illustration of ketamine and lsd molecules

Is Ketamine a Psychedelic?

Psychedelic therapy is fast emerging as a new option for patients suffering from depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. Ketamine therapy may be its most popular form.

Ketamine is a a dissociative anesthetic but is different from other hallucinogenic substances such as LSD, psilocybin and mescaline. Should ketamine be properly considered a psychedelic at all? Let’s take a look.

How is Ketamine Different?

Chemically, ketamine doesn’t resemble classical psychedelics. Other psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT and ibogaine belong to the family of chemical compounds known as tryptamines. Their primary mechanism of action is on serotonin receptors.

Ketamine is an arylcyclohexylamine. It acts on the NMDA receptor to increase the levels of a different neurotransmitter, glutamate.

How is Ketamine Similar to Other Psychedelics?

  1. When administered at low doses, it allows the user to experience different planes of consciousness.
  2. It offers the same sensations of seeing vivid colors or fractal patterns.
  3. It causes similar feelings of universality and ego dissolution.
  4. Cosmic thinking and the separation of mind and body is possible.
  5. Some users revisit people, places, or events from their past.
  6. It has a noetic quality: a sense that the user is experiencing something real. Perhaps even more real than ordinary life.

Ultimately, psychedelics are more accurately defined by the experiences they induce rather than the chemical structures they possess.

For this reason, Nushama considers ketamine a psychedelic. We have adopted practices developed for other forms of psychedelic therapy. This includes taking pains to create a setting conducive to having a positive psychedelic experience, and integrating the experience once it is over.

Discover what psychedelic medicine can do for you.

Our mission is to help people achieve mental wellness safely… so they can transcend their emotional pain, and live a free and fulfilling life. Book an appointment.

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