Ketamine is an anesthetic agent, or something that decreases pain and creates an out-of-body state.
Gaining FDA approval in the 1970s for pharmaceutical purposes, ketamine was a field anesthetic for soldiers during the Vietnam War.
Ketamine is part of a group of synthetically-derived compounds called cyclohexylamines, explains Daniel Goldberg, co-founder of Palo Santo.
“It comes in a white-, off white- or light brown-powdered form and has a similar appearance to cocaine and causes hallucinatory or dissociative effects that are relatively short in duration,” he says.
Ketamine therapy works differently from most antidepressants, which broadens its horizons when it comes to treatment options.
Instead of working via the monoamine pathways in the brain and targeting neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, ketamine works directly on the brain to block the NMDA signals.
Despite its reasonably long history of use, ketamine is still gaining significant traction in modern medicine today.
It’s the only FDA-approved use for ketamine today. For this reason, health care providers prefer this type of anesthetic while using the drug.