Is Ketamine a Psychedelic?

Ketamine is sometimes used in psychedelic therapy and has properties that are similar to those of magic mushrooms. But can ketamine actually be considered a psychedelic drug?

What Is Ketamine & Why Do People Use It?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that is used for treatment-resistant depression (depression that doesn’t respond to two or more traditional treatment methods) and suicidal thoughts or actions in people with major depressive disorder. It has the potential to quickly alleviate depression symptoms and can help users manage their mental health in the long term.

While it is most commonly administered via injection, ketamine is also available in the form of a nasal spray. Because of ketamine’s side effects and risks, it must be administered by a healthcare professional in a certified medical or mental health treatment facility. Some common side effects of ketamine include sedation, euphoria, dizziness, dissociation, and hallucinations.

Ketamine has many side effects, mental characteristics, and physical characteristics in common with many psychedelics; but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re exactly the same.

Ketamine for Depression: Is It A Psychedelic?

Yes, ketamine is technically classified as a psychedelic. However, the matter is rather complex and is not as black-and-white as it may seem. There are many scientists and organizations that don’t believe ketamine should be considered a psychedelic because of the differences between ketamine and other drugs that fall in that category.

Here are some of the primary differences between ketamine and other psychedelics:

  • The effects of classical psychedelics last longer than those of ketamine.
  • Experiences may vary. Psychedelics may evoke challenging states of mind and thoughts, while ketamine induces a gentle “lifting” of any existential burden.
  • They work on different receptors in the brain. Ketamine acts on the brain’s glutamate systems and NMDA receptors, while other psychedelics work on serotonergic 5-HTA2 receptors.

Even though ketamine is recognized as a psychedelic at the end of the day, the answer to the question “is ketamine a psychedelic?” may ultimately depend on who you ask.

Is Ketamine the Right Choice for You?

Only you and your doctor can determine whether or not ketamine therapy is the right choice for you. Before making a decision, discuss your treatment options with your doctor or psychologist first. Since your doctor knows you and your specific condition, they will have an understanding of how you might react to the medication and whether ketamine is a good option. If you have a history of substance abuse, ketamine may not be right for you. In this case, a doctor would help you choose a different treatment route for your depression.

Ketamine therapy works best when combined with oral medication and other treatment methods. These methods may include one-on-one therapy, family counseling, support groups, a light exercise plan, and more.

At Elium Health, we offer ketamine therapy and other types of treatment for individuals with severe depression. Our friendly and experienced mental health specialists are certified to provide treatment to individuals with a variety of different mental health conditions and needs. We are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about ketamine therapy or any of our many other forms of treatment. To learn more, give us a call at 866-552-3758 today.


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