Is Ketamine Therapy the Same as Microdosing?

There is often confusion surrounding this question when it comes to ketamine therapy. The short answer is: no, ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) is not the same as microdosing. Both KAP and microdosing involve the use of psychedelic or psychedelic-adjacent drugs, but that is where the similarities end. Let’s discuss the specific ways in which ketamine therapy differs from microdosing.

What is Microdosing?

The term” microdosing” describes the use of a much smaller amount of a drug than would otherwise be considered therapeutic. Often, there is no appreciable effect at all. In the case of psychedelics, microdosing specifically refers to small amounts of drugs like psilocybin, MDMA, or LSD. 

You may wonder why someone would take a substance with the goal of having little-to no perceived effect. The answer to that question is, for the most part, anecdotal. Psychedelics are still not legal or regulated; as such, claims of the benefits of microdosing mushrooms, LSD, etc. are based largely on personal experiences. Some of the reported benefits of microdosing include:

Unlike ketamine assisted psychotherapy, studies regarding microdosing psychedelics are early and inconclusive. One preliminary study actually found that microdosing increased neuroticism in test subjects, but that further study was warranted.

Ketamine Therapy vs Microdosing

Ketamine is Not a Psychedelic

One of the most obvious differences between ketamine therapy and microdosing is the actual drug that is administered. Unlike psilocybin, LSD, or MDMA, ketamine is not a psychedelic. Rather, it is a dissociative anesthetic that produces psychedelic-like effects. It has a long history of use in the operating room as a form of anesthesia that does not lower blood pressure. In recent years, it has undergone intense study for its applications in treatment-resistant mental health disorders. 

Ketamine Has Perceived Effects

Although ketamine assisted psychotherapy uses smaller doses of the drug than in a surgical setting, these doses are still designed to have a very noticeable effect. The goal of microdosing is to avoid the dissociative experience so often attributed to psychedelics. By contrast, the goal of ketamine therapy is to purposely induce this state and integrate the experience as a means of addressing mental health struggles. 

It is worth noting that psychedelics are being studied as another effective means of treating certain mental health disorders; but this is at a dose that produces a psychedelic effect, similar to sub-anesthetic doses of ketamine. 

Ketamine is Administered by a Doctor

Ketamine therapy is closely monitored and most often administered in a healthcare setting. Even in remote settings, which we do not recommend, you are still, technically, being monitored by a clinician along with your vital signs. Microdosing, on the other hand, involves self-administering the drug. This carries an inherent risk, even at doses meant to not have any physiological effect.

Ketamine Has Standard Dosing

Microdosing psychedelics is not currently an approved form of medical treatment. As such, there are no guidelines as to how much of a specific type of psychedelic to take. Nor are the substances themselves monitored for quality and consistency, so the effects can vary significantly.

Furthermore, most psychedelic substances remain illegal to sell or possess in the United States. Ketamine is FDA approved for certain mental health disorders and is legal off-label for myriad others when prescribed by a licensed healthcare professional. Decades-long studies and data support its use in this realm. 

Ketamine is Augmented with Therapy

Medical ketamine is designed to be complemented with talk therapy, which is essential in helping you process your experiences and emotions. Microdosing, again, is usually self-administered. Whether the individual chooses to pursue counseling in addition to microdosing is up to them.  

Ketamine Therapy in Destin

The Crane Center specializes in treating a variety of mental health concerns. We offer both traditional and non-traditional treatment plans, including ketamine therapy, to help our patients reach the best possible outcome. If you are struggling with a new or persistent mental health issue, please call our office or go online to schedule an appointment. 

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