Ketamine has enjoyed some degree of notoriety as an illicit street drug, but more recently it’s developed an unusual reputation — as a quasi-legal treatment for depression among the silicon valley elite. Able to shell out for new treatments and dodge other pesky things like laws thanks to inhuman amounts of cash, techies basically test-ran a drug that’s now seeing some serious academic looks. A landmark study published in the American Journal of psychiatry validates what many have known for years and paves the way for a new, and extraordinarily powerful treatment for depression.The study was performed on 80 volunteers with clinical depression who had been checked into a psychiatric hospital. All of the participants were have suicidal ideation — commonly considered one of the more severe, pernicious and deadly effects of clinical depression. The group was randomly assigned either a low-dose injection of ketamine or a placebo to use for a control. Then, both groups received several weeks of standard psychiatric care.The results (if you couldn’t gather from the headline) were nothing short of dramatic. Even a couple hours after treatment, the tested group said that they not only had experienced an improvement in their depression, but they also reported fewer suicidal thoughts. So stark were the results, that the researchers altered the study partway through to give the control group the treatment as well — and they showed the same response. This kind of mid-study change happens occasionally, particularly when a treatment is overwhelmingly effective to the point where it’d be unethical not to offer it to both groups.Still, it’s not like Ketamine is a perfect solution. As of right now, it’s really only available in a hospital — though simpler-to-take versions are being developed. And the substance is known to have some wicked side effects (such as possible coma and death with excessive use), but given how difficult depression can be to treat for some, this could be a powerful new option. Unfortunately, not all people respond to ketamine as a treatment for depression, either. In most cases, more than 50% do, which is a fantastic figure, but it’s not a cure-all or a miracle, either. Even worse, depression is usually a chronic condition, which would require patients to come in quite often to receive treatment — about once a week. But, it’s mechanism of action, or the exact way that it affects the brain is quite different from just about every other approved treatment, and that, in itself, could be the key to learning not only how the brain works, but how to help it and treat it effectively.Ketamine isn’t the only street drug getting a second look, however. Everything from weed and LSD to MDMA and magic mushrooms are finding new possible applications in clinical psychology. I might be a very scientifically-minded fellow, but the more time goes on and the more research gets done, the more it seems that those weird hippies psychonauts from the 60s were right. At least about the benefits of some mind-altering substances. Imma take a shot in the dark and say you should still probably stay clear of like… meth. And heroine. Maybe don’t fuck with that stuff. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.