Ketamine: effects and risks of this drug

Throughout history, many substances have been used in medicine as an anesthetic and pain reliever. Many of these substances were subsequently extracted from the medical field for recreational purposes.

One of these substances is ketamine, or “special K”, element used in medicine and veterinarian who is known for his ability to generate dissociated states of consciousness.

    Ketamine as a psychoactive element

    Ketamine is a psychoactive substance initially used in medicine and veterinary medicine (currently its main legal use is in veterinary practice) as general anesthesia. It is a drug or drug derived from phencyclidine, which has characteristics that make it belong to the group of psychodysleptic substances. As such, it generates an alteration in the functioning of the nervous system which tends to cause perceptual alterations such as hallucinations.

    This medicine acts on the nervous system as a substance of depressive features, generating sedation and analgesia effectively by reducing neuronal activity in the brain.

    Also known as the Kit-kat drugIt is also consumed recreationally due to its potent hallucinogenic effects, which are characterized by the creation of dissociative patterns in which individuals perceive that their mind is separate from their body and even that they are able to observe its. body from the outside, as with some near-death experiences.

    On the other hand, ketamine usually applied intravenously medicinally and veterinarian, although recreationally, it is usually manufactured as a powder for inhalation or as a tablet or tablet for oral consumption. This substance causes some level of amnesia after consumption and usually has no smell or taste.

      Effects of ketamine

      Ketamine has a wide variety of effects, Which you can see below.

      1. Physical relaxation

      With relatively low doses, the effects of this substance are relaxing and anesthetic. Numbness is usually noticed in different parts of the body, Such as limbs, as well as feelings of placidity.

      2. Amplification of sensory perception

      Although it is a depressive substance, in its recreational use, we have seen ketamine generates an amplified sensory perception. Colors and sounds are clearer and louder. This effect is particularly noticeable in the first moments after administration.

      3. Alterations in consciousness

      Ketamine generates alterations in consciousness which often cause the subject is clouded, disoriented and with loss of the notion of time.

      4. Hallucinations and K-Hole

      It is understood as K-hole the dissociative experience generated by the consumption of ketamine in which the user perceives the sensation of floating and leaving the body itself. This hallucinatory experience can be experienced as positive and spiritual or as aversive and terrifying in the face of the feeling of abandonment of the body (the “bad trip”). Apart from this experience, it can also generate other hallucinations.

      5. Amnesia

      Ketamine causes powerful amnesia from what happened after its administration, which is why it is used in medical practice as a general anesthetic. However, this characteristic as well as its sedative action causes the use of ketamine. has been linked to several cases of rape.

        6. Analgesia

        The administration of ketamine causes a strong analgesic effect, which is used medicinally and veterinarian in the various processes in which it is used. However, in its recreational use there is a risk of committing risky acts with consequences that can be serious due to the absence of perceived pain, such as jumping down stairs, starting fights or performing certain types of jumps. .

        7. Disinhibition

        This substance usually causes a disinhibitory effect on those who consume it, which can lead to the performance of acts that would not usually be performed or would stop taking precautions regarding specific behaviors.

        8. Discoordination and reduced movement capacity

        Ketamine generates in the individual a state of little coordination capacity in terms of movement, which is reduced.

        9. Physiological effects

        The use of ketamine causes various alterations at the physiological level. It generates bronchodilation and increases blood pressurea and heart rate. It also often causes an increase in the level of salivation. May cause respiratory depression.

        Action mechanism

        The mechanism of action by which ketamine affects our nervous system is not entirely clear, although it is based on its action as NMDA receptor antagonist, Blocking the action of glutamate as an excitatory agent of the nervous system. It also influences its interaction with endogenous opiate receptors.

        The dissociative effects appear to be due to impaired functioning of the limbic system while depression of the thalamus-neocortical connection is generated. too much causes depression of the somatosensory cortex, Which partly explains the sensations of analgesia.

        Risks and associated side effects

        Ketamine consumption it poses serious health risks if performed uncontrollably, As when used for recreational purposes. Some of the risks are as follows.

        1. Dependency

        Ketamine is a highly addictive substance, which makes it relatively easy generate tolerance and dependence (Mostly psychic) ​​towards her.

        2. Poisoning

        It is not difficult to generate poisoning due to the abuse of this substance. The most common symptoms are the presence of anxiety, hallucinatory experiences such as those mentioned above, assaults, convulsions and gastrointestinal disorders in the form of nausea and vomiting.

        3. Cognitive impairment and memory impairment

        As we said, consuming ketamine produces amnesia after consumption. However, this effect appears to be potentiated and stay in the body for a long time if consumption is frequent, Since over time it causes the destruction of a large number of neurons.

        It is particularly visible Short-term memory loss. Cognitive performance is greatly reduced.

          4. Depression

          Although in low doses it has antidepressant effects, it is used continuously over time and in high doses it can cause depression in the person who takes it.

          5. Anxiety

          Long-term consumption of ketamine causes an anxiety-inducing effect, especially in case of withdrawal syndrome.

          6. Cardiorespiratory disorders

          Another effect of ketamine is the damage it causes in the cardiorespiratory system. The increased blood pressure it causes can lead to serious cardiovascular problems, arrhythmias and tachycardia. On the other hand, ketamine depresses the respiratory system, which may cause high dose shutdown. It can also lead to cardiorespiratory failure.

          7. Destruction of the genitourinary epithelium

          Many cases of individuals suffering from pain in the genitourinary system derived from the consumption of ketamine have been found. This pain arises from the action of ketamine in the urine, which generates a destruction of the internal epithelial cells of the bladder.

          new indications

          Although it has been primarily used as an anesthetic, several studies have shown that ketamine appears to have a positive effect in depression, with rapid action to combat its symptoms. Apparently it’s because of this substance helps regenerate neural connections this depression changes.

          Much more research needs to be done in this regard, as the side effects of this substance can be very serious, but this fact could help in the near future to generate new antidepressants that act faster than the current ones.

          Bibliographical references:

          • Dickenson, AH (1997). NMDA receptor antagonists: interactions with opioids. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinávica. 41: 112-115.
          • Morgan, CJA; Muetzelfeldt, L; Curran, HV (2009). Consequences of chronic self-administration of ketamine on neurocognitive function and psychological well-being: a one-year longitudinal study. Addiction 105 (1): 121.
          • Autry, AE; Adachi, M .; Nosyreva, E .; Na, ES; Los, MF; Chengm PF; Kavalali, ET; Monteggia LM (2010). The resting NMDA receptor at rest elicits rapid behavioral antidepressant responses. Nature, 475. 91-95.

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