Jun 21, 2017

Using Special K to treat depression in L.A.'s 'Silicon Beach'

Victoria Arocho / AP

A clinic in Los Angeles is using ketamine, also known as the club drug Special K, to treat depression, according to a report from Wired.

Also used as an animal tranquilizer, ketamine is being given to patients in low doses at the Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles, at a cost of $600 to $750 per infusion. Due primarily to the price, tech professionals from L.A.'s "Silicon Beach" are the primary customers.

How it works: One entrepreneur who frequents the clinic, Sean Spencer, told Wired the infusions last "50 to 55 minutes and cause mild hallucinations", but result in "ultimate peace." Steve Mandel, the L.A. clinic's anesthesiologist, has seen over 600 patients and reported improvements in 83 percent of them.

A word of caution: Other doctors argue there's still too much to learn about the drug to use it to treat patients. Ketamine is not currently FDA approved to treat depression.

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