Dangers of Mixing Ketamine and Cannabis


Ketamine and cannabis are two popular substances on the street drug scene. Ketamine, which is a medical anaesthetic, has psychoactive and stimulant properties. Cannabis is known for being a mood-altering substance that can induce feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Using these drugs may seem harmless at first, especially as they are known to be beneficial when used in the right way with medical supervision. However, both substances can have serious adverse effects if used improperly. When used together, the risks are wider and potentially more severe. 

In this article, we explore the dangers of mixing ketamine and cannabis, and the support options available if your drug use is causing you problems in your life, or if you are concerned about someone you love. 

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What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication that is used in veterinary medicine and as an anaesthetic in humans for certain medical procedures. It may sometimes be included as an example of psychedelics, especially when it is used for microdosing. It is also now being researched in the form of ketamine therapy, which when supervised by medical and mental health professionals may help to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.  With this method of using ketamine, depression symptoms can decrease, including thoughts of suicide. This powerful new treatment option has already helped many people and shows promise for a future as a treatment for mental health symptoms.

While these uses can be extremely beneficial, unfortunately, ketamine is also used recreationally and illegally as a party drug. When used illegally, ketamine is often referred to as “Special K” or simply “K.” Ketamine is a powerful dissociative hallucinogen, meaning that users experience a sense of detachment from their environment and the world around them. It is a Class B, Schedule 2 controlled substance and is illegal to possess without a prescription in the United Kingdom.

What Does Ketamine Do To Your Body?

Ketamine has several effects on the body, including sedation, pain relief, and dissociation. It also has anaesthetic properties, which means it can be used to induce a state of unconsciousness for medical procedures. It can cause respiratory depression, which can be dangerous if not monitored carefully. Respiratory depression, which causes difficulty breathing, can be extremely dangerous and even lead to death if it is not treated immediately.

The Ketamine High

A ketamine high produces a feeling of euphoria, disorientation, and a sense of detachment from reality. It can also cause a sense of dissociation, where the user feels like they are floating or dreaming, and can experience a feeling of being disconnected from their body. Many users describe the high as an out-of-body experience and report feeling a sense of calm and peace. 

The effects of ketamine are usually short-lived and can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more. Once the ketamine wears off, users must confront reality, which may feel increasingly difficult to do without drug-induced highs. This is one of the many reasons why it is so difficult to stop the cycle of addiction. People who are struggling with ketamine dependence need kindness and empathy as they work toward recovery.

How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?

Ketamine is a fast-acting drug that is usually out of the body within 24 hours. However, its active metabolite, norketamine, may remain in the body for up to 7 days. With regular use, however, ketamine can remain in the body for much longer, up to 14 days in some cases. 

It is important to note that the exact time it takes for ketamine to leave the body can vary depending on a number of factors, including the individual’s metabolism, the frequency of ketamine use, and the amount of the drug taken within a period.

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What is Cannabis?

Cannabis is a psychoactive drug derived from one of three cannabis plants: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. It is commonly known as marijuana and is used as a recreational drug and for medicinal purposes. Cannabis contains over 100 different compounds known as cannabinoids, which can have varying effects on the body. The two main cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the primary psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis, while CBD has a more calming, sedative effect

While some products only include CBD and are therefore legal to buy and sell in the UK, products containing THC are still considered a Class B, Schedule 1 drug and are illegal to buy or sell for recreational use. However, it is legal in the UK for medicinal use when prescribed by a doctor. Cannabis can be smoked, vapourised, ingested in food or drink, or used topically.

Below is some additional information about each of these main cannabinoids.

What is THC?

THC, which is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. It is the main psychoactive component of cannabis and is responsible for its intoxicating effects. When THC is consumed, it binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, triggering a variety of effects such as altered perception, euphoria, and relaxation. While some believe that THC can have medicinal benefits, it is important to note that overuse can be harmful and can lead to addiction, impaired thinking, decreased motivation, and other mental health issues.

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound derived from the cannabis plant, commonly used to treat a variety of medical conditions. It has been found to be helpful for some conditions, such as inflammation-related pain disorders, in limited quantities. In these circumstances, it can help relieve symptoms of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, depression, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is important to remember that while CBD can be beneficial, it can also be detrimental if overused. Excessive amounts of CBD can have side effects such as fatigue, nausea, and irritability. Furthermore, it can also interact with certain medications, so it is important to speak to a medical professional before taking CBD.

What Does Cannabis Do To Your Body?

Cannabis affects the body in various ways. When consumed, THC and other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant activate cannabinoid receptors in the brain, leading to a range of physical and psychological effects. The most common effects of cannabis use include a relaxed state, increased appetite, and altered senses. Other effects may include changes in mood, reduced coordination, dry mouth, red eyes, and increased heart rate. Because of these potential cannabis side effects, it is important to avoid operating heavy machinery when you may be under the influence of psychoactive cannabinoids.

Now, we will go further into the specifics of the short-term and long-term adverse effects of cannabis use and what to watch out for.

Short-Term Adverse Effects of Cannabis

Cannabis use can have many short-term adverse effects. These can include impaired memory, difficulty thinking, and altered senses. Cannabis use can also lead to anxiety and paranoia, as well as increased heart rate and blood pressure. In some cases, cannabis use can cause an increase in psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions. Additionally, cannabis use can lead to feeling sluggish and tired during the day, which can impact a person’s ability to focus or concentrate. Because of this, even short-term use of cannabis may impact someone’s performance at work or school in ways that have long-term consequences.

Long-Term Adverse Effects of Cannabis

Long-term use of cannabis can have many adverse effects on the user’s mental and physical health. These effects may include addiction, memory loss, and a weakened immune system. Cannabis can also have a negative long-term effect on brain development for those who use or are exposed to THC in particular at a young age. This impact on brain development could affect cognitive functioning in many ways, including the ability to learn, think, and remember things. Cannabis may have an adverse effect on mental health, increasing the risk of anxiety, depression, thoughts of or attempts of suicide, schizophrenia, and temporary psychosis with overuse.

Additionally, long-term use of cannabis through smoking can impair the respiratory system, leading to an increased risk of bronchitis, respiratory infections, and lung cancer. It can also negatively affect the cardiovascular system, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Finally, long-term use of cannabis can impair the immune system, leaving the user more prone to illnesses and infections.

Can You Mix Ketamine with Cannabis?

Ketamine and cannabis are both powerful drugs in their own right, with the potential for serious and harmful side effects when misused. Taken together, the effects can be unpredictable and higher risk. As such, it is not recommended that you mix ketamine with cannabis. 

What Happens When You Mix Ketamine with Cannabis?

When ketamine and cannabis are mixed, the effects are unpredictable and can be dangerous. The combination of these two substances can cause increased confusion, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, excessive sedation, dizziness, disorientation, impaired judgement, and even respiratory depression. This can lead to risky behaviour, such as driving under the influence or engaging in unprotected sexual activity.

If you are concerned about the impact that combining drugs could have on your short- or long-term health, it is always advised to talk to your GP. Your doctor can help you evaluate any potential changes to your health routine and decide on the next right step for you.

What Are the Adverse Effects of Mixing Ketamine and Cannabis?

Using ketamine and cannabis together can have a range of undesirable and potentially dangerous effects, including:

  1. Enhancing the Negative Side Effects of Both Substances, such as paranoia, panic attacks, and dissociation. These issues can be exacerbated if the user has a history of mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety. 
  2. Overdose – both drugs can cause respiratory depression, increasing the risk of overdose. While overdosing on these substances isn’t as common as it may be with other drugs, such as heroin or opioids, it is still important to monitor use carefully and reach out to professionals if you are concerned about your or a loved one’s substance use.
  3. A Greater Potential for Addiction – cannabis and ketamine are well-known for being psychologically addictive. Combining these drugs may increase the potential for addiction to both of these substances. 

What Are the Side Effects of Ketamine?

Ketamine is a powerful drug that can cause many side effects. Common ketamine side effects include confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, numbness, increased blood pressure, and depression. Additionally, ketamine can cause disorientation, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, agitation, and hallucinations. 

In the following sections, we will go further in-depth on the short-term and long-term effects of ket addiction.

Short-Term Adverse Effects of Ketamine

Ketamine can cause a range of short-term side effects, including:

  • Hallucinations and other perceptual changes
  • Disassociation – detachment from reality or dream-like state
  • Confusion, agitation or restlessness, and in some cases amnesia or memory loss
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle stiffness or muscle spasms
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Impaired motor function
  • Respiratory depression

Another symptom of ketamine use that is reported occasionally is an experience called “ket cramps,” which is pain while urinating. It is thought that this pain may be caused by the abrasive nature of chemicals included in ketamine as they pass through the body. 

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Long-Term Adverse Effects of Ketamine

Ketamine is a powerful anaesthetic that can have long-term effects on the body. Long-term use of ketamine can lead to severe psychological and physical dependence, which can cause serious health complications. Long-term use of ketamine may also lead to cognitive impairments, such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and confusion. Other possible effects include changes in blood pressure, increased risk of liver damage, and bladder problems. Regular use of ketamine can also lead to anxiety and depression, as well as increased tolerance and dependence on the drug. 

Additionally, habitual ketamine abuse can lead to a decrease in coordination and balance, and it increases the risk of developing kidney and heart problems, as well as bladder cancer.

Ketamine and CBD Oil

CBD oil is a supplement that is derived from the hemp plant. While it can have some potential health benefits, it has several potential side effects on its own, including dry mouth, drowsiness, and decreased appetite. It is not advised to use CBD oil in combination with other drugs or without consulting a doctor first.

There is not currently a lot of evidence to suggest that CBD oil has any effect on ketamine; however, mixing CBD oil and ketamine can increase the risk of adverse effects. Short-term adverse effects of these substances can include impaired motor skills and coordination, nausea, and memory loss.

With CBD oil, the risks of abuse may not be as immediately apparent as those associated with ketamine or THC forms of cannabis, but they can still be significant. Overuse of CBD oil can lead to an increased risk of liver damage, especially when combined with other drugs, as well as an increased risk of interactions with other medications. Additionally, taking too much of either of these substances can lead to an increased risk of serious side effects.

What Are the Dangers of Using Ketamine and Cannabis Together?

Mixing drugs that have not been prescribed by a medical doctor is an extremely risky behaviour that always comes with potential danger. However, the specific dangers of regularly using ketamine and cannabis together are very real and should not be taken lightly. Both of these drugs are depressants and can increase the risk of overdose when combined. 

Using ketamine and cannabis together can increase the risk and severity of the negative effects that both of these drugs can produce when used on their own. Such effects include confusion, disorientation, memory loss, extreme sedation, psychosis, paranoia, and panic attacks.

Regular use of these two drugs together can lead to psychological addiction, cognitive and memory problems, mood disturbances, and even depression. As such, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with using these two drugs in combination and to seek medical help if any concerning symptoms arise. 

Warning signs to look out for include difficulty speaking, hallucinations, delusions, memory loss, and poor decision-making. If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or your loved one, it is important to seek professional medical help right away to reduce harm.

What Treatments Are Available for Ketamine and Cannabis Addiction?

If you or a loved one is struggling with ketamine and cannabis addiction, there are several support options available. Potential treatment options include psychotherapy, medications, and inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation programmes. Psychotherapy involves working with a therapist to develop coping skills and strategies for managing cravings and avoiding relapse. Medications, such as antidepressants, can also be used to reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms. Inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation programs offer a structured environment with intensive therapy, support groups, and medical monitoring. 

Rehab is the most comprehensive treatment option for those struggling with ketamine addiction or cannabis because it provides a safe and supportive environment to focus on recovery. The supportive atmosphere and tailored treatment plans offered at rehab can help individuals to develop healthier coping skills and build a solid foundation for their recovery.

While making the choice to start a rehabilitation programme may be a difficult one, it is the right choice for many people who are struggling with addiction to ketamine and cannabis. It provides you with an opportunity to build a better life for yourself and your loved ones that extends beyond addressing your addiction to substances. 

At Castle Craig, we offer a clinically-proven 12-Step treatment programme that incorporates additional forms of therapy, such as:

We also offer complementary therapies that can help you regain some physical and emotional health, including fitness programs, massage, equine therapy, and acupuncture, all of which are offered in the peace and comfort of our countryside location.

References

  1. ESSENTIAL Veterinary use of ketamine
  2. Ketamine – Drug Fact Sheet
  3. Ketamine psychedelic therapy (KPT): a review of the results of ten years of research
  4. Ketamine for major depression: New tool, new questions
  5. List of most commonly encountered drugs currently controlled under the misuse of drugs legislation
  6. Norketamine, the main metabolite of ketamine, is a non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist in the rat cortex and spinal cord
  7. Cannabis
  8. Government announces that medicinal cannabis is legal
  9. Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoids: What You Need To Know
  10. CBD: What is it, and can it help the heart?
  11. What You Need To Know About Marijuana Use and Driving
  12. Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use
  13. Brain Health
  14. Mental Health
  15. What are marijuana’s effects on lung health?
  16. Drug Interaction Report
  17. Brain Changes Associated With Long-Term Ketamine Abuse, A Systematic Review
  18. Why the FDA Wants to Stop Companies From Putting CBD in Everything

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