Natural Antidepressants: Ketamine VS. Psilocybin for Depression

Ketamine and Psilocybin have both been shown to be natural antidepressants that may be faster and more effective than traditional pharmaceuticals when it comes to alleviating depressive symptoms. 

You’re looking for help with your depression – but you don’t want to ask your doctor for some pharmaceutical drugs to simply to numb the pain. And we don’t blame you. Ketamine and Psilocybin have both been shown to be natural antidepressants that may be faster and more effective than traditional pharmaceuticals when it comes to alleviating depressive symptoms. 

Let’s quickly run through each – and how these treatments can help you feel like you again. 

What Is Ketamine? 

Ketamine has been used for decades as an anesthetic, but only in recent years has its impact on depression been studied – and the results are more than promising. 

Ketamine is categorized as a “dissociative anesthetic.” The anesthetic forms are liquid or powdered, and can be administered through injection or orally.

You can also find ketamine in intravenous (IV) form, and Esketamine, which is a ketamine nasal spray that was approved by the FDA in 2019. 

How Ketamine Helps Depression

There have been several studies over the last two decades that highlight ketamine’s strong effect on mood. 

Ultimately, ketamine’s effectiveness comes down to serotonin, the chemical your body produces to assist with mood regulation and to signal happy feelings. The brains of those suffering from depression often have a hard time receiving, or “catching,” serotonin. That’s where Ketamine comes in. Ketamine treatment has been shown to increase the number of serotonin receptors in the brain – and thus offers mental relief to patients struggling from depression. 

How does this work in the brain, exactly? Well, that’s “not entirely clear,” according to Dr. Robert Meisner, a ketamine expert at Harvard Medical School. But according to Meisner, it “might reduce signals involved in inflammation, which has been linked to mood disorders, or facilitate communication within specific areas in the brain. Most likely, Ketamine works in several ways at the same time, many of which are being studied.” 

And the best part of Ketamine treatment: it works much faster than typical antidepressants, which can take up to one month to fully enter your system. As one study in Translational Psychiatry found last year, 72% of participants receiving Ketamine treatment for depression showed significant improvements within 24-to-72 hours. All 30 of the participants had previously been prescribed common antidepressants like Prozac, Lexapro and Zoloft.

What Is Psilocybin? 

Psilocybin is another natural antidepressant that has shown remarkable results helping people suffering from depression and anxiety. And you may already be somewhat-familiar with psilocybin, due to it being the essential compound found in “magic mushrooms.” 

Psilocybin and Depression 

A consistent link between psilocybin treatment and improved mental health has been shown over the last decade.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in 2016 found psilocybin treatment not only helped cancer patients with their existential depression and anxiety, but that the impact was significant compared to traditional pharmaceuticals. 

“The magnitude of the effect we saw was about four times larger than what clinical trials have shown for traditional antidepressants on the market,” said Dr. Alan Davis, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Because most other depression treatments take weeks or months to work and may have undesirable effects, this could be a game changer if these findings hold up in future ‘gold-standard’ placebo-controlled clinical trials.” 

The good news? Since then, several studies have backed up Dr. Davis’ findings, showing psilocybin treatment is a quick and effective treatment for depression. One study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine found 58% of participants receiving psilocybin treatment were in remission for their depression six weeks later – more than twice as many participants who received antidepressants during that same timeframe. 

Are you tired of traditional pharmaceuticals and interested in learning more if ketamine or psilocybin treatment is right for you? We’ve got you covered.

Let us help you find the right psychedelic therapy provider, medicine, dose, and environment — all personalized for you. Start by finding your match here.



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