Yeah, Ketamine has gotten a lot of attention. I like the idea of it because, unlike the potential treatments derived from LSD or MDMA, it is not about breaking down mental barriers during therapy or about generating a strong therapeutic relationship. Instead it is believed that Ketamine acts directly on brain function to reduce fear of negative consequences. I am in no way qualified to talk further on this but will anyway.
It is believed that just like the brain has a reward centre that is stimulated by say, the smell of nice food or the sight of an attractive member of the opposite sex, there is also an anti-reward centre that is stimulated by say, a large, aggressive dog. Ketamine is said to reduce the activity of this anti-reward centre.
Very interesting to someone like me who is plagued by very strong predictions of negative consequences and so struggles to take action.
Street Ketamine has too many impurities and side effects to be worth trying. Reports include; disassociation into an almost coma like state, cysts developing on the bladder, persistent loss of bladder control, addiction, depression, psychosis and apparently scans of habitual users have shown permanent changes in brain structure.
There are some dodgy US clinics offering treatment at around $800 a time but with no major research backing up the benefits. I understand that very strong benefits are reported to be experienced by 1/3rd of patients with treatment resistant depression (low enough that the placebo effect can't be ruled out) but that the benefits wear off within a couple of days to a couple of weeks, necessitating frequent and regular trips to the clinic.
My impression is that the pharma companies aren't interested in doing the extensive testing required to get approval for the drug for MH use because its patent has already run out, therefore there is no profit. The NHS and the medical profession worIdwide have left development of drugs to the pharma companies for so long that, aside from a few small trials, they don't have the structures, experience or resources in place to develop the drug for MH uses themselves. I have read that a couple of patentable variations on Ketamine have been created and these are currently being tested in the US. Obviously to be sold at a massive mark up.
Basically, Ketamine appears to be promising but don't expect to see it available until the clinical trials of the patentable varients have ruled out horrendous side effects and the patentable drugs have been given regulatory approval. The good news is that the US regulator appears to have fast tracked testing and approval for these drugs because the potential benefits are so high.