Ketamine Therapy 101 – Everything We Know and What We Don’t

Ketamine a dangerous “party drug” or one of the biggest breakthroughs in treating severe depression, anxiety, and PTSD?

If you’re brand new to ketamine therapy for mental health disorders you’re in the right place. 

This guide covers everything you need to know about the benefits of ketamine infusion therapy  for mental health and addiction disorders. Learn how it’s used, potential side-effects, microdosing, safety, and more. 

This Guide Covers the Following Ketamine Therapy Topics:

Part I: Ketamine Overview

  • What is ketamine? 
  • How does ketamine work as a treatment? 
  • How does it affect the brain? 
  • The correlation between dosage and beneficial effects
  • Is microdosing ketamine safe? 
  • Administration methods of ketamine
  • Benefits & uses
  • Differences between esketmaine and ketamine

Part II: Ketamine Infusion Therapy 

  • What to expect: before, during, and after ketamine infusion therapy
  • Price of treatment
  • Is ketamine treatment covered by insurance? 
  • Risks, side effects, drug interactions 
  • Is ketamine infusion therapy safe? 

Part III: Legality

  • Is ketamine legal?
  • Are ketamine clinics legal?
  • FAQs

Around the world, ketamine is known in the extremes. Either as a government-approved anesthetic used in both human and veterinary medicine. Or, as a dangerous psychedelic, known in the streets as Special K, Kit Kat, K, or Super Acid. 

The idea that ketamine can safely and effectively relieve symptoms of treatment-resistant depression and mood disorders may sound a little… unexpected.

How can one component have such a profound impact on severe mental health conditions and, at the same time, hold such peril? 

The answer lies in the dosage and, most importantly, how your brain reacts to it.  

In this guide, we touch on everything you need to know about ketamine therapy for depression and mood disorders. We’ll explain legality, benefits, how it affects the brain, how to find treatment, and so much more.    

What is ketamine?  

Ketamine was developed in 1962 as an anesthesia medicine to replace phencyclidine (PCP). Phencyclidine, also known as angel dust, was an anesthetic that worked well but caused a major side effect hallucinations in people after waking up [1]. 

At first, this drug was tested on animals and became a very effective horse tranquilizer. Today, ketamine is on the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines as one of two general anesthetics. This list incorporates “the most efficacious, safe, and cost-effective medicines for priority conditions.” 

Ketamine was tested on prisoners and was given to the soldiers fighting on the Vietnam War battlefields. More recently, it was used during one of the most difficult rescue missions of all time when 12 boys and their coach were trapped for 10 days in a flooded Thai cave. The 2018 ordeal involved over 10,000 people and the sedative power of ketamine.

At lower doses, this drug can help ease pain and may assist patients need fewer addictive painkillers (like morphine) after surgery. If the limits are crossed, things take a turn. Known as Special K, ketamine is a powerful psychedelic drug. Due to its ability to produce a feeling of dissociation or mind-body separation, it’s a well-known party drug. You might have heard of it as a “date rape” drug because it prevents the sedated person from speaking or moving. 

Even in the lowest doses, this medicine can produce intense effects like vivid hallucinations (typically pleasant ones) or altering the person’s sense of sight and sound. The user may feel confused, out of touch with their surroundings and even with themselves. 

Studies performed in the 1990s compare the effects of ketamine to the symptoms of schizophrenia. Aside from hallucinations, users may experience unusual thoughts, disorganized speech, and emotional withdrawal. This doesn’t mean that the person will become psychotic after taking ketamine. Once the effects of the drug wear off, the person is back to normal [2]. 

How Does Ketamine Work as a Treatment

Here are the five main things that you need to know about ketamine as a treatment for mental health disorders: 

  • Ketamine is an experimental treatment for treatment-resistant depression and severe mood disorders. Your doctor cannot prescribe ketamine for depression because this drug is not an FDA-approved medicine for mental health conditions. All ketamine infusion clinics use it off label because, for now, it’s only approved as an anesthetic and a nasal spray.  
  • Provides immediate relief typically from an hour to a day after administration. In comparison, antidepressants take weeks to work (if they do). In very low doses, it reverses the depressive state of the person within hours, even if they haven’t felt relief in decades. 
  • Ketamine doesn’t cure treatment-resistant depression and other mood disorders permanently. It only provides very effective relief. 
  • Not everyone is eligible for ketamine therapy. Ketamine is a strong psychedelic that works only in people with treatment-resistant depression and severe forms of some mental health disorders. It is NOT recommended for patients with schizophrenia and schizophrenic tendencies because it may exacerbate their symptoms. 
  • Doctors are against patients experimenting with the drug on their own. That’s unsafe, it can lead to abuse and addiction. 

We’re not at the point where you can be prescribed ketamine for your depression. For now, your doctor can only recommend it as an off label medicine treatment-resistant depression and mood disorders. 

Check the legality section of the article for more info on how ketamine clinics lawfully use this drug off label. 

What ketamine does to your brain? 

The precise mechanisms of action of this drug in the body are still unknown. What science reveals is that ketamine is a so-called “dirty drug.” In pharmacology, that’s a term used to describe a molecule that may bind to various receptors and molecular targets in the body. As a result, it produces a wide range of potential effects and adverse drug reactions. The drug’s ability to act on so many targets is what gives it an advantage and at the same time,  raises concerns. 

Researchers don’t exactly know the exact receptors this molecule targets. The main difference between ketamine and other drugs, like antidepressants, is that ketamine assists neurons and synapses that don’t function properly in patients’ brains. On the other hand, antidepressants focus on increasing chemicals in the brain, as researchers believe that depression is a result of a chemical imbalance.     

The key thing about antidepressants is that they change the levels of monoamines in the brain. Monoamines are a particular group of neurotransmitters in the brain that includes dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Ketamine does have a mild effect on the serotonin and dopamine system in the brain

But, the reason it works so well for treatment-resistant depression is that it influences an entirely different system, known as the glutamate neurotransmitter system. 

Scientists believe that there is a connection between altered glutamate levels in the brain and depression. This neurotransmitter is known as the workhorse of the brain that relays fleeting thoughts and feelings. 

Most importantly, it enables the formation of memories by strengthening synaptic connection. As the brain doesn’t grow new neurons to store memories, glutamate strengthens the connection between existing neurons. Glutamate is the reason why you can still swim years after you’ve learned, even if you haven’t practiced. 

The glutamate system works via several receptors. In  the beginning, researchers believed that ketamine worked through the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors in the glutamate neurotransmitter system. The main theory was that ketamine blocks the NMDA receptor, and the person gets healthy activity in the brain.  

But, this hypothesis was debunked when several drugs designed to bind with this specific NMDA receptor failed in clinical trials for depression. 

Researchers now believe that ketamine may work through a different receptor that binds glutamate, known as AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid). Discovering the receptor that ketamine acts on is important for researchers to develop a similar drug with fewer side effects [3].   

The benefits are in the dosage

Medical professionals still don’t have all of the answers about the “right dosage” of ketamine that a person should receive. Most clinics follow university research protocols for both guidance and a more unified approach. 

Dozens of studies show that a low dose of ketamine delivered intravenously (IV) can relieve symptoms of depression. Its power to act against the most severe depressive symptoms, like suicidal thoughts, within mere hours, is the most impressive thing about this medicine [4]. 

Low doses are effective for mental health conditions

In essence, the efficacy of ketamine infusion (IV) therapy comes down to microdosing. When you enroll for your treatment (after getting the green light from your doctor), you will be administered a microdose of ketamine about 0.5mg per kg. The medicine is administered intravenously, within the course of 40-45 minutes. 

Researchers are still debating the effective dosage of ketamine treatment. This molecule produces numerous side-effects (even at subanesthetic dosage levels), so it’s important to administer it in the optimal quantity. 

A 2018 study tested four different dosage levels on patients with treatment-resistant depression. The dosages were in the range of 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, and 1 mg of ketamine per kg of body weight administered intravenously. 

Researchers discovered that single doses of 0.5 and 1 mg/kg were significantly more effective than placebo over a period of three days. After monitoring the patients for 30 days, researchers discovered that there was “little evidence of the meaningful therapeutic benefits after day 5.” When administered at 1 mg/kg, the effects of the drug lasted between 15 and 30 days, with modest effects [5].

High doses are dangerous

When abused as a recreational drug, this substance is injected in large quantities, about 1-2 mg per kilogram of body weight (compared to 3mg per kg for anesthesia). At such high doses, it produces an intense experience that lasts for approximately an hour. After being injected, the effects kick in in less than five minutes. If it’s an oral application (as a liquid drug taken by mouth), it kicks in after 30 minutes. The effects wear off after two to three hours. 

Higher doses of ketamine get the recreational user into a K-hole. This is nothing less than the user feeling the anesthetic effects of this substance. So, the user is nearly fully sedated and describes the experience as “out-of-body,” or “near-death.” The awareness of the physical environment and body dissolves. The person experiences vivid internal feelings and a distorted sense of time. The dosage to get into a K-hole is from 0.75 mg/lb injected or 1mg/lb insufflated. 

The side effects of high doses of ketamine are paranoia and hallucinations, breathing problems, muscle twitches, dizziness, slurred speech, vomiting, and nausea. Loss of balance, numbness, poor vision, and weakness causes people to get injured. This substance has strong anesthetic properties, and for that is also known as a “date rape” drug. 

Can you overdose on ketamine?

Any substance taken at very high doses can be dangerous. Ketamine is a safe anesthetic, which means it does not suppress respiration, but it’s a strong sedative. 

If used in high doses, you may overdose on ketamine. In medical settings, the dosage is controlled according to people’s body weight. If combined with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants, like opioids and benzodiazepines, it affects breathing and may even cause death.    

What may lead to ketamine overdose is the setting in which this substance is consumed. Most commonly at parties, when it’s mixed with alcohol or other drugs like ecstasy or cocaine.

Is microdosing ketamine safe? 

Microdosing ketamine is a sensitive topic with divided opinions. For now, most doctors recommend ketamine to be taken only in a medically controlled environment, where a team of professionals supervises you. 

What doctors are doing with ketamine for mental health is considered microdosing. They are using about 0.5mg per kg, which is considered a tiny dose compared to over 3mg per kg used during anesthesia. 

According to Dr. Domenick Sportelli, a double Board Certified Psychiatrist, “daily microdosing is a very bad idea.” He recommends that regardless of the dose, patients should only use this drug when supervised.

Studies show that the risk of addiction to ketamine is very minimal if administered in a tiny dose. But, there is a lot of space to abuse this medicine because it’s a dissociative it helps the person leave reality for a little while. 

“This drug is the perfect addictive substance for someone with a history of mental health conditions,” he adds. Long term use does negatively affect memory. The person also may develop a quick tolerance and become dependent on the medicine. As a result, one may easily become self-destructive. 

Dr. Sportelli is specific that ketamine therapy should be used to get the depressed person out of the storm. And assertive that that’s where we need to keep the treatment for now, until further research. “I don’t think that this should be promoted as something you’re gonna need to be on for the rest of your life and you’re going to have to keep coming back to the ketamine clinic getting monthly boosters.” 

Ketamine Administration Methods

Some people are getting ketamine through an injection, others intravenous in a clinic. Where possible, you might find it as a liquid medicine taken by mouth. 

The major difference between all of these treatments is the cost and efficacy. One 2019 study on ketamine for depression assessed the antidepressant effects of oral ketamine. The study found that in oral form, it displays significant antidepressant effects with good overall tolerability. But, the effects are not as rapid as when taken intravenously [6]. 

There is a lot of uncertainty around the administration methods of ketamine. Most doctors recommend that the treatment should not be administered without medical supervision, consisting of an anesthesiologist. 

Benefits & Uses of Ketamine Treatment

What makes ketamine such a popular anesthetic is that it stimulates circulation despite being a nervous system depressant. Unlike other anesthetics, it doesn’t cause low blood pressure, making it useful for treating people with head injuries [7]. 

What’s ketamine used for? 

It’s used as a legal drug for induction and maintenance of anesthesia. Now, it has been incorporated into the treatment of psychiatric disorders. This includes major depression disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s also used for chronic pain management and addiction disorders. 

Ketamine for major depressive disorder

Most of the studies and evidence on ketamine as a treatment for mental health conditions are on treatment-resistant depression.

One 2006 study performed by the National Institute of Mental Health looked at the effects of this substance on 18 treatment-resistant depressed patients. They found that, within 1 day, the treatment improved the depression symptoms in 71% of patients. Twenty-nine percent (29%) of patients noticed a complete reduction of depressive symptoms [8]. 

Patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder: 

  • Have tried two antidepressant treatments at an adequate dose for an adequate duration
  • And have not responded to treatment

Up to two-thirds of patients with major depression do not respond to the first medication prescribed.

Ketamine for depression IG

Image Source: https://knowablemagazine.org/do/10.1146/knowable-032819-1/feature/media/G-depression-treatment-full.svg

The most significant concern about patients with treatment-resistant depression is that they are suicidal. The success rate of this molecule on depression speaks volumes almost double of traditional antidepressants. It works even if the patients have persisted for decades without any relief [9]. 

It shows unmatched efficiency in eliminating suicidal thoughts in a quick and reliable way. This makes ketamine the first potential emergency “anti-suicide” drug [10]. 

Ketamine for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Like depression, PTSD can often be found to be treatment resistant. As a novel drug for this condition, ketamine has shown positive results. According to one report, “ketamine has been shown to result in a near-complete resolution of symptoms over the short term and seems to have similar findings to the use of ketamine in major depressive disorder [11].” 

The findings are based on limited data on animal studies and randomized trials. More research is needed to uncover the potential of this medicine for PTSD. 

Ketamine for addiction disorder

A 1997 study revealed that this treatment has the power to imprint new memories about substance abuse in addicts and alcoholics.The study found that around 66% of chronic alcoholic patients remained sober one year after treatment, compared to 24% of chronic alcoholic patients in conventional treatments [12]. 

After the treatment, the researchers noticed that the patients under ketamine therapy identified more strongly with positive self-image than before they started. The patients also had a newfound sense of meaning or purpose, likened to a spiritual or religious conversion.

This medicine also activates the limbic system, potentially strengthening the interaction between conscious and subconscious levels of the mind. Three sessions of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy have also helped heroin addicts keep their sobriety after rehab. The study showed that patients who received more frequent ketamine sessions had significantly higher abstinence rates than those who didn’t [13]. 

Difference between esketamine and ketamine? 

Ketamine is not FDA-approved for depression, so your doctor cannot prescribe it as an antidepressant. What they can do is recommend it to you (after assessment, of course) off label. What they can prescribe for depression is the FDA-approved esketamine a form of ketamine available as a nasal spray. This medicine was approved by the FDA in March 2019 [14]. 

Ketamine and esketmaine are different. Esketamine is one of the two molecules that form ketamine. Ketamine is a water-soluble PCP derivative that has two enantiomers: an S(+) isomer, also known as “esketamine” and an R(-) isomer, known as “arketamine [15].” 

Esketmaine has a different molecular makeup than ketamine and is made up of just the S form of ketamine. Interestingly, this form binds roughly four times as effectively as R-ketamine to the NMDA receptor. But despite its potent acting on the NMDA receptor, studies show that S-ketamine is a less powerful antidepressant than R-ketamine, when tested in animals. 

What to expect: before, during, and after ketamine treatment 

What is the process to receive a ketamine treatment? 

You first need to talk to your physiatrist and get their thoughts on the treatment. 

Next step, finding a clinic. The best tip for anyone looking for a reliable ketamine clinic is to search for one that has an anesthesiologist on board. Anesthesiologists have studied and used ketamine for years. They are the best people around when it comes to safely getting the treatment. 

A reliable ketamine clinic should also have a psychiatrist involved. You should have a consultation with the specialist to schedule an evaluation. After the evaluation, the doctor should determine if ketamine is safe for you.      

Before the treatment

This therapy is recommended ONLY for patients with treatment-resistant depression, chronic pain, and severe cases of mood disorders like PTSD, anxiety, bipolar, and addiction disorders. 

So, it is of utmost importance to look for a clinic that does a proper assessment of your condition. They should take the entire history of the disease into consideration. 

Let’s say you call a ketamine clinic and ask to make an appointment. They agree to take you straight to the therapy chair without a thorough assessment. If that’s the case, we urge you to find another clinic. This is a huge red flag and can be extremely dangerous for your health. 

You should talk to a psychiatrist that will be involved in the process and share everything about your condition. Anything from the medications you’ve used to the symptoms and struggles you’ve faced. Your collaboration during the assessment is vital for the success of the therapy, so being upfront about your condition is very important. 

You should also be asked to get a ride home to be safe after the treatment. You may feel dizzy, or your coordination may be off for a few hours after. 

During the treatment

You are comfortably seated on a chair. You might be given a blanket to keep you warm and headphones to keep you in the moment. During the treatment that typically lasts for about 40-45 minutes the staff will come to check up on you, ask questions, and make sure you are not experiencing any side-effects.  

You should start feeling the effect of the drug within 5-15 minutes. Each patient reacts differently to ketamine therapy. For some, this drug can induce a feeling of dissociation (out of body experience), even in the lowest doses. Others compare it to having a few glasses of wine. Some people have an out of body experience.     

The dissociation makes you extremely relaxed, giving you a feeling of weightlessness, relief, and overall happiness. You may start seeing out-of-this-world colors and visuals. Some patients are clear-headed and go deep into their thoughts, feel grounded, and have an enhanced appreciation for life and music. 

Some patients experience numbness, a tingling sensation in the entire body, particularly in the hands, feet, and head. Many people experience anxiety. The patient should communicate this side-effect with the doctor, and they will slow down the dose. 

After the treatment 

You should be able to feel the effects of ketamine almost immediately after the treatment is done. Patients that have found success in this treatment report “less heaviness” after a few hours or the next day after the treatment. Patients feel that life is worth living. 

Here is a video of an experience of ketamine infusion therapy in a ketamine clinic

Price of treatments + Does insurance cover it? 

Insurance doesn’t cover ketamine infusion treatment. First, it’s not FDA-approved for mood disorders and it’s considered an experimental treatment. 

The cost of each treatment can range anywhere from $300 to $600 per infusion. You can do one infusion, but for better results, it’s recommended to have at least three.

If you don’t respond to the treatment, you might revisit the thought that it might not work for you as it doesn’t work for around 20-30% of patients with treatment-resistant depression and mood disorders. 

Because the effects of long-term use of ketamine are unknown, most doctors recommend patients to use this treatment as the push they need to take them out of the rut.

This treatment is not permanent, so each patient needs to continue work with their psychiatrist and go to therapy. You should still make efforts to change your lifestyle, incorporate a healthy diet and exercise, lower stress levels, and get good sleep. 

Risks, side effects, and drug interactions 

The data on ketamine’s interaction with other drugs is limited. Like all medications, it comes with a set of side effects. Before starting ketamine treatment, it’s critical to discuss the potential side-effects and drug interactions with your doctor. 

When going into it, you should understand that this medicine is not FDA approved for any mental health condition, but only as an anesthetic. For a drug to be experimental, it means that the FDA hasn’t done a vast amount of trials to approve it for the purpose of healing mental health conditions. 

Most common side-effects 

    • Cardiovascular – increases blood pressure for a very short period in some people. In others, it increases heart rate. People with cardiovascular problems need to take extra precautions before taking ketamine. 
    • Psychiatric – people with underlying psychosis or similar issues will experience more anxiety. If these issues were in the past, ketamine might make their psychosis come back or even make it worse.
    • Urinary problems – urge to pee frequently, urinary retention.
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dissociation
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Agitation
  • Nausea
  • Bad flashbacks
  • Tremors or shaking

These side effects happen right after the treatment is finished. But, the patient feels so much relief that these effects fall behind. It’s incredibly rare, but it happens for the patient to feel emotionally low. 

Less common side-effects are: 

  • Depression in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Laryngeal spasms which can lead to suffocation

Can I mix it with other drugs?

You can (and is advised) to keep taking antidepressants while receiving ketamine therapy. Antidepressants in the group of SSRIs, like Prozac, don’t interact with it in a negative way. Most medications are safe with ketamine, except for heart medicine. 

Never mix it with drugs that depress breathing, like alcohol, anesthetics, opioids and tramadol. Other risky combinations are cocaine and amphetamines. This drug appears to be safe when used with cannabis, but it’s advised against [16].  

Is Ketamine Infusion Therapy Safe? 

When used occasionally and under medical supervision, ketamine is a safe medication. The risks appear when this drug is abused as a recreational substance. High doses of this drug cause schizotypal symptoms like delusions, dissociation, flashbacks, superstitious thinking [17]. 

Recreational use causes bladder pain, incontinence, blood in urine, and cystitis to the point that the user needs to remove their bladder. 

One of the long-term risks of ketamine use that researchers point out is neurodegeneration (progressive loss of structure or function of neurons). Animal studies show that prolonged intravenous exposure to the drug (over 9 to 24 hours) caused brain cell death in rhesus monkeys [18].  

Frequent use affects thought and memory due to cognitive impairment. Occasional users (once or twice a month) don’t experience such problems [19].

Is ketamine legal?    

Federally, ketamine is a Schedule III drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act adopted in August 1999. Schedule III drugs are drugs with a “moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.” This means that its abuse potential is lower than Schedules I and II. Aside from ketamine, this group includes testosterone and anabolic steroids. 

Given that ketamine is a controlled substance, how can one lawfully open a ketamine clinic for infusion therapy? 

It all comes down to ketamine being used “off label.” What does off label mean? When a drug becomes approved by the FDA, it has an indication for a specific use. Off label indicates the act of prescribing the drug for something else than its original FDA-approved use. 

When your doctor prescribes medications, sometimes, they are not intended for the original, approved, researched use.

For example, they prescribe you Clonidine (Catapres) for ADHD. Clonidine is originally FDA-approved to treat high blood pressure. This blood pressure drug has many other off label uses like hot sweats, opioid withdrawal, migraines, etc. 

Doctors prescribe this medicine for ADHD because they’ve seen positive results in their patients. They know it works. But, because it hasn’t been FDA-approved for that condition, it’s the only way to give it to someone. 

The question you might be asking is: Can doctors actually do that? 

The answer is yes, they can. According to research, about 12% to 38% of all prescriptions are off label.

As stated by the FDA, “Once the FDA approves a drug, healthcare providers generally may prescribe the drug for an unapproved use when they judge that it is medically appropriate for their patients.” 

If the medical provider judges that there isn’t a drug approved to treat a condition or no other medication has worked for the patient, they can prescribe drugs off label. Ketamine infusion therapy fits into the legitimate off-label use for mental health conditions that are not effectively treated by drugs available on the pharmaceutical market.  

Source

The FDA approved a ketamine nasal spray for depression. Does this make ketamine legal? 

You might read online that the approval of esketamine (Spravato) made ketamine a legal substance, but that’s incorrect. Esketamine is a form of ketamine that’s legal only in that form, as a nasal spray. According to the FDA, “Because of the risk of sedation and dissociation, patients must be monitored by a health care provider for at least two hours after receiving their Spravato dose.”

The patient can self-administer the nasal spray under the supervision of a healthcare professional in a certified doctor’s office or clinic. The patient cannot take the spray at home. 

Are Ketamine Clinics Legal? 

Yes. Ketamine clinics are 100% legal. It’s wise to get your ketamine infusion or injection therapy in a reputable ketamine clinic. To operate with ketamine, these clinics must have a DEA license.

One cannot open a clinic without the standard outpatient requirements, including state medical board licenses, OSHA insurance coverage, all of the requirements that come with storing a controlled substance, as well as county/city licensing. They must take into consideration both state and local laws when opening a clinic. 

Each clinic must register the medical professionals that will be administering, manufacturing, storing, or distributing the drug with the DEA.  

Now, because there are no federal regulations on who will do the oversight and control of ketamine clinics, they choose how to operate their business. Most clinics rely on guidelines like the consensus statement published in JAMA Psychiatry or the consensus statement in Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine

There is also the comprehensive ketamine infusion therapy checklist by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. Organizations like the American Society of Ketamine Physicians (ASKP) put efforts into educating medical professionals in the field on the latest evidence-based treatments. So, it’s up to the team in each clinic to carefully screen patients and provide the safest and most appropriate treatment. 

Find a legal ketamine clinic in your state:

Bottom Line

After decades of stagnation, the mental health field is focused on the use of novel drugs in a safe and effective way. Ketmaine’s ability to rapidly reverse symptoms of treatment-resistant depression and severe mood disorders makes it a powerful medicine. 

One of the biggest advantages of ketamine therapy is that it’s fast-acting and works in the lowest dosage.

Traditional medication, like antidepressants, take weeks or months to begin working. For a person with a severe mental health disorder, that’s not good enough. Research is still in its infancy but headed in the right direction to relieve the stigma around psychedelics and use their full potential.

Ketamine Therapy FAQs

Does it matter if ketamine is administered via IV or nasal spray?

Yes. A nasal spray takes longer to act, and if the person has a cold or other issues, it won’t be as effective. An infusion (IV) takes the medicine straight to the bloodstream and brain.

Are ketamine infusions safe?

Yes. If you are taking them in a controlled medical setting, where you’re constantly being monitored, ketamine infusions are very safe. This drug does not suppress the body’s cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

What are the potential side effects of ketamine?

Some side effects include high blood pressure, confusion, disorientation, nausea, loss of coordination, tremors or shaking.

Does ketamine make you psychotic?

No. Ketamine is dissociative and may cause hallucinations, but these effects wear off after a few hours of taking the drug.

Is ketamine highly addictive?

You can form a habit (dependence) by using ketamine on your own. Ketamine is a schedule III substance, which means it is not as addictive as cocaine, heroin, and even cannabis. Addiction has not been the case with patients who use this drug as a medicine for treatment-resistant depression.

Can it be detected in a drug test?

A drug test does not typically test for ketamine, except in extended screens. This drug stays in the system for 2-4 days and is detectable in urine. A test will detect ketamine’s major metabolite, norketamine, in blood and urine for up to 14 days. 

What’s the safest way to take ketamine?

The safest way is to get it in a controlled medical setting in a doctor’s office, regardless if administered as a nasal spray or infusion.

Does ketamine produce tolerance?

Yes. If used regularly, it builds up tolerance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *