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Ketamine troches, also known as ketamine lozenges, are a popular form of ketamine that is used for various medical purposes. 

They are often prescribed for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and chronic pain, as well as for other off-label uses. 

However, like any medication, ketamine can be addictive. The potential for addiction is a concern for many individuals who are considering using ketamine troches, as well as for healthcare professionals who are prescribing them.

In this article, we will explore the addictive potential of ketamine, discuss the signs and symptoms of ketamine addiction, and provide guidance on how to safely use ketamine troches.

What are Ketamine Troches?

Image Credit: careclinicinfusions.com

Ketamine is a versatile and potent medication that belongs to the class of dissociative anesthetics. 

Originally developed as an anesthetic agent, ketamine’s applications have expanded beyond the operating room, garnering attention for its unique pharmacological properties. 

Ketamine can produce a range of effects, including euphoria, dissociation, altered perception of sight and sound, relaxation, and amnesia. 

These effects can lead to a feeling of detachment from pain and the environment, making it a popular recreational drug.

Ketamine troches represent a unique form of administering ketamine. In this specific formulation, ketamine is presented in a lozenge or pastille, designed to slowly dissolve in the mouth. 

This delivery method offers an alternative to traditional routes like injections or intravenous infusions, allowing for controlled absorption through the oral mucosa.

What is Ketamine Used For?

Ketamine is used for a variety of purposes, including the following:

1. Anesthesia:

Ketamine’s primary historical use lies in anesthesia. 

Its ability to induce a dissociative state, separating perception from sensation, makes it valuable in surgical procedures, particularly when rapid induction and recovery are essential.

2. Pain Management:

Ketamine serves as an effective analgesic, offering relief from acute and chronic pain conditions. 

Its unique pharmacological profile makes it suitable for situations where traditional pain management approaches may be less effective.

3. Treatment-Resistant Depression:

In recent years, ketamine has emerged as a promising intervention for individuals with treatment-resistant depression

Ketamine infusions, administered under medical supervision, have shown rapid-onset antidepressant effects, providing an alternative for those who do not respond to conventional antidepressant medications.

4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

Ketamine has demonstrated potential in the treatment of PTSD

Its ability to modulate neurotransmitters and induce neuroplastic changes may contribute to alleviating symptoms associated with traumatic experiences.

5. Mood Disorders:

Beyond depression and PTSD, ketamine shows promise in addressing various mood disorders. 

Studies are exploring its efficacy in conditions such as bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders, broadening its potential impact on mental health treatment.

6. Substance Use Disorders:

Research suggests that ketamine may play a role in the treatment of certain substance use disorders, particularly alcohol use disorder. 

Its ability to modulate neural pathways may contribute to reducing cravings and supporting individuals in overcoming addictive behaviors.

How Ketamine Works?

Neurobiology studies suggest that ketamine operates as an antagonist for NMDA receptors, a class of receptors crucial in transmitting signals involving the neurotransmitter glutamate. 

Glutamate is involved in various brain functions, including learning, memory, and perception. By inhibiting these receptors, ketamine disrupts the normal flow of glutamate, inducing a dissociative state. 

This altered state of consciousness, characterized by distorted perceptions of sight and sound, contributes to ketamine’s effectiveness as an anesthetic and its therapeutic potential in mental health conditions.

Furthermore, ketamine boosts brain activity, helping neurons function more normally. This increased brain activity also encourages neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to adapt and reorganize itself. 

Essentially, ketamine may help the brain break free from unhealthy patterns and develop new, healthier ones. 

This process is thought to be behind its potential to treat conditions like depression. 

By disrupting old ways of thinking and promoting flexible brain connections, ketamine holds promise in supporting mental well-being.

Is Ketamine Addictive?

Yes, ketamine falls under the Schedule III class of controlled substances in the US, indicating a moderate potential for physical and psychological dependence, compared to substances in Schedules I and II. 

Despite this classification, caution is warranted as repeated or frequent use of ketamine can lead to tolerance, where higher doses are needed for the same effects, potentially escalating use and increasing the risk of addiction.

While users of ketamine are more susceptible to psychological rather than physical addiction, the dissociative state induced by the drug may create a euphoric experience, contributing to its misuse. 

Regular users often develop tolerance to its dissociative effects, requiring larger doses for the same impact. 

This pattern can lead to addiction, with individuals continuing to use ketamine despite their intentions not to or despite experiencing negative effects.

Although further research is required, some clinical and preclinical reports suggest that repeated infusions of low doses of ketamine may indeed possess addictive properties

Notably, there’s an indication that adolescent and adult females may be more sensitive to ketamine’s addictive effects. 

Studies from China indicate that ketamine’s hallucinatory and addictive effects contribute to its increasing abuse

However, despite its addictive potential, not everyone who tries ketamine will become addicted. 

Compared to substances like nicotine and alcohol, ketamine carries a lower risk of dependence. 

Even in comparison to hospital-administered opioids like morphine, ketamine demonstrates a lower dependency potential.

The legality of non-medical ketamine use varies, with legal repercussions for possession, distribution, or manufacturing for recreational purposes. 

Ketamine infusions, administered in monitored medical settings, begin with low doses over an extended period, reducing the risk of sudden, potentially addictive highs experienced by recreational users. 

In a controlled healthcare setting, the monitored administration of ketamine further diminishes its addictive potential, emphasizing the importance of responsible use under healthcare supervision.

Identifying Ketamine Addiction

yellow tablets
Image Credit: mindbloom.com

Ketamine addiction can be challenging to identify, especially since it is often prescribed by medical professionals for legitimate medical uses. 

However, there are some signs that may indicate that an individual is developing an addiction to ketamine:

1. Increased tolerance: If an individual finds that they need to use increasingly larger amounts of ketamine to achieve the desired effects, it could be a sign of tolerance building up.

2. Withdrawal symptoms: Experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as mood disturbances, cognitive problems, irritability, or insomnia, when an individual stops using ketamine or is unable to access it may indicate an addiction.

3. Loss of control: If a person finds that they are unable to control their use of ketamine, or that they are using it more frequently or in larger amounts than intended, it could be a sign that they’re prioritizing the drug over other important aspects of their life.

4. Neglecting responsibilities: If an individual neglects their responsibilities, such as work, school, or personal hygiene, in order to use ketamine, it could be a sign of addiction.

5. Continuing to use despite negative consequences: Continuing to use ketamine despite experiencing negative consequences, such as relationship problems, financial issues, or legal problems, also indicates dependence on the drug.

Side Effects and Long-Term Use

Ketamine, when used outside of a medical setting and without proper supervision, can lead to various adverse effects. 

One of the primary concerns is the risk of injury or harm, as ketamine can suppress pain sensations, making it difficult for users to recognize or respond to potential harm. 

This can result in accidents, such as falls, which may lead to serious injuries or even fatalities.

Another significant risk associated with ketamine use is its impact on cardiovascular health. 

The drug can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which can elevate the risk of stroke or heart attack. 

This is particularly concerning for individuals with pre-existing heart conditions or those who are at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Frequent use of ketamine can also lead to issues with urination and bladder function

Some individuals may experience an increased need to urinate, while others may notice blood in their urine. 

These symptoms can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous and may require medical attention.

Moreover, combining ketamine with other drugs can lead to unpredictable and potentially dangerous effects. 

The interactions between ketamine and other substances can amplify its side effects, increasing the risk of adverse reactions.

Long-term use of ketamine has also been associated with various negative effects, including flashbacks, social withdrawal, and memory loss. 

These effects can be particularly problematic for individuals who use ketamine regularly, as they may interfere with daily life and relationships.

How to Safely Use Ketamine Troches

Ketamine troches should be used with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. 

Here are some steps you can take to safely use ketamine troches:

1. Follow the prescription: Always follow the prescription instructions provided by your healthcare professional. 

Take the recommended dose and do not exceed it without consulting your healthcare professional.

2. Start with a low dose: If you are new to using ketamine troches, start with a low dose and gradually increase the dose as needed and under the guidance of your healthcare professional.

3. Monitor your vital signs: Monitor your vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure, regularly while taking ketamine troches. 

If you experience any changes or irregularities, contact your healthcare professional immediately.

4. Avoid mixing with other medications: Avoid taking ketamine troches with other medications, especially sedatives, tranquilizers, and MAO inhibitors, without the guidance of your healthcare professional.

5. Use a trusted supplier: Use a trusted supplier to obtain ketamine troches, and make sure that the medication is stored and handled properly.

By following these steps, you can safely use ketamine troches and minimize the risk of side effects and complications.


While ketamine troches have shown promise in treating depression, anxiety, and many other mental disorders, it’s important to be aware of the potential for addiction. 

Ketamine can be habit-forming, and long-term use can lead to physical and psychological dependence. 

If you’re considering using ketamine troches, it’s important to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor and to carefully monitor your use. 

It’s also important to note that ketamine troches are not a substitute for established treatments for depression and anxiety, and they should be used in conjunction with other therapies.


1. Can ketamine use lead to psychotic episodes?

In some cases, ketamine use can trigger psychotic episodes, particularly in individuals who have a history of mental health issues.
The risk of psychotic episodes may be higher in individuals who use ketamine in large doses or who have a history of substance use disorders.

2. How does ketamine interact with other drugs?

Ketamine can interact with other drugs in ways that can increase the risk of adverse effects.
For example, combining ketamine with other stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines, can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems.

3. Is ketamine addiction treatment available?

Yes, ketamine addiction treatment is available. Treatment options may include behavioral therapy, medication, and support groups.

4. Can ketamine troches be used for recreational purposes?

No, ketamine troches should not be used for recreational purposes.
Ketamine is a controlled substance and using it without a prescription or medical supervision is illegal and potentially dangerous.



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