Ketamine Experience

The subjective experiences of therapeutic ketamine patients can vary depending on the dose range administered. Here, we provide an overview of the content of experiences commonly reported at different dose levels. Please note that individual responses may differ; these descriptions are not exhaustive.

Low-dose ketamine (0.1-0.5 mg/kg): Patients receiving low-dose ketamine may experience mild perceptual changes, relaxation, and overall well-being. Side effects such as dizziness or light-headedness may be present but are typically mild and transient (Berman et al., 2000; Irwin & Iglewicz, 2010).

Moderate-dose ketamine (0.5-1 mg/kg): At moderate doses, patients may report more pronounced perceptual changes, including altered time perception, vivid imagination, and feelings of dissociation. Patients may also experience mild to moderate euphoria, increased energy, or emotional blunting. Side effects can be more noticeable, including dizziness, blurred vision, and mild confusion (Irwin & Iglewicz, 2010; Sanacora et al., 2017).

High-dose ketamine (>1 mg/kg): High-dose ketamine can induce significant dissociative effects, with patients reporting a sense of detachment from their bodies, vivid hallucinations, or “out-of-body” experiences. Emotional experiences can vary, including euphoria, anxiety, or fear. Side effects are more likely intense, such as severe dizziness, confusion, and significant alterations in vision and hearing (Krystal et al., 1994; Sanacora et al., 2017). At very high doses one might experience an NDE, or Ego-Death.

It is important to note that the subjective experiences of ketamine can be influenced by factors such as the patient’s mental state, environment, and individual sensitivity to the drug. Additionally, therapeutic ketamine treatments are typically conducted under medical supervision, which can help minimize potential negative experiences.

Berman, R. M., Cappiello, A., Anand, A., Oren, D. A., Heninger, G. R., Charney, D. S., & Krystal, J. H. (2000). Antidepressant effects of ketamine in depressed patients. Biological psychiatry, 47(4), 351-354.

Irwin, S. A., & Iglewicz, A. (2010). Oral ketamine for the rapid treatment of depression and anxiety in patients receiving hospice care. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 13(7), 903-908.

Krystal, J. H., Karper, L. P., Seibyl, J. P., Freeman, G. K., Delaney, R., Bremner, J. D., … & Charney, D. S. (1994). Subanesthetic effects of the noncompetitive NMD

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