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Ketamine Dosage: What’s Safe? What Isn’t?

Ketamine Dosage: What’s Safe? What Isn’t?

Dosage is one of the most important factors to take into account when taking any substance. Only safe ketamine dosages will be administered in therapeutic settings. But in a recreational setting you need to be aware of what a safe ketamine dosage is.

A safe dose of ketamine is an amount that avoids damage to the organs and is non-lethal. This guide will detail what kinds of ketamine dosages are safe and which ones aren’t. Knowing this information will better help protect you and others.

RELATED: Is Ketamine Therapy For Depression Safe?

Recreational Ketamine Dosages

First, recreational ketamine dosages vary depending on the route of administration. The range of these dosages is as follows:

  1. Intravenous (IV) injection: 50 to 100 mg
  2. Intramuscular (IM) injection: 75 to 125 mg
  3. Insufflation (intranasal or snorting): 60 to 250 mg
  4. Oral: 200 to 300 mg

Lower Doses of Recreational Ketamine

In lower dosages, ketamine can lead to effects such as:

  • Feelings of calmness, happiness, and relaxation
  • A feeling of being intoxicated or drunk
  • A dream-like and detached feeling
  • Confusion and clumsiness
  • Changes in visual and auditory perceptions

Higher Doses of Recreational Ketamine

At the higher end of these ranges, a person can have:

  • Intense dissociation
  • Out-of-body experiences
  • Hallucinations
  • Mystical experiences
  • Limited awareness of the surrounding environment

Ketamine Dosage Depends On How You Take It

If you take ketamine within the above dosage range, this is unlikely to be toxic to the body. However, this does not necessarily make the dosages — even the lower ones — safe. It all depends on the context.

For example, the route of administration can affect the safety of the experience. Snorting ketamine may damage your nasal passages if you do this on a regular basis. Also, if you use straws or rolled-up bills to snort the drug, these instruments are often not sterile or clean. And you put yourself at risk of different types of infections if you share this paraphernalia.

Injecting yourself with ketamine has its dangers, too, regardless of the dose. Improper administration or sharing needles can lead to physical harm.

Recreational Ketamine is Uncontrolled

Ketamine you buy recreationally could be adulterated with other substances. You may be taking a relatively safe dosage of ketamine, sure. But you could be taking an unsafe dosage of some unknown substance as well.

People take recreational Ketamine in uncontrolled environments also. At higher doses, ketamine can put you at a greater risk of accidents. This is due to the effects of sedation, dissociation, and poor coordination. These accidents can take place at home or out in public and become more likely when you lack supervision.

Taking High Doses Frequently Is Risky

Recreational ketamine use can result in heavy and long-term use. This increases the risk of issues such as organ damage, as well as memory issues. Ketamine dosage safety depends on how often that dosage is taken. Taking high doses frequently is risky.

Finally, many people take ketamine recreationally in combination with other substances. A ketamine dosage can become unsafe when combined with certain drugs and medications. These include alcohol and benzodiazepines, for example. These other drugs can amplify both the physical and psychological effects of ketamine. This can then put you in harm’s way.

Therapeutic Ketamine Dosages

In a clinical setting, ketamine is never delivered in powder form. At a ketamine clinic, you will receive a ketamine solution orally, intranasally or through IM or IV infusions. (The the FDA-approved nasal spray is called Spravato.)

Ketamine dosages for conditions like depression are sub-anesthetic doses. This means they do not render patients unconscious and unable to feel pain. Doctors can use anesthetic doses of ketamine for certain operations. Let’s look at the different types of therapeutic ketamine dosages:

  • Research has shown that IV infusions of ketamine for depression are effective in the range of 0.1 mg/kg to 1 mg/kg.
  • The dose of IM ketamine infusion for depression is similar. Studies demonstrate that IM ketamine dosages of 0.25 mg/kg and 0.5 mg/kg are safe and effective. Ketamine clinics will typically use these sorts of doses.
  • Spravato’s ketamine nasal spray (targeted for depression) has a lower dosage (28mg).

Therapeutic Ketamine Doses Are Controlled

These dosages are generally safer due to their medical context. This context helps to increase the safety of the ketamine dosage through the following features:

  • Medical supervision and care
  • A set and limited number of doses
  • A safe and controlled environment (you stay still during the high doses)
  • The use of pure ketamine, free from adulterants
  • You take ketamine on its own, not in combination with any other substances
  • Ketamine preparation and aftercare
  • You will undergo a health assessment before treatment. This will ensure you don’t have any underlying conditions that could negatively interact with the ketamine

Ketamine’s LD50 or Lethal Dose

A lethal dose (LD50) is the dosage of a drug that results in the death of 50 percent of animals in a laboratory condition. It has been estimated that the median lethal dose of ketamine for humans is 600 mg/kg or 4.2 g for a 70 kg person. As we can see, this ketamine dosage far exceeds the doses we have been referring to. As such, there is no need to worry about having a fatal reaction from ketamine therapy.

There is still a lot we don’t know about the safety of repeated ketamine infusions. This is because ketamine therapy for conditions like depression and PTSD is a relatively new treatment.

Some researchers have raised concerns about repeated ketamine infusions. The concern is that this could lead to addiction or cognitive impairment. When ketamine therapy is closely monitored and limited, these risks decrease. The benefits of ketamine therapy far outweigh any potential downsides for many people.

Sam Woolfe

View all posts by Sam Woolfe

Sam Woolfe is a freelance writer based in London. His main areas of interest include mental health, mystical experiences, the history of psychedelics, and the philosophy of psychedelics. He first became fascinated by psychedelics after reading Aldous Huxley's description of the mescaline experience in The Doors of Perception. Since then, he has researched and written about psychedelics for various publications, covering the legality of psychedelics, drug policy reform, and psychedelic science.

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