Current antidepressants take weeks or months to have an effect, and then only in 30% of patients, notes Matthew Herper, Forbes, in a recent post (see here).
Herper reports that J&J is “reinventing” ketamine as a product for the rapid treatment of depression just like your kids have been using it for years as a party drug under the name “Special K”.
It is suggested that J&J’s embrace of ketamine as a product is courageous and that not many other corporate executives would be afraid of trying to turn ketamine as a product.
If it is courageous to consider party drugs to treat depression, it would be even more courageous to consider medical marijuana for this purpose.
I have written about the medical benefits of marijuama before (see, for example, “Big Idea for 2013: Legalization of Marijuana. Will It Hurt Pharma?“) and believe it would be much more effective and quicker acting than ketamine with fewer side effects.
The chart below shows how I envision marijuana compares with ketamine and placebo (adapted from one of the slides in a presentation that J&J made to investors):
Of course, you’d never see pharma present the last thing pharma companies want to see is the spread of legal marijuana, which would jeopardize the lucrative products like “reinvented” — ie, renewed patent protection — ketamine. As Lee Jackson, author of a Daily Finance article cited in the blog post mentioned above, says, “One thing [big pharma] wants is for marijuana to remain illegal.”