Where Does Ketamine Come From?

Like LSD, MDMA (Ecstasy) and its close chemical cousin PCP, Ketamine is a product of twentieth century pharmacy, and to this day a healthy revenue source for 'big medicine'.

Ketamine was discovered in 1961 by Dr. Cal Stevens of Wayne State University. The pharmaceutical giant Parke-Davis (now Pfizer) funded its development as an alternative anesthetic to Phencyclidine or PCP.

angel dust

Now no longer made, PCP (or 'Angel Dust') gained a bad reputation thanks to its unpredictable and frightening side-effects, such as psychotic aggression. Smoking PCP got James Brown in hot water, as he was caught speeding and waving a gun around in South Carolina.

paint it black

Its first practical use, however, was in Vietnam, as a safe and easily-administered battlefield drug for US soldiers. Its wide safety margin in dose administration was ideal for panicked jabs in the war zone.


children and animals

In the end, Ketamine turned out to be a particularly safe, gentle and effective anesthetic, especially suitable for children and the elderly. It is still widely used on people and animals all around the world including the US and UK. In nations like Mexico and India it is available as an over-the-counter pain-killer.

return to the womb

Only now are psychologists beginning to explore its potential. It is currently producing impressive results in curing heroin addicts in St. Petersburg, Russia.

And in Argentina, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Alberto Fontana y Col is studying its use to induce near-birth and near-death experiences to treat neurotic anxiety.