Psychedelic Medicine Resources & FAQs


Ketamine FAQs
Ketamine Assisted PsychotherapyThe neuron has a cell body that contains the nucleus. The nucleus is where DNA is stored and also where the cell processes of the neuron is regulated. The Neuron also contains other cell body: ribosomes-needed to make proteins like neurotransmitters and mitochondria-the miniature energy producing power plants of the cell.   Extending off the cell body of the neuron are axons. The axons are long extensions of the cell body that at it’s end junction communicate to other dendrites, extensions of other neurons, The communications is maintained by nerve electrical signals and neurotransmitters that transmit messages from one neuron to another. Dendrites also branch off at the other end of the neuron and form clusters of nerve fibers that send and recieve messages from other cell bodies. In the most developed part of the human brain, the cerebral cortex there are an estimated 14-16 neurons,making connections, firing signals, and forming pathways that are required in executive functioning, learning, memory, speech, and emotions etc.

Dopamine Serotonine Pathways in Brain KAPElectric impulses, (Action Potentials) are transmitted from the axon of one neuron to the dendrites of another neuron. The junction where the neurons communicate is called the synapse. Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals, like serotonin, Nor-epinephrine, Dopamine and others. To transmit the nerve impulse neurotransmitters travel across the gap or synpatic cleft between neurons as chemical messengers to allow the impulse or signal to be propagated.

Neurotransmitters are made in the neurons and stored in tiny sacs, vesicles, at the ends of axons. The cell membrane or outer covering of the neurons are covered with receptors, which channel the neurotransmitters through to the next neuron. There receptors are specific for each type of neurotransmitter. The neurotransmitter fit like a key on the receptor which then opens the channel into the cell.

Convergent Theory of Ketamines Mechanism of Action in Depression

The nerve impulse at the end of the tip, also affect the opening of Calcium channels. Thes Calcium-charged elements then cause the vesicles to attach to the neuron cell membrane, which then allows for the pouring of Neurotransmitters to be secreted into the synapse. Neurotransmitters diffuse across the synapse gap and bind to their matching and specific receptors in the membrane of the postsynaptic neuron (the target neuron). The binding opens the channels leading into the cell interior and calcium, sodium, magnesium, and other ions flow in.

The flow of incoming ions such as calcium and sodium depolarizes( or changes the charge) the cell membrane, which gives the inside of the cell to be more negatively charges. When the depolarization threshold is reached the neuron fires an electrical signal. This impulse is then transmitted through the cell, down its axon, and on to the next neuron in the chain.

After the neurotransmitter has done its jobs in the synapse, it is taken back up or (reuptake) into the pre-synaptic cell membrane. From there the neurotransmitter is taken back into the cell and stored once again in the tiny sacs, vesicles. Neurotransmitters now repackaged await the signal of another cycle of impulses to repeat the actions as the messenger between neurons once again.

When the neurotransmitters are re-absorbed, the synapse turns off. The entire process of impulse and neurotransmitter communication back to reuptake into the cell occurs in milliseconds and happens billions of time a day, 24 hours a day!

In the brain, the neurotransmitters glutamate and dopamine are excitatory. The inhibitory neurotransmitters are GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), serotonin, and dopamine.

The release, removal, and reuptake of neurotransmitters is tightly regulated. If there is an effect on the reuptake of neurotransmitters, the concentration neurotransmitter or the sensitivity of neuron’s impulse, there can be a disruption in the brain’s communication, connectivity, and balance. This can lead to a dysregulated state of either too much excitation or inhibition in specific parts of the brain.

Glutamate is the most common excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. It plays a particularly important role in neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to form new synapses and neural connections over a lifetime), learning, and forming memories. When there’s too much glutamate in the brain, the postsynaptic neurons can become hyperexcited; when there’s way too much glutamate in the brain, it can damage neurons or even cause neuron death.

Toxic level and persistent stress affects the neurons of the cortex. Toxic stress puts the brain in an inflammatory and increases cortisol concentrations in the brain. Cortisol can cause neurons atrophy or early death and shrinkage of neurons. Dendrites also decrease in their ability to branch and spread, which leads to fewer connections between neurons. The axons are thinner and smaller. Glutamate signaling is also less effective and responsive.

It has been shown that in chronically depressed people, the size of the prefrontal cortex is smaller and connections to other key components of the brain, are restricted and become dysfunctional in the emotional (limbic) and memory centers (hippocampus) of the brain.

The toxic and inflammatory state of the brain, in trauma, depression, anxiety limits effectiveness of the glutamate neuronal pathways.

Ketamine, which is an anesthetic works by activating glutamate release into the synapse. Researchers studying depression discovered that glutamate receptors can be “dysfunctional” in people with depression. -this is focus of ketamines effect on the glutamate system in treating depression.

Ketamine when used as an anesthetic, was also found to lift symptoms of depression. Since the 1990’s more research has shown that small doses of ketamine when given to severely depressed patients, who did not respond to standard antidepressants like SSRI’s had remarkable results.

We know that ketamine does affect other receptors but it most important receptor it activates are glutamate receptors.

Neurons have many binding sites for glutamate, but when it comes to ketamine, two are of particular interest: the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor and the AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid) receptor.

Glutamate activates the ion channels in both NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) and AMPA α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid) receptors.

At the very low dose, Ketamine increases release of glutamate from presynaptic cleft into the synapse, which has an antidepressant effect. However, Ketamine then preferentially blocks glutamate at the NMDA receptors of the postsynaptic cell but not at the adjacent AMPA receptors. This causes a net effect to increase AMPA activation. In addition, Ketamine triggers the neuron to make more AMPA receptors, moving them into the membrane of the synapse area.

Not only does Ketamine increase glutamate transmission and a net increase in AMPA activation, it also allows for quick up-regulation of neuronal production and release of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF is a growth factor in the brain that promotes neuronal growth and enhances survival it leads to restoration and neuroplasticity of neurons and their connectivity. How does Ketamine improves Neuroplasticity in Brain New by ShaMynds in Sacramento, CA In addition, Ketamine works on another important pathway called mTOR(mammalian target of rapamycin) which is involved in regulation of cell growth and synthesis of proteins necessary for long-term memory. The combination of mTOR and BDNF also improve connectivity in the synpses of the prefrontal cortex and hippocapmus- areas involved in processing emotional regulation, memory. Research has shown that within a hours of treatment doses of Ketamine, there is repair, regrowth, and enhanced connectivity in areas of the brain, PFC and hippocampus, damaged by toxic and or persistent stress. When this type of neuroplasticity occurs, symptoms of trauma, anxiety, and depression are diminished.   It is also, important to realize that at higher doses(Anesthetic level doses) of Ketamine, neuroplasticity and increase in BDNF does not occur.

Further research has uncovered the effect of Ketamine on other receptors, NMDA and parvalumin interneurons. Ketamine blocks one part of the NMDA receptors, and in these parvalbumin interneurons, the effect is and increase activity of brain circuitry which awakens the brain. Ketamine can trigger increased release of the neuromodulators dopamine and noradrenaline; it also binds weakly to nicotinic and opioid receptors. More actions of Ketamine are also known to effect on organelles (structures) in the neuron that are involved in signaling, protein and lipid synthesis, and transport proteins.

Toxic level stress impacts the brain at both micro -cellular and macro structural level on the brain. Chronic depression, anxiety, and PTSD leads to decreased size, response, and connectivity in the key parts of the brain. The prefrontal cortex is where a significant portion of executive functioning ocurs, planning, organizing, self regulation, problem solving. Ketamine enhances global connectivity within the prefrontal cortex and the pathways in other sub-regions of the brain.

Ketamine Assisted Therapy FAQs

Before you undergo Ketamine therapy we first interview you carefully to find out if you’re eligible to receive this medication.

  • Assessment of Your Medical and Psychiatric History
  • Review of Your Psychiatric and Medical Records
  • Physical Examination
  • Short Psychological Screens
  • Laboratory Screening (specific to the client)

You may not undergo the treatment if you belong in one (or more) of these categories:

(There are specific criteria that would make you ineligible for Ketamine depression therapy.)

Nursing Mothers and Pregnant Women – Ketamine may have potentially unwanted effects on the nursing child or the fetus. Data from the study published in Nature suggests that prenatal exposure to Ketamine impairs the neuronal development of the prefrontal cortex.

Untreated Cardiovascular Problem–Hypertension, especially if it’s untreated, is a contraindication to the use of Ketamine. The drug causes a rise in blood pressure. Individuals with a history of heart problem, therefore, may not be eligible to take this treatment.

Untreated Hyperthyroidism – People with this condition should not take Ketamine. The drug increases the risk of tachycardia and hypertension.

Conditions that are Excluded in Ketamine therapy

Absolute Exclusions to KAP

  • Allergy to Ketamine
  • Active Substance Abuse
  • Recent Traumatic Brain Injury
  • History of Psychosis

Relative Exclusions

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Uncontrolled Hypertension or Cardiac disease
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Personality Disorders
  • Very Acutely Suicidal Ideation

People undergoing ketamine therapy can take the drug in various ways. Ketamine can be administered by medical professionals:

  1. Oral (Lozenges) which dissolve in mouth
  2. Into muscle (IM)
  3. Intravenously (IV)

When used in a supervised setting at appropriate dosing, Ketamine therapy is quite safe. You will have fully trained health professionals at your side throughout your treatment journey. As with any treatment, there are potential risks and side effects. Before beginning your treatment with us, you will meet with our medical team to ensure it’s a good fit for you.

Ketamine is listed as a schedule III drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency or DEA. It can only be administered by licensed providers who are trained and have experience with its responsible use. In this setting, Ketamine is safe and well tolerated therapy and benefits many people. The use outside of a clinically prescribed setting is considered illegal. When used or abused in this manner, people have experienced extreme effects that include not only extremely distressing disassociation but also, uncontrolled blood pressure, dizziness and fast heart rates. Any side effects or dosage adjustments that can occur, will be monitored by licensed medical doctors and professionals.

The largest study ever done on depression called NIMH(National Institute of Mental Health) STAR*D Medical Trial in 2006, Rush et al. Read more

This study was unique because it measured outcomes of depression treatment in real people in real medical practices.

They were looking to see if antidepressants could result in remission of depression, not just suppression of symptoms. What they found was that most people did not significantly improve or achieve remission on conventional medication. Furthermore, the more sequential antidepressants prescribed to achieve symptom improvement or remission the even more lower likelihood of improvement. In the meanwhile, studies were emerging that ketamine had greater and more immediate effects in depression remission.

Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy or KAP is considered to be a game changer. Data has shown that KAP can alter the course of depression in about 70% of people.

People stay better longer and can actually experience complete resolution of their symptoms. For many of us in medicine, we have not seen this kind of response ever.

Unlike antidepressants, that “suppress” symptoms, KAP experiences tend to be “evocative”- activating your own ability and inner healing to take place with the support of the medicine and our treatment team.

Each person’s response can vary by dose and depth of the ketamine’s effect. The experience has been described as “euphoric,” “calming,” and “mystical. You may experience a sense of disassociation—that you are observing your mind and body from outside rather than within. Type of Response KAP by ShaMynds in Sacramento, CA The experience can also feel “empathogenic”- where one’s typical defense mind mechanisms are relaxed. Higher doses of ketamine can provide a profoundly transcendental experience- that can result in amenable ways to self exploration and deeper therapeutic insights. The effects of improving mood, depression, anxiety, and inner knowing can extend for weeks to months.

Ketamine interacts with some of your brain’s neurotransmitters. Its effects can include relieving anxiety and pain relief, and acting as an antidepressant.

Under medical supervision, lower doses of Ketamine can relax your mind and allow you to temporarily disengage from your routine thought patterns.

Ketamine can raise blood pressure temporarily. Your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing are also monitored to ensure your safety.

If any effects of Ketamine effect you during the session, such as nausea, this is monitored and treated.

The antidepressant effects of ketamine were first described over two decades ago. Many prominent researchers and institutes have studied the neuroscience of ketamine and the neural basis of stress-related and trauma in many psychiatric conditions. There is a the physical effect of persistent toxic stress leads to neuronal changes, reduced synaptic connectivity between neurons and communication. This is especially prominent in the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus of the brain.

In depression and other psychiatric disorders resulting from toxic stress, a reduction in prefrontal and hippocampal connectivity has been observed in functional MRI imaging studies. Other chronic stress mental states (e.g., PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD) have similar patterns of decreased connectivity and maladaptive effect brain architecture.

Ketamine and soon to be approved other psychedelics has demonstrated:


  1. Normalization in the connectivity pattern,
  2. Expansion and of new pathways
  3. Increased plasticity of former restrictive brain patterns.
  4. The degree of connectivity is also proportional to the clinical response to the treatment.
Intravenous Nutraceutical FAQ

As part of the approach to holism and wellness, ShaMynds offers another source to improve your physical and mental health. This includes intravenous therapies for a wide variety of conditions.


  • Fatigue
  • Chronic Pain
  • Digestive Disorders – Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Celiac Disease, or any type of condition where absorption is impaired.
  • Acute or chronic asthma
  • Migraines
  • Chronic Infection
  • Wellness conditions for preventive or treatment purposes- vitality, longevity, viral recovery, jet lag, competitive physical or mental peak.including prevention of colds and flu during flu season.
  • Depression, mood swings, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Before or after treatments with the wide range of psychedelic sessions including Ketamine
  • Withdrawal – from legal and illicit substances, or from psychiatric medications

Prior to receiving any of these therapies, a physical history will need to be completed to determine if intravenous vitamin/nutrient replenishment is safe for you.

This history will include a risk assessment, medications you are currently taking, and certain disease states that would need consideration prior to infusion therapy.

Safety is of utmost importance always. We take your vitals before and after the infusion, use only staff trained in intravenous infusions and monitor you during your session. Sometimes, we may make a recommendation for blood work or other testing prior to an infusion.

After an IV therapy, it is usually a good idea to:

  1. Avoid alcohol for a while to allow your liver to recover from the toxin load from your cells.
  2. Drinks lots of water to flush things out.
  3. If you have diarrhea like symptoms, do not take anti-diarrheal but let the body dispose of as much stool as it needs to.
  4. If you have constipation type symptoms, take high dose oral vitamin C and magnesium which can cause loose motion.
  5. Take a magnesium salt bath. The magnesium can help draw out more toxins from your skin, speeding up the process of toxin extraction.

If you are familiar with intermittent fasting, it’s a good thing to try to let your digestive system take a break and do the fast. Alternatively, consider going on a bone broth day. The fat and protein in the broth should keep you satiated. If you would like to do a juice fast instead, do include lots of vegetables in it as a fruit only juice can make you feel worse (due to its effect on insulin). Add some organic coconut oil to it to slow down absorption of glucose.

You can continue with the various cocktails and make sure that you inform the center if you experience side effects, if any.

Pricing FAQs

Ketamine therapy may cost more than traditional treatments due to a lack of insurance coverage. We’ll walk you through the steps to figure out how to pay for alternative depression treatments so you can get the help you need.

However, you could actually save money in long run, as ketamine treatment is given in 3 month course and short courses have been shown to be effective, in comparison to chronic use of other antidepressants and the costs associated with this model of care.

Do you offer financial support?

We also work with you and your financial concerns to:

  1. Understand your insurance coverage
  2. Compare costs of treatment providers
  3. Seek financing options
  4. Complete a cost-benefit analysis
  5. We are also working on having grant and community support to make ketamine KAP affordable to all

Possibly. Currently, some insurances are starting to provide some coverage for parts of the visit, including the medication itself, while others do not.

Cost of treatment will also vary depending on the type of ketamine treatment provided. We will provide you with documentation that you can submit to your health plan for reimbursement.

Request Your Consultation Today

If you are a patient who is dealing with a treatment-resistant mood disorder or chronic pain condition, then you may be a good candidate for ketamine infusion therapy. Contact our experts today and request your free consultation or would like more information about how we can help you.

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