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Is Ketamine Legal in Maryland?

Is Ketamine Legal in Maryland

Written by Deborah Tan, Avesta Ketamine Wellness Co-CEO

In this post:

Ketamine is legal for medical use in Maryland but remains illegal for recreational purposes. Doctors can administer the compound as a surgical anesthetic. Clinicians may also prescribe ketamine off-label for treatment-resistant depression and chronic pain. However, for anyone wondering, “Is ketamine legal in Maryland?” for any non-medical use, the answer is a definitive no.

This article dives into ketamine legality in Maryland, the US, and worldwide, including ketamine therapy and recreational use. 

Ketamine Infusions in Bethesda, MD, McLean, VA and Washington, DC

How is Ketamine Regulated in the US?

Ketamine is regulated as a Schedule III controlled substance under the United States Controlled Substances Act. This classification indicates that ketamine has medical use, particularly as an anesthetic in human and veterinary medicine. But it also carries a potential for abuse and dependence. Ketamine’s legality across the US hinges on this dual recognition.

Under this framework, consumers can not purchase or possess ketamine for personal use. However, healthcare providers can administer or prescribe the compound under controlled conditions. 

That said, medical ketamine rules can vary from state to state, particularly regarding prescription and anesthetic administration in pre-hospital EMS settings

Most state laws don’t specifically address distinctions between ketamine administration in hospitals compared to clinics. But Utah recently became the first to enact a legislative measure easing requirements for ketamine treatment centers. Senate Bill 197, called “Anesthesia Amendments,” says that clinics only need one individual trained in advanced airway management in the center rather than mandating one in each treatment room.

Is Ketamine Legal in Maryland?

Ketamine is tightly controlled in Maryland, with allowances for its use primarily in medical settings. The state adheres to federal guidelines, designating ketamine as a Schedule III controlled substance. This categorization means doctors and clinicians can legally administer ketamine under certain conditions, including:

ketamine legality in Maryland infographic
  • Surgical Anesthesia: Hospitals and medical facilities can utilize ketamine for its anesthetic properties during surgical procedures.
  • Psychiatric Treatment: Doctors and clinicians may administer ketamine off-label for psychiatric conditions within a clinical setting. This allowance has led to licensed ketamine clinics across Maryland offering IV infusions to patients who seek hope and healing. Clinics can also administer FDA-approved Spravato, a ketamine analog nasal spray. 
  • Chronic Pain: Comprehensive research shows that ketamine is incredibly effective for chronic pain conditions like migraines, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. As a result, Maryland patients can legally seek ketamine therapy to mitigate treatment-resistant conditions. 

Recreational use of ketamine remains illegal in Maryland, with no exceptions to this rule. 

Maryland residents suffering from depression, PTSD, and chronic pain can access legal, research-backed ketamine therapy at Avesta’s Bethesda clinic. Call today for a free consultation.

Is Ketamine Legal to Buy?

ketamine lozenges

To legally purchase ketamine in Maryland, patients must receive a prescription from a licensed clinical professional for specific conditions. 

Reputable clinics typically avoid prescribing at-home ketamine due to dependence risks. However, sometimes low-dose administration can help patients maximize therapetuic benefits in between infusions. Eligible Maryland patients can receive prescription ketamine for at-home use in the following forms:

Nasal sprays:

  • Nasal sprays are pharmaceutical formulations containing ketamine that are administered through the nasal passages.
  • Upon application, the spray delivers a precise dose of ketamine, which absorbs through the nasal mucosa into the bloodstream, resulting in a rapid onset of effects.


  • Lozenges are solid, medicated tablets containing ketamine that are dissolved slowly in the mouth.
  • As the lozenge dissolves, ketamine absorbs through the oral mucosa, providing a controlled release of the medication and a gradual onset of effects.

Is Ketamine Therapy Legal in Maryland?

ketamine therapy IV infusion at Avesta

Ketamine therapy is legal in Maryland, provided that licensed medical professionals within authorized clinics administer and supervise its use. 

Maryland clinics, like Avesta’s Bethesda center, offer IV ketamine infusions, and Spravato treatment operates under strict regulations to ensure patient safety and compliance. These clinics are pivotal resources for patients seeking alternative treatments for debilitating conditions resistant to conventional therapies.

  • Depression
  • Chronic pain conditions such as neuropathic pain
  • Anxiety disorders
  • PTSD
  • OCD
  • Addiction

Patients looking to explore ketamine therapy in Maryland must first undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a clinician. This assessment confirms the suitability of ketamine therapy for their specific condition, taking into account medical history and the severity of their symptoms. 

Approved patients typically undergo IV ketamine therapy or Spravato treatment. The standard protocol for IV ketamine therapy includes six sessions, each lasting between 40 to 60 minutes, spread over two to three weeks. Spravato therapy entails a twice-weekly dosage for four weeks, followed by single weekly doses for another four weeks. 

Call Avesta to learn more about the distinctions between IV ketamine and Spravato therapy. Our Bethesda care team will help you determine the right treatment for your condition.

Is Ketamine Legal for Recreational Use in Maryland?

illegal ketamine stock image

In Maryland, ketamine is not legal for recreational use. The state classifies ketamine as a Schedule III controlled substance under both federal and state laws.

Possession with intent to distribute, manufacturing drugs, and drug distribution are felony offenses, potentially punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $15,000, or both.

Possession of narcotics without a lawful prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia for using a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) can lead to up to four years of incarceration and a $25,000 fine or both, depending on the substance and the circumstances. 

Where is Ketamine Legal?

world illustration

Ketamine legality in the US is consistent state by state, with medical professionals authorized to administer and prescribe it and pharmacies to dispense it. However, non-medical ketamine use, possession, or sale is illegal and subject to penalties in all 50 states.

Globally, ketamine is not legally recognized for recreational use in any nation. And countries where ketamine is legal for medical purposes often have strict regulations to prevent its misuse.

In some places, ketamine is tightly regulated or even banned due to dependence, misuse, and overdose risks. In others, medical use is accessible.

For example:

  • In the United Kingdom, ketamine is classified as a Class B drug, illegal to possess without a prescription. 
  • In Canada, it is a Schedule I substance, indicating strict controls over its prescription and distribution.
  • In Australia before December 2003, ketamine was a scheduled drug in New South Wales (NSW) under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act. It has now been listed as Schedule 1 under the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 No 226.

Comparatively, India has some of the world’s most permissible ketamine rules. In 2013, the government added ketamine to Schedule X of the Drug and Cosmetics Act. Possession of less than 20 grams does not lead to imprisonment but may result in fines and mandatory rehabilitation classes.

Ketamine Infusions in Bethesda, MD, McLean, VA and Washington, DC

The Bottom Line

Under federal guidelines, ketamine is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance, acknowledging its medical benefits while recognizing its potential for abuse. This classification allows Maryland residents to seek legal ketamine therapy at licensed clinics like Avesta in Bethesda, Maryland. Overall, ketamine treatment offers a lifeline to people struggling with debilitating mental health issues, providing hope and relief where conventional treatments have failed.

If you live in the Bethesda, Maryland, area and seek legal ketamine therapy for your depression or chronic pain, call Avesta today. Our practitioners are here to be your lifeline and healing advocates. 

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