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What is Ketamine used for?

Ketamine has been used in medical settings and is now getting more support for use in therapy applications. Here’s what you need to know about ketamine-assisted therapy.


What is Ketamine?


Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic drug that carries a Schedule III classification due to its legalized application as a treatment tool in medical settings. Acting primarily as a blocker at the NMDA receptor, Ketamine in low doses can produce slight alterations to a user’s perceptions and act as a sedative. In higher doses, Ketamine can produce complete dissociations between mind and body, even to the extent of paralysis experiences.


What is Ketamine used for?

Ketamine received its FDA approval based on its anesthetic properties and is already being used in medical settings for this purpose. In addition to its anesthetic properties, it has proven to yield analgesic effects as well and it is touted as an anti-obsessional and antidepressant compound. It has also been found to possess neuro-protective properties that support neuro-plasticity.


Ketamine has shown to provide benefits to users that are suffering from mood and pain disorders while more research is currently being done to determine the long-term effects of continued use.


Ketamine Experience Duration

The effects of Ketamine have a wide variance of onset and duration which is dependent on the method of application as well as the dosage. Typically, the onset occurs quite quickly and the peak of the effects last between 30 and 120 minutes.


What Disorders Could be Treated with Ketamine-Assisted Therapy?

There are several indicated opportunities for support for ketamine-assisted therapy including:

  • Pain and/or pain disorders
  • Mood disorders including major depression disorder
  • Addiction disorders
  • PTSD

Is Ketamine Safe for Continued Use?

There is some concern surrounding the potential for dependency with Ketamine, especially where it is used in a clinical setting to support substance abuse disorders. It is becoming increasingly emphasized that the continued use of Ketamine as a therapeutic drug requires adequate talk-therapy (and in many cases, psychotherapy) outside of the assisted user sessions due to the shorter duration of its positive effects and the need for the user to integrate their experiences with the drug. 

Despite its positive influences in the areas of helping to treat pain and mood disorders, there are signs that extended use of Ketamine can lead to toxicity in the kidneys and the bladder and have negative impacts on the urinary tract. Ketamine was approved by the FDA in 1970 as an anesthetic drug and is now being legally prescribed for a growing list of indication factors. More research is necessary to determine the overall benefits and risk factors of using Ketamine as a therapeutic treatment over the long-term.


Want to learn more? Join our information session on whether Ketamine Therapy is underutilized.


About Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

Psychedelic-assisted therapy incorporates the use of psychedelics, like ketamine, into the therapy process. Professionally trained psychedelic therapists work with their clients in pre- and post-experience sessions to prepare them for the experience and then unpack that experience. Therapists generally do not sit with clients while they have their psychedelic experience, instead the journey is conducted by facilitator(s), who could be from any healthcare discipline. An interdisciplinary team, consisting of a minimum of a prescriber and a therapist, generally work together to form the care team so the participant is fully supported.


Interested in adding psychedelic-assisted therapy into your practice?

Download the Psychedelic Basic’s Guide now for more information on psychedelics and how you can integrate this new treatment into your practice. 

Get the Psychedelic Basic’s Guide!

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Want to learn more? Join our information session on whether Ketamine Therapy is underutilized.