Santa Monica now offers a number of options for anyone seeking ketamine infusion therapy, but as yet there are still no cannabis dispensaries. Only a short time ago we wrote about a new Ketamine infusion therapy clinic on Wilshire Blvd called Kure, but there’s also another on Montana Ave called Gateway Clinic.

In recent years ketamine therapy has been popularized as a means to alternatively treat severe forms of depression, post traumatic stress disorder and other psychiatric and psychological illnesses. Created in a laboratory in the early 60s, ketamine was legally approved for use in the US in 1970 and was used in veterinary medicine and surgical anesthesia. In contemporary pop-culture it’s known for both being used as a “horse tranquilizer” and recreationally on the club scene in the early 2000’s, but its usefulness has been extensive, albeit virtually unknown.

However, the methods of delivery vary from one ketamine clinic to another. Clay Kahler, founder and CEO of Gateway Clinic explains that he uses an intravenous approach. “It’s easier to regulate, more consistent and the flow can be controlled with much greater precision and efficiency,” he says.

Consequently, sessions can only be arranged for inside the clinic, on site, by appointment. However, there are clinics within Los Angeles county that offer a use-at-home, self-supervised program.

Founder and CEO Clay Kahler with Gateway Clinic’s MD, Dr. Adam Schenk (Photograph: Gateway Clinic)

“I’m not endorsing that at this stage, I feel that there is too much margin for error, on the regulatory side of screening patients, there’s too much room for abuse and this movement needs to be embraced,” Kahler says. “I feel that any adverse event with patients at home, being able to take a dose at will, without oversight, allows for that fraction of error.

“And even if it’s just a fraction, if it’s just one that has an adverse effect that, God forbid, leads to something detrimental to their health and wellbeing, or they get behind the wheel of a car and hurt someone else, then this entire movement could come under intense scrutiny. We don’t want this to get derailed because we got careless or too ambitious, we’re not ready for that just yet.”

Ketamine has been described in numerous scientific publications as the single most important advance in the treatment of depression in more than 50 years, effectively shifting the direction of research and development. Ronald Duman, Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology Director at Yale University said in 2012, “The rapid therapeutic response of ketamine in treatment-resistant patients is the biggest breakthrough in depression research in a half century.”

An initial “program” at Gateway consists of four sessions on site, closely monitored by trained professionals and costs $2,000. “We choose to offer a four treatment package, so it’s less of a fearful commitment. And then honestly, if they don’t feel the results are positive in their eye, I wouldn’t want them to continue, but a minimum of four is needed,” Kahler says.

The Local Cannabis Co has had a notice up at the 925 Wilshire Blvd location for some time now (Photograph: Scott Snowden)

“I’m a prime example of this. After the first two treatments, I still had questions. I certainly had a feeling from the ketamine, but I didn’t have a cathartic breakthrough or anything. And I was questioning whether it was something I still wanted to be involved in. Thankfully though, I’d committed to go through the four sessions and on my third session and my fourth, I had profound breakthroughs. But if I’d stopped, this clinic wouldn’t exist.”

In 2021, Ketamine Therapy LA opened at 7901 Santa Monica Blvd and in September of last year Pasithea Clinics, a subsidiary of Miami-based biotech firm Pasithea Therapeutics, opened a West Hollywood clinic at 9201 Sunset Blvd.

The Local Cannabis Co has had a notice up at the 925 Wilshire Blvd location, but there’s no word other than “coming soon” on when that will finally open. Until then, the nearest dispensaries are probably the Lincoln Blvd and Abbot Kinney outlets of MedMen in Venice.

“I don’t know enough about why that is not greenlit here. I’m a firm proponent of medicinal cannabis, I know the benefits of it. I was very active in that industry,” Kahler says. “It does seem a little antithetical to me. I have my own reasons why I think that they’re dragging their feet on this, but I hope to see it change perhaps before the next election comes up.”

Gateway Clinic is located at the Harry Potter-esque address of 1205½ Montana Ave and is open by appointment Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. As a licensed medical facility, Gateway Clinic meets all state and federal regulations. To learn more, please visit, call 424-330-000 or email

Scott fell in love with Santa Monica when he was much younger and now, after living and working in five different countries, he has returned. He's written for the likes of the FT, NBC, the BBC and CNN.