Does Ketamine Therapy get you high?

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Trying to achieve detachment, disassociation, and drainage from negative thoughts impairing one’s mind can lead an individual to indulge in such activities that might get risky in the long run. The anesthetic drug ‘Ketamine “was first introduced in the 1970s but wasn’t utilized as a therapeutic solution until the FDA’s approval in 2019.

Whenever we educate ourselves regarding mental health issues, we come across this drug which has proven to be successful in relieving symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, and others.

However, there are certain misconceptions lurking around this topic like ‘does ketamine therapy get you high?’ or ‘the ketamine therapy side effects, etc.

Ketamine clinics in Virginia have reported that more than 72 percent of patients feel improvement in their mood after ketamine therapy infusion and 38 percent of those become completely symptom-free after a series of infusions.

This study of 400 patients proves the effectiveness of this drug, but let’s uncover the possible outcomes in case this drug is abused, used without authorization, and might get risky for some individuals.


What does ketamine therapy feel like?

Patients with depressive symptoms are often prescribed anti-depressants that can act as a soother and make you feel lightheaded or sleepy.


However, most of the patients who opt for ketamine therapy are the ones who are not easily affected by such medications or other traditional methods of therapy and instantly feel relief from pain during this session.

When ketamine enters your body, it might feel like you are floating outside your body. It can be a euphoric state, allowing the patient to even feel hallucinogenic, hear loud voices from the background, and feel colors become more vibrant around them.

The real contentment lies after the therapy session is over. About 70 percent of the patients feel instant relief after the first session which can be after a few hours or days.


What is a psychedelic experience? 

A psychedelic experience occurs when a psychoactive drug enters your body and allows the mind to hallucinate or enter a state of euphoria. There are many drugs like LSD, MDMA, ayahuasca, peyote, DMT, datura, jimson weed, magic mushrooms or psilocybin, and phencyclidine (PCP) but ketamine is the one being used widely for clinical treatments.


“While the most commonly used medicines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), generally require weeks of continual dosing to achieve a response (and even then approximately one-third of patients will not respond after two or more courses of treatments), ketamine provides a safe, more rapid-acting treatment for depressive conditions,” explains Ryan Yermus , clinical officer.

When ketamine enters your body, it blocks the NMDA receptors in your central nervous system responsible for forming connections and sharing information and cognition in your brain. This is the moment the patient experiences those hallucinations, blurriness, floating, and other experiences.

 When the intense moment is over, the brain achieves neuroplasticity. A  process that involves adaptive structural and functional changes to the brain and the reorganization of new connections /structure.

A 67 year old female patient who had been suffering from depression even at the age of 67 described her psychedelic experience to being inside a lava lamp. “Like that little thing that floats around,”She further added, “It’s really peaceful and serene, tranquil and beautiful.”


What are the potential side effects of ketamine?

There are short term side effects which might occur at the onset of the infusion, in between the session and may continue for up to an hour after the session ends. In a study conducted in 2017 at the Duke University, 297 patients were given the ketamine infusion therapy out of which only 20 percent experienced some side effects. 


However, almost all side effects go away with a good night’s sleep.

  • Nausea
  • Vomitting
  • Dizziness
  • Blurriness
  • Dysphoria
  • Drowsiness
  • Rapid blood pressure
  • Memory loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety 
  • Headache
  • Problems with sensory perception

Long term effects are more riskier and can develop due to negligence in the medical evaluations. Otherwise, close monitoring and an extensive review of the patient’s medical history is enough to prevent these effects.

  • Memory Problems
  • Liver Dysfunction
  • Liver Failure
  • Decreased Subjective Well-Being.
  • Alterations In Sleeping Patterns.
  • Liver Inflammation
  • Gallbladder Inflammation


Is ketamine addictive?

Yes, Ketamine is a drug and if a substance is abused it can become addictive. Due to the psychedelic effect, it poses on its patients, one might want to feel that over and over again to break through the traumas in their life.

Ketamine addiction statistics suggest that ketamine abuse has increased over the past 20 years and 0.9 percent of the US population was recorded to use this drug illegally in 2019.

However, ketamine-assisted therapy under the supervision of a medical professional ensures that this drug is given in minimal dosages according to the patient’s medical history and constantly monitored throughout the session.


The sedative and disassociating effect it produces creates a calmness in the user and can trigger them to increase their dose with time to take relief from psychological and physical pain.

Although , the drug ketamine has been categorized in the third schedule according to the DEA (Drug enforcement administration . Ketamine has the potential for abuse, which may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Its overdose can also cause dangerously slow breathing or even unconsciousness.


What are the risks of ketamine addiction?

Ketamine is often used as a party drug and research shows that when this drug is mixed with caffeine or taken by already intoxicated individuals, it can cause an alarming situation.

This drug can also build tolerance in its users and cause them to take higher doses every time. 3.0 million people (1.1%) aged 12 or older have been facing addiction in America by the use of ketamine illegally. Ketamine infusion therapy might not get you high, but a self-assisted overdose will.

The user might end up with multiple issues like,

  • Cardiovascular: moderate changes in heart rate/blood pressure to rapid changes, chest pain 
  • Gastrointestinal: Nausea and vomiting
  • Renal: Toxicity in kidney
  • Respiratory: A higher breathing rate and respiratory depression if intoxicated.
  • Central Nervous System: agitation, confusion, dizziness etc in small doses and elevated body temperature, fear ,delirium , coma , amnesia and even memory loss with higher amounts of doses.
  • Others: Severe anxiety, fear, panic, anxiety, exaggerated strength, and aggression, muscle rigidity, respiratory depression, death from overdose.

You can also look for some signs of addiction if a person,

  • Craving or strong desire for the drug
  • Taking large amounts and increasing the dose each time
  • Harming social and interpersonal relationships due to  favor of ketamine abuse
  • Unable to fulfill their duties as an employee, student, parent etc.
  • Continued use even after recurring physical/psychological issues


What is a ketamine nasal spray?

This is at home ketamine therapy ,  the nasal spray was approved by the FDA in 2019 under the brand name Spravato. This is a spray formulation that allows for the quick absorption of ketamine through the mucous into the nasal passages.


It can produce a rapid onset of effects and is usually prescribed to patients for self-administration who have difficulty getting an IV ketamine infusion. One of its users, Rachel Rabbit White says, “You feel the same dreaminess, but you are still mobile, and in this spiritual place where you’re in touch with yourself and your past.”

Many people try to get their own DIY nasal spray and even try to access off-label administered bottles of this nasal spray because of the high cost of ketamine therapy in clinics.

White continues to say, “A few months later, my partner and I were at some club in Bushwick, and everybody had a K-spray on the dancefloor,” . “We were looking around like, damn everybody is on that tip now!”


How can someone get a ketamine prescription?

Get administered to a trusted clinic and ask your healthcare provider to give a prescription and counsel you on its safe uses and dosage required.


There are many providers like Neuroglow all over the United States and you can get yourself a prescription after you are deemed to have a mental/psychological need for this drug to provide relief.Ketamine prescriptions have been increasing since 2017 for a better approach to mental health problems.


Is the dissociative experience during ketamine therapy similar to getting high?

The only difference between both is that ketamine infusion therapy is guided and monitored by a health care professional whereas ketamine can get you high without proper dosage instructions and proper aftercare as well. A patient called L.C described it as , “”It can generate a sense of detachment from the body and the self and, at higher doses, a full-blown dissociative experience.”

However, once the session is over, the professional can address your psychological issues and use the euphoric state you experienced as a tool in exploring your emotions, thought patterns, memories and enhancing cognitive functioning.

On the other hand, when ketamine is used as a party drug, the goal is often to achieve altered states of consciousness, euphoria, hallucinations, and other sensory distortions. This can lead to adverse effects of the drug and become risky or even endangering when taken in less controlled environments.


How to treat substance use disorder?

There are various withdrawal methods for the addiction of ketamine at Neuroglow to initiate your recovery. The treatment mainly depends on the amount of ketamine in your body, tolerance level, duration of the abuse and if other drugs were combined with this procedure or not.

The substance abuser can get symptoms like Confusion, Agitation, Nausea, Rage, Impaired motor skills, Psychosis, Delusions and hallucinations, Reduced cardiac and respiratory functions, Tremors , Insomnia , Fatigue , Hearing loss and even cognitive impairment  with much intensity after the within the first three days of the withdrawal. 

However, the symptoms will start to fade away within the two weeks of the withdrawal. You will also be guided through a series of counseling and psychological therapy sessions which help you aid in letting go of this addiction.



Every drug, if abused, has serious side effects and the same is the case with ketamine. The question of whether or not ketamine gets you high? total depends on the setting this drug is being taken in. If you are at a dance floor and want to feel euphoric to look cool, then you should be ready to face the risks involved.

However, if you are under the vigilance of a healthcare provider at Neuroglow, who has carefully assessed your medical history then there won’t be any harm. Our practitioners are highly qualified individuals who are specifically trained to make sure this therapy is tailored according to your needs.

At Neuroglow you can hand over your worries to us and focus on the wellbeing of your mental health. You can just sit back and relax in the spa-like environment while our team ensures you step out of the clinic with a mind full of positivity!



Can you get high on ketamine?

Yes, the drug produces a psychedelic effect on its users, causing hallucinations, euphoria, and disassociation.

What are the effects of ketamine?

A person can feel numbing sensations, alternate perceptions of reality, vivid colors, blurriness, and hallucinations during the ketamine infusion therapy. 

Is ketamine addictive?

Any drug which produces psychedelic effects can become addictive if taken in uncontrolled environments and administered in high doses. This builds a tolerance level in the user which needs a higher dose every time to achieve the ‘dream like state’.

How much ketamine gets you high?

Even a little amount administered through IV infusion therapy can get you high but the amount used is solely dependent on your medical history and extent of mental issue.

What’s ketamine used for?

Ketamine is used to treat depression, anxiety , PTSD, bipolar disorders and other mental health issues like OCD and PPD. 

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Dr. Aaron Brown
Dr. Aaron Brown
A highly accomplished Psychiatrist with over 10 years of experience. He's a board-certified and specialized in diagnosing and treating a wide range of mental health conditions.
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