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Journey through the K-hole: phenomenological aspects of ketamine use (2008)

Journey through the K-hole: phenomenological aspects of ketamine use (2008)

  1. ThirdEyeFloond
    Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 Jun 1;95(3):219-29. Epub 2008 Mar 19.

    Muetzelfeldt L, Kamboj SK, Rees H, Taylor J, Morgan CJ, Curran HV.

    Although recreational use of the dissociative anaesthetic drug ketamine is currently increasing, little is known about the phenomenological aspects of its use. We therefore designed a structured interview to examine initiation experiences, positive and negative effects of ketamine use, and concerns about the drug and its long-term effects. Ninety participants (30 frequent users, 30 infrequent 'recreational' users and 30 ex-users who had abstained from use for at least 3 months) were interviewed and reported drug use was verified by hair sample analysis. The most appealing aspects of ketamine for two-thirds of users were "melting into the surrounding", "visual hallucinations", "out-of-body experiences" and "giggliness". Unappealing effects for half of users were "memory loss" and "decreased sociability". Frequent ketamine users expressed more concerns than other groups about long-term effects on physical health problems, especially K-cramps and cystitis, whereas ex-users were more concerned about mental health problems. Addictive/dependent patterns of behaviour were also a concern: the majority of frequent users reported using the drug without stopping until supplies ran out and the mean increase in dosage in this group was six-fold from initiation to current use. We have identified specific health issues which seem uniquely related to ketamine use. Additionally, the dependence on ketamine frequently reported by users may be a cause for concern as its popularity grows and substance misuse services should be made aware of this when clients present in the future.
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