Saturday, March 4, 2017

Drugs 101: Ketamine

Ketamine is a drug used to start and maintain anesthesia, because of its pain killing properties, sedation, memory loss, and trance like effects on users.  It’s sold under the brand name Ketalar, and is a schedule III controlled substance. On top of being a general anesthetic, Ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist. Simply stated, ketamine dissociates users, which provides a powerful medical use as a sedative for operations.

When taken in a non-medical setting, the dissociative effects of ketamine are described as nearly psychedelic. Users typically report “out of body” or “near death” experiences on the drug, which many users have coined the “K-hole”. While I’m not one to pass judgment on drug use, don’t take Ketamine if you have a condition that would be made worst by a massive increase in blood pressure, or if you’re currently taking droxidopa.

Ketamine comes in powder and liquid form. The liquid form (picture right) is administered intravenously in a medical setting, and effects begin to take effect within 5 minutes. Ketamine only has a biological half-life of about 2.5-3 hours, making it much shorter last than some of it’s other dissociative family member’s. When insufflated or injected, its psychedelic effects last approximately 1 hour, and 2 hours when ingested orally.

A majority of the recreational Ketamine found in America can be traced back to Mexico. In Mexico, Ketamine can easily be imported from Asian countries like India for as little as $5/gram, making its prevalence on the streets of America almost inevitable. Unfortunately, this drug is used for date rape, because it leaves users in a state of dissociation and lack of physical control at higher doses.

Ketamine has seen the rise in off label use for the treatment of depression. Princeton researchers have conducted trial runs, and the previous source cites multiple patients that claimed to have experienced life altering positive benefits in their fight against depression. While no published scientific research exists yet, the patients undergoing the trials were given six shots over the course of two weeks with maintenance shots when needed. Further research will have to be done to determine the long-term health effects of taking ketamine.

While Ketamine can induce a strong recreational buzz and isn’t fatal when dosed properly, the UK saw over 90 deaths between 2005 and 2013 due to recreational overdose. A majority of the fatalities were among young adults. Ketamine is no escape from the real world, and is an incredibly powerful substance that serves vital medical roles. Vice reported in 2014 on the tragic and destructive power this dissociative can have on a young adults body. Ketamine isn’t just a party drug. It’s a powerful dissociative used to allow doctors to perform surgeries that would be otherwise impossible.

Ketamine saw it’s rise to club drug status along with Ecstasy in the 1980’s, but never saw the same levels of popularity due to easily induced black outs and slurring of speech. Ketamine has also been reportedly sold as Ecstasy. Since the 1990’s, European and Asian countries have seen growing ketamine use, whereas America has seen its numbers decline. DNMs have only made it easier for the worldwide demand for ketamine to be met. Now anyone, anywhere in the world can have ketamine ordered right to his or her doorstep.

While ketamine use relatively small (with 18-25 year olds use rates peaking at .02%), over 500 emergency room visits involving ketamine were reported in 2009. Ketamine can find its way onto the streets via theft of legitimate distributors, or diversion from semi legitimate suppliers. Like PCP, liquid ketamine is often times soaked onto cigarettes for inhalation.

Studies placed ketamine in the middle when compared to the danger rates of 19 other recreational drugs. This measure only looks at fatalities, but even when measuring the danger of ketamine from self harm it still places in the middle when compared to the risks of other drugs. Non-fatal risks associated with ketamine include intense depersonalization and ego loss or ego death.

While I’m not condoning or discouraging any form of drug use, I hope to provide a non-biased report of the drugs I cover. Addiction is a mental illness, and if you see dissociative as a way to escape reality then you might be looking at recreational drug use the wrong way. If you’re feeling depressed, don’t take ketamine as your first step towards recovery. Instead talk to your doctor about SSRIs and psychotherapy. If all else fails, a little Bit of Coin can typically Net the results you’re looking for.