Research being conducted about ketamine for depression—as well as about various psychedelics—has been paving the way for these drugs to be used as antidepressants.

The research doesn’t stop here, however. The knowledge obtained from these studies is crucial in the ongoing search for alternative treatments for depression. Additionally, there is another key component wrapped into this research, and that is funding. The legal use of psychedelics to treat psychological disorders has become extremely popular from the investment side of the spectrum.

In the last few years, the perception of drugs like ketamine has shifted: what used to be seen as a “party drug” is now known as a powerful form of medicine. Many psychedelic drugs, such as psilocybin mushrooms, LSD and MDMA, have been granted FDA approval for clinical trials to learn their value as antidepressants. Because of this, investors are favoring psychedelics due to the regulatory support and reduced risk. They are also looking at a potentially impressive long-term return on their investment.

It is estimated that, by 2026, the market for anxiety and depression treatment will reach $18.9 billion in the US. Couple this with the fact that almost 30% of depression cases are treatment-resistant, we can expect a greater demand for more effective depression therapies. With this in the forecast, investor interest in psychedelics has snowballed; big-name executives, celebrities and universities are dumping money into this sector’s future.

Why is the private funding of these studies so important? Without the backing of these investors, researchers would not have the money to conduct or publish their research. This is critical, not only for understanding how these drugs work to treat the symptoms of mental illness, but also to provide insight into mental illness in general. A great example of the investors’ money hard at work is this new study conducted by several Canadian universities, which was published December 2020 in Nature.

During this study, researchers found that the presence of a group of proteins called 4E-BPs enable ketamine to produce its powerful antidepressant effect. These proteins are found in the brain, and play a role in memory formation. With the identification of these proteins and the insight gained into the molecular mechanisms of ketamine, this study is pivotal for designing new, alternative, and more effective depression treatments.

“Today, the studies of molecular biology, physiology, and pharmacology are helping us to better understand mental diseases and their treatment,” stated Gabriella Gobbi, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University. 

It started with the discovery of ketamine’s antidepressant effects. Now, researchers are looking at psychedelics, and investors are jumping on the bandwagon en masse. We’re excited to watch the research unfold and see what’s next for mental healthcare in America.

In the meantime, those struggling with treatment-resistant depression have access to ketamine clinics in every corner of the country, now. Clinics like ours offer innovative and highly-effective treatments that work when others fail. Contact our ketamine clinic today for a free consultation, or just to ask questions about ketamine for depression.

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