Our clinic specializes in Ketamine infusion therapy, treating chronic pain, treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, burnout, and addiction. Educating people about Ketamine has become of paramount importance to us, as there are many misconceptions about the drug itself and fear-based opinions. Myths around Ketamine Infusion Therapy are worth taking a look at. Therefore, we thought it would be productive to address some of the most common concerns we hear about from the general public.
Isn’t Ketamine a Horse Tranquilizer?
Ketamine is used in veterinary practice as an intravenous anesthetic agent, and it is commonly used on all types of animals, including cats, dogs, rabbits, and rodents. In addition, it happens to be the drug of choice for equine medicine. However, while Ketamine was first synthesized in the 1960s as a veterinary anesthetic, it received FDA approval to be used as a human anesthetic in 1970 and has been used extensively since that time during surgery, as a procedural anesthetic in emergency departments, and in the battlefield to treat wounded soldiers since the Vietnam War with great success.
I Heard Ketamine is a Dangerous “Street” Drug
According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, Ketamine is a controlled substance. Specifically, it is a Schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule III drugs, including codeine and anabolic steroids, have less potential for abuse than Schedule I (heroin) or Schedule II (cocaine) drugs. Unfortunately, Ketamine and the other “club drugs” have become popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs and “raves.” Ketamine is manufactured legally as a powder or liquid. Powdered Ketamine can also be formed from pharmaceutical Ketamine by evaporating the liquid using hot plates, warming trays, or microwave ovens, which results in the formation of crystals, which are then ground into powder. According to the DEA, distribution of Ketamine typically occurs among friends and acquaintances, most often at raves, nightclubs, and private parties; street sales of Ketamine are rare. As with any drug, misuse of Ketamine may lead to physical or psychological dependence.
Can You Have a “Bad Trip” on Ketamine?
Like any controlled substance, Ketamine, when not appropriately dosed, can have a dangerous effect. When used as an anesthetic in humans, it puts the patient in a “twilight” state, where they are conscious but unaware. Ketamine has a combination of pain-relieving, analgesic, and memory-suppressing, amnestic qualities. In medical circles, this is commonly referred to as “dissociative anesthesia,” a term coined by the wife of Dr. Edward Domino. Along with Dr. Guenter Corssen, Dr. Domino was the first to publish a clinical study of Ketamine as a human anesthetic in 1966. In their research on Ketamine, Domino and Guenter found that patients appeared to be conscious in this dissociative state, based on preserved airway reflexes and respiratory drive, but couldn’t respond to sensory input.
With that being said, when administered in sufficient doses in an unsupervised, recreational setting, users may experience a state of dissociation with visual and auditory hallucinations similar to the effects of LSD.
In our clinic, patients can experience an alteration of perceptions and may feel “weird,” for lack of a better term. Most patients find the experience intense yet pleasurable and report a sensation of “being in a dream,” of deep relaxation or floating on a calm ocean’s surface. Frank hallucinations are rare, though you may feel that you are briefly “out of your body.” Note that this is not a common experience at typical dosages.
Each treatment experience may feel different, depending on your mood and what’s on your mind that day. Experienced meditators may find they can achieve a prolonged sense of inner stillness and peace that they have only briefly glimpsed during previous meditation sessions. Although anxiety reactions can occur, these are usually short-lived and become less frequent with repeated treatments.
The discovery of the anti-depressive benefits of Ketamine in 2000 has been described as the single most critical advance in the treatment of depression in more than 50 years. Moreover, this discovery has forever altered the direction of antidepressant research and development. We are proud to be able to serve our patients with this ground-breaking treatment.