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Hong Kong to Ban CBD – Is This China Overstepping?

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China has yet to be a country to embrace the use of cannabis in any way, even as it remains a top global exporter of hemp. In a new move, the Chinese territory of Hong Kong is looking to not only ban CBD, but to classify it as a drug like heroin or methamphetamine.

The China/Hong Kong relationship

Technically this news story isn’t about mainland China. It’s about Hong Kong, a city of 7.5 million with a strange history that makes it part of China since 1997. In fact, Hong Kong started as a British colony in the early 1840’s. In 1898, Britain actually got itself a 99-year lease on the city. This was temporarily upended during WWII when the city was occupied by imperial Japan, but returned to British control in 1945 upon the war’s end.

Now, Hong Kong is located on the South-Eastern side of China. During most of the last nearly 200 years, China was not much of a super power, despite its size, so that the British empire had control isn’t shocking. But it certainly isn’t the case anymore. In 1997, Hong Kong went from British ownership, to Chinese ownership. It is considered an administrative region, with separate governance from mainland China, though I expect it would be silly to assume that the standard Chinese government doesn’t maintain control, even if below board (I mean, c’mon…)

Hong Kong is a major industrial city, housing 7.5 million, which also makes it one of the most densely populated cities in the world, as it sits on only 426 square miles. It’s a massive business center that acts as a major global financial center, and which is ranked 3rd on the Global Financial Centres Index. People in Hong Kong have a high life expectancy, the city has the third highest level of billionaires in a city, and it has a very high income per capita. Though it shouldn’t be understated that there is still a massive issue with wealth inequality, making for a city with both an incredibly high, and incredibly low, priced housing market.


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The city maintains one of the most highly developed transportation systems, with an entire 90% of its population that use it. The city is considered one of the highest developed in the entire world; and while it is governed separately from China, there has always been an understanding that Hong Kong bows to the will of China. In fact, China is known for being excessively forceful, even when it promises not to be. Which brings up just how much mainland China is an influence in what I’m about to get into next.

Does Hong Kong and CBD hark back to Opium Wars?

This most recent news story has to do with Hong Kong’s classification of the compound CBD. It was decided in October, that Hong Kong will outlaw all CBD products, putting them in the same category as drugs like heroin. It plans to have this done by February of 2023. Up until now, the city has been selling CBD products. In fact, tons of them in infused products like beer and coffee, and as supplements. As per a government official, “The trade and the public should arrange early disposal of any CBD products in their possession to avoid contravention of the law.”

Now, the comparison to drugs like heroin is interesting. You see, China had a major issue with opium, in what were called the Opium Wars. In short, opium was used by the British to essentially weaken the Chinese, in order to take advantage of the country and its people; at the expense of the Chinese population which suffered major social and industrial issues from the widespread opium addictions. And it worked pretty well for a time. The first Opium War took place in the early 1840’s, when Hong Kong was taken by the British.

Imagine that, pushing a drug industry in a country to get everyone addicted so that their land could be taken over and their people abused. And that’s exactly what happened. The first war was because China seized the product, trying to stop its sale. The British empire, pushing an idea of free trade, wanted to keep the drug flowing through the country it was taking advantage of, and making a profit from.

The second Opium War started in the mid-1850’s, and had to do with the right to keep trading opium in and out of China. Like the first one, it was the Qing dynasty against the British empire, this time with help from the French, and the latter won again, maintaining control of China through opium addictions, and this time making China cede some of its land to the Russians. While awful historical moves are often sanitized, the Opium Wars and the treatment of the Chinese by the British, represents a reprehensible act in history, for which no formal apology has ever been made.

In fact, when looking at Chinese drug laws, and the harshness of them, much of the reason for this can be attributed to these Opium Wars. China might be known to go overboard with strict regulation, but in an actually very human showing, it also really doesn’t want any country coming in and taking control through drugs ever again. How much this plays into a decision on CBD is certainly hard to say, but it does give a massive amount of credence to the idea that China doesn’t want its people messed with by drugs. And for an extremely appropriate historical reason.

Opium wars in China
Opium wars in China

The reason I bring this history up, is that in putting CBD in the same category as heroin (opium), it begs the question as to whether this is just some weird backhanded move for another reason, or if there’s a fear in China of having its people exposed to something that could alter their ability to think and perform in life, much like the opium did. In a speech at the time of the announcement, former-police-officer-turned-chief executive John Lee, stated:

“Cannabis is a drug, and the government will categorize CBD as a dangerous drug… to protect the public’s health.” While there might not be actual validity to the statement in terms of a real danger, it is perhaps understandable for China to be cautious.

But…China is the biggest exporter for hemp

I suppose this can be looked at as ‘do as I say, not as I do’, or perhaps it’s a chink in the general logic. China might be barring cannabis entirely to its population, including CBD now, but it is the biggest supplier of hemp and medical cannabis, globally.

How much does the country export out? Well, in terms of just cannabis oil, numbers from 2019 show that China exported nearly $1 billion in cannabis oil alone, which accounted for 33.4% of the market that year. How much was the next biggest exporter for comparison? India, which exported about $320 million worth for the year, which is about 1/3 as much. In fact, when CBD started ending up in cosmetics, China went ahead and closed the loophole, banning it from those products too. Cannabis is 100% illegal in China, and that includes all parts of it.

Yet this doesn’t stop it from being a massive cash crop. Commercial hemp was legalized for growing in 2010, and China currently holds about half the world’s hemp-growing space (though recent legalizations and new countries entering the market might change this a bit). Much of this takes place in the Yunnan province, where its said hemp growing makes the land worth about $300/acre. At that rate, its more profitable than even the plant that makes Canola oil – rapeseed.

Just how much does the country actually export as a whole? Unfortunately this information is harder to come by as China isn’t very into sharing such information. But we do know a few things. First off, though the info is a couple years old, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization, about half of all global patents for cannabis belong to Chinese companies or individuals, which equals about 306 of 606 (though these numbers are likely changed due to growing industries worldwide).

Is China forcing Hong Kong to ban CBD
Is China forcing Hong Kong to ban CBD

We also know there are around 50 enterprises with licenses to grow industrial cannabis in China, while only a handful have a license for production. And we know that at least two of China’s 34 regions are known for the cultivation of cannabis for CBD.

While there are plenty of countries that have inconsistent laws regarding cannabis, allowing the production and export, without allowing access to their own people, China stands out for one particular reason. There have been, and are, plenty of natural medicine traditions in the history of the world, and even today. However, Traditional Chinese Medicine is probably the most enduring, which makes it that much more of a contradiction that a country in which 32% (in 2018) of medical visits were made to traditional medicine practitioners, still bans one of the plants most used as a medicine, and for which the country has a rich history of medical use.

Conclusion

We don’t really know for sure why China does what it does, and exactly how it does it. And we don’t know how much influence the regular Chinese government had over the recent announcement for Hong Kong to ban CBD. But it would be weird to let your administrative region keep using something banned on the mainland, right? Seems likely to me, that this is just another example of a Chinese overstep into the governing of Hong Kong.

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MJBizCon: Still No THC, Still Alcohol Sales

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The biggest cannabis business convention happened in November, and it gave us some great insights into the current trends in the world of weed. It also emphasized where there is still some funky discombobulation in cannabis laws. Once again at 2022’s MJBizcon, there was still no THC on the floor, while alcohol was still openly sold.

Why it matters – reason #1 – it’s literally a convention for weed

There are three main reasons why it matters that MJBizCon didn’t allow THC, but did allow alcohol. The first is basic logic. What’s the point of going to a convention, where you can’t sample real products? And therefore, what’s the point of being an exhibitor, if you can’t really get consumers, or potential business partners, to really know what you’re making. This doesn’t apply to every company, or every part of the industry, but it applies to many.

This is a business convention that revolves around making consumer products in some form, and as a business that revolves around THC, not having that main ingredient, means making it difficult for a lot of companies.


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Can you imagine going to a wine festival, or a whiskey festival, or a cheese festival, and being told that you couldn’t try any of the respective products. Imagine a wine festival with fake wine, or a cheese festival where you could eat the product, but without that specific ingredient. Whether you’re a consumer, or looking to make business connections, not getting a good idea of a product, stymies the entire process.

Functionally, as a convention about weed, in a state where weed is legal for recreational use, it becomes absurd that actual weed products, couldn’t be sampled or sold. As in, the entire purpose for many people to be there, was hindered by not getting a good idea of what the specific offering was. And that also meant ruling out a lot of companies from even showing, as not being able to preview their actual products, would make attending such a convention unnecessary.

Plenty of what was there didn’t technically need weed. Apparatus for mass growing or packaging, branding companies, insurance… But even those selling rolling papers or vapes had no way for their specific products to be tested, and therefore separated in any way from everything on either side. Realistically, when having a convention for something, its best to have that something there. In places without legalization measures its more understandable when this doesn’t happen, but in Las Vegas…?

Cannabis convention with no THC
Cannabis convention with no THC

Why it matters – reason #2 – it means weed is treated as more dangerous than alcohol

Maybe the bigger reason it matters that MJBizCon said no to THC, and yes to alcohol, is simply in the comparison it makes to a much more dangerous drug; which was openly sold and used, when weed products couldn’t be. Yup, I’m talking about alcohol. According to the CDC, in the US alone, alcohol kills about 140,000 people a year, while also being said to take as many as 26 years off a person’s life. While most of these deaths are not direct, they still make alcohol the #2 death-toll drug behind smoking.

Considering there is no death toll associated with cannabis, its odd that cannabis regulation often makes it harder to get to, than it is to get to the much more deadly alcohol. While real cannabis (and anything related to THC) was not allowed on the floor of MJBizCon, alcohol was openly sold and drank, sometimes right next to stalls where cannabis products were swapped out for fake plant material.

And while so much of the business industry focused on packaging (specifically child-proof packaging), a can or bottle of beer is still just as easy to open as a can of soda, and high proof alcohol requires nothing more than twisting a cap.

If you didn’t know better, and you saw this scene, you’d probably think cannabis actually is dangerous. And certainly way more dangerous than alcohol. In a scenario like this, without knowing more, it would appear that cannabis proposes incredible danger, while alcohol does not. Let’s remember, no one lives at that convention center, and everyone had to drive in if they didn’t get a ride, meaning plenty of people having drinks and driving back out. Seems like the convention organizers, and the state in general, were fine with that, but not with a person smoking a joint.

No THC, yes alcohol
No THC, yes alcohol

Why it matters – reason #3 – it means inconsistency and misunderstanding in cannabis regulation

Let’s be honest, I complained about this last year. This problem has existed for as long as the legal weed industry has been around. And pretty much every place with a legalization, follows these same crazy guidelines, wherein cannabis use must follow weirdly strict regulation, whereas alcohol, doesn’t. From where its sold, to who can use it, to where its legal to use. All these favor alcohol consumption over cannabis consumption, yet alcohol has only medical detractions, while cannabis is also used as a medicine.

That’s right, it’s not just that its consistently shown to be way less dangerous than alcohol for recreational use (like, not even in the same category), but it also helms a massive and growing world of medical use. People depend on it to live. We have study after study talking of the benefits for both medical issues, and general health, and yet its still easier to buy and use alcohol.

How long does it take for logic to set in? Why haven’t these laws been updated at all in a place like Nevada that has recreational use? And for that matter, how is it still federally illegal, while alcohol is one of the most ubiquitous drugs around? How can we ever expect this industry to function better, when we can’t even get regulators to regulate the industry honestly? It’s been years since many states passed measures, yet this inconsistency in regulation, never seems to go away. And when the biggest business convention, MJBizCon, says no to THC, while allowing alcohol, we know there really is a problem.

Why it REALLY matters at MJBizCon

This harks back to the first reason, but its an incredibly important point to make. MJBizCon is for the promotion of the weed industry, and all the businesses therein. It’s not a school, or a playground, or a bingo game. It’s a convention set up by industry insiders to help empower those in the industry by setting up a way for them to make new connections, and learn more about the industry.

In that sense, MJBizCon comes to represent the industry. And it’s not put on by parent groups, or teachers, or politicians. It’s put on by a weed-centered publication, and weed-centered businesses. Which makes me wonder how these proponents of weed, are okay with having this scenario. Why didn’t it come up as a major point of conversation?

Why didn’t we all sign a petition to get things to change? Why are we so complacent with having logic ignored in the face of nonsensical federal law? Am I the only person it occurs to that this inconsistency, when not focused on and fixed, just leads to more future inconsistencies?

Inconsistent cannabis regulation
Inconsistent cannabis regulation

It’s important for those within the industry, to stand up for it appropriately. That this issue has never been brought up at the convention, is sad to me. That there seems to still be a misunderstanding about these dangers in government regulation and statements, is sad to me. It means organizers are more interested in making a buck off alcohol sales, than working to make sure the public at their events is understanding of the regulation issue.

As long as nonsensical laws aren’t challenged, it means they’ll just continue on. Weed prices might have gone down in some places despite ridiculously high taxes, but that has more to do with overproduction driving down prices, than a realization that such heavy taxation, particularly sin taxes, make the industry less appealing than the black market. In the case of alcohol vs weed, we already have plenty showing us the danger of one, and the benefits of the other, yet the lack of consistent regulation, is constantly ignored, even though it too, hurts the industry.

Conclusion

MJBizCon was a great time, but it still represents through its barring of THC and allowance of alcohol sales, that the weed industry is very unevenly regulated, especially compared to the alcohol industry. Will this ever change in the future? We’ll have to wait and see.

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What Is the Role of an API in Pharmaceutical Medicine?

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Everything these days is an acronym, and sometimes the world of acronyms gets confusing. In fact, sometimes the very same letters, are used for more than one acronym, and it requires knowing what you’re dealing with, to know the meaning. One of the terms that shows up a lot is API, which relates to pharmaceutical medicine, (as well as computing).

What is an API in pharmaceutical medicine?

The first time I heard this term, I immediately thought of the computing definition: ‘application programming interface.’ It gets used a lot in the world of tech, and it was the main place I’d heard it. Until it came up in a more medical way. The letters API have a totally different definition when speaking of pharmaceutical medicine.

An API in pharmaceutical medicine, translates to ‘active pharmaceutical ingredient.’ Which, of course, is a wildly different concept from its computing counterpart. What does this actually mean? An active pharmaceutical ingredient is “the biologically active component of a drug product (tablet, capsule, cream, injectable) that produces the intended effects.” These can be ingredients in drugs for a number of ailments, including the treatment of issues: “pertaining to oncology, cardiology, CNS and neurology, orthopaedic, pulmonology, gastroenterology, nephrology, ophthalmology, and endocrinology.”

So, basically, they’re just ingredients. Or, rather, active ingredients. Think about when you read the label to a medication, and it lists both active and inactive ingredients. Sometimes you might wonder about the difference. Inactive ingredients are often related to keeping a tablet held together, or making sure a drug doesn’t spoil. Sometimes they’re for coloring, or consistency, or texture. But they’re not for therapeutic use.


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The active components are the ingredients that do whatever it is that the drug is supposed to do. And much like baking in a kitchen, both active and inactive ingredients are required. If you’re baking a chocolate cake, perhaps the chocolate could be seen as the active ingredient, along with eggs and flower. But you also need baking soda to make things rise. This might not add to the flavor of the cake, but its still important.

However, you might spend more time, making sure you have the right chocolate. Should you use super sweet chocolate chips, bitter chocolate, chocolate powder? This chocolate is equivalent to an API in pharmaceutical medicine…albeit an admittedly strange analogy.

APIs allow for medications to be made in specific strengths, and in desired concentrations. They also require being made in conjunction with good manufacturing practices, and up to codes, as they relate to pharmaceutical medicine, which is very, very precise.

Think of every bottle of Tylenol you buy, over years and years of time, and how every pill is exactly the same. Since APIs are often made by third parties, they also allow for the white-labeling of pharmaceutical ingredients. Several different companies can buy from the same API provider, and then make their own labeled medications with the ingredients.

Where does an API come from?

Much like anything else, whether synthetically or naturally made, An API used in pharmaceutical medicine, comes from some kind of raw material. When dealing with the idea of an herbal supplement, let’s say a mint capsule, the API is the mint, and in this case it probably comes directly from a mint plant. Many APIs do come from plant or animal origins. A great example of this today, is the medical cannabis industry, and the API’s used to make cannabis medications.

In terms of the official names of these ingredients, the US uses generic names assigned by the United States Adopted Names (USAN) program, which works in conjunction with the American Medical Association, the United States Pharmacopeial Convention, and the American Pharmacists Association. The legal name of the drug that the FDA recognizes, is given by the USAN.

Where do APIs come from for pharma medicine
Where do APIs come from for pharma medicine

In terms of a broader global scale, the World Health Organization also recognizes API ingredients, as per International Nonproprietary Names (INN). Though they are often the same between the US and the WHO, they sometimes do differ. One example is Tylenol. The API is acetaminophen in the US, but referred to as paracetamol by WHO.

The raw materials are used primarily by pharmaceutical companies in their home labs to create their patented formulations. However, to cut costs, the manufacture of these APIs is often now outsourced, leading to a myriad of issues related to quality and regulation. It is now common for APIs to come from Asia, mainly India and China.

Who are the biggest providers of APIs? Some of the bigger names are TEVA Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Reddy’s, Pfizer, Novartis, Sanofi, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Bristol-Meyers Squibb. These companies generally specialize in different APIs. In terms of where the raw materials come from, that can vary hugely. Sometimes from chemical product manufacturers, and sometimes from growing fields. Raw materials are converted to APIs through different chemical processing techniques. When in the process of a raw material becoming an API, its called an ‘intermediate’.

Raw materials for an API in pharmaceutical medicine

While this isn’t the most specific of answers, the raw materials for APIs are gathered through raw material providers. Yeah, I know, it almost sounds like I’m trying to be evasive. I promise, I’m not. But the truth is that raw materials can come from one of hundreds or thousands of providers depending on what they actually are. Think of all the chemical companies out there, and all the different kinds of ingredients in life. And then think of how many medications there are, and how different.

A general process, at least according to Teva-API, is that once a medicine is approved, a team then goes out looking for all the correct chemical companies to get the component raw material parts. It comes down to the company to judge the reliability of a source. Sometimes to ensure no issues in sourcing, a company like Teva will require two sources for each material. The R&D team that created the medication, essentially gives a list of the necessary raw materials to the team responsible for collection, and then the search into the correct chemical companies begins.

And to be honest…there isn’t a lot of better or more specific information out there. Most of the information that is available comes from companies selling APIs, or pharmaceuticals, and none of them really get into the nitty gritty of exactly where their chemical components are sourced as raw materials.

Sourcing raw materials for APIs
Sourcing raw materials for APIs

I guess at this point its fair to imagine that sourcing likely involves things like mining for the minerals that make up the periodic table of elements, which are used to produce all inorganic materials. As well as whatever biologically sourced ingredients come from different plant and animal sources.

Right now, the API industry in pharmaceutical medicine is quite big. API-producing companies generally produce powder versions and sell in bulk to pharma companies. Their production and sale comprises a multi-billion dollar industry that white-labels the ingredients of pharmaceutical medications.

And while the idea of APIs might be a bit confusing when reading about them in terms of business, the reality in the end, is that the pharma ingredient market is the same as nearly all others. One company takes stuff out of the ground somehow, sells it to another company which uses it to make a specific chemical compound, which sells it to another company which uses that compound in a product. Just like nearly every product made; whether food, a toy, equipment, or whatever else.

Conclusion

APIs in pharmaceutical medicine represent just another form of white-labeling. Of course in this case, the products white-labelled are the ingredients in your pharmaceutical medications. Perhaps we as the public should know more about the process and the safety requirements that do – or don’t – exist. But as in most parts of life, the business of these ingredients and how they move, stays largely out of the public eye. Much like nearly every other big business consumer industry.

Kind of makes those herbal remedies that can tell you exactly what’s inside, and exactly what field the ingredients were sourced from, nice in comparison.

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My Personal Ketamine Experience: Part 1 – The First Infusion

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Ketamine might be all the rage these days when it comes to treating psychological issues, but the reality of these treatments is not often written about, and personal experiences are hard to find. Mostly you’ll just find promotional articles and a few studies. Of course, realities don’t always meet the hype, and perhaps one of the biggest lessons to learn about ketamine therapy, is that it will not work for everyone, and results can vary. It’s important for prospective patients to understand the different possibilities when going in for treatment. This article is my own highly personal experience of my first ketamine infusion.

First off, a little about me

One of the hardest things to do in life is be open about a psychological issue, and its probably for this reason that personal accounts of ketamine therapy are few and far between. Not many people want to actually talk about what drove them to seek treatment in the first place. And while I often consider myself a private person, I think there are times when it’s good to open up for the good of others and public knowledge in general. And for that reason I will tell you a little about me. At least enough to know how I ended up in a ketamine clinic.

I am a child of psychological and physical abuse, as many of us are. My problems are not hard to come by in the general public, and there are plenty of people that can relate. I grew up in a very tense environment, which led to an array of anxiety-related issues, the biggest one regarding my ability to sleep. I am considered an intractable insomniac. I do not respond to regular medications. This can be expanded to anxiety as a whole, though the largest issue I deal with on a consistent basis, is the ability for sleep. As ketamine is looked into for insomnia issues, it is indeed a reason for prescription, along with the underlying anxiety issues that cause it.

You will see different words used to explain this concept of non-response to treatments. ‘Treatment-resistant’ is the most well understood, but you will also see it as ‘intractable’ or ‘refractory.’ All of these words when used with a diagnosis next to them, mean ‘it ain’t responding to anything.’ This is far more common than many realize. Sometimes it’s hard to know that because these aren’t pleasant subjects to speak about, and many people won’t.


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A large part of the ketamine industry is based around the idea that it can possibly help those, that aren’t helped by other treatments or medications. However, it’s also available simply as an alternate treatment for those who don’t like conventional medications. I fit into both categories. I’ve been through the ringer enough in life to know I am unresponsive, but I’m also not a huge fan of the conventional pills that get doled out. I prefer alternative therapies that don’t involve standard medications.

A last point to make about my situation, is that I did not go to a clinic in America, I went to a doctor in Mexico. I am told he is one of only 15 in the country that currently provides this treatment, so its not the set-up industry it now is in the States. However, the doctor I found has been providing such treatments for two years, mostly for pain, but for other issues like mine as well.

The infusion, and the basics of what to expect

I cannot say how this goes in a clinic specifically geared toward these treatments. I can only give my experience of going to a psychiatrist where I am, who provides the treatment. There is less protocol available, and it was my decision originally to undergo an initial six treatments, as it tends to be done in the more set-up industry in America. I was provided very little information on what to expect, or the possible outcomes.

There are different ways to receive ketamine treatment. It can be injected into a muscle (IM), given as a nasal spray (esketamine), provided as a sublingual tab, given as a pill, or the original way, by infusion (IV). I did the infusion. That means I had an IV hooked up to my arm for somewhere between 45 minutes and one hour. For people that don’t like IVs or needles in general, this is probably not the best option, and the other forms of ingestion might be more desirable. This was the only mode of delivery offered to me.

It is administered by weight, but this is less precise than many articles make it sound, or at least it was in my situation. I gave my approximate weight, and an anesthesiologist, whose job it is to be able to eyeball such things, set the dosage for my weight. In my case, I wasn’t actually weighed. I was okay with this, but if you feel better with more precise measurements, make them weigh you. I was given standard racemic ketamine. That just means it was regular ketamine, and not esketamine or arketamine, which make up the two halves of the molecule.

I sat on a couch in a semi-comfortable office with no outside view. A private office within a bigger hospital. I had an IV stuck in my left hand. As my veins are a little narrow, this meant a bruised hand for the next several days. My second treatment was done in my arm for this reason. The doctor asked my music preferences, I said classical was fine, and classical music was put on.

First infusion – my experience

I cannot say the exact dose I was given, but I can say how it felt. I can also say that because I had anxiety over an IV infusion (never had anything like this before), I was given a small amount of xanax beforehand. There is debate in the ketamine therapy world as to whether benzodiazepines can hinder the experience, and honestly, I can’t answer that, and neither can my doctor. I can only say I did have a small amount in my system because of the fear of being hooked up to an IV. Those like me who haven’t undergone many (or any) medical treatments in life might understand the anxiety.

I didn’t spin out, or hallucinate wildly. The idea of ketamine treatment is to use sub-anesthetic doses. As in, you won’t end up in a ‘k-hole‘. I had an experience less often written about. The ketamine produced an anxiety in me, referred to online as ‘ketamine-induced anxiety.’ The issue with new industries is that they get hyped by only the success stories, and the realities of all the possibilities are often left out.

My doctor never mentioned this term, and I had to look into it myself. This is a negative perhaps of going to a doctor in a less set-up industry, where less background information is made available. When it comes to ketamine treatments, non-responders, or negative-responders are actually a large group, and this makes sense. Barely anything in life works for everyone, as we are all so physiologically different. My response is therefore not uncommon, though it isn’t often spoken of yet, probably because it’s not the desired outcome. But, again, its still common, and that makes it important to know about for anyone seeking treatment.

It wasn’t all-out bad though. I certainly felt spacey, and sort of out-there, though I did not hallucinate, or lose track of reality. As an example of my body’s desire to fend off treatments, I actually felt it in waves, which is the opposite of how it should feel when hooked up to an IV. The doctor did what isn’t often done in these treatments (and is more well known for psychedelic treatments) and talked me through it, partly to keep my mind off the anxiety. We went over childhood issues, and patterns of response. He gave me some interesting insights.

When the infusion was over I calmed down partially when the IV was taken out, indicating this method of ingestion is probably not the right one for me. As I calmed down in the following 20 minutes or so, a sick, nauseous feeling crept in. Ketamine is known for this, it doesn’t seem to mean anything in terms of whether the treatment will work, and is a side effect of the medication.

For the next 24 hours or so, I can honestly say I didn’t care about a lot of the things that had been troubling me. I was able to put things on hold that I had not been able to before. I didn’t have a desire to check my phone, or a need to get back to people urgently. It was actually a good feeling, though it was undermined a bit by the sick feeling that persisted, and a general heaviness.

Ketamine first infusion
Ketamine first infusion

Truth is, this is common too, and can go on even into the next day, as it did for me. Also something not explained by my doctor. The following day it was more a tired feeling, and the good effects wore off throughout the day. While I was able to get more sleep the first night, that was the only night this was true of that first treatment.

I cannot say I felt a response past that point, but this is also common of ketamine treatments. It’s sometimes described online as planting a flower and tending to it over several sessions, without expecting full results right away. So, I was optimistic. I did feel something temporarily, it really did feel like a possible start. I scheduled my second infusion for four days later.

Conclusion

This article relates to my own personal experience with ketamine treatments. It is not generalizable to the entire population, and is meant to help those looking into this treatment, to know some of the possible things to expect. Everyone that tries treatment will have their own experience. Some will not sound like mine. Read the next installment to find out more about my second infusion.

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