“Recent data suggest that ketamine, given intravenously, might be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades.”
Thomas Insel, Director, National Institute of Mental Health
Major Depression and Chronic Pain, which often leads to Major Depression, are among the most difficult conditions human beings can endure. In fact, 90% of the more than 40,000 Americans who commit suicide each year have a diagnosable and potentially treatable illness which often includes chronic pain and/or depression. Unfortunately, those with the most severe cases of these illnesses do not respond well to traditional therapies and more often than not, they are condemned to a life of solitude, sadness, disappointment, and discomfort. In some of these individuals, Ketamine Infusion Therapy may offer new hope.
For the past 15 years researchers have known that tiny doses of ketamine can rapidly and effectively relieve depression and pain symptoms when delivered via slow intravenous infusion. When ketamine is administered via slow infusion, unique conditions are created in the brain which trigger a delicate cascade of events. This cascade affects certain receptors and signaling pathways, and produces a protein that triggers rapid growth of neural connections. Researchers suspect this “rewiring” is part of the antidepressant effect of ketamine. Ketamine is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and since pain is highly correlated with chronic inflammation, this may explain its ability to provide relief in patients with chronic pain. There may well be other factors that haven’t been identified yet which could further explain ketamine’s role in the treatment of chronic pain and depression.
For the 70% of patients who typically respond to ketamine infusion therapy, their symptomatic relief will generally begin to diminish rapidly at first. The exact duration of relief varies from patient to patient, but younger patients tend to get longer relief than older ones. For this reason, a series of multiple infusions is recommended as it provides longer lasting relief than a single infusion. As the number of ketamine infusions increases, the time intervals at which a patient would require a “booster” infusion may increase from days to months. For example, a patient beginning ketamine infusion therapy may require infusions every other day for the first two weeks, then only require a monthly infusion thereafter. Fortunately, patients who relapse often have their relief restored after another infusion.
For more information on how Valley Center for Cannabis Therapy can employ Ketamine Infusion Therapy to assist you with your chronic pain or depression, or to schedule an in-office consultation, please feel free to call us at 702-441-0928.