Are Ketamine Clinics Legal?

February 8, 2022

Among individuals considering ketamine for therapeutic treatment, one of the most common questions is, “Is ketamine legal?” 

Despite the fact that ketamine has been FDA-approved and legalized for use as a general anesthetic since the 1970s, its potential to be abused as a recreational drug has led to considerable confusion about how or if ketamine is regulated. But for those seeking clarification as to the legality of ketamine, the answer is actually very simple.

Is ketamine legal in the U.S.?

Under United States federal law, ketamine is legal for use by registered medical practitioners, including in settings such as ketamine clinics and other healthcare facilities.

Ketamine was first synthesized in the 1960s, and its excellent safety profile earned it quick approval within a few short years. By the 1970s, ketamine was approved by the FDA (as a short-acting general anesthetic) and legalized in the U.S. for use by registered practitioners.

In addition to its accepted medical use for short-term sedation and anesthesia, ketamine also has a broad range of “off-label” uses. “Off-label” use is when a medication is prescribed (by a licensed practitioner) for any purpose other than the one specifically approved by the FDA.

Ketamine is classified as a Schedule III compound under DEA regulations, which means that it is acceptable to have a viable medical value. Compounds rated as Schedule II, III, IV, or V are all designated as medically useful, but in order to be legal for use, they must be distributed by a licensed provider with the intent to treat a specific condition.

The scope of potential treatment uses for ketamine has continued to expand, and it’s become an increasingly accessible option for individuals seeking treatment for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and even chronic pain. In 2019, a derivative of ketamine was even FDA-approved as a nasal spray for treatment-resistant depression. For advocates of ketamine therapy for mental health, that marked an exciting step forward towards what will hopefully be an eventual approval for ketamine treatments as a whole.

When is ketamine illegal?

It is illegal to use ketamine outside of a clinically-prescribed setting. This means that ketamine is illegal when used for recreational purposes, but it is also illegal to use it in an attempt to “treat” any conditions without the supervision of a licensed provider. Regardless of whether an individual is using ketamine with recreational or self-medicating goals, it remains illegal outside of approved settings.

Because the effects of ketamine can include sedation, and in high doses, dissociative effects, it has become relatively popular as a “club drug.” Recreational use of ketamine is illegal under state and federal laws, and it is a dangerous gamble for individuals to experiment with ketamine without medical supervision. 

Also referred to as “Vitamin K,” “Special K”, and “Kit Kat,” ketamine as a recreational substance can produce undesirable side effects. Elevated heart rate and blood pressure, dizziness, and nausea are all potential side effects of ketamine use, particularly when the consumer goes above the small dosage that would be prescribed in a clinical setting. 

Is ketamine therapy legal?

Before we discuss the legality of ketamine clinics and therapy centers, it’s important to briefly cover the basic definition of ketamine therapy.

When ketamine is used for anesthetic or recreational purposes, the doses are far larger than those utilized in a therapeutic environment. So, undergoing ketamine therapy does not mean that you will be deeply sedated or in a sleep-like state, and you will certainly not experience the dramatic effects that can come with the recreational abuse of ketamine. Rather, ketamine treatments rely on the effects of small doses and a consistently-structured treatment plan customized to suit a patient’s needs and goals. Furthermore, ketamine clinics such as Klarisana supervise patients to ensure a safe, comfortable experience. 

In regards to the question, “are ketamine clinics legal?”, the answer is yes, it is legal for patients to receive ketamine treatments from a licensed ketamine clinic/therapy center.

For individuals seeking the medical and/or therapeutic benefits of ketamine, it is incredibly important to do so in a clinically-supervised setting staffed by professionals experienced in the field of ketamine therapy. When properly administered, ketamine therapy is safe, effective, and generally well-tolerated.

Discover the potential of ketamine as a legal therapeutic treatment

Ketamine is a groundbreaking medication and the first legally-prescribed psychedelic substance, and it has an incredible potential to help individuals suffering from mental health struggles and physical pain.

Klarisana is a leader in the field of ketamine therapy, opening our doors to patients at our ketamine clinics in Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. If you have struggled to find effective treatments for depression, anxiety, PTSD, or chronic pain, our ketamine treatment plans may be the life-changing option you’ve been looking for.

For more information about our legal ketamine clinics and how ketamine works to support treatment goals, contact Klarisana today.

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