The study find that ketamine intravenously to treat depression, with clinics springing up across the US. Therefore The restaurant manager has struggled with depression since she was nine. she  was at the end of my wit,” she tells me. she  was like, I’m done, she don’t want to live anymore. Because ” Then a friend told her about the LA clinic. She’d never tried hallucinogens before, but her antidepressants weren’t helping anymore and she was desperate. She made an appointment.

Intravenously to treat depression

“She is  in a comfy chair, they give you music and blankets. They hook you up to an IV and administer [ketamine] for 50 minutes. The first time I was nervous as hell. It’s like you’re getting on a ride at Disneyland and you have no idea what the hell’s gonna happen. It’s definitely like you’re on a hallucinogenic, like acid or LSD. You feel high as a kite.”

For somebody who’s suffered from depression for so long, it’s a feeling I never knew [was] possible. My energy and willingness to do things is 100% different.” It’s estimated that 3 million people in the UK have depression, but scientific research suggests up to 20% of sufferers don’t respond to standard treatments. It’s thought that this ‘treatment-resistant’ group could especially benefit from ketamine.

‘Treatment-resistant’ group

Many know the hallucinogen as a club drug. ‘Ket’ or ‘special k’ makes you feel dreamy and detached. But it’s also one of the world’s most common general anaesthetics, used by doctors and surgeons for decades.Scientists have been researching ketamine and depression since the ‘90s. What they’re finding is that ketamine has powerful antidepressant effects and works much faster than traditional medication. In March the US’ Food and Drug Administration approved a nasal spray derived from ketamine (esketamine). It’s been called a game-changer, the biggest advance in depression treatment for decades.

“Most people find [the IV treatments] to be really life-changing,” says Sam Mandel, the COO of Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles, one of the first in the US. He co-founded the service five years ago with his father, anaesthesiologist Dr. Steven L Mandel. “We’ve had patients going three months on average without return of their symptoms. People actually feel happy.

The medical treatments

They don’t feel numbed out, where the lows aren’t as low but the highs aren’t there and I mean the highs of life.” Patients are usually given between 0.5mg and 0.6mg of ketamine per kilogram of body weight, over the course of almost an hour. This is the big difference between the medical treatments and ketamine taken recreationallyPeople snorting the drug in powder form usually take much more (100-250mg is a heavy dose) in a much shorter space of time.