PTSD had decreased incidence of negative symptoms when using ketamine
Suicidal ideation
Suicide is a public health crisis with limited treatment options. The authors conducted a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis examining the effects of a single dose of ketamine on suicidal ideation. They concluded that ketamine rapidly reduced suicidal thoughts within one day and for up to 1 week in depressed patients with suicidal ideation.

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