A first-of-its-kind health care provider has released top-level findings from its ketamine treatment plan for employees of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, revealing significant relief for mental health conditions among those who participated.
Enthea, which says it is the first and only licensed health insurance benefits provider that covers psychedelics-assisted treatment, shared results of the year-long partnership with Dr. Bronner’s, which makes hemp-based soaps and other products, and whose CEO David Bronner has advocated for and helped fund psychedelics reform efforts across the country.
About seven percent of the Dr. Bronner’s workforce took advantage of the unique ketamine coverage and completed the treatment since January 2022, Enthea said in a press release on Wednesday. This was the first time that the provider allowed a company to add ketamine-assisted therapy to its employer-sponsored health insurance plan.
Employees who completed the treatment sessions—which were facilitated by the San Diego-based Flow Integrative—said that the dissociative drug improved symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder by 86 percent, major depressive disorder by 67 percent and anxiety by 65 percent.
“In recent years, more workplaces have started paying closer attention to the well-being of employees. This is incredibly important to us at Dr. Bronner’s and is key to our mission,” Bronner said.
“Partnering with Enthea to offer ketamine-assisted therapy to our workforce is something that I’m especially proud of,” he said. “While not everyone experiences such deep healing, many of our team members have reported dramatic improvements in their lives as a result of ketamine-assisted therapy. We hope to inspire other companies and organizations to also partner with Enthea and offer this benefit to their staff.”
Ketamine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for us as an anesthetic and is not currently specifically approved for any psychiatric disorders, though doctors are able to administer it for off-label purposes like they can with other pharmaceuticals. There is also an FDA-approved nasal spray called esketamine that produces similar effects and is authorized for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression and is accordingly classified under Schedule III.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director Nora Volkow said in 2021 that existing research on the benefits of ketamine for treatment-resistant depression has been an “eye opener” and that more studies are on the way. “We have been funding research that is ongoing—on ketamine for opiate treatment and also ketamine for pain,” she said.
Outside of his company, Bronner has been active in the psychedelics and marijuana reform movement, including by providing financing for the New Approach PAC, which played a key role in getting successful psychedelics legalization measures on the ballots of Oregon and Colorado. The soap magnate also disclosed at a conference last month that he’s backing similar reform endeavors in Massachusetts as well as in Arizona.
Enthea, for its part, said last year that it also plans to expand its psychedelics treatment toolbox to include MDMA and psilocybin pending the substances’ approval by FDA.
The company said that the results from its ketamine partnership with Dr. Bronner’s have motivated it to expand its treatment plan to cover telemedicine and at-home ketamine care in partnership with the wellness provider Nue Life.
“Enthea and Nue Life are working in tandem to provide cutting-edge mental health solutions, no matter the environment,” Juan Pablo Cappello, CEO of Nue Life Health, said. “We are excited to be Enthea’s first partner for at-home treatment and to be providing cutting-edge ways to capture patient data so Enthea can achieve its mission of equity and access while being able to demonstrate outcomes.”
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Psychonaught.