1) Let's not rush to dismiss the dissociative state as a mere "side effect" of ketamine. Recent research suggests that it is precisely this dissociative state that helps the user rise above the so-called "default mode network" in their brain, thus enabling them to see their problems in a new, more creative light.
Let's not let today's materialist bias in science bring us to rashly assume that the psychedelic aspect of the ketamine experience is something that we should try to dispense with. It may be the goose that lays the golden therapeutic eggs.
UPDATE February 23, 2022:
I am now using Ketamine nasal spray, and I can assure the critics that it is PRECISELY the disassociation that is THERAPEUTIC. It allows me a brief glorious escape from my eternally introspective mind -- it lets me see things outside of the limiting prism of my own otherwise troubled self-image. If Ketamine had no disassociative effects, it would be useless to me. With those effects, it is useful to me in two ways: first when actually used, of course-- second, it is useful as a mere presence: merely to know that this relief is "nearby" is a godsend for those with a negatively introspective mind. Not even using it, but knowing it is there, makes it easier to forge ahead.
2) The negative attitudes toward psychedelics that you reference are a mere artifact of the Drug War, during which the Drug Warrior has considered hyperbole and lies to be fair game in their fanatical efforts to denounce all illegal psychoactive substances. The Partnership for a Drug Free America bamboozled a whole generation of Americans with their ad which featured an egg sizzling on a frying pan while the deep-throated voice-over warned the viewer that "This is your brain on drugs."
This was an outright lie when it comes to psychedelics. Far from frying your brain, drugs like psilocybin, ayahuasca, and even ketamine have been shown to grow new neural pathways, new neural connections, and even new neurons.
Ironically, the "frying pan ad" would make sense if its purpose were to warn us about Effexor, a standard SSRI anti-depressant which has turned out to cause chemical dependency and anhedonia in long-term users. As a long-term user myself, I actually do have the feeling that Effexor is, slowly but surely, frying my brain. It's certainly not providing me with any creative insights into my condition here on planet earth, as psychedelics have been shown to do.
3) As for those in the survey who "wouldn't touch psychedelics," let's ask them again when they are considering psychedelic therapy as an alternative to committing suicide. Hopefully at that time, they won't be so bamboozled by our Drug War superstitions as to opt for the latter of those two choices.
4) Like most articles about treating depression, this one downplays the problems with the status quo. Commonly prescribed SSRIs such as Effexor create such a chemical dependence that users literally cannot kick the habit (according to a recent report by the NIH, which shows a relapse rate of 95% in those who attempt to "kick" Effexor after long-term use). It's amazing that I have to actually point out that this is a problem, so convinced are most Americans that the drug-war status quo is some kind of rationally considered baseline that we must accept without analysis.
Once America has a level playing field in which all drugs are legal, the doctor's goal will no longer be for a treatment to help a patient "get by" in life, but for a treatment will help them THRIVE.
As for Prozac, the question in the new age of psychedelic therapy will no longer be: does Prozac "work," but does Prozac help you "be all that you can be"? The answer, from my experience, is a definitive no. To the contrary, Prozac seems to help you be all that SOMEONE ELSE can be, by actually changing one's personality for the worse. Perhaps you've heard the story of the news reporter who was at first optimistic because Prozac made him happy, only to realize that it also made him shockingly unemotional at his own parent's funeral.
5) Finally, the price point for legal ketamine treatment is an outrage and points to a fundamental problem with the current healthcare system in America, if not the world. A depressed person of modest means might scrape together the 3,000 required for an initial two-week session of ketamine infusions, but only a depressed fat-cat will be able to afford the biweekly follow-ups of ketamine spray at $600 a pop. Meanwhile a street dose of the drug costs a mere $8.
Given that outrageous price disparity, can we really blame the depressed for violating our superstitious drug laws in order to access crucial treatment? It is not the safe route, of course, but it is the one that we are encouraging with our current Nixonian drug policies and their disastrous effects on drug availability and pricing.
You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at abolishthedea.com. Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.
A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.
The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions, Nazifies the English language and militarizes police forces nationwide.
It bans the substances that inspired William James' ideas about human consciousness and the nature of ultimate reality. In short, it causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America. (Surely, Jefferson was rolling over in his grave when Ronald Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants.)
If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.
PS The drug war has not failed: to the contrary, it has succeeded, insofar as its ultimate goal was to militarize police forces around the world and help authorities to ruthlessly eliminate those who stand in the way of global capitalism. For more, see Drug War Capitalism by Dawn Paley. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.
Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company