Near-Death States Reported in a Sample of 50 Misusers

Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Hertfordshire, Pharmacy and Postgraduate Medical Schools, Hatfield, Herts, UK.
Substance Use & Misuse (Impact Factor: 1.23). 05/2010; 45(6):916-24. DOI: 10.3109/10826080903565321
Source: PubMed


Increase in recreational ketamine use may be a cause for concern. We aimed here at assessing, in a sample of ketamine misusers, concordance between the typical near-death experience (NDE) features and the on-drug psychoactive effects the subjects experienced. In 2003-2005, a sample of previous ketamine misusers recollecting a ketamine-related NDE were recruited through snowballing and screened with the means of the Greyson NDE Scale; 125 participants made an initial contact with the researcher and 50 reported a minimum score of seven at the "Greyson NDE Scale". Interviewees were in the range 21-66 years old; 27 participants (54%) were educated at BA level, 18 (36%) had an MSc, and 5 (10%) a PhD. Eight (16%) interviewees had a definite religious background. An average lifetime ketamine intake of 140 occasions was reported by the interviewees, who typically presented with a polydrug, including cannabis and MDMA/ecstasy, misuse history. In 45 (90%) cases, the NDE occurred during the first few occasions of intake. Most frequent features of reported NDE states included: altered perception of time (90%), strong sense of detaching from own physical body (88%), and a sense of peace/joy (76% of subjects). Although results here described were elicited from a self-selected, nonrandomized, limited size sample of misusers, we suggest that recreational ketamine intake may be associated with occurrence of near-death related states.

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    • "Paradoxically, ketamine has been used to treat dependence disorders in a controlled therapeutic setting. Ketamine psychedelic psychotherapy (KPP) (Corazza & Schifano 2010; Krupitsky & Kolp 2007; Jansen, 1989) has been used to treat about 1000 patients with dependence disorders, in which the abstinence after one year was 66% (Ross 2008). Ketamine has also been linked to anti-depressant effects (Aan Het Rot, Charney & Mathew 2008; Zarate et al. 2006; Berman et al. 2000), and has been used to alleviate fear, depression, and suicidal ideation in terminally ill patients (Thangathurai & Mogos 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Methoxetamine (MXE), a ketamine analogue, is one of the new “legal highs” sold on the Internet. The aim of this qualitative study was to provide an initial understanding of what characterizes the experiences induced by MXE. Anonymously written reports (33 persons) on the effects of MXE were collected from public Internet forums and analyzed using the Empirical Phenomenological Psychological Method. The analysis generated 10 themes: (1) preparation, motivation and anticipation; (2) initial effects; (3) malfunction of cognitive processes stabilizing normal state; (4) inner personal processes and learning; (5) emotional processes; (6) altered sensory perception; (7) dissolution and transition; (8) spiritual and transcendental experiences; (9) effects and processes after the experience; (10) re-dosing and addiction. MXE induced a heavily altered state of consciousness. The effects were similar to those induced by classic hallucinogens (such as LSD, psilocybin) and the dissociative ketamine. MXE seemed to have quite a high abuse potential. Beside the positive effects described, negative effects like fear and anxiety were also reported. Acceptance was considered the best coping strategy. Dissolution of identity and body often culminated in spiritual and transcendental experiences. More research is needed on safety issues, how to minimize harm, and the motivation for using legal highs.
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    • "Furthermore, it is unclear if the respondents are describing a specific ketamine experience or an experience more generally, as most of the respondents had taken ketamine between 10 and 2000 times, though a similar number of cardiac arrest experiences is very unlikely for the comparison group. Nevertheless, Corazza and Schifano (2010) acknowledged the limitation that their findings are based on a self-selected, nonrandomized, limited size sample. Subsequently, ketamine can at best be thought of as an occasional NDE trigger or mimic, but is not a wholly repeatable or reliable source of NDEs (Luke, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper investigates the relationship between psychoactive substances and so-called paranormal phenomena falling within the study of parapsychology. It is primarily concerned with extrasensory perception (ESP)—telepathy, precognition, and clairvoyance—as well as out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and near-death experiences (NDEs). Psychokinesis (PK), aura vision, encounter experiences, and sleep paralysis only make a very limited contribution to this review as they are seldom related to psychoactive drugs within the parapsychological literature. The paper borrows widely, but by no means exhaustively, from parapsychology as well as transpersonal studies, anthropology, ethnobotany, phytochemistry, psychiatry, psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, and neurobiology, particularly neurochemistry. It is organized into neurochemical models of paranormal experience (section 1), field reports of intentional and spontaneous phenomena incorporating anthropological, historical and clinical cases, and personal accounts (section 2), surveys of paranormal belief and experience (section 3), experimental research (section 4), and a methodological critique of the experimental research with recommendations for further work (section 5).
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