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Ketamine Educational Resources

A Vial of liquid ketamine and a pile of ketamine powder

Ketamine, 2-(2-chlorophenyl)-2-(methylamino)-cyclohexan-1-one, is a dissociative sedative with analgesic and anaesthetic properties, now being investigated as an antidepressant, alone and as part of ketamine-assisted therapy. 

Discovered in 1962 by Calvin L. Stevens, and first tested on humans in 1964, ketamine was approved for medical use by the USA in 1970 and remains widely used to this day. Ketamine quickly became popular as a recreational drug in clubbing and rave culture, being appreciated for its euphoriant properties and mild stimulant effects when taken in small amounts. At higher doses, ketamine can also create hallucinogenic and dissociative effects, such as the distortion of sights, colours, sounds, sense of self and the environment.

Despite over 50 years of medical use, modern research is exploring new applications of ketamine in the treatment of mental health conditions, particularly for the treatment of depression. Ketamine is being studied as a standalone antidepressant, and in the form of ketamine-assisted therapy, with promising preliminary evidence leading to ketamine being granted ‘breakthrough status’ by the FDA.

These educational resources provide everything you need to understand the role of ketamine in medicine and the potential of ketamine as an antidepressant, and of ketamine-assisted therapy in the treatment of depression.

Ketamine History & Law

This material explains how ketamine was discovered and developed into a drug that remains widely used around the globe, to this day, and has been listed as an essential medicine by the WHO since 1985. 

You'll learn the roots of recreational ketamine use in the 1970s, how it was popularised, and the regulations which were applied to it in an attempt to reduce recreational use.

We then go through the timeline of research into the psychological effects of ketamine and its potential applications as a mental health treatment, now deemed a 'breakthrough therapy' by the FDA.

Ketamine Pharmacology

This material explains the neuropharmacology of ketamine, beginning with the fundamental chemical properties of this dissociative drug and an introduction to the receptors that ketamine interacts with, including NMDA, catecholamine, and various opioid receptors.

Once the essentials have been established, we'll dive into the interactions between ketamine and these receptors, the pharmacokinetics, and the effects this has on the body and brain.

With an understanding of the relevant neuropharmacology, we then dive into the clinical applications of ketamine, risks and adverse effects, and the state of research into ketamine as an antidepressant.

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