Where Does Ketamine Come From

Every day, doctors are coming up with new methods to help patients recover faster and with less pain.
One such advancement in the last fifty years is the use of ketamine, not just as an anesthetic, but also in treating severe depression and pain.
Recent studies have shown that it works fast to treat depression when other medications are ineffective.
At Goodness Psychiatry, we provide guidance on managing depression and a variety of mental health conditions.
Reach out today for resources and information.

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine is an effective medication.
It was initially used as an anesthetic for surgeries because of its ability to induce a trance-like state, provide pain relief, sedation, and, occasionally, temporary memory loss.
Besides anesthesia, it has an important application in chronic pain management and, more recently, as a treatment for depression, which does not respond to other treatments.
The drug works by influencing the glutamate system.
Glutamate’s a major neurotransmitter in the brain, responsible for forming neural connections.
It should be mentioned that, despite its potential for therapeutic use, ketamine has a history of misuse as a recreational drug because of its hallucinogenic and dissociative effects.
Hence, it should be administered under the supervision of a medical professional.
For further information and professional assistance, please contact us.

When was Ketamine Invented?

Where does ketamine come from? Ketamine was first synthesized in 1962 by Cal Biochem, a pharmaceutical company in California.
It was one of many experimental compounds created as scientists explored potential anesthetics.
The first clinical trials of ketamine as an aesthetic in humans were conducted in 1964.
It was found to provide dissociative anesthesia and reduce postoperative pain.
In 1970, ketamine was approved for use as an anesthetic in both human and veterinary medicine by the FDA under the brand name Ketalar.
It rapidly gained popularity for its safety advantages over other available drugs.
According to the modern research that was held in 2019 by Harvard reveals that it has been used for treating major depression.

Types of Ketamine

There are the following types of ketamine that include as;

Ketamine Hydrochloride

This is the most common form used for medical and recreational purposes.
It is a white or off-white crystalline powder that is dissolved and injected or inhaled.
Also, it is possible to swallow ketamine to achieve a direct absorption.

Ketamine Sulfate

A salt form of ketamine is sometimes used for medical anesthesia and pain management. It has similar effects to the hydrochloride version.


An enantiomer of ketamine developed by Johnson & Johnson.
It was the first ketamine-based drug approved by the FDA for treatment-resistant depression in 2019 under the brand name Spravato.
It is a nasal spray.


An investigational drug created by AstraZeneca that selectively targets NMDA receptors in the brain’s antidepressant pathways.
It shows promise for depression and is currently in phase 3 trials.


Ketamine capsules exist as two optical isomers, R-ketamine and S-ketamine.
They behave differently pharmacologically, but both are used medically. R-ketamine may have fewer dissociative/psychedelic side effects.

Effect of Ketamine on the Body

Does ketamine lower blood pressure? Unfortunately, it is a common myth, but in the real world, it isn’t true that ketamine lowers blood pressure.
Additionally, by taking a high dosage of ketamine, there will be more chance of heart failure and an increase in blood pressure.
Similarly, there are numerous side effects that a person faces while taking too much ketamine to alleviate any sort of trauma. These are given as follows;

  • Users may experience involuntary rapid eye movements and stiffening of the muscles, making movement awkward and uncoordinated.
  • The pupils become very enlarged and dilated.
  • There is often an upregulation of secretions like saliva dripping from the mouth and tearing from the eyes.
  • Sensations in the body may be distorted or numb, making it hard to recognize stimuli like pain. Touch and temperature feel strange.
  • Nausea or feeling sick to the stomach and possibly vomiting can sometimes arise as a side effect, especially at higher doses.

Abuse of Ketamine

Ketamine has become a popular recreational drug, often called a “club drug,” that is used by teens and young adults at dance clubs and all-night raves.
Its dissociative and hallucinogenic effects are sought after for the altered sensory experiences it provides in social and party settings.
Powdered ketamine can be mixed with other drugs like cocaine or MDMA and snorted for fast onset of effects within minutes. This lends itself well to dance club and party culture.
Teens and young adults may be drawn to ketamine’s perception as a “safe” club drug compared to others like heroin or methamphetamine.
However, it still has health risks from impurities in illegally manufactured forms, as well as the potential for abuse and addiction.

Legal Status of Ketamine in the U.S.

Ketamine has been marketed as a medical anesthetic in the U.S. since the 1970s, both for human and veterinary purposes.
In 1999, it was placed under Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act due to its potential for abuse and psychological dependence.
Schedule III substances have recognized medical uses but have lower abuse potential than Schedule I or II drugs.
To this day, ketamine is considered a legitimate short-term anesthetic and sedative for medical and surgical procedures.
In 2019, the FDA approved esketamine nasal spray (Spravato) specifically for treatment-resistant depression.
It’s provided at certified medical facilities due to oversight of administration and monitoring.

Let’s Recap

Ketamine was initially used as an anesthesia, but later on, researchers discovered other uses for the drug.
Medical professionals view the use of ketamine as a treatment for depression as a major advancement.
Yet, it is also worth noting that repeated misuse, specifically in its powdered form, can cause chronic health and cognitive effects.
Those seeking long-term relief from depression and anxiety can turn to Goodness Psychiatry for the best treatment options available.


Is ketamine an opioid?

Ketamine is not an opioid.
It works differently than opioids by blocking NMDA receptors rather than activating opioid receptors.
This allows it to provide pain relief and anesthetic effects through a separate mechanism of action.

What does ketamine do to your brain?

Ketamine works by blocking NMDA receptors in the brain.
This disrupts brain pathways involved in sensory processing.
It causes dissociative and hallucinogenic effects by distorting the perception of sight, sound, and touch.

Is ketamine a narcotic?

Ketamine is not strictly considered a narcotic.
While it can induce dissociative and psychoactive effects, it does not work by depressing the central nervous system as opioids do.
However, ketamine is a controlled substance and regulated similarly due to its abuse potential and ability to produce psychological dependence in some users.

When did ketamine become popular?

Ketamine became popular as an anesthetic in the 1970s due to its safety advantages over other options.
Its dissociative effects also led it to be used recreationally, especially in nightclubs and raves in recent decades.

Is ketamine a benzo?

Ketamine is not a benzodiazepine (benzo).
It works by blocking NMDA receptors rather than enhancing GABA effects like benzos.
Ketamine provides dissociative anesthesia, while benzodiazepines are sedative-hypnotic drugs.

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