Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic used in human anesthesia and veterinary medicine. Dissociative drugs are hallucinogens that cause a person to feel detached from reality. Much of the ketamine sold on the street has been diverted from veterinarians’ offices. Ketamine’s chemical structure and mechanism of action are similar to those of PCP.
Also known as special K, super K, and vitamin k, among other slang terms, ketamine is manufactured as an injectable liquid. In illicit use ketamine is swallowed or evaporated to form a snortable powder. It is odorless and tasteless, so it can be added to beverages without being detected, and it induces amnesia. Because it has been used to commit sexual assaults due to its ability to sedate and incapacitate unsuspecting victims, ketamine is also considered to be a “date rape” drug.
Ketamine can cause dream-like states and hallucinations. People who use the drug report sensations ranging from a pleasant feeling of floating to being separated from their bodies.
Ketamine—also referred to as Special K, Kit Kat, cat valium, Dorothy or Vitamin K—is an anesthetic for animals that is abused as a recreational drug. It is especially popular in the club scene among young adults.
Ketamine is defined as a dissociative anesthetic due to its sedating effects, which produce an out-of-body experience where the user feels detached from themselves and their surroundings. Ketamine also distorts the user’s perceptions of sight and sound and can make it difficult to move. At extremely high doses, users have reported feeling as if a “near-death experience” is happening. Other users report that they experience a “state of utter bliss” on Ketamine. Ketamine is sometimes used in medical settings, such as to sedate children who have had adverse reactions to other anesthetic medications, as well as in radiation and burn therapy. It is also used in situations where sedation is necessary but stronger anesthetics may be too much for the individual to handle.
Tolerance, Dependence, and Withdrawal
The use of ketamine can result in tolerance, dependence, and symptoms of withdrawal. When tolerance occurs, people require larger or more frequent doses of the drug to achieve the same effects they felt initially. Dependence occurs when a person needs to continue taking a drug in order to avoid the negative effects of withdrawal.
How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?
Ketamine has a half-life of approximately three hours10 , which means that it takes approximately 14 to 18 hours for the drug to be eliminated from a person’s system. The exact range of time, however, depends on a variety of factors including how much of the drug was used as well as the individual’s body mass, hydration levels, and metabolism.