How safe is ketamine compared to psychedelics, such as psilocybin?
We are now living in a renaissance of psychedelics being used to treat mental health issues and chronic pain. We have long known about the therapeutic value of these substances when used properly in a clinical setting.
Six decades ago, psychedelic compounds, such as LSD and psilocybin, were studied by researchers from top academic institutions, including Harvard. Unfortunately, research came to an abrupt halt, due to excessive unregulated use.
Today, in the third decade of the twenty-first century, psilocybin, and other psychedelics, are back in favor. Drugs such as psilocybin, MDMA, DMT, ayahuasca, and ibogaine are the subject of intensive research. Experts believe that psychedelics are on the verge of legalization and possibly FDA approval.
Throughout the many years of turmoil surrounding psychedelics, ketamine has been used consistently as an approved medical therapeutic. Year after year, ketamine has been demonstrated through daily use around the world to be a safe and effective treatment.
As doctors and researchers have gained ongoing experience with ketamine, since its FDA approval over fifty years ago in 1970, they discovered that it was highly effective as a treatment for many mental health conditions and pain syndromes. While the promise of medical psychedelics is still beyond the horizon, ketamine is delivering on those promises on a daily basis.
Plant based psychedelics, or entheogens, are legal in some countries.
There are exotic psychedelics in use in various regions around the world where they are either legal or decriminalized. For example, there are shamans in the deserts of Mexico offering ayahuasca and ibogaine entheogenic therapy. They share ancient rituals using plant-derived psychoactive substances to help people struggling with the complexities of modern life.
While a handful of adventurous people explore the world of ayahuasca, peyote, ibogaine, and other psychedelics, most people are not interested in the high risk stakes of visiting a shaman for pharmaceutical therapy. Fortunately, there is no need to take such risks, putting our brains in the hands of shamans or third world clinics.
The ideal brain healing, mind expanding medical treatment is one that is fully legal and proven with many decades of continuous FDA-approved medical use.
Ketamine-assisted therapy has a greater than fifty year track record of legal medical use in the United States. The same benefits claimed by proponents of psilocybin-assisted treatment are already being achieved in well-established and credentialed ketamine infusion facilities.
People who choose to go south of the border to try out ayahuasca or ibogaine therapy must worry about a variety of sticky issues. Where do they put their wallet and valuables? What if they wake up with permanent brain damage, heart damage, or damage of other organs, such as the lungs, liver, or kidneys?
Who is responsible or liable for ensuring safety at an ibogaine clinic where patients are treated with IVs in hotel rooms? Who is accountable for the misadventures of an irresponsible shaman, dosing clients with the potent hallucinogen, ayahuasca?
Ketamine clinics, on the other hand, are held to the strict standards of credentialing required of medical facilities operating in the United States. Treatment is overseen by licensed health care professionals.
Going in for ketamine therapy is as safe as going to the dentist. Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic used routinely in many healthcare specialties. It is one of the preferred anesthetics used for children during medical procedures, because of its high safety profile.
While ketamine is safe, a facility must go above and beyond to ensure the best possible results.
Still, even with a high degree of medical safety, patients do have concerns about their level of comfort and feeling of safety and protection during their ketamine IV infusion. While many ketamine clinics offer a safe infusion experience, some facilities go above and beyond to ensure that every patient feels welcomed, safe, and secure, throughout the entire ketamine experience, from the moment they walk through the door for the first time, to the sessions of integration therapy and talk therapy that are so important to the ketamine healing process.
Ketamine promotes neurogenesis. This means that connections in the brain between brain cells grow and improve, as neuronal dendrites reach out to form new connections with other brain cells.
In order to make certain that the brain healing process follows the best possible path, leading to fewer symptoms and better functioning in everyday life, the patient must feel comfortable, safe, and protected. Everything, from the chair, the music, the supportive staff, to the integration therapy that helps the patient to understand the meaning of their experience, and the talk therapy that helps to get to the root of the issues, is critical for achieving optimal success.
While ketamine, as a dissociative anesthetic, shares some qualities with psychedelic drugs, it is not quite the same. Ketamine is a pharmaceutical product that has stood the test of time.
The effects of ketamine treatment are well known and understood. And, the medication is sourced from pharmaceutical manufacturers with the highest quality standards, with precision, purity, and accountability.
Proven FDA-approved medications that have been on the market for decades are often the safest and most effective option.
Are all pharmaceuticals proven to be safe? Every year, the FDA approves a variety of new drugs, based on clinical studies.
In some cases, after a few months, or a few years, on the market, a drug may be pulled, due to unforeseen adverse effects in some people. The medications that are safest and most effective are often the older drugs that have survived the test of time, maintaining FDA approved status for many decades.
Ketamine is in this category, approved by the FDA for medical use over fifty years ago, and proven safe and effective in millions of cases. While some drugs are now coming under scrutiny, such as the SSRI antidepressants, and benzodiazepine tranquilizers, ketamine continues to be used safely. New uses for mental health and pain treatment are being discovered on a regular basis.
Please, before considering traveling to a far off place for a psychedelic experience, in a misadventure of medical tourism, consider visiting a ketamine clinic close to home.
We are serving the community of Annapolis, Maryland, and surrounding areas, including Virginia and the Washington Metropolitan Area. Ketamine-assisted therapy is quickly becoming a new gold standard in medical pain management and treatment of a wide variety of mental health issues.