Treating Addiction with Ketamine:

An Interview with Dr. Wesley Ryan

Dr. Ryan is a practicing psychiatrist based in Los Angeles specializing in both addiction and general psychiatry. He has trained and practiced in various clinical and research settings across Los Angeles and Seattle including the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, several Veteran Affairs medical centers, Kaiser West Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University, St. Joseph Center, Ocean Park Community Center, Venice Family Clinic, as well as his own private practice. He has extensive and diverse training in state-of-the-art mental health and addiction treatment, attending to individuals with mental health needs, substance abuse issues, and both (dual diagnosis). Additionally, he has worked in various research settings, accumulating multiple published articles and presentations on such topics as ketamine for treatment resistant depression, cannabis, psychedelics, club drugs, hallucinogens, and addiction.

Through his diverse experiences and training in both pharmacology and psychotherapy, Dr. Ryan's approach integrates individually tailored medication management, therapeutic interventions, and lifestyle changes with novel treatment options, in an empathic, non-judgmental, safe space, effectively helping clients find their motivation for change and improvement. He has applied these principles in those with PTSD and other anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders, and substance use disorders. He is well versed in psychodynamic psychotherapy and particularly enjoys working with individuals in helping them achieve meaningful personal growth.

Dr. Ryan is a graduate of University of California, Davis and went on to complete medical school at the University of California, Irvine. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) in both general psychiatry as well as addiction psychiatry. He completed psychiatry residency at the UCLA-San Fernando Valley Program and an addiction psychiatry fellowship at the University of Washington.
Interview By Grace Gregory
In her work as a creative producer for ENDPAIN, Grace draws on her degree in American Studies as well as her experience writing, acting, photographing, and working in radio. She strives to bring compassion, empathy, and thoughtfulness to each ENDPAIN project she works on.
Treating Addiction with Ketamine: An Interview with Dr. Wesley Ryan


This interview kicks off our two-month dedication to the theme of addiction. Stay tuned as we inquire into, redefine and share resonant stories about addiction, while highlighting treatments that exist outside of mainstream models.

What if psychedelic drugs, when administered within a psychotherapeutic context, could catalyze radical transformations in the way you view your addiction, bringing you one step closer to understanding and overcoming it? Dr. Wesley Ryan is an LA-based psychiatrist who has integrated ketamine, the only FDA-approved psychedelic, into his private practice for this very purpose.

While other psychedelic drugs like LSD and Psilocybin have only recently been granted “research” status, ketamine was granted FDA approval in 1970 as an anesthetic to be used on wounded soldiers during the Vietnam War. Most are probably familiar with ketamine as a “tranquilizer,” but research in the last few decades has proven its efficacy in the treatment of depression and addiction. The dissociative effect of the drug has been shown to impact the psyche in a way that can enact lasting emotional healing, particularly when used in conjunction with psychotherapy, as Dr. Ryan is doing.

Upon completing his studies and training, Dr. Ryan tried to find work at universities and other medical agencies where he could put his expertise in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy to use, but because of widespread systemic resistance to psychedelic treatments, he had no luck. Firmly believing in the power of ketamine to allow patients to transform the way they view themselves and their pain conditions, Wesley opened his private practice in 2016 in order to spread the healing medicine.

On How Psychedelics Inform the Aging Process
Wisdom from the Psychedelic Underground: An Interview with Charley Wininger
On Overcoming PTSD With MDMA-Assisted Therapy
Did We Get MDMA All Wrong?
On the August and September Theme
Introduction to Addiction
On How to Begin Healing from Pain
We Need a New Way to Work With Pain
MDMA: Stories of Treatment
On the breakthrough drug for PTSD
Directed By Ryan Ederer
Have we got MDMA (aka ecstasy) all wrong? Is it the next drug with a bad rep to be used for medicinal purposes? Some think so, these are their stories....
MDMA: Stories of Treatment
On the breakthrough drug for PTSD
Directed By Ryan Ederer
Have we got MDMA (aka ecstasy) all wrong? Is it the next drug with a bad rep to be used for medicinal purposes? Some think so, these are their stories....