The nature and potential of ketamine

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Amphetamine pills, Ketamine powder, plastic baggies of powdery substance along with a syringe needle. Photo by Shutterstock.

As psilocybin and other psychedelics show promise for their ability to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, ketamine is also gathering attention. Ketamine, or “k,” has gone from its common use as an anesthetic and club drug to being touted as the best thing since Prozac. Ketamine is legal for medical use, approved by the FDA, and available for infusion at clinics for an affordable price of $6-700 hundred dollars a treatment. 

Bita Moghaddam, professor of behavioral neuroscience and psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University and the author of “Ketamine,” points out that while studies on ketamine thus far have been limited, the drug’s use in conjunction with psychotherapy has shown some long term positive results in treating mental health issues. 

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Jonathan Bastian speaks with Moghaddam about treating depression with ketamine. Currently, she explains, depression impacts nearly 10% of the population, many of whom do not respond to available antidepressants like Prozac. Moghaddam speculates that the future is bright for psychedelic therapies, but she warns that it’s “hype” to tout that ketamine as a “magic pill” for depression — a lot more research, trials, and studies still need to be done. 

Book cover “Ketamine." Photo courtesy of Bita Moghaddam



  • Bita Moghaddam - Author; Professor of behavioral neuroscience and psychiatry, Oregon Health and Science University


Andrea Brody