New study finds that combining CBD with ketamine can improve the effectiveness of treatments for depression.
First approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration in 1970, ketamine was traditionally used as a powerful anaesthetic. In recent years however, ketamine has become popularised for its value in treating treatment-resistant depression. This finding was stumbled upon accidentally after doctors found that giving ketamine to agitated patients following suicide attempts prompted a rapid decrease in suicidal ideation.
With ketamine now being an FDA-approved prescription for diagnoses of treatment-resistant depression, ketamine clinics are becoming increasingly commonplace. However, the benefits of ketamine treatments are not without side effects. These include psychotic symptoms and hyperlocomotion (excessive movement caused by excessive stimulation of the nervous system). These significant side effects limit the practical benefits of ketamine.
The recently published study found that mixing cannabidiol (CBD) — the less-psychoactive cannabinoid — with ketamine can induce antidepressant effects without causing hyper-locomotion.
CBD, known for its anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory effects, activates the same receptor as ketamine in the brain. Because results support the hypothesis that the antidepressant-like effect of CBD, similar to ketamine, depends on the activation of AMPA receptors, “CBD could be explored as a possible new add-on therapeutic option for depression” the authors wrote in their findings.
Although research on this therapeutic avenue has not reached human trials, this is a promising breakthrough in neuroscience. The possibility of combining CBD in treatment with ketamine to achieve antidepressant benefits without unwanted side effects is an exciting one.
This is a timely discovery, given the World Health Organization’s prediction that by 2030 depression will be the leading cause of disability worldwide. Combining CBD with ketamine to treat this condition with minimal side effects is an exciting proposition.
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