Ketamine is a schedule 5 drug mainly used for starting and maintaining anaesthesia. It induces a trance-like state while providing pain relief, sedation, and memory loss.
It was developed in 1963 to replace PCP and was extensively used for surgical anaesthesia in the Vietnam War due to its safety. Apart from use in human anaesthesia, it is also used in emergency medicine for pain relief and veterinary medicine. It allows heart function, breathing, and airway reflexes generally to remain functional. Effects typically begin within five minutes when given by injection, and last up to approximately 25 minutes. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system.
Ketamine is also illegally used as a recreational drug for its hallucinogenic and dissociative effects. It is quickly becoming the most prominent hallucinogenic club drug in the 21st century.
Please note: Illegal use of Ketamine is extremely dangerous, due to the unpredictability of compounds contained as well as its potency.
What makes Ketamine a dangerous drug?
Although it is manufactured as an injectable liquid, in illicit use ketamine is generally evaporated to form a powder. When misused, Ketamine can change your sense of sight and sound. You can have hallucinations and feel out of touch with your surroundings — and even from yourself. It can make it hard to speak or move. It induces amnesia. Because of these properties, the drug is sometimes given to unsuspecting victims and used in the commission of sexual assaults. It is called the ”date-rape drug”.
How is it used?
Ketamine is odourless and tasteless, so it can be added to beverages without being detected, and It can be snorted, injected or swallowed.
What are its short-term effects?
Low-dose intoxication from ketamine results in impaired attention, learning ability, and memory.
Ketamine is a powerful drug that produces vivid and dream-like hallucinations. Used legitimately as a horse tranquillizer, it works by cutting off communication between the body and brain. With the body asleep, the mind becomes isolated, deprived of normal sensory perception. Users report sensations ranging from a pleasant feeling of floating to being separated from their bodies. Some Ketamine experiences involve a terrifying feeling of almost complete sensory detachment that is likened to a near-death experience. These experiences, similar to a “bad trip” on LSD, are called the “K-hole.”
In high doses, Ketamine can cause delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood pressure, depression, and potentially fatal respiratory problems.
Withdrawal from Ketamine
Ketamine abuse quickly causes psychological dependence. The best way to stop Ketamine addiction is to go ”cold turkey”. The most dangerous symptom of withdrawal is intense depression, which can lead to suicide. A person can become emotionally very unstable during withdrawal with symptoms of shakes, nausea, fatigue, agitation, confusion, rage, psychosis and suppressed respiratory and cardiac function.
Withdrawal from Ketamine can last from 72 hours to several weeks. Symptoms usually subside by day 15. A person going through withdrawal is best kept separate from other people and needs medical monitoring and assistance to relieve symptoms of withdrawal.
Drug detection times
Please use these figures as a guide only:
Alcohol: 3-5 days in urine, 10-12 hours in blood
Amphetamines: 1-3 days in urine and around 12 hours in blood
Barbiturates: 2-4 days in urine and 1-2 days in blood
Benzodiazepines: 3-6 weeks in urine and 2-3 days in blood
Cannabis: 7-30 days in urine and up to 2 weeks in blood
Cocaine: 3-4 days in urine and 1-2 days in blood
Codeine: 1 day in urine and up to 12 hours in blood
Heroin: 3-4 days in urine and up to 12 hours in blood
LSD: 1-3 days in urine and up to 2-3 hours in blood
MDMA (ecstasy): 3-4 days in urine and 1-2 days in blood
Methamphetamine (crystal meth): 3-6 days in urine and 24 – 72 hours in blood
Methadone: 3-4 days in urine and 24-36 hours in blood
Morphine: 2-3 days in urine and 6-8 hours in blood