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Ketamine as a primary predictor of out-of-body experiences associated with multiple substance use

Ketamine as a primary predictor of out-of-body experiences associated with multiple substance use

  1. Anonymous
    Leanne K. Wilkinsa, Todd A. Girarda, , and J. Allan Cheyneb
    Received 18 July 2010. Available online 15 February 2011.
    Journal: Consciousness and Cognition


    Investigation of “out-of-body experiences” (OBEs) has implications for understanding both normal bodily-self integration and its vulnerabilities. Beyond reported associations between OBEs and specific brain regions, however, there have been few investigations of neurochemical systems relevant to OBEs. Ketamine, a drug used recreationally to achieve dissociative experiences, provides a real-world paradigm for investigating neurochemical effects.

    We investigate the strength of the association of OBEs and ketamine use relative to other common drugs of abuse. Self-report data (N = 192) from an online survey indicate that both lifetime frequency of ketamine use and OBEs during ketamine intoxication were more strongly related to the frequency of OBEs and related phenomena than other drugs. Moreover, the apparent effects of other drugs could largely be explained by associated ketamine use.

    The present results, consistent with the role of NMDA receptors in OBEs, should encourage future studies of the role of neurochemical systems in OBEs.