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Metaprogramming From Within the Eye of the Storm

by James Kent
The Resonance Project
Issue 2, Winter 1997/98


Ketamine was used in the medical community for years before anyone discovered its vast potential as a visionary chemical and/or recreational drug of abuse.
Ketamine hydrochloride - also known by the trade names Ketalar, Ketaset, Ketavet and by the street names Vitamin K, Agent K, Special K, or just K -- was not discovered in the darkest jungles of South America, nor does it have a long history of traditional use among indigenous tribes. Ketamine is a purely human creation, first synthesized by the Belgian chemist C. L. Stevens in 1963, and patented by Parke Davis in 1966 (US Patent #3.254.124). By February of 1970, the FDA had approved Ketamine for use as a surgical anesthetic in veterinary, pediatric, and geriatric medicine.

Although Ketamine was an effective anesthetic it soon became clear that it did have one unusual side effect - twenty percent of all patients anesthetized with Ketamine reported having waking dreams, out of body experiences, and other odd mind phenomena while under the influence. This dreamlike state was quickly termed the "emergent state" or "emergence" because many patients reported that they felt the effects while emerging from the deep sleep. No doubt it was not long after this that some adventurous individual said, "You mean we can get high off this stuff? Let me at it!"

It's interesting (and a tad amusing) that Ketamine was developed by corporate interests, thoroughly researched and studied, fully approved by the FDA, and used in the medical community for years before anyone discovered its vast potential as a visionary chemical and/or recreational drug of abuse. Interestingly, Parke Davis also holds the patent for Phencyclidine, or PCP, another anesthetic that was taken off the market because it proved to be too unpredictable for use in humans. PCP was distributed as a veterinary anesthetic, but rampant street use and bad publicity led Parke Davis to discontinue it altogether. The Ketamine molecule is very closely related to PCP, but is extremely safe and predictable for use in humans. It was the perfect PCP replacement, and to this day Ketamine is still considered to be one of the safest and most effective light anesthetics on the market.

Early Visionary Research

Even the lab coat circuit had its renegades.
Most early sub-anesthetic research into Ketamine was done by doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and veterinarians, as they were the only ones who could easily get their hands on it. In a sense, this white, upper middle-class demographic of early users did a lot to define what little public opinion there was about Ketamine. It wasn't a street drug, it wasn't made in someone's basement, and since it already had a clinical use it wasn't lumped in with other "taboo" visionary synthetics like LSD and later MDMA. Nope, Ketamine was fully approved for human consumption by the FDA itself, and no one paid much attention while it was passed around for further study within the educated and presumably responsible medical community. But, like any crowd, even this lab-coat circuit had its renegades.

John Lilly is without a doubt the most well known of the Ketamine rebels. His pioneering research into the way the brain interprets reality led him to develop, among other things, theories of metaprogramming and human biocomputing, the isolation tank, and protocols for interspecies communication with dolphins. He also developed a lifelong fondness for self-administered sessions with Ketamine, and as legend has it was at one point injecting himself with Ketamine once an hour, twenty hours a day, for nearly a year.

Most of Lilly's work with Ketamine can be found in his essay "Programming and Metaprogramming the Human Biocomputer" and in his autobiographical works The Scientist and So Far (coauthored by Francis Jeffrey, see pg. 24). However, the most important things Lilly introduced into the mix of Ketamine experimentation are the concepts of isolation and metaprogramming - a term coined by Lilly to describe the act of programming and reprogramming the neural processes which dictate behavior. Using an isolation tank in concert with Ketamine seems natural, since the internal dream state is activated only when you are able to effectively shut out all external input. Linguistic therapies such as hypnotherapy, creative visualization, and neuro-linguistic programming all utilize these concepts of deep relaxation and reprogramming in order to change behavior, because a highly relaxed, deeply visual dream state is where metaprogramming techniques are most effective.

Neural Scripts and Processes

Imagine if you had to consult your driver's manual every time someone walked in front of your car.
To get an idea why Ketamine is useful in metaprogramming, it is necessary to take a quick look at how the central nervous system processes input. All day long, from the moment we wake up, our central nervous systems are constantly receiving sense data input, processing that data in the brain, and producing output in the form of decisions and actions. Sense data comes in from all over the place - we're bombarded with it all the time. It comes in through our eyes and ears and nerve endings, then gets sent up the spinal column to the brain where it is processed. The brain is constantly whirring away making decisions, performing tasks, keeping the heart beating and the lungs active - it's a nonstop processing machine. To illustrate, a simple processing model for the brain might look like this:

We have sense data coming in, that's our input. This data gets sent to the brain for processing, and once it is processed the brain spits out some kind of script or routine which makes the body perform an action. For example: You're driving down the street minding your own business and someone runs out in front of your car. Snap. In an instant you process that data, decide that smashing into this person is a very bad idea, and proceed to slam on the brakes, swerve, or if you're in New York, lean on your horn and give them the finger.

In this analogy, the person in the road is the input. The input goes up into the brain and the brain spits out a script. In this case the script is "hit the brakes," or "Script #4041a: Neural firing pattern for rapid application of automobile brakes." It's literally almost that specific, and if you had the proper equipment wired to your head you would be able to see the actual physical location of this script's firing pattern. Anyone who drives has this script, and we hit the brakes all the time without even thinking about it. It is a hardwired response to keep us from smashing into one another every time we get behind the wheel of a car (thank God).

Assuming that this script is written somewhere in our memory, we can add a memory function to our processing model that looks like this:

The whole time this input/output script is running, your brain is also simultaneously dumping all the data it receives into your central memory for use at a later time. This is what we call learning. At one point you had to learn the proper neural firing sequence for pushing the brake, but now it's wired into your memory somewhere so you can do it whenever you want without having to think about it. Imagine if you had to consult your driver's manual every time someone walked in front of your car. You'd be pretty well screwed.

As our brains receive a set of sense data, we take that data and make a call to our memory banks in order to produce the most appropriate response. With the help of memory, we are able to model potential outcomes for each specific situation, and with each new piece of data we receive, our modeling capabilities become a little more refined. This is the core of our processing power.

The only time our neural processing model doesn't apply is when we're sleeping. When we're asleep, our external senses are shut down and our bodies go limp. We neither process input nor produce output, so all that is left is an interesting little interplay between our brain and our memory. This is where the fun starts because when all of our waking routines are shut down, we suddenly get a lot of free brain time to sort through all the information we have stuffed into memory during the course of the day, the week, or even over the course of our lifetime.

So when we're in this sleep model we are essentially dreaming, and all the data that sits in memory -- all of our scripts, routines, cherished memories, plus all the random garbage we take in every day -- floats up to the surface for nocturnal processing. The weird thing is that this data doesn't float back up in any linear or organized fashion. With the context of linear time removed from our input and response model, everything that ever got stuck in this memory bin just gets lumped together in a network of strange and arbitrary associations. All sorts of weird connections and anachronisms take place in dreams, like you're an adult but suddenly you're back in elementary school -- or for some reason you have no legs yet you're pole vaulting at the winter Olympics.

Ketamine and your Brain

When Ketamine is introduced to your central processing system, something very interesting happens. First off, the thalmoneocortical and limbic systems -- which sit between the top of the brainstem and the huge neural mass in the neocortex -- get shut down. In Figure 1 you can see the thalamus, the hypothalamus, and cingulate gyrus shaded to show where Ketamine is acting.

During normal waking activity, your thalamus acts as a routing center for all sense data which comes up the spinal cord from the body. By shutting this central router down, you can effectively cut off all the sense data that's coming in from the rest of your body. This is primarily what makes Ketamine a perfect anesthetic. If you're able to shut down this router, a patient won't be able to feel pain when scalpels and probes and fingers are poked around under her skin.

Ketamine: Summary of Physical Effects
  1. Shuts down thalmic processing and sensory input
  2. Shuts down primary survival instincts and urges (fight or flight, mating & reproduction, etc.)
  3. Shuts down emotional response centers
  4. Increases blood flow to the brain
  5. Induces nystigmus (jittery or rapid eye movement) and salivation
  6. Decreases brainwave activity in the beta (waking) range: 12-18+ hz
  7. Increases brainwave activity in the alpha, theta, and delta (deep relaxation and sleep) ranges: 1-12 hz
  8. Induces NDE, OBE, and Lucid Dream-like states
  9. Produces a fully unconscious state at high doses
The hypothalamus is generally very active in regulating our primary instincts and emotional responses. The instincts for basic survival, fight or flight, mating, eating, and drinking, are all regulated right here. It is very easy to evoke an intense rage or pleasure response by stimulating the hypothalamus. Because Ketamine shuts the hypothalamus down, you are not only detached from your body, but from your most primal emotions and instincts as well.

The cingulate gyrus is suspected to play some role in associative logic and reasoning, but it is not known for sure exactly what this area does. Depressing or exciting this area of the brain could also be responsible for Ketamine's visualizing component, but that is just speculation.

Ketamine's other measurable effects on the body include rapid-eye movements, salivation, and the production of brainwave activity mimicking that of a dream state. So. if you look at the facts, you'll see what we have here is a safe, highly effective, and extremely repeatable means of inducing a lucid dream state at will. When administered in the correct dose, Ketamine is a lucid dream enabler (LDE). It gives you all the trappings of being asleep and in full dream mode, but all the while you remain awake and fully conscious.

While you are on Ketamine your brainstem still continues to function normally, so all autonomic processes like heartbeat and respiration are still online, as are the higher logic processes which we associate with the neocortex. For the duration of the Ketamine high our body is running silent and on autopilot; we have free reign to dig around in this vast mental space and look for anything we want. This emergent state is what I call the eye of the storm. The world we live in every day is the storm, a storm of nonstop, often conflicting messages and sets of sense data which can be overwhelming. One of the tangible health implications of data overload and conflict is a common medical condition we call stress. Figure 2 shows our processing model, but now with an input overload.

In this model, there's a specific piece of sense data that's causing the brain to produce a series of conflicting scripts. Say the piece of sense data is Christmas dinner. You're stuffing yourself at the dinner table, and suddenly all the pies and cookies and dessert goodies start coming around. You've already gorged yourself, you know you shouldn't eat anymore, you've promised yourself you'd go on a diet, but the food is so good, and it is Christmas after all! How can you refuse?

Let's call this example the dessert script. It runs every time you crave a dessert or some sweet goody you know is bad for you. In that instant a series of conflicting scripts start up and the battle begins in an insidious stress loop. The stress loop is a drag because in this process you're burning extra cycles trying to resolve your conflicts while new sense data continues to pour in. Eventually you have to buckle somewhere, and decide to just give in and eat it, or politely refuse -- and then gobble it in the middle of the night when no one's looking.

People have stress loops running all the time - I need to pay my bills but I'm broke. I want to spend time with my family but I need to work more. I want to be physically fit but I eat junk food and have no time to exercise. Since there is no specific action or routine to run in the instance of an unresolved stress loop, the brain just drops a stress packet onto the body each time one of these loops is run. A stress packet is kind of like a neurochemical null -- a spurt of wasted processing time that manifests itself as physical tension in the body: a furrowed brow, clenched teeth, headaches, backaches, muscle tightness, high blood pressure, rapid heart beat, etc. As these nulls start dropping on the body we get hung up and stressed out, and because all of these conflicting scripts remain in memory, they just run again and again each time the same set of sense data is presented.

The sad fact is that we spend most of our lives constantly moving from one task to the next, and we are always busy resolving tedious short-term conflicts just trying to get ahead. All the while we are consumed with our daily tasks, we are also riddled with inner turmoil and mounting inner conflict. Inner conflict is often where stress comes from, because it is so easy to avoid dealing with and so hard to resolve that it becomes persistent. The only way to resolve inner conflict is by digging down to the source of the conflict, into the neural scripts and routines which live in our memory. By simply rewriting and reinforcing the scripts which dictate internal reactions to specific external stimulus, you can effectively alter your behavior, change your attitude, and give yourself a whole new perspective on life. This is the essence of metaprogramming - the constant tweaking and adjusting of your behaviors and personalities in order to achieve the desired results, whatever they may be.

Modalities of Productive and Destructive Ketamine Use

The purpose of a clinical setting is for working through inner conflict or resolving some destructive behavior pattern.
Before we jump into talking about actually doing Ketamine, I'd like to make some distinctions between what I feel are positive and/or productive uses of Ketamine versus the various negative and/or destructive uses. First off, the medical use of Ketamine as an anesthetic in surgery is certainly productive. There is a bona fide reason for using it; it's safe, it's practical, it works. While anesthesia may be Ketamine's sanctioned use, it is by no means its only use. In Table 2 I have listed a variety of sanctioned and unsanctioned uses of Ketamine, defined loosely by the cherished old laws of dose, set, and setting.

The Medical setting we've already deemed productive. The FDA took care of that. Next we have Recreational, which is borderline at best. It's true that small doses of snorted Ketamine will produce a pleasurable state good for partying and relaxing, but it is often difficult to judge the size of the dose you are getting when you snort. Recreational use of snorted Ketamine usually occurs in uncontrolled and potentially dangerous settings like parties. Standing up, moving around, and socializing on Ketamine are not recommended. You will lose a great deal of coordination at any dose and at high doses you will lose the ability to balance or even support yourself. Ketamine has a high accident potential, and prolonged recreational use is an accident waiting to happen. Since there is no real tolerance build up to Ketamine, there is also the trap of repeat use, chronic use, and long-term addiction. Low intranasal doses can easily be administered over and over all day. This behavior pattern may seem seductive, but it can be devastating.

The Escapist mentality seeks to do nothing more than bomb the fuck out of your mind for bombing's sake. There is definitely nothing but destruction here. There are warning signs all over this mentality; the word "Dissociative" says it all. You seek to disassociate yourself from the rest of the world. This is also a very seductive trap for some because Ketamine is a great dissociative, and can be abused for total annihilation of the mind in the same way that hard alcohol and heroin are often used. Frequent and prolonged Ketamine use can only lead to a detachment from reality, the neglect of "real-world" responsibilities, the piling up of mail, laundry, dirty dishes, empty vials of Ketamine, used needles, Pyrex plates with evaporated Ketamine residue lying around, etc. It's not a pretty sight, and I wouldn't recommend it.

The last two modes -- Exploratory and Clinical -- are very similar, but there are some subtle differences. Exploratory use is driven by curiosity, and I see no inherent destructive elements here. There is always a risk of Exploratory use becoming chronic, and then you would wind up skidding off into either the escapist or recreational modalities.

Clinical usage is essentially the same as Exploratory, but it is also coupled with a specific agenda. In a clinical setting, you are intentionally seeking to induce a lucid dreamlike state or out-of-body experience with the purpose of working through inner conflict or resolving some destructive behavior pattern. The goal or outcome you wish to produce is defined by your set -- the state of mind you have when going into the session. The label which you give to Ketamine as you take it defines that set. Instead of Anesthetic or Dissociative, a more proper label for a sub-anesthetic dose of Ketamine might be Deep Relaxation Inducer (DRI), Stress Diagnostic Tool (SDT), or Internal Metaprogramming Interface (IMI).

When experimenting with a new substance, it is always best to be overly cautious and start with low doses.
This word play may seem silly on the surface, but we perceive and interact with objects based on the labels we give them. Ketamine is a powerful drug, and like many powerful drugs it can act as either a poison or a medicine. The key to achieving a productive or medicinal session with Ketamine is to accurately measure your dosage. You definitely don't want to take too much all at once. A super high dose of Ketamine (100 mg to 300 mg) won't kill you, but it'll put you down pretty hard. High dose sessions are also more difficult to recall and often cause nausea. In contrast, a small dose of Ketamine (10 mg to 35 mg) simply acts like a mild sedative. Many people get anxious and overdo their first time with Ketamine, and this can lead to trouble and a poor understanding of the drug. When experimenting with a new substance, it is always best to be overly cautious and start with low doses. There are many levels of the experience worth exploring, so don't overdo it.

The two most common forms of Ketamine ingestion are by snorting and by intramuscular injection. Since snorted Ketamine absorbs into the body more slowly, it does not always reliably produce a profound dream state. Even though most people have social stigmas attached to any kind of needle use, intramuscular injection of Ketamine is really the most efficient way to accurately measure an effective dose for inner work. If you can get over the stigma and the fear involved, intramuscular injection of Ketamine is really not all that dangerous. The only danger with needles comes from sharing them, using them when they are dirty, or from injecting a lethal substance. Ketamine will knock you out, but it's not lethal.

Other than snorting and the needle, your options are limited. Some people have experimented with drinking Ketamine to questionable success. Drinking it tends to cause a mild to medium-grade state of disorientation and nausea. I have not heard reports of anyone taking tablets or capsules of Ketamine hydrochloride, but the results of such an experiment could prove interesting.

Health and Safety Issues

In addition to the clean needle issue, there are a few other safety issues to consider. Safe use of Ketamine demands a safe environment. Safe places include at home, on a couch, in a chair, lying in bed, lying on the floor, etc. You do not want to be in an unpredictable setting when you settle in, and you do not want to have to move around. Ketamine lasts from an hour to two hours, and this is an inner journey, not an outer one. Pillows are nice. An isolation tank (if you can find one) is even better. A warm bath is nice, but be careful. The late D.M. Turner, author of The Essential Psychedelic Guide, drowned in his bathtub while experimenting with Ketamine. If you are doing doses high enough to knock yourself completely out (100+ mg), it's best to stay away from the tub, or any water. It is always a good idea to have a sitter just in case there are any external hazards or unexpected interruptions during the session.

Navigating in the Emergent State

When you feel your energy beginning to slide or shift like something is tugging at you, it's time to move to the next level.
Within three to four minutes of injecting a moderate dose of Ketamine (50 mg to 70 mg), you'll begin to feel a warm tingling all over your body. This is the feeling of your skin's tactile sensors being shut down. The steady stream of sense data coming from your body begins to break up into static, and when you feel that first wave of tingling you are officially ready to log into the Ketamine explorer.

Lie back, get comfortable, and begin taking slow, deep, even breaths. As you breathe, listen to the carrier wave being generated in your head by the amplified tingling. This should feel somewhat like a head-rush, and a high pitched ringing will be noticeable in your ears. As you take in a long, slow breath, imagine that the carrier wave is cycling down from a high-pitched ringing to a low-pitched rumbling. It may be helpful to actually vocalize the high pitch of internal cycle and then modulate your voice to cycle it down to a basso Om tone.

After a few minutes of breathing and attenuating your internal cycle to a slower frequency, you should notice that your heartbeat has slowed dramatically and that your body has become extremely relaxed and almost numb. If there is any frequency in your head, it should be very slow, and matched in a steady rhythm with the beat of your heart and respiration. This would be somewhere in the 1 hz to 4 hz range. This is a deep delta state or dream state, and you'll recognize it because you'll begin to feel as if gravity has been shut off, and that you are now weightless and floating in space. Enjoy this feeling for a moment, and when you feel your energy beginning to slide or shift like something is tugging at you, it's time to move to the next level.

At about the fifteen minute mark of a Ketamine session, you will begin to feel all of the energy in your body unraveling. The threads of energy which keep you rigid and upright all day will begin to unwind, and each layer that peels off will feel like another layer of deep tension being evaporated from your body. As this happens, it is important to continue breathing and focus on activating and opening various chakras or energy centers in your body. As you energize the chakras in your head, your chest, and your stomach, you will be able to feel deep layers of buried stress unraveling and shooting out of your hands and body like beams of light.

At this point, it is helpful to visualize a bright bolt of energy about the diameter of a cardboard mailing tube running up through your tailbone, up your spine, and out the top of your head. This is your home axis, and it intersects with every primary chakra in your body. Practice moving energy up and down this axis by using breathing, visualization, posture, yoga, and/or stretching exercises.

When you pass your hands over various parts of your body, you will begin to feel how the lines of energy flowing through your body intersect and connect up with each other. These intersections are called nodal points, and by navigating through these points you can monitor the flow of CNS traffic through your body. If you find nodal points that are conversely weak or overflowing with backed-up energy, those are symptoms of some kind of stress that's trapped within the body. By locating these problem areas, you can diagnose specific areas of body tissue where stress packets are building up. Deleting these is easy, and can be accomplished through a combination of gentle massage, stretching, and yogic exercise. Hunting down knotted nodal points is a very invigorating practice, and a relaxing way to spend your post-emergent recovery period.

. . . . . . . . Create a hyperspatial trail of crumbs . . . . . . .
The style of energy healing described here uses many of the same techniques and concepts found in acupuncture, rei-ki, jo-rei, chi-gong, pranayama, yoga, and many other spiritual medicines. It should also be emphasized that Ketamine is not a substitute for these techniques, but is instead a useful adjunct to these techniques. Ketamine by itself can be relaxing, but it can also be somewhat of a roller-coaster ride. First time users are often overwhelmed by the experience and can do little more than lay back and let the experience go. There is nothing wrong with this type of usage, but it doesn't have much practical application. In contrast, when Ketamine is used in concert with meditation and directed energy visualizations, it can be a very powerful and rewarding therapeutic and self-diagnostic tool.

When I first discovered this application of Ketamine I was amazed. I was able to learn volumes about the subtle internal process of my own body by simply immersing my awareness deep within them. It was so intimately revealing that I immediately thought a Ketamine induced guided tour of your own internal organs should be made an optional class for all first-year medical students. Imagine what a massive paradigm shift that would be.

In essence, all navigation within the Ketamine space can be done by focusing your consciousness into a single nodal point and moving up and down the various medians within your body. If you want to do some brain work, simply slide the nodal point up into your head and traverse your neural networks until you find the routines you are looking for. They're all in there, as are all of your memories and internalized models of reality. While traversing through these networks you can relive memories as if you were an impartial observer; sort through lists of deeply ingrained personality constructs and behaviors without an emotional response; browse through all your autonomic controls and hormonal routines; and program future behavior through post-emergent suggestions

The final and often most rewarding level of the Ketamine experience is the OBE, or out-of-body experience. This level is reached by successfully moving the nodal point outside of your body, and letting your consciousness slurp out along with it. Sometimes it is helpful to simply let the nodal point slide up the spine and slosh out the back of your head through the crown chakra. This is a slightly odd feeling, and will induce a sensation of floating above the body, giving you the strange perspective of looking down on yourself. You can move the nodal point up into the ceiling, down through the floor, through the sewers, up through the phone lines, across rivers, over mountains, around the world on the internet, and out into space. You can even move through cellular stuff you don't even recognize, or through quantum worlds that are just flickering fields of energy transference. The key to finding your way around is setting landmarks - creating a hyperspatial trail of crumbs if you will. It is easier than it sounds because you'll find yourself in oddly familiar places that you know you've never been to before.

A single Ketamine session usually only lasts about 45 minutes to an hour, so before you know it your nodal point will begin to dissolve, and you'll be emerging back into a big tingling ball of white light. This is the true shape of your energy body, and this is the sensation of your body coming back online. If you happen to open your eyes during this period, there is a good chance you will actually be able to see your aura shimmering around you like a magnetic field in flux. At this point you should return to your home axis and let the nodal network map back onto your body. As you come back online, you will feel weak, but also cleansed, refreshed, and ready for a good stretch.

A Note on Addiction

The rewarding aspects of Ketamine seem endless. Navigating these energy networks gives you access to a limitless area of deep knowledge. The most seductive power of Ketamine is that it is simply impossible to navigate through all of the networks presented in a single session, probably not even in a single lifetime of prolonged use. Since the imagination is infinite, Ketamine exploration could theoretically go on forever. This, more than anything else, is what makes Ketamine an extremely addictive substance. In order to combat it you must moderate your use and not let Ketamine take over your life. A few good rules of thumb to follow to avoid addiction are 1) Never do repeat doses in a single session. Always come down fully from each dose and wait a few days to a week before going in again; 2) Never take Ketamine impulsively, or just because you're bored. This can lead to long-term binges and/or spree usage behavior; 3) Maintain a strict routine that lets you maximize the results of each session. There's no need to be in there all day when you know what you're going in for; and 4) Never let your Ketamine use take priority over your real-world responsibilities. Trust me, you're always needed elsewhere. The emergent state should be your refuge, not your permanent address. If you moderate your use and keep your feet on the ground you'll be fine. If you become indulgent and careless, Ketamine will pull you down.

Ketamine and the Future

It is too dangerous to be on Ketamine when you're walking around and dancing.
Considering Ketamine's profound ability to reliably and repeatedly induce hypnotic, lucid, and dreamlike states of deep relaxation, it is obviously an invaluable adjunct tool for therapies which deal with stress management, behavior modification, personality programming, reprogramming, metaprogramming, memory regression, habit change, etc. To limit its sanctioned use to anaesthetic purposes seems repressive, and even now there are studies being done to test its therapeutic potential. In the UK, Dr. Karl Jansen is using Ketamine to study the neurochemical implications of near death experiences (NDEs), and in Russia Dr. Evgeny Krupitsky is studying the effects of Ketamine Psychedelic therapy (KPT) on treating alcohol abuse.

However, like all great secrets eventually do, "Special K" has finally trickled down to the street level and has become a standard black market menu item among ravers, club kids, and psychonautic thrill seekers. It's no surprise that popular music bands like the Chemical Brothers, Kula Shakur, and Tool have started throwing around references to K in their work -- some veiled, some not so veiled. Last season the X-Files used Ketamine as the convenient psychoactive plot device of the week (even though they erred a little with some of Ketamine's subjective psychoactive effects, like a single K session lasting 6 hours to 3 days. A little inaccurate, but hey, it's TV. We'll let them slide). Even Time Magazine couldn't resist the urge to jump on the bandwagon, and recently printed a cautionary article entitled, "Is Your Kid on K?"

There's no doubt in my mind that Ketamine's popularity as a recreational drug will continue to grow, but this is a troubling trend. I predict that there are going to be more Ketamine-related accidents in the near future, and I would just like to emphasize again that Ketamine should not be used as a recreational drug in a party setting. It is simply too dangerous to be on K when you're walking around, dancing, etc. Unsafe use will wind up getting people hurt and killed, and it is only a matter of time before there is some K backlash in the hallowed halls of government.

Although laws vary from state to state, Ketamine is still fairly legal to possess. It is as high as Schedule III in some states, but unless you are trying to unload crates of it on the Mexican border, it is unlikely you would ever be prosecuted even if you were unfortunate enough to get caught in possession. However, it wouldn't surprise me if there was a federal ruling to place Ketamine into a more restrictive schedule within the year. That's usually what happens to any drug when parents find out that their kids are doing it.

James Kent is the Director of The Resonance Project.

©Copyright Resonant Media, 1998. All rights reserved.