Ketamine and the near-death experience

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike Stay on 2010 April 5

“All features of a classic NDE [near-death experience] can be reproduced by the intravenous administration of 50 – 100 mg of ketamine… It can reproduce all features of the NDE, including travel through a dark tunnel into light, the conviction that one is dead, ‘telepathic communion with God’, hallucinations, out-of-body experiences and mystical states (see ketamine references above). If given intravenously, it has a short action with an abrupt end. Grinspoon and Bakalar (1981, p34) wrote of: ‘…becoming a disembodied mind or soul, dying and going to another world. Childhood events may also be re-lived. The loss of contact with ordinary reality and the sense of participation in another reality are more pronounced and less easily resisted than is usually the case with LSD. The dissociative experiences often seem so genuine that users are not sure that they have not actually left their bodies.'”

2 Responses

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  1. John McMullen said, on 2010 September 22 at 7:32 am

    What would be interesting (and it might be in the linked paper) would be to see if ketamine is released into the body or brain under certain conditions. Or, if this is a neurological event, do you require a smaller dosage of ketamine but directly inside the brain, past the blood-brain barrier (I’m assuming that some ketamine does not make it to the brain).

  2. Andrew Szteborowski said, on 2010 October 4 at 4:22 pm

    Ketamine could merely be acting in a similar way as some natural precursor (similar to some natural, body released substances and precursor/s) to the whole process of dying. Presuming that each of us receives some signal on the biological level which is signaling the brain that the process of dying just started – such signal could consequently be a start up point (information in the brain) and triggering separation of consciousness, being experienced as NDE.
    Fortunately, effects of Ketamine are temporary, not lasting and reversible, hence no final separation of consciousness occur.
    Therefore, Ketamine could simply be provoking a chain of signaling biochemical reactions in the brain which in turn are causing temporary separation of consciousness being experienced as NDE.

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