ketamine

Ketamine

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication primarily used as an anesthetic in both human and veterinary medicine. Ketamine works by blocking the N-methyl-D-aspartate neurotransmitter in the brain, acting as an NMDA receptor antagonist. Ketamine is known for its ability to induce dissociative anesthesia, where patients feel detached or tranquilized from their surroundings and may experience hallucinations or altered perceptions of reality. 

Ketamine was originally developed in the 1960s and was first used as a battlefield anesthetic during the Vietnam War. It has since had applications in healthcare settings for both humans and animals. Classified as a Schedule III controlled substance in the United States, and has gained its popularity as a recreational drug over the years. More recently, it has shown great promises in psychiatric and therapeutic fields.

Other names:

  • K
  • Special K
  • Vitamin K
  • Super K
  • Kitty
  • Cat Valium
  • Kit Kat
  • Purple
  • Special La Coke
  • Calvin Klein (when mixed together with cocaine)

What Does Ketamine Look Like?

Ketamine is available in two main forms: a white or off-white powder or a clear liquid. The powdered form (100 to 200 milligrams) is typically packaged in small glass vials, plastic bags, capsules, paper, glassine or aluminum foil wraps.

What Are the Experiences with Ketamine?

The effects of Ketamine vary based on dosage and individual tolerance. Its available in powder form and can be consumed through snorting, injecting, or ingestion. It’s also commonly used recreationally at lower doses, inducing feelings of detachment and altered perception. However, at higher doses users may encounter intense dissociation, along with visual and auditory hallucinations, and a distortion of time, which is also known as the ‘K-hole’.

What Are the Acute Effects of Ketamine?

Ketamine’s acute effects encompass:

  • Dissociation: A sensation of detachment from one’s body and surroundings.
  • Hallucinations: Commonly visual and auditory, especially at higher doses.
  • Altered Perception: Sensations of floating, distorted time, and reality.
  • Euphoria: A profound sense of well-being and relaxation.
  • Sedation: Inducing drowsiness and relaxation.
  • Impaired Motor Skills: Significant effects on coordination and balance.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Particularly evident at higher doses.

What Are the Ways to Consume Ketamine?

  • Intravenous Injection:

Intravenous injection is the most common method used in hospital settings, particularly for anaesthesia. The substance is injected directly into the bloodstream via a vein, facilitating rapid effect  and precise dosage control.

  • Intramuscular Injection

Intramuscular injection, also known as injecting a substance into a muscle. This method is used during emergencies or when IV access is not feasible or possible. However, the effect of intramuscular injection is slightly slower compared to intravenous injection.  

  • Esketamine Nasal Spray

Esketamine is a form of ketamine and is approved in some countries as a nasal spray for treatment-resistant depression. This method allows for self-administration and under medical supervision.

  • Oral Administration

Ketamine can be swallowed as a pill or in liquid form. This method of consumption isn’t common because the body doesn’t absorb it as well, and it takes longer to take effect. In some cases, doctors prescribe oral ketamine to help with pain or to treat depression. 

  • Sublingual (Under the Tongue)

Sublingual means putting a lozenge or liquid under the tongue. This method absorbs ketamine quickly through the mucous membranes of the mouth. 

  • Rectal administration

Rectal administration is a less common way of consuming. It involves using ketamine as a suppository, a small solid dose that is inserted into the rectum. This method is sometimes used in pediatric settings or when other ways aren’t possible.

  • Topical application

Topical application is using ketamine on the skin for pain management. It’s not very common, but doctors sometimes prescribe creams or gels containing ketamine that you apply directly to the painful area. 

Can you mix it with other substances? Click here for a detailed chart of safe drug combinations.

What Are the Risks & Benefits of Ketamine?

BenefitsMedical Use: Ketamine is a valuable anaesthetic and analgesic in medical settings, especially for procedures in which traditional anaesthetics are not suitable.
Psychiatric Treatment: Ketamine is being explored as a treatment for depression, anxiety, and PTSD, with some promising results in clinical trials.
Acute Pain Management: It can provide effective pain relief for certain conditions and injuries.
RisksDependency: Ketamine has the potential for physical and psychological dependence when used recreationally.
Short-Term Side Effects: Nausea, vomiting, confusion, and disorientation can occur.
Long-Term Effects: Chronic use can lead to cognitive impairments and damage to the urinary system.
Psychological Distress: Some users may experience anxiety, panic, and a sense of unreality during and after use.
Illegality: In many places, recreational use of ketamine is illegal.

Therapeutic Use of Ketamine

In recent years ketamine is emerging as a tool in psychiatric and therapeutic settings. Administered under careful supervision, ketamine is showing promising results in treating conditions such as depression and hard-to-treat depression, especially when other treatments have failed. The effects are believed to be related to its ability to enhance neuroplasticity and reduce mood disorder symptoms, which opens new avenues for mental health care.

Scientific Research:

Rapid Antidepressant Effects: A study published in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology demonstrated that a single intravenous dose of ketamine produced rapid antidepressant effects within hours in patients with treatment-resistant depression. This rapid onset is a stark contrast to traditional antidepressants, which often take weeks to show benefits. 

Sustained Improvement: Research published in Biological Psychiatry by Murrough et al. found that repeated doses of ketamine over two weeks provided sustained improvement in depression symptoms. This suggests ketamine’s potential as a valuable short-term intervention for patients not responding to other treatments. 

Reduction in Suicidal Thoughts: A study in the American Journal of Psychiatry by Grunebaum et al. examined ketamine’s effects on suicidal ideation. The researchers found that ketamine significantly reduced suicidal thoughts in depressed patients within 24 hours of administration. 

As research continues to unfold, ketamine’s role in therapy and psychotherapy is steadily evolving, offering hope to individuals seeking relief from challenging mental health conditions. 

Ketamine for Personal Development & Growth

Beyond its traditional applications, ketamine-assisted therapy is being explored as a tool for introspection, emotional healing, and spiritual exploration. The altered state of consciousness induced by ketamine can lead to introspection and self-reflection, potentially helping individuals gain new perspectives on their lives and relationships. However, these experiences can be highly subjective and variable. Under controlled and safe conditions, and with professional guidance, individuals are finding that ketamine experiences can catalyze profound insights, facilitating emotional breakthroughs and self-discovery.

As interest in alternative approaches to personal growth continues to rise, ketamine-assisted sessions offer a unique pathway for individuals seeking transformative experiences and elevated self-awareness. It is essential to note that ketamine therapy should be administered under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.
If you are interested in exploring how ketamine therapy could benefit you, we invite you to book a call with one of our qualified psychedelic integration coaches. Our team is here to provide you with the professional guidance and support you need on your journey to self-discovery and healing.

Legality of Ketamine

The legal status varies across countries. In the United States, it is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance, meaning it is illegal for recreational use but permitted for medical purposes such as anesthesia and pain management. Other countries have different regulations, with some allowing restricted medical usage while others enforce strict controls.

History & Statistics of Ketamine

Ketamine was first synthesized in 1962 by Dr. Calvin Stevens and approved for medical use in 1970. It was first used as a battlefield anesthetic during the Vietnam War. It initially gained popularity as an anesthetic and analgesic before becoming a recreational drug in the club scene. In recent years, it has attracted attention in therapy and psychiatry for its potential in treating mood disorders. Usage statistics have fluctuated over time, with periods of increased recreational use and growing interest in therapeutic applications.

Myths Surrounding Ketamine

There are several myths and misconceptions about ketamine, including:

“It is a ‘safe’ party drug…” Ketamine can have serious side effects and is not risk-free.

“It is legal everywhere…” The legal status varies by country and region.

“It is a guaranteed treatment for depression…” While it shows promise, its efficacy varies among individuals, and more research is needed to understand its long-term effects.

“It is not addictive…” Ketamine has the potential for both physical and psychological dependency, especially with frequent recreational use.

Important Note:
Approach any substance with caution and understand its effects and risks. If you’ve had an experience with ketamine and need support to integrate it, or if you’re planning to try it and want the best possible setting, book a session with one of our certified psychedelic coaches.

Our experts provide personalised guidance to help you navigate and maximize the benefits of your ketamine experience while ensuring safety and well-being.

Our Psychedelic Coaches Integrating Ketamine Experiences

Eva Gallacher, Psychodynamic Psychotherapist, Psychedelic Therapist

Eva Gallacher

Psychodynamic Psychotherapist, Psychedelic Therapist

Victoria Etherington, Psychedelic Preparation & Integration Coach

Victoria Etherington

Psychedelic Preparation & Integration Coach (Jung, IFS, NLP & breathwork & embodiment)

Ari Shine, Somatic Practitioner and Trauma Informed Psychedelic Integration Specialist

Ari Shine

Somatic Practitioner and Trauma Informed Psychedelic Integration Specialist

Turlough Mills, Consultant Psychiatrist

Turlough Mills

Consultant Psychiatrist

Elena Riedel, Psychologist; Psychedelic Preparation & Integration

Elena Riedel

Psychologist; Psychedelic Preparation & Integration

Inês Carmo, Psychiatrist, Certified Psychedelic Integration Therapist

Inês Carmo

Psychiatrist, Certified Psychedelic Integration Therapist

Angie, Psychedelic and Spiritual Integration Coach, Guide, and Mentor

Angie

Psychedelic and Spiritual Integration Coach, Guide, and Mentor

Ashvind Adkins Singh, Psychedelic Coach, Researcher & Therapist

Ashvind Adkins Singh

Holistic Psychedelic Preparation & Integration Specialist Coach and Trauma Informed Clinical Psychologist

Yulfriana Karen Borremans, Psychologist & Sexologist, Psychedelic preparation and integration specialist

Yulfriana Karen Borremans

Psychologist & Sexologist; Psychedelic Preparation & Integration Specialist

Floris Wolswijk, Psychedelic Preparation & Integration Coach with Psychology Background

Floris Wolswijk

Psychedelic Preparation & Integration Coach with Psychology Background

Amanda Argot Efthimiou, Psychedelic Preparation & Integration Specialist, Leadership Advisor

Amanda Argot Efthimiou

Psychedelic Preparation & Integration Specialist, Leadership Advisor

Juan Paris, Safe, curious & compassionate preparation & integration of psychedelic journeys

Juan Paris

Safe, curious & compassionate preparation & integration of psychedelic journeys

Client Centred, Trauma Informed Psychologist, Psychedelic Preparation and Integration Coach, EMDR Therapist; Hypnotherapist; Phd Candidate

Laura

Client Centred, Trauma Informed Psychologist, Psychedelic Preparation and Integration Coach, EMDR Therapist; Hypnotherapist; Phd Candidate

Erin Witter, Client-centered Psycho-spiritual coach offering guidance for preparation, integration and transformational experiences.

Erin Witter

Client-centered Psycho-spiritual coach offering guidance for preparation, integration and transformational experiences.

Psychedelic integration centered around introverts & highly sensitive people

James Lavrakas

Psychedelic integration centered around introverts & highly sensitive people

Constantine Dhonau, Positive Intelligence, Self-Compassion, and Relationships Integration Guide

Constantine Dhonau

Positive Intelligence, Self-Compassion, and Relationships Integration Guide

Asa Dean, Somatic Approaches to Integration: A Polyvagal Inspired Lens

Asa Dean

Somatic Approaches to Integration: A Polyvagal Inspired Lens

Yvet, Psychedelic integration coach, psychologist, and a psychoanalyst in training.

Yvet

Psychedelic integration coach, Psychologist, and a Psychoanalyst in training.

Sedef, Trauma Informed & Creativity Coach

Sedef

Trauma Informed & Creativity Coach

meha, Psychedelic Preparation & Integration Coach

Meha

Psychedelic Preparation & Integration Coach

Julia Bamberg, Psychedelic Preparation & Integration Specialist

Julia Bamberg

Psychedelic Preparation & Integration Specialist

Phil Pazurek, Clinical psychologist, non-ordinary states of consciousness, preparation and integration specialist

Phil Pazurek

Clinical psychologist, non-ordinary states of consciousness, preparation and integration specialist

Ava, Psychotherapeutic coach for psychedelic preparation and integration, registered psychotherapist specializing in complex trauma, and certified yoga & meditation teacher

Ava

Psychotherapeutic coach for psychedelic preparation and integration, registered psychotherapist specialising in complex trauma