No Doctor Referral Needed. Contact us for a FREE consultation.

Could a Drug Prevent Depression & PTSD?

The path to better medicine is paved with accidental yet revolutionary discoveries. In this well-told tale of how science happens, neuroscientist Rebecca Brachman shares news of a serendipitous breakthrough treatment that may prevent mental disorders like depression and PTSD from ever developing. And listen for an unexpected — and controversial — twist. Presented by Dr. Rebecca Brachman.

How Ketamine Helps Me Cope With My Kids Suicides

After experiencing the unthinkable- the lost of both children to suicide – this father is left to cope with unimaginable pain. Hope made its way into this man’s life, in the form of ketamine infusions. His story is remarkable, inspiring, and not to be missed…

Our Ketamine Clinic

Elev8MD is Charlotte’s leading ketamine clinic and holistic health & wellness center. We offer ketamine treatment for depression, major depressive disorder, postpartum depression, PTSD, and chronic pain from conditions such as cancer, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and persistent back and joint pain.

Unlike other ketamine clinics in Charlotte, NC, Elev8MD Wellness Center is owned and operated by a highly experienced, licensed anesthesiologist who uses state-of-the-art equipment to maximize comfort and ensure patient safety during ketamine treatments.

Every step of the way we focus on your wellbeing with an on-staff mental health professional as well as additional health services such as acupuncture and CBD products.

No Doctor Referral Needed. Contact us for a FREE consultation.

Frequently Asked Question

What is Ketamine Therapy?
Ketamine treatment provides relief from treatment-resistant depression, major depressive disorder, postpartum depression, PTSD, and chronic pain. It is administered at extremely low-doses in a controlled medical environment with heart, oxygen, and blood pressure continuously monitored following the outpatient surgical guidelines of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Ketamine (also referred to as ketalar, xylazine, norketamine, etc.) is a fast-acting anesthetic favored by doctors across the world because it doesn’t interfere with a patient’s respiratory or circulation like other sedatives. In fact, ketamine is listed by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) as an essential medicine due to its relative safety as an anesthetic and pain killing agent. W.H.O.’s core list of medications “presents a list of minimum medicine needs for a basic health-care system, listing the most efficacious, safe and cost–effective medicines for priority conditions.”

Ketamine was developed in the 1960s and originally used as an anesthetic for veterinarians. The FDA approved ketamine for use as a human sedative in the 1970s. From an FDA perspective, once a drug is approved, healthcare providers may prescribe it for an unapproved use when they judge that it is medically appropriate for their patient. This is called “off-label” usage. Ketamine has been used as an off-label depression treatment since the early 2000s. In 2019, the FDA approved a ketamine derivative, esketamine (SPRAVATO™) as a prescription medicine for treatment-resistant depression and anxiety.

Thomas Insel, the former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said, “Recent data suggest that ketamine, given intravenously, might be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades.”

How It Works:
No one knows exactly how ketamine works. What studies have shown, however, is that low dosage, subanesthetic levels of ketamine saturate NMDA receptors in the brain, blocking the molecule glutamate from binding. This increase in glutamate activity impacts neuro-signaling, synaptic plasticity, and connectivity boosting synaptic potentiation and proliferation. The result? Deeper and stronger neuropathic connections that provide relief from symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD. The result is deeper and stronger neuropathic connections that provide relief from symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD. And, unlike traditional antidepressant medications—which target serotonin levels and have to be built up in the body over time to be effective— many patients see improvement in their depression within hours of their first or second treatment.

Additionally, ketamine eliminates the nasty side effects of traditional antidepressants like weight gain, irritability, libido changes, suicidality, or disruptions in sleep.

Who Can Ketamine Help?

‘Successful people’ are often too scared or ashamed to ask for help when faced with depression, anxiety, or PTSD. They think they’ll be perceived as weak or ‘less than.’ It’s because of the taboo associated with mental illness that so few people know that ketamine surpasses the timeliness and efficacy of traditional antidepressants.

Ketamine can literally save the lives of suicidal people. It is fast-acting and extremely safe when administered by anesthesiologists. For many Americans, suicidal thoughts can take over their life as their mind becomes preoccupied with how they might kill themselves. Accompanying suicidal thoughts can be severe symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, impaired concentration, and extreme guilt.

Chronic pain sufferers whose lives are compromised by ongoing pain have also found relief with ketamine Infusion Therapy. For example, there has been increasing interest from those with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Considerable pain reduction has been reported by CRPS patients who come to our clinic for IV ketamine pain therapy over a number of weeks.

How is Ketamine Administered?

Ketamine can be administered in one of several ways with varying degrees of bio-availability, or absorption. At Elev8MD, we administer ketamine intravenously because this is the safest and most effective delivery mechanism. The following chart shows various delivery methods and the absorption rate:


Delivery MethodAbsorption Rate
Intranasal25 – 50%
Sublingual (under the tongue)30%
Orally (by mouth)16 – 24%
Is this Special K?

Special-K came into being after a veterinary tech stole a ketamine-based anesthetic and added street drugs to the compound. Horse tranquilizer effects on humans can have drastic consequences.

Sometimes there is confusion whether ketamine for depression is Special K. It is not. The ketamine used to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD and chronic pain is medically-graded and was created in the 1960s for the sole purpose of general anesthesia. Today, medical-grade ketamine is administered in low doses by trained anesthesiologists under strict medical protocols, with amazing results. Close medical supervision can eliminate the “K-hole” effect experienced by some who have experimented with the drug outside of a medical setting. There is significant scholarly research related to the benefits of ketamine for relief from depression, anxiety, PTSD and chronic pain.

Click here for a recent article describing Ketamine and its scientific uses:

Where Else Can I Learn About Ketamine Treatment?

Numerous scholarly research studies from the likes of Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Harvard Medical School, University of Illinois at Chicago, etc. have shown the positive effects of ketamine over its 50+ year history.

Facts About Ketamine:
  • Ketamine is an aesthetic listed by the World Health Organization in its list of “Essential Medicines.”
  • Because ketamine is an anesthetic, it is best administered by anesthesiologists who are extensively trained in handling any adverse events that, in rare instances, can be caused by the drug.
  • For the past 20-years, ketamine has been used off-label, by physicians, to treat the most desperate cases of depression.
  • This is not ‘Special K’ or a horse tranquilizer.
  • It’s a fast-acting drug proven effective in more than 70% of patients who suffer from treatment-resistant depression.
  • Thomas Insel, the former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said, “Recent data suggest that ketamine, given intravenously, might be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades.”
  • Dr. Lakesha Legree is a licensed anesthesiologist who knows firsthand of ketamine’s life-saving benefits
How Long do the Results Last?
No two patients will experience the same relief from their depressive or pain symptoms. However, after one infusion, most patients realize several days of relief from their depressive symptoms. After a series of infusions—about 4-6 infusions administered over the course of 2-3 weeks—patients experience longer lasting relief, returning as needed for “maintenance” infusions.

The beauty of ketamine infusions goes deeper than symptomatic relief, though. When a patient is relieved of sadness, anxiety, mood swings, lethargy, etc., he or she is then able to engage in other activities that can further treat their psychiatric condition. Returning to work, starting an exercise regimen, talk therapy, socialization with friends and family. Patients stop feeling bad about themselves and begin to return to a life of normalcy—a life that feels rich and fulfilling.

Ketamine rarely impacts patients like a thunderbolt of happiness and relief. Rather, it lifts the fog of depression enough so that a patient can begin to heal—from the inside, out. The amount of work that a patient puts into his or her own recovery—after the ketamine infusions have been administered—will significantly impact the length of relief he or she reaps from ketamine infusion therapy. At Elev8 MD Wellness Center we can help you tap into other activities that will further treat your condition, enhance your overall improvement, and help you attain your wellness goals.

When ketamine is used to treat chronic pain, infusions are longer and relief lasts up to six months.

Is Ketamine Safe?
In the hands of a highly trained clinician, ketamine is a very safe medication. As an anesthetic, ketamine does not suppress the body’s cardiovascular or respiratory systems. During your ketamine infusion, your vitals will be closely monitored by a physician, ensuring your comfort and safety every step of the way. Side effects are minimal and short-lived, and include lightheadedness and non-threatening hallucinations.

Outside of a ketamine clinic or medical setting, ketamine should be avoided. Street ketamine may be “laced” with any number of other substances.

What Does an Infusion Feel Like?
During your infusion, a clinician will administer ketamine in a very precise and calculated way. The reason why ketamine is administered intravenously is because 100% of the medication reaches your bloodstream, making its way to your brain. The bioavailability of ketamine via other routes of administration—such as oral, sublingual, intramuscularly and intranasally—is less predictable, resulting in less consistent relief of symptoms.

During your ketamine treatment, you may experience some dissociative or mildly hallucinogenic side effects. Patients typically describe the experience as pleasant—a light and floating feeling. Side effects fade, generally, within 2-hours of your ketamine infusion.

Is Ketamine Abused as a Recreational Drug?
Outside of a clinical setting, ketamine is sometimes abused as a recreational drug. When administered at a ketamine clinic for the purpose of treating depression or pain, it is administered in doses much lower than those used for recreational purposes. Ketamine used safely every day as an anesthetic and analgesic drug—in the right hands it is legal and safe.

Contrary to popular belief, ketamine is not physically addictive. When used recreationally, ketamine can be psychologically addicting.

How Should I Prepare for My First Ketamine Infusion? What Should I Expect During the Appointment?

Before we schedule your first infusion, we ask that all patients speak or meet with a member of our clinical team for a complimentary consultation. During this consultation, we’ll determine whether or not you’re a good candidate for ketamine infusions. If we believe that ketamine could help you with your depressive symptoms or chronic pain condition, we will schedule your first infusion.

On the day of your infusion, please do not eat solid foods, milk, pulp-filled juices or soup for at least six hours prior to your appointment. You may enjoy water and other clear liquids, Gatorade, apple juice, black coffee or tea up to two hours prior to your appointment.

If you are receiving a ketamine infusion for depression, the infusion itself lasts for 40-minutes to 1-hour. Plan on being at our ketamine clinic for about 2-hours, as we will monitor you for about an hour post-infusion.

For ketamine infusions for chronic pain, the length of your infusion will vary based on your diagnosis and symptoms.

For the infusion itself, we will place an IV, apply monitors for your heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, and oxygen levels, and then begin the infusion. Sometimes, people experience mild side effects: nausea, non-threatening hallucinations, or dizziness. We are equipped to supplement your infusion with an anti-nausea medication as needed. While you will be awake and alert during the duration of your infusion, most patients prefer to relax and listen to music rather than interact with friends, family or staff.

The effects of your ketamine infusion will wear off quickly—generally within 2-hours of your infusion—though we ask you to refrain from driving for 24-hours. After your infusion, you will be released into the care of a friend or family member who can drive you home.

How Many Ketamine Infusions Will I Need?

If you are receiving ketamine infusions for depression or another psychiatric condition, we recommend 4-6 40-minute to 1-hour infusions over the course of two weeks. We recommend completing your initial 4-6 infusions, to allow the ketamine to repair as much neural damage in the brain as possible.

After your initial 4-6 infusions, every patient is different. Some patients need maintenance infusions bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even bi-annually. Others find that their symptoms become manageable with talk therapy, antidepressant medications and/or holistic depression treatments.

For chronic pain, patients receive longer ketamine infusions—up to 4-hours each. We recommend 4-6 infusions over the course of two weeks. Chronic pain patients should receive all infusions to maximize pain relief.

Pain symptoms can subside for up to six months, though each patient will require maintenance infusions at a pace unique to their condition and symptoms.

What Does Ketamine Treatment Cost?
Elev8MD offers the most affordable ketamine infusions in Charlotte, NC. Unfortunately, ketamine treatment costs are rarely covered by insurance providers. Our infusion therapy costs $425 per session for depression, anxiety, and PTSD and $850 per session for chronic pain.

Ketamine for Depression & PTSD

Elev8MD offers ketamine infusions for the treatment of
depression, anxiety, PTSD and other psychiatric disorders.
Ketamine infusions are proven to effectively relieve depressive
symptoms in up to 70% of patients. Could ketamine
treatments change—or save—your life, or the life of a
friend or loved one?

Major Depressive Disorder •
Treatment Refractory Depression •
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) •
Severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder •
Postpartum Depression •
Bipolar Disorder •
Suicidality •
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) •

For Chronic Pain

Ketamine infusions treat a wide variety of chronic pain
conditions, providing effective pain relief for up to 6-months

• Migraine Headaches
• Chronic Pain Syndrome
• Failed Back Syndrome
• Fibromyalgia
• Pain Related to Multiple Sclerosis
• Diabetic Neuropathy
• Alcoholic Neuropathy
• Treatment Refractory Cancer Pain
• Pain Related to Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis

Depression, Anxiety, PTSD and other psychiatric conditions: $425/session

  • 40-minute ketamine infusion
  • Plan to be at our ketamine clinic for approximately 2-hours
  • Effectively treats the symptoms of depression in up to 70% of patients
  • 4-6 ketamine infusions administered, over the course of 2-3 weeks
  • Troche and booster infusions are recommended after the initial treatment protocol to ensure symptoms remain under control

Chronic pain conditions, such as CRPS, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia & more: $850/session

  • Hourly ketamine infusions; 3-4 hours advised for chronic pain management
  • Reduces chronic pain symptoms for up to 6-months in some patients
  • 4-5 infusions are recommended over the course of 2 weeks for chronic pain disorders, followed by periodic booster infusions for maintenance of pain relief.
  • Each infusion takes approximately 3-4 hours

The Elev8MD Clinic

The first step in your journey to wellness is an initial phone consultation to review your medical history, current list of antidepressants and/or medications and more develop an understanding of your condition. This information helps our trained staff determine if ketamine is an appropriate treatment protocol for you.

If ketamine treatment is recommended, you will be asked to complete a medical release form so we can access your medical records and determine the safest and best course of treatment for you, including ketamine dosage.

Our clinic is a tranquil and peaceful environment with an upscale, posh ambiance. We use state-of-the-art equipment to monitor heart rate, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure ensuring your safety every step of the way. To guarantee your comfort during treatment, private and semi-private treatment rooms are available with comfortable reclining chairs, aromatherapy, ambient lighting, and soft, high-quality blankets. Many patients bring earphones and listen to music during their session.

When treatment is complete, you recover for approximately 15-20 minutes and upon evaluation, can leave the clinic with your designated driver. Please note: You will not be able to drive after your infusion therapy. Also, for maximum safety we do not allow you to Uber or Lyft home following a treatment.

Ketamine: Research & Scientific Insight

* All company names and published titles are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them. Logos are used for editorial and informational purposes, only. *

Dr. LaKesha Legree,
Founder and
Medical Director

Taboo and fear of mental illness is still prevalent in today’s society. As a healthcare provider, I believe I can lead the conversation and help our communities talk about mental health without shame, embarrassment, or fear. Today, make the decision that YOU are worth fighting for and investing in! It is perfectly okay to not be okay. However, it is not okay to suffer alone in silence. If you or someone you know has treatment-resistant depression, please reach out to Elev8MD Wellness Center so we can provide you hope for a better tomorrow.

Learn more about Dr. Legree


8000 Corporate Center Drive, Ste 212
Charlotte, NC 28226

M-W-F: 9am-5pm
T-TH: 11am-7pm
Saturdays and Sundays:  Closed

Connect with Us

Proud members of

Click for the BBB Business Review of this Physicians & Surgeons - Medical-M.D. in Charlotte NC

askp ketamine clinic

How can we restore you to your best self?

Our physicians are happy to answer any questions you may have about ketamine for depression or chronic pain, IV hydration therapy, or any of our restorative mind-body wellness services. We'll help you get on the right path towards holistic health and whole-body wellness.