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.