Ketamine Might Solve Your Overeating Habit

By Zachary Siegel 12/28/15

Aside from treating depression ketamine may also disrupt overeating.


Ketamine, special K, or rodent tranquilizer is a dissociative anesthetic with many medical uses. Research into ketamine has demonstrated its remarkable ability to reverse depressive symptoms within hours of dosing. 

The newest study involving ketamine was out of Yale University and shows the drug reduced chronic overeating associated with depression and stress.

"The effects of a high-fat diet overlap with those of chronic stress could also be a contributing factor in depression as well as metabolic disorders such as Type 2 diabetes," Ronald Duman, a professor of psychiatry and neurobiology at Yale, said in a press release.

That ketamine has the ability to treat depressive symptoms, according to previous research, the Yale scientists sought to test whether the wonder drug could be beneficial to those who overeat as a result of their depression. 

After feeding mice a high-fat diet for four months, the researchers found that rodents exhibited symptoms of depression, which were then reversed quickly with a low dose of ketamine. 

Ketamine activates the mTORC pathway, which regulates proteins involved in connections that can be damaged by stress and depression. The mTORC pathway is also involved in energy and metabolic processes.

A single low dose of ketamine reversed the depressive symptoms from overeating in rodents, while also reversing the disruption of mTORC signaling pathways. This finding lends itself to the idea that if someone experiencing overeating can overcome their depression, then overeating itself may lessen. Ketamine may solve this exact problem. 

Research using ketamine in human subjects is complicated in America. Due to ketamine’s recreational usage, it has been classified as a Schedule III narcotic under the United States Controlled Substance Act in August 1999. Because of this classification, research using human subjects with ketamine has largely been stunted by the DEA. 

With more and more research demonstrating the powerful healing properties of ketamine, it may become easier under law to translate this type of research with human subjects. 

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Zachary Siegel is a freelance journalist specializing in science, health and drug policy. His reporting has also appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, Salon, Huffington Post, among others. He writes often about addiction, sometimes drawing from his own experience. You can find out more about Zachary on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.