Severe depressive disorder is one of the most incapacitating conditions. According to recent estimates, over 16 million adults in the United States experience a major depressive episode in the course of a year. Suicide rates have also increased significantly from 1999 to 2016, reaching more than 30% in 25 states. And we all know the toll the global pandemic has taken on all of us, especially those working in healthcare or elsewhere on the front line.
If you have a major depressive condition, you may understand how difficult it can be to find effective treatment. Prescription medications typically require a fair amount of (expensive) trial and error, so improving your symptoms can take a while (anywhere from 1 to 6 months).
Ketamine has been used around the world as an anesthetic for more than five decades, but only recently has emerged as a viable treatment for mental health. After more than 20 years of research, it’s now become an established mainstream medication with fast-acting antidepressant qualities that many mental health professionals recommend for patients suffering from a range of conditions.
While the FDA does not yet recommend ketamine as a first-line treatment, it can be used off-label to treat severe depression, anxiety, and PTSD that have not responded to traditional drugs or therapies.
If you’re curious how to get ketamine therapy online, you’re in the right spot! We’ll dive into the ways you can access legal, fully supervised ketamine therapy online via both virtual and in-person sessions. We’ll explore the best online ketamine therapy providers and help you understand which you can trust.
It’s worth emphasizing that ketamine therapy is not typically the first recommended treatment for anxiety, but rather reserved for patients considered “treatment resistant” with traditional forms of treatment like therapy and other, more common antidepressants. If you’re unsure if you fall into this category, consult your primary care physician or psychiatrist before exploring ketamine therapy.
What is ketamine therapy?
Ketamine is a safe and effective anesthetic with a broad margin of safety, as outlined by the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines. It’s a dissociative anesthetic first developed in the 1960s for soldiers in the Vietnam War. It produces feelings of relaxation and, occasionally, hallucinations, when taken in low dosages through injection or oral consumption. While Ketamine has received some bad press as a recreational drug, it’s now widely available with a doctor’s prescription and also frequently used in veterinary medicine during surgery.
In recent years, ketamine has started to be embraced by the psychiatric community, as well. While the science is still fairly new, research shows that ketamine infusions may be effective in helping to treat symptoms of major depression, other mood disorders, chronic pain, and more. Because many people suffering from severe or treatment-resistant depression have found relief through ketamine therapy, scientists and clinicians are investigating new uses. Online ketamine therapy clinics are rapidly altering patients suffering from a wide range of mental health conditions.
Ketamine therapy for depression
If you are considering a different form of help for depression or pain, you need to understand how ketamine therapy works to help you to make an informed decision that’s right for you.
Ketamine therapy involves the use of the medication in a properly regulated dose to cater to depression, pain, other mental health issues, and even substance abuse disorders. While there are various drugs, therapies, and medications used for the treatment of depression and other related issues, ketamine therapy has proven to be effective and is quickly becoming a mainstay treatment.
Ketamine therapy works differently than other antidepressants by targeting a neurotransmitter system called the glutamatergic system (glutamate system), which works off a receptor known as NMDA. This differs from most other prescribed antidepressants, which work via the serotonin or dopamine receptors. When ketamine is administered, it blocks the NMDA receptor, creating incredibly potent antidepressant effects. This happens rather quickly and can last for a longer time compared to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which function by boosting serotonin levels in the brain.
If you are suffering from long-term depression, you can lose brain synapses that allow nerves to communicate. During the administration of ketamine, particularly 24 hours after the first dose, these lost synaptic connections begin to grow again. The combination of the regrowing synapses with glutamate activity makes it possible for the brain’s activity to change.
Ketamine encourages robust neural activity, which helps the brain and affected neurons to function more normally. It can also create neuroplasticity, giving your neural activity the ability to overcome unhealthy recursive patterns. This shows some of the science behind why ketamine is more successful at treating depression than most other regular antidepressants.
What is ketamine therapy like?
While different users have different experiences with ketamine therapy, the experiences have been classified into four types:
When given ketamine therapy, some users become more empathetic and feel an increased awareness of their body, along with feelings of comfort and relaxation. People who have this experience usually exhibit a reduction in ego defenses.
Other signs of this experience include compassion, warmth, feelings of love, etc. Some people also experienced euphoric sceneries, a kind of dreamlike effect that could involve colorful visualizations.
In the out-of-body experience, there seems to be a complete detachment from the body. Some users report these or have testimonials of visiting mythical realms. They also reported having other metaphysical experiences.
This experience may also involve dreams of the past, present, and future.
Don’t worry, it’s not what it sounds like. In the near-death experience, there is a complete dissolution of one’s ego, meaning there’s a sense of detachment from the body and the self, both physically and psychologically. People who have this kind of experience have a certain feeling of reliving their entire life in a moment. This experience can prove to be very introspective and effective.
It is important to note that no one has actually died as a result of such event. A competent clinician manages ketamine therapy sessions, and if you are doing it virtually, the platforms require you to have someone physically join you. Furthermore, the ketamine doses are thoroughly individualized to ensure your safety.
Ego-dissolving transcendental experience
This experience involves a complete dissolution of all boundaries between the personal self and external reality. During the experience, patients say that they felt like they were connected to the world and that they were one with everything that was good.
All of these experiences can happen to anyone. They can, however, be influenced by certain factors, which include:
- The dose of ketamine administered
- The mindset of the patient
- The environment in which the process is being carried out
It is advisable for patients to be ready both physically and mentally for any of the above experiences.
How long does ketamine therapy last?
When it comes to how long the effects of ketamine last on the brain, it could vary depending on how it’s administered. There are four primary ways in which ketamine is administered. These include:
Intravenous (IV) administration
The IV method takes the ketamine directly into the bloodstream and has a rather rapid onset—within seconds. Its effects may last for about 5 to 30 minutes.
Intramuscular (IM) administration
The IM method involves the administration of ketamine via a syringe. The substance is injected into a muscle (usually the shoulder or tendon). The onset takes around 2–4 minutes, and its effects could last for 1–3 hours.
Sublingual tablets or troches
This method involves the oral administration of ketamine in the form of tablets. There are two ways this could be done, either by holding the tablet in your mouth to absorb or by swallowing the tablets whole.
Holding the tablet in your mouth takes less time, with an onset of 10–15 minutes. The dissociative effects and experiences last between 30 and 60 minutes. When the tablet is swallowed, the onset could take an hour, but the half-life is increased, and the effects could last for up to 3 hours.
Intranasal (IN) spray
This spray method, which is still relatively new, is administered through the nose. There are two types of ketamine sprays: S-ketamine (esketamine) and R-ketamine (arketamine). This method has an onset time of 5 to 10 minutes and full duration of 1–3 hours.
Based on the half-life of ketamine (2½ hours), it takes about 10 to 12½ hours for the majority of the drug to leave the system of an adult. However, the subjective experience of the drug generally lasts about an hour.
The effect of ketamine on people with depression is immediate (unlike SSRIs), and the effects on the mind can last for more than two weeks. In fact, some people suffering from depression report going for 6–9 months without symptoms of depression.
Is ketamine therapy safe?
In three words, ketamine therapy is safe, effective, and proven for most users assuming it’s taken as prescribed by doctors and under careful medical supervision. By trying a series of ketamine therapy sessions, you will have the chance to optimize your experience for better treatment outcomes over time.
Another benefit? Fewer side effects. People who’ve been treated with ketamine have reported not feeling the many symptoms and after-effects that follow other SSRIs.
Who shouldn’t try ketamine therapy?
That said, not everyone is a good fit for ketamine therapy. This includes people with:
- uncontrolled high blood pressure
- unstable heart disease
- uncontrolled thyroid disease
- active substance abuse (urine drug screen must be done if any doubt about substance use)
- active schizophrenia or other psychosis
- manic bipolar disorder phase
… and anyone who’s experienced adverse reactions to ketamine in the past. Regardless of who you are and whether or not you have one of the disqualifying conditions above, be sure to consult your doctor to make sure you’re a good fit.
Where is ketamine therapy legal?
Ketamine therapy is currently only legal to administer in the United States and a handful of other countries. But that doesn’t indicate any lack of research about proper usage or increased adverse side effects for mental health patients. There are, unfortunately, some regions where Ketamine has been categorically abused, which has made it politically unpalatable to legalize.
In the USA, it goes without saying that there are still certain restrictions on the use of ketamine. The drug was officially approved by the FDA as an anesthetic and analgesic drug for use in clinics during surgery. It is legal, however, to be used as an off-label prescription to treat other conditions outside of its original FDA prescription, making it legal, but not yet widely adopted, for use in treatment-resistant depression.
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), ketamine is approved for monitored and prescribed use in clinics because it has some medical value. Outside of this, any use of ketamine without a prescription is considered illegal. Recent developments with ketamine have led the FDA to approve the use of the nasal spray known as ketamine for treating treatment-resistant depression in adults.
How to get ketamine therapy online
We’ve seen an explosion of both in-person and remote ketamine clinics as a result of the drug’s recent success in clinical trials. In most forms of ketamine therapy, telehealth included, treatment begins with an assessment with a psychiatrist, therapist, and/or certified nurse. You and the medical professionals discuss your concerns, treatment goals, and intentions during this meeting.
So, what are the best ways to get ketamine therapy online? Here’s a list of the top providers.
1. Mindbloom Virtual ketamine therapy
Mindbloom is a mental health and wellness startup based in the United States that provides guided ketamine therapy for anxiety and depression. They offer a personalized treatment program grounded in science. Here’s how ketamine therapy via Mindbloom works:
- Complete a 5-minute questionnaire assessment and a video consultation with a clinician to determine whether Mindbloom treatment is the right approach for you.
- If approved – you create an account, complete your medical intake, and work with a qualified mental health clinician to plan your therapy (remotely).
- Communicate with your guide, set intentions, work together to determine the appropriate ketamine dose for you, and schedule your virtual visit.
- Partake in an online consultation with a registered clinician to prescribe the oral ketamine tablets in your dosage.
- Tablets are delivered to your door by a pharmacy.
- Scheduled therapy sessions are then supervised remotely, through video, by a professional clinician and a well-prepared peer monitor who is present throughout the experience. To supplement your at-home experience, Mindbloom’s web-based application offers selected “audioscapes” and individualized psychedelic therapy sessions.
Your clinician will help you a design a clear strategy for the subsequent five sessions based on how you respond to the initial session. Experts will also guide you through the process of interpreting and integrating your experiences into your daily life, and you’ll have the option of enrolling in new programs to go deeper and participate in group therapy with family and close friends.
Mindbloom claims they offer all their services at 70% less than other ketamine therapy providers. Their pricing is as follows:
|Minbloom Pricing||Services included|
|$99/month for new customers||6 ketamine treatments|
1 Bloombox (containing a notebook, an eye mask and a blood pressure monitor)
2 Psychiatric clinician video consults
3 Guide sessions (1 Prep / 2 Integration)
Unlimited group integration sessions
Unlimited messaging with a guide
|$58/month for returning customers||6 Ketamine treatments|
1 Psychiatric clinician video consult
Unlimited group integration sessions
Unlimited messaging with a guide
You can also add virtual one-on-one integration coaching sessions, in addition to the program components that come with your rate. Each session costs $59 and lasts 45 minutes.
Mindbloom goes beyond the typical ketamine therapy approach by offering integrated programming and expert advisors to help you get the most out of your treatment. The unlimited integration sessions and messaging with a guide are ideal for the times you’re seeking more information or comfort – they not only help you make sense of your experiences, but teach you how to integrate insights into your daily life and hold you accountable to your action plan.
2. Field Trip Health for virtual and in-person therapy
Source: Field Trip Health
Field Trip mixes ketamine therapy and integrative treatment through a combination of virtual and in-person meetings.
Offering both psychotherapy with psychedelic therapy, they assist in addressing, unpacking, and comprehending the thoughts and sensations that arise for you during your ketamine therapy session. Psychotherapy provides a controlled environment as well as a platform for you to process these ideas and feelings so that you can apply the insights you gain to your daily life in hopes of achieving deeper recovery.
The initial 45min-1hr medical consultation for Field Trip is done virtually. If, following the consultation, they determine that you’re a good fit for treatment, they will schedule multiple ketamine therapy sessions with your dedicated medical team, which will be spread out over many weeks.
Source: Field Trip Health
You should intend to spend two to three hours at their health center for each of these visits, with the solitary psychotherapy integration sessions lasting about an hour each.
Your Field Trip experience does not end when you leave their health centers after your session, however. They have a specialized Portal to which all patients have access, providing you with content that will assist you in your journey and the ability to access asynchronous chats with your therapeutic team shoyld you have any concerns along the road – even after your program has concluded!
Because Field Trip combines in-person and online services over an extended period, their service is naturally a bit pricier than other options:
|Field Trip Health Service||Pricing||What’s included|
|Guided personal treatment||$750||An initial meeting with the medical team|
An on-boarding meeting with your therapist, including your preparation session
Your first ketamine psychedelic exploration (in-person)
A 30 minute integration therapy session (virtually)
|Subsequent guided personal psychedelic exploration||$750||4 to 6 ketamine experience and exploratory therapy sessions over a period of ~four weeks|
|Subsequent personal full integration session||$250||2 to 3 standalone integration therapy sessions over a period of ~four weeks|
|Guided group psychedelic exploration||$375||4 to 6 ketamine experience and exploratory therapy sessions with three other individuals over a period of ~four weeks|
|Group full integration session||$125||2 to 3 integration therapy sessions with three other individuals over a period of ~four weeks|
We recommend Field Trip Health for those who want some virtual flexibility but prefer to take their medication in the presence of a medical professional, rather than at home.
Field Trip offers the option of therapy-only services upon the completion of their psychedelic programs with licensed therapists who have studied and have expertise in the psychedelic-assisted healing process. This helps to transition into normal life again, while incorporating all you’ve experienced, processed, and learned.
3. Nue Life therapy
Source: Nue Life
Nue Life, like Mindbloom, has a dedicated team of physicians, nurses, professional technicians, and caring clinicians who are committed to providing prompt, tailored ketamine therapy in the comfort of your own home.
Nue Life’s companion app, which provides a cost-effective way for you to communicate with their professional team and learn how to optimize your therapy, is their most distinctive feature.
As you progress through your ketamine dosages, you’ll exchange insights and feedback with your physician via the app, ensuring that your experience is safe and productive. With musicologist-designed playlists, voice journals, and mood tracking, they truly bring a seamless experience to at-home ketamine therapy.
Source: Nue Life
After a online evaluation and medical screening, you will be scheduled for a medical consultation with one of Nue Life’s providers. You’ll receive your Welcome Kit two to three days after your consultation, which includes medication for your first psychedelic experience. A second and third shipment contains doses for your remaining 5 experiences, split evenly.
After your first, third, and sixth encounters, you’ll complete their Experience Tracker form, which your provider may utilize to adjust your dose and other components of your treatment plan, one of the reasons that your treatments are broken up into separate shipments.
Nue Life offers two types of programs: nue.reset (best for those exploring ketamine therapy for the first time) and nue.you. The pricing of the programs are as follows:
|Nue.Life Program||Pricing||What’s included|
|nue.reset||$1250 ($208 per experience)||1 month of telemedicine care |
6 ketamine treatments (1-2 times a week for four weeks)
4 clinician-led weekly group integration sessions (75 minutes each)
1 health coaching session
3-month subscription to the nue.app
|nue.you||$2750 ($153 per experience)||4 months of telemedicine care |
18 ketamine treatments (1-2 times a week for sixteen weeks)
16 clinician-led weekly group integration sessions (75 minutes each)
4 health coaching session
6-month subscription to the nue.app
MindMed: At-home therapy for mental health
MindMed is not currently operating as a direct-to-consumer psychedelic therapy platform, but it’s making strides that may be responsible for important breakthroughs in the field in the near future. They are a public pharma company dedicated to expanding research into psychedelic-inspired medications and experimental mental health interventions.
MindMed is presently undertaking clinical trials to understand more about these therapies healing potential for disorders such as anxiety, adult ADHD, and substance abuse issues.
One example is MindMed’s Project Lucy, an anxiety treatment involving the administration of a hallucinogenic dose of LSD administered by a therapist. LSD improves brain connectivity and aides conversation therapy by broadening the mind and reducing inhibitions. They’re currently ready to launch their Phase 2b human efficacy trial for experiential LSD dosages to further Project Lucy.
MindMed is committed to delivering the complete toolkit—from breakthrough medications and technologies to compassionate therapy—for patients and therapists to account for the entire complex patient journey.
How much does ketamine therapy cost?
Online ketamine therapy is not reimbursed by insurance for these platforms since the FDA has not fully approved it for depression treatment or mental health.
The chart below summarizes the key differences between the three online ketamine therapy platforms we’ve discussed, including their costs:
Mindbloom vs Field Trip vs nue.life: How do these online ketamine therapies compare?
Comparing Online Ketamine Therapy: Mindbloom vs Field Trip vs nue.life
|Location||At-home||Mix and match of in-person and at-home||At-home|
|Ketamine administration process||Fast-dissolving lozenge||US: Intramuscular injectionCanada: fast-dissolving lozenge||Fast-dissolving lozenge|
|Price||$99/month for new customers|
$58/month for returning customers
|$750 for guided personal treatment|
$750 for subsequent guided personal psychedelic exploration
$250 for subsequent personal full integration session
$375 for guided group psychedelic exploration
$125 for group full integration session
|$1250 ($208 per experience) for nue.reset|
$2750 ($153 per experience) for nue.you
New Jersey New
|Best for||People looking for a budget-friendly price, virtual set up for flexibility, and selection of follow-up tools to continue their psychedelic exploration based on their needs and interests||People who prefer to take their medication in the presence of a medical expert at a health center rather than at home and desire some virtual flexibility||People who prefer a highly individualized ketamine therapy experience by keeping in touch with a physician via the app or who want to get even more out of ketamine therapy by having access to musicologist-designed playlists, voice journals, and mood tracking.|
For a more in-depth comparison of Mindbloom vs Field Trip Health, head to our full review of psychedlic therapy providers.
MindMed is still in their trial periods, but we expect them to be a huge contender in at-home mental health improvement in the future, so we wanted to share their research and vision of their LSD tablets for anxiety treatment.
Ketamine therapy for anxiety and depression
Ketamine has a swift and decisive effect in treating depression and other mental health conditions. The FDA’s clearance of esketamine for use in the treatment of depression will almost certainly allow researchers to determine whether ketamine can truly be a cure for depression.
For the time being, multiple research studies have demonstrated its efficacy. A 2013 clinical trial investigated the efficacy of ketamine as a therapy for serious depression. Six ketamine infusions via IV were found to maintain an antidepressant effect in 10 people with treatment-resistant depression. The overall response rate was 70.8%, paving the way for additional research into ketamine’s long-term antidepressant benefits.
According to one review, ketamine can be a true game-changer in the treatment of depression. Its apparent efficacy in lowering depression symptoms and suicidal ideation after a single dosage, or especially when taken frequently in combination with another antidepressant, is an incredibly promising factor in the treatment of depression.
Another study, which included twenty-five drug-free/naive male patients with severe depression, found a significant reduction in depression, anxiety, and the severity of illness after two weeks and one month of the final dosage of ketamine.
Ketamine has also been shown to help people suffering from PTSD. A randomized clinical trial of 41 patients with chronic PTSD was conducted to assess the efficacy of ketamine as a potential treatment. A single 0.5mg ketamine infusion resulted in a significant and quick reduction in PTSD severity in patients.
If you are not yet ready for your first ketamine exploration journey, your treatment for depression shouldn’t come to a halt. Why don’t you check out our review of the best virtual therapy apps like Betterhelp, Regain, and Talkspace.
Other psychedelic therapy drugs
Psychedelic effects can be induced by a variety of substances other than ketamine. The following are some examples of common psychedelic substances and their applications:
- Ayahuasca: Derived from plants, this South American substance is said to aid in the treatment of addiction, anxiety, and depression.
- LSD: Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a psychoactive substance that can cause changes in mood, perception, and consciousness.
- Psilocybin: Also called magic mushrooms, it affects consciousness, emotions, and perceptions in the same way that LSD does. Companies like MindMed are researching it for usage in the treatment of addiction, anxiety, and depression.
- MDMA (ecstasy): Commonly known as ecstasy, it is a drug that generates psychedelic effects such as feelings of euphoria, altered perceptions, heightened arousal, and increased sociability. According to research, it appears to have therapeutic potential in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Can you get addicted to ketamine?
According to current studies, the risk of ketamine addiction in this form is negligible and rarely occurs, as it is provided under the watchful supervision of prescribers, and is administered while taking each individual’s particular mindset, circumstances, and past history into account.
On the contrary, Ketamine shows significant potential as a treatment for a variety of addictions. Two clinical trials, one focusing on cocaine addiction and the other on alcoholism, found that those given ketamine in addition to therapy fared better than those who only received therapy.
The researchers concluded in both studies that ketamine reduced the likelihood of resuming or relapsing into addiction to said substances.
If you’d like to read more about addiction treatment, check out our review of Ophelia for opioid addiction, Workit Health for addiction recovery or Bicycle Health for alcohol dependence. These companies provide FDA-approved prescription medications for substance abuse, such as alcohol and opioids.
Should you try online ketamine therapy?
Ketamine has been clinically proven to help reduce symptoms for a wide range of diseases, from chronic pain to severe depression. Because each patient and medical situation is unique, understanding the benefits and whole process of online ketamine therapy can help you determine if it’s the best choice for you.
There are a few things to consider before getting started with online ketamine therapy:
Is ketamine therapy covered by insurance?
The cost of ketamine therapy is relatively high, and it is not covered by insurance (except for the nasal spray). If you do not have the budget for all six infusions, ketamine therapy is not recommended, as the effects typically do not become apparent until after 4 to 6 doses.
Where is ketamine therapy available?
It’s important to note that all of these medical platforms are governed by state regulations. This means that you may not be able to receive ketamine therapy from particular platforms if they’ve yet to acquire a license in your state. However, the platforms mentioned above serve patients in various states and are, in most cases, seeking to expand their reach. If they don’t offer treatment in your state year, they likely will soon.
How convenient is ketamine therapy?
Some platforms only provide ketamine therapy online, while others only offer it in-person at a health center. Each poses it’s own pros and cons, but keep in mind time management, scheduling, and transportation, along with your preference for hands-on appointments or not. There is also the convenience of drug delivery, online counseling, and medication management to consider.
The Verdict: What is the best online ketamine therapy?
Ketamine is proven to help reduce symptoms for a wide range of mental ailments, from severe depression to chronic pain. For many, thanks to the numerous online Ketamine therapy clinics, that means access to another avenue to get medical assistance when traditional therapy or pharmaceuticals just aren’t cutting it, .
Mindbloom was the first company to be granted permission to provide ketamine therapy online. They have an extremely fast approach and have a blog to further educate and answer the many questions that many patients have before treatment. They have a stellar staff of doctors who can assist you with ketamine administration online, offer continued support with unlimited messages with a clinician, and provide unlimited group integration sessions.
Mindbloom’s program is very competitively priced at 70% less than it’s competitors, with first-time customers paying as little as $99 each month, as opposed to Field Trip Health’s $750 or Nue Life’s $1250. Thus it’s tough to beat the value Mindbloom offers per dollar invested.
Field Trip Health provides a terrific alternative to pure at-home ketamine therapy, offering you greater insight and a more hands-on approach, which many are likely to appreciate given the nascency of psychedelic therapy. With their combination of in-person and at-home treatment, many will justify the higher price point.
Although MindMed has yet to launch a therapy offering for consumers, they have a very promising approach to anxiety treatment, currently experimenting with just psilocybin and LSD for now. They’ll be a fun company to watch, and we hope they are able to commercialize some of their research breakthroughs as soon as its safe and helpful to patients.
If you’re looking for the most cost-effective, clinician-prescribed, guided experiences to help combat anxiety or depression, Mindbloom is currently our #1 pick for best at-home ketamine therapy program you can find to benefit from.
If you want to experience the same therapy with a guide in the room, we recommend Field Trip Health, which has very positive reviews online.
Let us know in the comments below if you’ve tried these or any other psychedelic or ketamine therapy platforms! We’d love to hear about your experience.