If you’ve heard of ketamine, it’s probably for its history of abuse as a club drug. But it could also be one of the biggest breakthroughs in treating severe depression in years.
At lower doses, it can help ease pain. Ketamine helps sedatives work and may help people need fewer addictive painkillers, like morphine after surgery or while caring for burns.
Ketamine is typically injected or snorted, but it can be smoked or taken in pill form. The effects of smoking it or swallowing it tend to be less intense than directly injecting it.
Ketamine produces an abrupt high that lasts for about an hour. It starts around 2 to 5 minutes after the dose has been smoked or swallowed. With injection, it happens around 30 seconds after the injection has occurred.
The first feeling of the high the user will get is an overwhelming feeling of relaxation, sometimes described as a full-body buzz. Some users feel like they’re floating and some even describe it as being out of their bodies. Many experience hallucinations that can last longer than the anesthetic effects.
Higher doses can produce more intense effects, with users reporting complete and utter detachment from their bodies. The effects are similar to those described by people who have had near-death experiences, and it’s described as being in the “K-hole”.