Sublingual Ketamine: An Easier Way To Treat Depression

January 25, 2022

Nue Life

Nue Life

Top points

  • In-clinic ketamine treatments are effective at reducing depression symptoms, but they can be costly and time-consuming.
  • Sublingual ketamine therapy is a convenient, more affordable alternative to ketamine IV infusions or nasal sprays.
  • This safe, simple oral method changes brain chemistry so it’s easier to forge new, positive thought patterns.

Those numbers indicate that there is a significant need for effective depression treatment.

In recent years, ketamine has proven to be a promising route for many. Ketamine has been used for decades in hospitals as an anesthetic, and studies have shown it to have a fast-acting antidepressant effect on many patients, particularly for those with treatment-resistant depression.

However, since ketamine was usually administered in a clinical setting through an IV, the cost of treatment has been prohibitive to many who need it most.

Luckily, sublingual ketamine (taken by a pill that dissolves under the tongue) is now a convenient and effective way to receive this treatment.

Let’s talk about sublingual ketamine and why it is effective for depression. If you’ve been suffering from depression and are still searching for relief, this treatment could be a turning point in your healing journey.

Ketamine for Depression

Ketamine has been studied for use in depression treatment for decades. This anesthetic has hallucinogenic properties that make it act like a psychedelic; it has surprised scientists everywhere with its effectiveness and is revolutionizing how we think about depression and treatment for it.

How It Works

Ketamine has many different mechanisms of action that contribute to its antidepressant effects, with one of its primary ones being an NMDA antagonist. Ketamine binds to particular receptors in your brain called NMDA receptors.

By attaching to these receptors, ketamine triggers the production of a neurotransmitter called glutamate. Glutamate is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, meaning that it helps your neurons perform actions that keep your brain communicating with itself and functioning properly.

This also triggers the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. All of these things combined work to increase your brain’s neuroplasticity, allowing it to form new neural pathways and connections. This gives your brain the chance to forge powerful, new, positive thought patterns and pathways. It gives your brain the reset it needs to establish positive thinking and weaken the hold depression has.


This treatment has proven incredibly effective. One study shows that 70 percent of patients with treatment-resistant depression saw improvements after starting ketamine therapy.

Not only does ketamine work for a large number of people, but the relief it provides is quite rapid. In fact, more than half of patients see significant decreases in depression within 24 hours of their first treatment.

Other Treatments for Depression

Traditional treatments for depression have been effective for some and ineffective for others. Especially for cases when depression resists these standard treatments, ketamine proves very effective. Let’s take a look at how doctors have treated depression.


Therapy is a part of any comprehensive treatment plan for depression. The specific goal of therapy may differ depending on which type of therapy you choose. But the general goal is to help you grapple with and make sense of the things that bring you emotional pain and train yourself to react to those stressors healthily in the future.

For some minor cases of depression, therapy can be enough to bring healing. But most of the time, additional treatment is needed.


Antidepressants are the most common combination with therapy. There are four different types of antidepressants: SSRIs, SNRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, and MAO inhibitors.

Tricyclic and MAOI antidepressants were some of the first antidepressants ever invented. They proved to be somewhat effective, but the early medical technology left a lot to be desired.

These antidepressants regularly cause side effects such as sexual dysfunction that could outweigh the benefits they provide. Some of them even required a big change in diet because of poor interactions with certain foods.

The more modern antidepressants, SSRIs and SNRIs, target mood-related neurotransmitters in the brain. They cause fewer side effects than the previously mentioned methods, but they are not effective for many cases of depression.

One study found that SSRIs and SNRIs were only effective for 20 percent of the people studied.

So traditional antidepressants can be ineffective and can provide side effects that can be incredibly difficult to deal with. That is why people are looking for a better option to find mental wellness

Why Sublingual?

The data seems to indicate that ketamine is a more effective option for treating major depression. But what’s the best method of taking it? Ketamine can be administered in a variety of ways. Let’s look at all of them to see which is the best for you.

Intravenous (IV)

The first method is a ketamine infusion through an IV. In this method, ketamine is mixed into a saline solution and slowly administered into your body for about 45 minutes. You then have to remain under doctor supervision for about two hours.

This is an effective way of delivering ketamine, but it is a bit impractical for regular use. For maximum effectiveness, ketamine should be administered once per week or more. This makes this method incredibly inconvenient and challenging to maintain.


You can also receive ketamine by a simple injection. However, this still requires a trip to the doctor, and it still requires a long period of medical supervision, so the convenience is not enhanced by much.

Nasal Spray

Another option is via nasal spray. This form of ketamine is called esketamine, a more potent, absorbable version of it to be administered in smaller doses. You spray it into your nose three times, spaced out every few minutes.

But again, this method requires long periods of supervision, making it inconvenient and somewhat impractical.


Sublingual ketamine, on the other hand, proves to be a far more convenient option for ketamine therapy. A simple pill is placed under the tongue, where it dissolves for a few minutes and is absorbed through the mouth, and makes its way down to the stomach.

This method allows for low doses but still offers great effectiveness. One study found that this type of ketamine treatment was effective for 77 percent of the people given this treatment, and it did so with no dissociative symptoms, like other methods.

Nue Life offers this type of oral ketamine treatment for use in your own home. This makes receiving ketamine therapy more convenient than other methods while still retaining effectiveness.

Nue Life treatment programs also include additional services such as virtual integration groups and one-on-one health coaching to help you discover and address the root of your depression. We believe that ketamine therapy is most effective when clients have community and individual support to help transform the insights from their experiences into changes in day-to-day behaviors.


Sublingual ketamine has proven to be the most convenient way to get the innovative therapy that ketamine provides.

If you have struggled to find effective treatment for depression, sublingual ketamine is an affordable and safe treatment option that has proven effective for thousands. It could hold the keys to the mental wellness you’ve been searching for.


Antidepressant, mood-stabilizing and procognitive effects of very low dose sublingual ketamine in refractory unipolar and bipolar depression | PubMed

Depression: How effective are antidepressants? | Informed Health

How New Ketamine Drug Helps with Depression | Yale Medicine

Ketamine | StatPearls

Major Depression | National Institute of Mental Health

Overview of the Glutamatergic System | Glutamate-Related Biomarkers in Drug Development for Disorders of the Nervous System | National Institutes of Health

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