🍄 The New Health Club #42 - Here comes your Ketamine Special (and it’s not about Berghain)


Our Ketamine special is finally here! We’re not talking about the party drug. Or its use as an anesthetic in the Vietnam War. And we won't be going down any kinds of K-Holes.

We’re here to talk about Ketamine as an antidepressant. About how it facilitates chemical mindfulness. And its use as a tool in talk therapy, which is possible in a clinical context.

I have just started my own journey with Ketamine talk therapy. Throughout this year, I had many new questions popping up, questions I knew I wanted to answer with the support of a safe and legal psychedelic. These questions were certainly triggered by the current lockdown situation, but also because I felt I still needed new ways of “talking to myself”.

I found an amazing practice here in Berlin and I embarked on a Ketamine talk therapy with a weekly IV Treatment while talking to my therapist. And yes, it is challenging, it’s not just a “nice trip”. I encounter situations under the influence I had previously never considered. Many things in my life that I thought I could not handle are presented by me in a new way. Suddenly they all seem different… more approachable.

I’m also experiencing how love feels, something that is difficult for me, since my biggest fear in life was always being dependent on people and then being abandoned. Which is the opposite of love. 

I’ll be writing much more about my experiences with Ketamine talk therapy here soon.

Meet our Ketamine experts.

Today I have Elias Dakwar MD on the New Health Club podcast. He is an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has conducted laboratory and clinical investigations of the use of Ketamine infusions and mindfulness training to treat addictions. Ketamine is a medication mainly used for starting and maintaining anesthesia where it induces a trance-like state while providing pain relief, sedation, and memory loss. As we speak, Ketamine is being researched and used as an antidepressant and as a tool to support the outcome of psychotherapy. Scientists from Yale call it a “game changer” for psychiatry and mental health, the company Field Trip from Canada has successfully opened legal Ketamine clinics.

I talk to Elias how Ketamine works, why it triggers reactions in your cortex that enable brain connections to regrow. We also talk about the possibility of a chemical mindfulness and how Ketamine can be a future tool for mental health treatments.

Watch Elias Dakwar at the Horizons Conference in 2019

But wait, there is more!

Reid Robison, the co-founder and medical director of Cedar Psychiatry, is on our YouTube show this Friday!

Reid is a founding board member at the Utah-based non-profit Psychedelic Institute. He serves as Coordinating Investigator of the MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy study of Eating Disorders, supervising the training and clinical research of all of the MDMA therapy sites. He is also the Chief Medical Officer at Novamind.

In 2011, he conducted his first research study with Ketamine, then went on to create a Ketamine program for treatment-resistant depression at Intermountain’s IV Therapy Center at IMC.

You can watch our episode with Reid this Friday on our YouTube channel.

The New Health Club YouTube

A Research Round-Up by Ewan Waddell.

In historic policy news: US states Oregon and Washington DC have voted to decriminalize psychedelics (and in Oregon this extends to all drugs). Now, if you’re subscribed to this newsletter, then perhaps you’ve already heard this news, but if not, here’s why you should care:

The war on drugs still rages on, and many of those struggling with addiction are treated as criminals rather than patients. This demonization of ‘the addict’ makes it more difficult to access effective addiction support and traps these individuals in feedback loops of criminality. Decriminalization reverses this, and what’s more, the less we demonise ‘drugs’ as a whole, the better we can identify compounds within this categorisation which might have positive effects for our mental health.

In Ketamine study news: A year long study from Massachusetts General Hospital recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders reported that intravenous Ketamine therapy found improvements in treatment-resistant depression among patients. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking or ‘new’ information, but the more studies that pile up like this, the better, for creating a more mentally well future.

Regarding research you might be able to take part in: the University of California, San Francisco, are inviting participants with all forms of bipolar disorder to take part in an online survey that examines the relationship between psilocybin (magic mushroom) use and bipolar disorder.

Why you should take part (if you qualify): It only takes 15 minutes, it’s great for the movement, and you can be part of history!

In trauma therapy news: Our friends over at Field Trip Health have partnered with Heroic Hearts Project to increase access to psychedelic therapies (such as Ketamine) for veterans suffering from PTSD.

How will this work? Well, Field Trip has already developed a unique, trauma-focused treatment pathway tailored to veterans and frontline workers, and they will also assist these patients with their insurance and reimbursement options to make the logistical side of things as simple and low cost as possible. Amazing. You can listen to our podcast with Field Trip founder Ronan Levy here!

That’s all for now - see you next week!