Ketamine infusions for therapeutic use are considered safe when administered in a clinical environment by medical professionals. Participants will be carefully screened to ensure they’re appropriate candidates for the treatment. People are monitored throughout their treatment process for any signs of discomfort, dependence, or increased heart rate. While dissociative or “psychedelic” properties may be experienced, a number of studies show they contribute to the molecule’s antidepressant effects.

There are four ways to administer ketamine for therapeutic use:

  • Intravenously (IV)
  • Intramuscularly (IM)
  • Lozenge (orally)
  • Spravato (intranasally)

At Nushama, we believe IV is the safest and most efficacious method. The dose can be adjusted or stopped at any time if participants become uncomfortable for any reason, which has been extremely rare at our center. Nushama does not offer lozenges or intransal spray, but for group therapy, we use intramuscular injections. Depending on the route of administration, effects are felt within five to ten minutes and last from 45 to 60 minutes.

Ketamine IV for psychedelic therapy is most commonly administered at doses around 0.5 mg/kg over a period of 40 minutes. There is a range of effective doses and evidence for its efficacy at double that amount.

Its range (0.5 – 2 mg/kg) depends on the biology of the person—we start on the lower end and modify the dose based on someone’s response and individual needs.

Read Ketamine Dosing: Low Dose vs. High Dose to learn more.


Side effects of ketamine infusions can include:

  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Nausea or vomiting (we can add a medication to prevent this from happening)
  • A sense of impaired balance and coordination
  • A feeling of dizziness, drowsiness, slurred speech, and/or numbing sensation of the skin

These side effects are normal, rarely require any medical intervention, and resolve soon after the infusion ends.


Ketamine, most widely used as an anesthetic, is a breakthrough therapy for treating many mental health disorders. The conditions listed below are either being studied in clinical trials (usually combined with psychotherapy) or soon to be studied.

Ketamine can be used to treat:

  • Major depression
  • Bipolar 1 depression
  • Post-partum depression
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Disordered eating
  • Autism
  • Anxiety disorder

Although they are both breakthrough therapies being studied to treat a variety of psychiatric conditions, ketamine and psilocybin are very different. Psilocybin is a “classic” psychedelic meaning it works on the 5HT2A serotonin receptors. Ketamine is a “dissociative anesthetic” that can illicit psychedelic-like experiences but it works primarily on the glutamate receptors called NMDA receptors.

These two also have very different legal statuses. Ketamine is a Schedule III drug that is FDA approved for use in pain and anesthesia and is currently a breakthrough therapy for treatment-resistant depression which means it can be used off-label in clinics. Psilocybin is a Schedule I illegal substance that also received breakthrough therapy designation with the FDA but can only be accessed through legal FDA clinical trials at this time.