What is ketamine?

First synthesized in 1962 by Calvin Stevens and patented in 1963, ketamine is a Schedule III substance approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as an anesthetic to prevent pain during medical procedures, including surgery.1 It is featured on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines and has been made available for “off-label” use to treat mental health conditions like depression.2


1. Gao, M.; Rejai, D.; Liu, H. (2016 March 28). Ketamine Use in Current Clinical Practice. Nature. https://www.nature.com/articles/aps20165

2. PSYCH, (2021). PSYCH: The Psychedelics As Medicine Report, 3rd Edition, p. 11. PDF resource.