Does Ketamine Therapy Get You High?

December 12, 2023

Ketamine therapy is becoming an increasingly common treatment option for those suffering from mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Ketamine, which was originally developed as an anesthetic, is now being used in low doses to treat these conditions. However, one question that many people have is whether or not ketamine therapy gets you “high.” In this blog post, we’ll explore the answer to this question and provide some additional information about ketamine therapy.

First and foremost, it’s important to note that therapeutic ketamine does not “get you high”, but rather produces an opportunity for internal reflection and growth through not only the psychomimetic or psychedelic effect, but also through the biochemical potential created by ketamine.

The term “getting high” implies a recreational event, rather than a therapeutic experience with a goal of improving one’s life. Set and setting are a large part of the transformational aspect of our care; this is essential in order to have a productive healing experience and includes mindful intentions, having access to a trained care team, and access to tools that can aid in deepening one’s experience.

While ketamine is classified as a dissociative drug and can produce hallucinations and other altered states of consciousness, the doses used in ketamine therapy are much lower than those used recreationally. In fact, the doses used in ketamine therapy are often referred to as sub-anesthetic doses, meaning that they are not strong enough to induce anesthesia or produce the intense sedative effects associated with higher doses of ketamine. Many clients who have utilized ketamine have reported an incredibly internal experience; rather than a visual experience in the external world, our clients describe a deep look into oneself and an exploration of their inner world.

That being said, it’s not uncommon for those undergoing ketamine therapy to experience mild dissociative effects. Some people describe feeling a sense of detachment from their body or surroundings, while others report experiencing mild hallucinations or visual distortions. These effects are generally short-lived and wear off within a few hours of the session. It’s also worth noting that not everyone experiences dissociative effects during ketamine therapy, and that the effects can vary from person to person.

The effects of ketamine therapy are not just limited to dissociation or altered states of consciousness. Ketamine has been shown to have a profound impact on the brain and can help to regulate mood, reduce anxiety, and alleviate symptoms of depression. There are several theories regarding the mechanism by which ketamine impacts the brain and allows for therapeutic impact, the strongest theory being ketamine allows for the creation of new neural pathways. These pathways can be thought of as our behavioral patterns, and the patterns we most frequently engage in can be difficult to break away from; therapeutic ketamine and the guidance of a professional provide a choice for folks to create a new pattern. These effects can last for days or even weeks after a single ketamine therapy session.

Ketamine therapy is considered safe when administered by a trained healthcare professional, and the person receiving ketamine has been appropriately assessed. There are some potential side effects to be aware of, such as nausea, dizziness, and changes in blood pressure or heart rate. These side effects are typically mild and short-lived, and most people tolerate ketamine therapy without any issues.

So, does ketamine therapy get you high? The answer is no, not in the traditional sense. While ketamine can produce dissociative and hallucinatory effects, the doses used in ketamine therapy are much lower than what is typically used recreationally. Instead, ketamine therapy is used to alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD and has been shown to have a profound impact on the brain. If you’re considering ketamine therapy as a treatment option, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine if it’s right for you.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get updated with the latest news.