Psychedelic Medicine


Therapeutic Uses of Ketamine for Adolescents with Johnathan Edwards, MD


In this episode of the psychedelic medicine podcast, Dr. Johnathan Edwards joins to discuss the potential of ketamine treatments for mental health conditions in adolescent populations. Dr. Edwards is a board-certified anaesthesiologist and author with a key focus on treating mental health conditions with ketamine. He has provided ketamine in his practice for over 20 years and has worked with psychiatrist Dr. Sam Zand to help patients with mental health conditions.

In this conversation, Dr. Edwards shares the current state of research exploring ketamine for adolescents, mentioning that there are currently 120 studies of ketamine treatments for mental illness in this population. He shares how he works with these young patients to ensure they are well prepared to experience the effects of the dissociative anesthetic, saying that adolescents typically do very well when adequately prepared.

From Dr. Edwards’ experience, treatment resistant depression, suicidal ideation, and eating disorders seem to be the conditions where ketamine seems to have the biggest effect for adolescents. In closing, Dr. Edwards emphasizes how significant it is to be able to help kids struggling with these hard to treat conditions, especially as teen suicide remains a significant issue, so he’s hopeful that pediatricians, psychiatrists, and anaesthesiologists can continue to collaborate to safely bring ketamine therapy to more patients.

In This Episode

• The existing research on ketamine in adolescent populations
• The danger of airway obstruction during ketamine infusions among people prone to sleep apnea
• Preparing adolescents for ketamine journeys
• Historical and cross-cultural precedents for psychedelic journeys in adolescents and young adults
• Potential indications for ketamine treatments in adolescents
• Is there an established protocol for adolescent ketamine therapy?


“I go through a lot to reassure the parents, to reassure the child, ‘Hey, this is gonna be a different voyage for you and you’re gonna be in a different place but tell yourself at all times you’re safe…’ and it goes very well.” [5:06]

“As long as you have a medical clearance from your pediatrician and a medical clearance from the psychotherapist/psychiatrist/psychologist… and you put those two together, along with parental consent, you’re pretty well covered to go ahead and do a ketamine treatment on a child… It’s not standard of care but again, you’re trying to save a kid’s life.” [24:39]


* The Psychedelic Medicine Podcast has allowed the Psychedelic Medicine Association to post episodes as an educational resource, and in return the PMA is hosting the podcast show notes.