DAVE & DUJANOVIC

What is ketamine? Medical professional provides insights

Dec 20, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: May 30, 2024, 9:40 am

Yellow pills spill out of a bottle labeled 'ketamine.'...

Ketamine can be administered in a variety of forms. (Canva)

(Canva)

SALT LAKE CITY — According to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner, actor Matthew Perry’s death was related to the effects of ketamine. 

The drug is approved for use in medical settings as a sedative or to treat depression. While recreational use is illegal, it has been used as a “club drug,” according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.  

Legal medical uses

Dr. Paul Thielking, a psychiatrist and the chief scientific officer at Numinus Wellness, said “Ketamine was initially developed in the early 70s as an anesthetic.” It is often used in emergency room settings if a patient needs to be sedated. 

In the early 2000s, however, people discovered it affects mood.

“It turns out, ketamine is actually a rapid-acting, effective anti-depression, treatment and can also help alleviate acute suicidal thoughts,” said Thielking. 

Nowadays, according to the DEA, the drug can be used to help patients with treatment-resistant depression.

Thielking said that its popularity has risen in recent years. Nowadays, several clinics offer it. 

The drug can be administered through several methods. “You can give somebody a pill, you can have a lozenge, you can do it intra nasally with a spray, you can do it IV or a shot in your arm intramuscularly,” according to Thielking. 

Doses are different depending on the use. Thielking said that when ketamine is administered in a mental health treatment setting, the patient receives less. 

Illegal recreational uses

The drug is sometimes used by young people at parties and raves. New York University reported that recreational ketamine use is less common in the U.S. than elsewhere.

Recreational ketamine use has risen in popularity overseas, being dubbed the “UK Teenager’s Drug of Choice” by Vice. 

Ketamine is often “abused for its ability to produce dissociative sensations and hallucinations,” according to the DEA. It is preferred by some because of its short-lasting effects. Unlike the highs provided by LSD or PCP, ketamine only places a user in a dissociative state for 30-60 minutes. 

Ketamine regulation

According to Thielking, the drug isn’t as tightly regulated as one might expect. It is regulated as a Schedule Three drug by the DEA. While a prescription is required for legal purchase, medical supervision during use is not required. 

“You can get ketamine online nowadays, you know, and use it in a very unsupervised, unstructured way,” said Thielking. He added that he does not recommend using it outside of a medically supervised setting. 

According to Thielking, many clinic operators take safety precautions, however, not all of them do. 

“It’s in a little bit of a gray zone, when you get into the regulatory environment, you know, that we’re working in right now,” said Thielking. 

He added that if ketamine is not used carefully and in a safe environment, there are risks. 

“If anybody is looking for help and is thinking about ketamine, I would recommend you go to a clinic that’s doing it properly,” said Thielking. 

Related: Matthew Perry died from effects of drug ketamine, coroner says

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Dave & Dujanovic

A Box Elder County Commission candidate made comments while talking about a construction ban that s...

Debbie Dujanovic

Dujanovic: Box Elder Commission candidate must stop spinning his racist comment

A recording of a planning commissioner, running for Box Elder County Commissioner, has racist comments he should apologize for.

4 days ago

FILE - People line up against a border wall as they wait to apply for asylum after crossing the bor...

Curt Gresseth

LISTEN: Biden issues order closing southern border to asylum seekers

President Joe Biden issued an executive order on Tuesday sealing off the southern border of the United States to asylum seekers when the number of daily illegal border crossings tops 2,500.

11 days ago

Construction and utility projects continue on the business streets of Sugar House, in Salt Lake Cit...

Curt Gresseth

SLC lending a hand to businesses struggling with Sugar House construction

Construction in the Sugar House neighborhood is pinching local businesses in the pocketbook, but the Salt Lake City government is helping, says a Salt Lake City councilwoman.

13 days ago

Utah school sports...

Curt Gresseth

Kids burning out on sports. Is focus on only one sport the problem?

Kids are burning out on sports because they are focusing their energies on only one sport. Mix it up by trying other sports. It helps prevent burnout, both physically and psychologically, says a BYU professor of exercise sciences.

17 days ago

The housing market in Utah is competitive and shows minimal signs of slowing....

Curt Gresseth

Should you take on debt for home repairs?

A national financial expert at Bankrate joins the conversation about borrowing for home repairs, renovations, etc. His advice: It’s always better to save money than to borrow.

18 days ago

FILE - Visitors stand in a line to enter the ancient Colosseum, in Rome, Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Th...

Curt Gresseth

Is retiring abroad worth it? What about health care? Other costs?

The number of Americans retiring abroad has tripled in 30 years, according to a 2024 Monmouth poll. Is it right for you?

18 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

What is ketamine? Medical professional provides insights