Ketamine is a dissociative drug. It is used as an anesthetic and more recently in the treatment of certain depressive disorders. In simple terms, dissociative drugs make users feel detached from reality and themselves. These feelings of dissociation get more intense at high doses, causing people to feel disconnected from or unable to control their own bodies, including the ability to speak and move around easily. One way to think about a k-hole is a state between intoxication and a coma. As the consciousness of the real world diminishes, alterations in your senses may lead to illusions and hallucinations. While temporary, some users may show ongoing dissociative and psychotic symptoms.
Ketamine hydrochloride, also known as Special K, Kit-Kat, or simply K, belongs to a class of drugs called dissociative anesthetics. These drugs, which also include nitrous oxide and phencyclidine PCP , separate perception from sensation. Ketamine was created to be an anesthetic.
It's what happens when one takes a high enough dose of ketamine that they feel what's described as a separation of mind and body. But thanks to some sheep in England who accidentally fell into a k-hole, researchers are very close to understanding. A general anesthetic once popular as a rave drug, ketamine has gained traction as a novel tool for treating depression. It's known for its fast-acting soothing of suicidal thoughts, and the creation of new connections in the brain that might sustain anti-depressant effects — in , a ketamine-based nasal spray became approved to alleviate treatment-resistant depression.
Ketamine has a history of saving people's lives. Long before your cousin was snorting K off a key at a bush doof, medics were using it as an anaesthetic in the jungles of Vietnam. And, in more recent years, medical professionals have been extolling the benefits of the horse tranquilliser for its effects on treatment-resistant depression , anxiety , and PTSD. So what about K-holes , then? That dark frontier of the human psyche where the ego dissolves and the individual starts wondering if they're dead.