AMA on Wed 5/13/20: renowned ketamine psychiatrist and geneticist

Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) on Wed May 13 from 12:00-1:30pm PT

We are very lucky to announce that Dr. Alison McInnes, MD, MS, is joining as a special guest to do an Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) on Wed May 13 from 12-1:30pm PT. Dr. McInnes is a renowned expert in psychiatry, treatment resistant depression (TRD), ketamine treatment, and psychedelic medicine. Her clinical specialty is mood and anxiety disorders including TRD and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dr. McInnes has an esteemed background spanning top academic institutions and healthcare systems. She received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Stanford University before earning her Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from Columbia University, one of the top medical schools. She then completed her Psychiatry Residency at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), an elite medical school and psychiatry program. She also did a Veterans Administration Research Fellowship and a Howard Hughes Physician Research Fellowship in Psychiatric Genetics at UCSF – two competitive and prestigious programs.

Dr. McInnes was an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City (yet another top medical school) for 8 years during which she ran a research lab in psychiatric genetics. She then joined the Kaiser Permanente Department of Psychiatry in San Francisco. Kaiser is widely known as a cutting-edge health system, and while there, Dr. McInnes founded and directed a regional program to provide ketamine therapy for TRD.

After serving as the Medical Director for Kaiser’s ketamine infusion therapy program for a number of years, she left in 2017 and has since been involved in a number of exciting programs and clinics helping people with TRD and other disorders. She has been a featured speaker at major conferences both domestically and internationally. She currently lives in the Bay Area and has two extremely adorable Frenchies, Jamón and Jimmy.

Suggested topics:

  • Ketamine treatment for TRD, mood disorders, and related mental health disorders
  • Trends in ketamine and esketamine treatment and research
  • Psychedelic medicine
  • Genetics research in mental health

We are very lucky to have Dr. McInnes and are grateful for her time. We’re posting this thread early to field questions, so fire away! Please add any questions you have to this thread and stay tuned for the actual event – Wed May 13 from 12:00-1:30pm PT.

Format: Dr. McInnes will post written answers to questions/comments directly on this thread during the event time.

The information on this website and this discussion thread, including content written by healthcare professionals, are for general educational purposes only and are NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease or disorder of any kind. The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk. Please consult your physician or other qualified medical professional for medical advice.


Thank you Dr. McInnes for doing this
I didn’t know Kaiser had a ketamine program. Is it common for big health systems to provide ketamine treatment?


Could you talk about genetics and mental health? From my personal journey it seems like related family members can be at higher risk for depression. But I also know the genetic correlate with mental health issues is not as strong as genetic evidence in other fields of medicine like cancer. How close are researchers to understanding the genetics of mental health? How far until we have precision mental health?

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Do you ever use ketamine to treat anxiety or PTSD for your patients? or just TRD? From my TRD ketamine experience I feel like it could also help people who have anxiety or PTSD but it seems like there isn’t as much research/use on that. Thank you so much!

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can you speak to the effectiveness of ketamine-assisted-psychotherapy vs ketamine IV? why is the former not as popular nationally?


Please, if you have time, can you say if other countries are also doing such programs? I am in the UK.

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Hey, just signed up to this website and unsure as to how we will be notified of this event - will you send emails out to us who are members of the community? And will it be on Zoom or some such platform? Thanks for organizing this…and setting up the community of ‘Osmind’ :slight_smile:

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Thanks for doing this! I wanted to ask about the research regarding why ketamine can be so effective for TRD, mood disorders, etc. In what ways does its effectiveness / the way it works differ from traditional antidepressants like SSRIs, NRDIs, etc.? Does the effectiveness come from the state of mind it induces or from the physical effects it has on the mind/body?


What are the biggest improvements you’ve seen in a patient undergoing ketamine infusion therapy?


Also, how can ketamine infusion therapy be made more affordable?

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In the UK there’s a subculture of recreational ketamine abuse. In my personal experience, ketamine “addicts” appear to share certain traits. I’m wondering if you know of any personality traits or types that are more predisposed to abusing ketamine in particular, rather than any drug in general?

If so, why do you think this is?


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Could you please explain how, if at all, the dissociative properties of ketamine are linked to its antidepressant nature?

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Hi Tic, welcome to the community :slight_smile: Thank you for the message. The format of the AMA won’t be on video; Dr. McInnes will post written answers to questions/comments directly on this thread during the event time. If you are on at that time, you can have a live discussion right here on the thread!
For an example you can see a previous AMA. Hope you enjoy!

Hi Dr. McInnes, thank you so much for doing this!
Do you think we can see the legalization of psilocybin or LSD for therapeutic use in the US in the near future?


I have tried both compounded nasal ketamine and lozenges with limited success. I am scheduled to do IV treatments next week. Can I anticipate a better outcome?

I have a lot of questions. I’m in Texas, and plan to get my first infusion when it’s safer to travel. I’ll just ask 3, you can pick one or answer all of them.

  1. Please compare ketamine, esketamine, and psilocbyin (I know it’s not legal yet, but assume you’re up on the latest info) in the treatment/efficacy of people tapering off benzodiazepines. Thoughts on whether any of these medications are helpful in getting off benzos after long term prescribed use (klonopin .75 daily for 25 years in this case)?

  2. Please compare ketamine, esketamine, and psilocbyin in the treatment/efficacy in treating PTSD and grief related to loss of spouse, and discuss this area of treatment.

  3. What do you think the prospects are for legalization of psilocybin or LSD for therapeutic use in the United States? Do you think the evidence so far shows results comparable to, or better than already legal meds like ketamine?

Thanks for doing the AMA, looking forward to it.

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Does the drug Respiridal have an impact on the effectiveness of IV ketamine?

Hi everyone!! Hope everyone is doing well. Great to get interesting questions…let’s get started on this AMA :slight_smile:



I can’t speak for Kaiser any more but I do know that they are not taking new patients for ketamine therapy at this time. Now that intranasal esketamine has been FDA approved I do expect that more HMOs and insurers will jump in. I know that some insurers are planning to cover IV ketamine as well fairly soon.