Ketamine is the latest party drug researchers are using to treat mental illness

Ketamine is the latest party drug researchers are using to treat mental illness

VicesNovember 04, 2015 By Dallon Adams

Looks like Special K might not be just for ravers or horses that need to be unconscious anymore. In fact, ketamine is the latest and greatest party drug to be used in clinical trials to treat a wide range of medical issues including depression and anxiety.

As we originally reported, other hallucinogens such as LSD, shrooms, and MDMA have been successfully used to treat PTSD, anxiety, nicotine addiction and more, so it only makes sense that ketamine would join the roster of previously shunned substances now believed to have major therapeutic potential.

Ketamine has been used for nearly half a century as an anesthesia (granted, it was mostly on horses but, whatever, we’re all mammals here). Since the drug is already approved by the FDA for medical purposes, it’s a very attractive option to clinical researchers since the drug is readily available, street legal and inexpensive. So, from a research perspective, ketamine is a winner.

“It’s a lot more economical to repurpose drugs than to take a new drug and make it from scratch,” explained David E. Potter, professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences at Texas A&M. “Not only in terms of dollars, but also in terms of time.” Well shit, we have a bunch of un-used molly they can use ...

In current trials, ketamine is being used to treat people with chronic pain and the depression that’s associated with that. Ketamine works to treat these issues on both fronts, addressing not only pain but the associated depression as well. It also imbues you with the God-like ability to dance for 19 hours in one place while simultaneously being grateful that you even knew your Grandmother (bless her) but it’s unclear whether that has medical applications.

Another medical issue in which scientist hope ketamine can be beneficial is tinnitus, the constant irritating ring of the ears many people suffer from (possibly from repeated exposure to Darude’s “Sandstorm” at da rave).  As of now, there are no drugs available to treat tinnitus, only marginally legal party drugs like Special K.

“It seems the more severe the tinnitus, the better [ketamine] works…Many of the same problems—pain and phantom noises—can predispose to depression and PTSD,” according to Dr. Potter.

The same reasons that make ketamine a popular party drug, the mind-altering effects and the ‘floating’ sensation experienced by users at higher doses, is what makes it a tricky drug for clinical use. Scientists are trying to understand the exact dosing to prevent these side effects mainly caused by regions of the brain essentially disassociating from one another.

“The hope is that the doses that are used for appropriate purposes will be low enough to not cause these effects,” notes Potter.

However, one area where Special K totally sucks in is aiding libido. As we reported in our recent article, “What Sex Is Like On (Almost) Every Drug,” ketamine had a thoroughly boner-deflating effect on the quality and quantity of sex.

Here’s a little anecdote from a ketamine user about it:

"I remember trying some sex experimentation on K several times, never with any great success. Sex takes too long and requires too much concentration for that dimension. It usually started out seeming really cool, but then my mind would go off racing after the next other dimensional pinball whizzing by. I think the same thing was happening with my partner. We tried experiments where one was high and the other was not. Again, it was fun for a while, but even someone trying to please me wasn't enough to keep my attention. I generally forgot she was there after a while and couldn't feel my body anyway--come on, it's an anesthetic! It pretty much deadens physical feeling (at least in the doses I was taking)." - Female, 28

Well, assuming you’re never trying to get laid but have really painful knees, ketamine is well on its way to becoming your new BFFFFFF. Fingers-crossed, says the doc…