Category: Dissociative Anesthetic, Psychedelic
Chemical name: 2-(2-chlorophenyl)-2-(methylamino)-cyclohexanone
- Ketamine is a chemical used as a fast-acting anesthetic and pain killer for animals and, less commonly, for humans.
- Ketamine is a colourless and tasteless liquid that can be taken orally (slower effects), injected intra-muscularly or intravenously, or heated to create a powder that can be snorted.
- Effects usually last 35 to 40 minutes, but when taken orally it can last for 2-4 hours.
*Reactions and experiences may vary dramatically from person to person.*
Effects on brain:
- Low doses - Redistributes and blocks the neurotransmitters glutamate and aspartate, affecting memory, perception of pain, learning and reactions to the environment.
- High doses - Binds to opioid receptors 'mu' and 'sigma' which reduce pain.
- Long term abuse of ketamine interrupts protein production, which along with toxins can cause hemorrhaging in the brain.
Effects on body:
- Short term effects can include increased energy, numbness, loss of motor coordination (ataxia), mild rise in blood pressure, inability to speak, confusion, nausea and vomiting, nosebleeds, loss of consciousness in high doses.
- Possible nasal discomfort if snorted.
- Possible discomfort, pain or numbness at injection site, if injected intra-muscularly.
- Possible long term effects include bladder problems (inflammation, painful and/or urgent urination), kidney failure. Negative side effects of ketamine increase with higher doses and frequent use.
Effects on behavior:
- Sense of calmness, euphoria, out-of-body experiences, open and closed eye visuals, enhanced feeling of connection with the world, dissociation of mind from body, loss of sense of time, confusion, disorientation, shifts in perception of reality.
- With higher doses dissociation of mind from body becomes more intense, and out of body experiences and visuals become highly realistic. This is commonly referred to as the “K-Hole”.
- Possible long term effects include paranoia, egocentrism and preoccupation with craving or getting the next hit.
Addiction:Not known to be physically addictive, but psychological addiction can occur quite quickly.
Tolerance:Will develop quickly to the reinforcing effects and discriminative stimulus effects
Withdrawal Symptoms:Can include teeth grinding, diarrhea, fatigue, anxiety, confusion, tremors
*Disclaimer! Nothing you do can make using ketamine completely safe. All drug use has inherent risks and dangers. The suggestions in this section can only help you reduce some of the associated risks. The best way to avoid the harms related to drug use is to not take the drug at all.*
- Ketamine is illegal, therefore if you are caught possessing, exchanging, buying or selling this drug it can result in criminal charges.
- Drug use affects the developing mind and body differently than developed ones. Waiting until your mind and body have more fully developed before using substances can have long term health and mental benefits.
- Food should not be consumed within an hour and a half before the trip.
- Remain seated/lying down when possible. Nausea is more likely when users try to get up and move around within the first 90 minutes.
- Many people prefer to be with people that they are close to when taking ketamine to help control feelings of loneliness. It is also a good idea to have a sober monitor or experienced user around.
- Avoid swimming and other similar activities in unsecure settings.
- Avoid taking ketamine with other substances. Many ketamine related deaths have been a result of mixing it with other substances.
- Some ketamine users have reported feeling like they are stuck in a bad trip and some have as a result of that feeling required hospitalization.
- Since it can cause dissociation, amnesia, and loss of consciousness, ketamine has been used as a date rape drug.
- One recommendation is that people set a limit on use before ever trying it so they can have a benchmark against which to judge their usage levels when they are using. Write down the limits you’ve come up with and check in with them regularly.
- Avoid sharing equipment (straws, syringes, spoons) since this could lead to transmission of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV
- If injecting, use new, clean syringes and equipment. Prepare your shot on a clean surface. Clean the area you are planning to inject with soap and water or an alcohol pad. You can get clean injection supplies from a syringe exchange, a pharmacy, or your local health department. If you can’t get new needles, try smoking or snorting instead.