From Low to High Doses – Here’s What Ketamine Feels Like

From Low to High Doses – Here’s What Ketamine Feels Like

If you’ve never taken ketamine before, you may be wondering: “What does ketamine feel like?” Before undergoing ketamine therapy, or taking the drug in any other context, it’s important to know what to expect from the experience. This will ensure that you are as ready as you can be for ketamine’s subjective effects.

In this post, we will be exploring the question “what does ketamine feel like at a low, moderate, and high dose?” By detailing the possible subjective effects of each kind of dosage, you will understand that the effects you feel from your ketamine dose are perfectly normal.

For each type of dosage, we will look at the ways ketamine will affect your body, perception, mood, and other mental states.

Looking for ketamine therapy? Click here to find top rated ketamine clinics near you

Here’s What Ketamine Feels Like in Relation to the Other Traditional Psychedelics

KetaminePsilocybin (Magic Mushrooms)MDMALSDDMT
PerceptionMay induce a feeling of being separate from one’s body. Environments can seem unreal or dreamlike.Typically intensifies sensory perception, often leading to visual and auditory hallucinations.Intensifies senses and increases empathy and feelings of love. Can distort time and sensory perception.Often leads to visual and auditory hallucinations and distortions. Altered thinking processes and heightened emotions.Often causes intense visual hallucinations and mystical experiences. Can also cause feelings of leaving one’s body.
MoodCan induce feelings of relaxation, bliss, and euphoria. Some people report feeling detached or disconnected.Mood enhancement, euphoria, peacefulness, introspection, and anxiety or panic depending on set and setting.Increased sociability, empathy, and feelings of closeness with others. Euphoria is common.Euphoria, anxiety, paranoia, and panic can occur depending on set and setting. Thought processes may become disorganized.Intense feelings of awe, terror, euphoria, or a sense of profound understanding can occur.
PhysicalCan cause numbness, motor function impairment, increased heart rate and blood pressure.Nausea, pupil dilation, increased heart rate, and increased blood pressure can occur.Increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Hyponatremia and neurotoxicity are potential risks.Pupil dilation, reduced appetite, insomnia, and increased heart rate and blood pressure.Increased heart rate, rapid eye movements, and dilated pupils are common.

A note on how psychedelic can feel:

These descriptions do not fully cover all possible experiences or risks associated with these substances. Always approach these substances with caution and under professional guidance when used for therapeutic purposes. Always consider the legality, risks to mental and physical health, and the potential for misuse and addiction.

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Ketamine Dosages

Here are the dosages for both intravenous injection, which is the most common route of administration (ROA) for clinical use, and insufflation, the most common ROA for recreational use.

  • Low dose of Ketamine:
    • IV: 0.1-0.5 mg/kg
    • Insufflation: 15-30 mg
  • Moderate dose of ketamine:
    • IV: 0.5-1 mg/kg
    • Insufflation: 30-75 mg
  • High dose of ketamine:
    • IV: 1-2 mg/kg
    • Insufflation: 75-200 mg

We don’t cover very high, anesthetic doses of ketamine in this post, as these doses aren’t used in either a clinical or recreational context.

After covering the acute subjective effects of ketamine at varying doses, we will then delve into what you can expect to feel after the experience is over, in the following days and weeks.

RELATED: How Is Ketamine Made?

A Breakdown of What Does Ketamine Feel Like By Dosage

When taking ketamine, you should also be prepared for some bodily changes. The physical side effects of ketamine are, for most people, manageable. These bodily changes are generally not as intense as they are with other psychedelics, such as psilocybin mushrooms, iboga, mescaline-containing cacti, and ayahuasca.

Low Dose Ketamine Experience

On a low dose of ketamine, any physical changes that occur will be very mild. They can include the following.

  • Slight dilation of pupils
  • Colors becoming slightly brighter
  • Mild stimulation or drowsiness
  • Slight increase in heart rate and blood pressure
  • A light body high
  • Positive mood
  • Calmness

According to Dr. Christopher Sendi of Nova Health Recovery in Alexandria, Virginia, “With Low doses of ketamine, one feels a heavy blanket sensation and a slight calming and sedating feeling. Some feel as if they are more mentally active similar to lucid dreaming that occurs before they fall asleep.”

Medium Dose Ketamine Experience

If you take a medium dose of ketamine, the bodily effects can become more noticeable. They can include the below.

  • A further increase in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Stronger body high
  • Euphoria
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Slight nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • A stronger feeling of drowsiness

Dr. Sendi says, “Medium ketamine doses typically feel heavier, almost like you could close your eyes and get lost in your thoughts. Lights become more vivid and visual distortions begin to take effect.”

Looking for ketamine therapy? Click here to find top rated ketamine clinics near you

High Dose Ketamine Experience

On a high dose of ketamine, you may experience the following.

  • Possibly more nausea
  • More numbness
  • Finding it difficult to talk
  • Euphoria
  • A feeling of sacredness Intense feelings of fear, dread, or panic
  • Loss of coordination (this is why it’s important to have a trip sitter or medical professional at hand when taking a high dose, as they can ensure that you don’t jeopardize your physical safety in any way)

And when it comes to high doses of ketamine, Dr. Sendi adds, “A high dose ketamine will sweep you off your feet in a positive way. It feels like you are fully immersed in your head. It is often described as feeling like the ‘cobwebs’ are being cleared up. People also describe the higher doses as ‘disk defragmenting your brain.'”

RELATED: Is Ketamine Therapy Right For You? Here’s What To Know

Sam Woolfe

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.

Dr. Jonathann Kuo

This post was medically approved by Dr. Jonathann Kuo

Jonathann Kuo, MD is a Board Certified Pain Medicine Specialist and Anesthesiologist. He is the founder of Hudson Medical Group (HMG), an innovative and cutting edge healthcare system that combines Medical, Wellness, and Mental Health in the treatment of Pain.

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