May 7, 2024

The Science Behind Ketamine Therapy


If you've ever had to deal with depression or anxiety, then you know it's a heavy burden that can make living a normal life difficult. But what if there was a way to ease these symptoms without drugs? Ketamine therapy may be able to do just that—and it isn't just for people with mental health issues. In fact, ketamine therapy has been shown to improve not just mood but also memory and attention span in healthy adults as well. The science behind this surprising breakthrough is fascinating and offers hope for many who suffer from depression or anxiety.

It blocks receptors for the neurotransmitter glutamate, which increases brain plasticity.

Ketamine blocks the NMDA glutamate receptor, which is involved in learning, memory, and mood regulation. When you block this receptor, it reduces activity in the brain's frontal cortex (the region responsible for executive function) and increases plasticity of neural connections between neurons in other areas of the brain. This can help restore communication between different parts of your brain that may have been disrupted by depression or stressors like trauma or loss.

Increased plasticity is important because it allows you to build new connections between different regions of your brain--and this ability to rewire yourself is what enables ketamine therapy to work so well!

Ketamine therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses ketamine to treat depression and other mood disorders. It involves the use of the medication ketamine in a therapeutic context to treat various mental health conditions. While the exact mechanisms of ketamine's therapeutic effects are still being studied, several key factors contribute to its effectiveness:

  1. NMDA receptor modulation: Ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist, meaning it blocks the activity of NMDA receptors in the brain. By doing so, it affects the release and binding of various neurotransmitters, particularly glutamate, which plays a role in mood regulation. Modulating the NMDA receptors is thought to lead to changes in brain connectivity and the restoration of neural pathways associated with mood regulation and cognition.
  2. Glutamate release and synaptic plasticity: Ketamine administration has been shown to increase the release of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter. This release of glutamate triggers a cascade of events, including the activation of other receptors and signaling pathways involved in synaptic plasticity—the brain's ability to form and strengthen new connections between neurons. These changes in synaptic plasticity may contribute to the antidepressant and therapeutic effects of ketamine.
  3. Increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF): Ketamine has been found to increase the production and release of BDNF, a protein that supports the growth, survival, and function of neurons. BDNF is essential for neuroplasticity—the brain's ability to reorganize and adapt to new situations—and its levels have been found to be reduced in individuals with depression. By increasing BDNF levels, ketamine may facilitate neuroplasticity processes, leading to improved mood and cognitive function.
  4. Rapid onset of action: One notable aspect of ketamine therapy is its relatively rapid onset of action compared to traditional antidepressant medications. While conventional antidepressants may take several weeks or longer to alleviate symptoms, ketamine has been shown to produce rapid and sometimes immediate effects in some individuals. This rapid response is of particular significance for individuals with severe depression or acute suicidal thoughts who require urgent relief.

It's important to note that ketamine therapy is a complex treatment approach, and the precise mechanisms through which it exerts its therapeutic effects are not fully understood. Ongoing research aims to elucidate the neurobiological processes involved and optimize the administration protocols for maximum efficacy and safety.

It's recommended that individuals interested in ketamine therapy consult with a qualified healthcare professional or psychiatrist who can provide further information and guidance tailored to their specific needs.

Ketamine therapy helps people with depression and anxiety by increasing neuroplasticity in the brain.

Ketamine therapy is a safe and effective treatment for depression. The drug has been shown to be more effective than traditional antidepressants at reducing symptoms of severe depression, and it's also easier to use: you don't need a prescription or any kind of medical intervention, so long as you're over 18 and willing to pay for the treatment.

Ketamine increases neuroplasticity in the brain by stimulating NMDA receptors--which are responsible for learning and memory--in certain regions of the brain called neurons. When these receptors are activated, they cause neurons to grow new connections with one another (a process known as synaptogenesis). This increased connectivity helps break down neural pathways associated with negative thoughts so that new ones can form instead, leading to improvements in mood over time.

The effects of ketamine therapy are directly related to dosage and frequency of use.

The most important thing to remember is that the effects of ketamine therapy are directly related to dosage and frequency of use. The more you take, the more neuroplasticity you'll experience. And when we say "the more," we mean a lot:

Ketamine therapy helps people overcome depression by promoting neuroplasticity in the brain

Ketamine therapy has been shown to increase neuroplasticity in the brain, which means it can help people overcome depression. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain's ability to change and adapt over time. It's a process that occurs throughout our lives.

We hope this article has helped you understand the science behind ketamine therapy. As more research is done on this promising treatment option, we expect to see it become more widely available in the near future.


This blog is not medical advice or therapeutic advice but general knowledge to help you get the most out of your experiences with psychedelic therapy. At-home psychedelic therapy sessions with generic ketamine may be prescribed "off-label" for suitable candidates as an alternative pathway. Over the last two decades, research suggests that ketamine may be able to safely and effectively improve many treatment-resistant conditions. A form of ketamine, Esketamine (Spravato), is an FDA-approved medication for depression. Spravato treatments are only available in-person in our office. Our at-home programs include therapeutic guidance, safety protocols, breathwork, virtual treatment preparation and 1-on-1 integration coaching to get the most out of your sessions.