This Wellness Center Uses Ketamine for Mental Health
Dr. Radowitz said he sees “no difference” between ketamine and ketamine, contrary to FDA estimates. Despite this, he doesn’t think two hours are “necessary”. He acknowledges that Nushama’s methods differ from the FDA’s protocols for administering ketamine, but said he was not concerned about potential risks or legal liability. “It doesn’t concern me,” he said. “I have no problem using this medication.”
For some patients, the promise of ketamine’s benefits overshadows its risks, legal status, and cost. Maria Kennedy, 30, who works in public relations, made the first of her six “journeys” to Nushamu in October 2021. She had previously tried talk therapy and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors to treat anxiety and depression, she said, but during the pandemic, she felt spiraling, isolated, and restless in a one-room apartment. Her therapist, who knew Dr. Radowitz, referred her to Neshama.
Ms. Kennedy said that during several of her treatments, she felt as if she were floating in space, hiding under a tight-fitting eye mask and hovering above her body. For others, ketamine produced clear, concrete visions—she once saw her mother wrapping presents before a birthday party.
By the time the drip was removed, Ms. Kennedy said she would have mostly returned to normal. She will remain in Nusham, not in a hurry to get off her “comfortable” chair. “The only thing I can compare it to is waking up from a really amazing dream,” she said. After that, she took her dog to a cafe and read with coffee or beer.
Interest in ketamine clinics has increased across the country. Since SoundMind opened in August 2021, they have averaged over 100 signups per month. The Boise Ketamine Clinic in Idaho is booked through the end of April for psychotherapy with ketamine. In San Diego, the South Coast TMS and Ketamine clinic had a 40-person waiting list for months before the center raised prices to $1,500 a session, a spokesperson said.
Dustin Robinson, the founder of Iter Investments, a venture capital firm that focuses on psychedelics, has calculated that a typical ketamine clinic with, say, five rooms brings in between $75,000 and $100,000 a month, potentially doubling that amount if fully booked. Profit margins, he added, could be over 30 percent, which, according to industry reports much higher than most medical services. “The staff is not that much, and medicine is very cheap – almost negligible – staff is the main item of expenditure,” he said.
Mr. Robinson knows Mr. Godfrey but is not an investor in Nushama, which charges $4,000 for six sessions; insurance rarely covers mental health ketamine, but may if there is also a diagnosis of pain. Neshama does not provide single sessions. “It’s hard to get in shape by going to the gym once,” Mr. Meloff said.