What is Ketamine?
- Ketamine hydrochloride (a.k.a, ”Special K” or “K”) belongs to a class of drugs called “dissociative anesthetics” that separate perception from sensation. Other drugs in this category include PCP, DXM, and nitrous oxide.
- Ketamine is a widely-used anesthetic, with applications in pediatric medicine, general anesthesia, veterinary medicine, and particularly in patients with severe asthma.
- Ketamine infusions and nasal sprays have been rapidly gaining popularity as treatment for depression. Ketamine produces a marked and rapid reduction in symptoms for patients with suicidal ideations.
- Illicitly sold ketamine is commonly produced in Mexico or Asia and brought into the U.S., or diverted from veterinary clinics.
- Medical-grade ketamine comes as a liquid. Unless a person is injecting it, it’s usually evaporated into a white powder that is then snorted (or, rarely, swallowed).
What are the effects of Ketamine?
- At lower doses, ketamine produces a mild trance-like or “floaty” feeling similar to nitrous oxide or alcohol.
- Higher doses produce hallucinogenic and dissociative effects, and may cause out-of-body experiences.
- An out-of-body experience is often referred to as entering a “k-hole” and can be compared to a near death experience, sometimes with sensations of rising above one’s body. Other users report being “teleported” to other locations. Many users find these experiences spiritually significant, while others find them frightening, particularly if they’re unexpected.
- While in a k-hole it is dangerous and very difficult to move. Ketamine disrupts communication between the brain and body, reducing motor control and pain signaling. Always remain seated or lying down during the experience.
- The effects of ketamine last about 30-60 minutes. If ingested orally, it can last up to two hours, with a slower come-up and lower peak.
What is the dosage of Ketamine?
- Most people snort small lines or “bumps” of about 30-60 milligrams, and the effect comes on within about 5 to 15 minutes. (Onset can be much longer if swallowed.)
- 100mg is usually enough to enter a full dissociative state (a.k.a, “k-hole”).
- If liquid ketamine is injected, less is needed to enter a k-hole, and the effects can be felt within minutes. It is much more common to inject ketamine intramuscularly than intravenously in recreational settings, but ketamine will be administered through an IV drip in a clinical setting.
Is Ketamine Addictive?
- Ketamine can be difficult to obtain, and people often sell counterfeit drugs as ketamine. Sometimes these are other dissociative drugs such as 2-fluorodeschloroketamine (2-FDCK), deschloroketamine (DCK), or 3-MeO-PCP, which can have quite different effects, onset times, dosages, and duration. Sometimes the adulterants aren’t dissociatives at all. A white powder could be anything. Always test your drugs before you consume them.
- Ketamine is very risky to combine with central nervous system (CNS) depressants like alcohol, benzos or GHB. These substances compound each other’s effects, which often leads to blackouts and severe spins, nausea, and vomiting. Choking on vomit is a major concern of these combinations, as well as behaviors that can lead to bodily harm while severely altered.
- Ketamine is moderately rewarding and reinforcing, which can lead to problematic use patterns for some people.
- Frequent use, especially of high doses, can lead to acute behavioral and psychological changes that tend to dissipate when use is halted. Tolerance to ketamine builds fairly quickly.
- Long-term use of ketamine has been linked to kidney and bladder damage. People who use ketamine frequently may be at risk of ketamine bladder cystitis, a condition in which the lining of the bladder is damaged. Ketamine bladder can lead to incontinence and other problems with urination.
- Do not try to walk on high doses of ketamine. The k-hole often presents visual hallucinations that can distort your ability to see your environment properly, leading to falls and injuries.
- Never use higher doses of ketamine alone. Always have a “sitter” when taking high doses (someone sober whose job it is to watch over you during the experience). People have died after taking high doses of ketamine and asphyxiating on vomit.
- Entering a k-hole can be an interesting experience, but it is not something to do in a public setting. If you want to enter a K-hole, do it with a close friend monitoring you in a private setting. Additionally, not everyone enjoys the k-hole.
- Be self aware! If you choose to use ketamine, conscious use reduces the risk of adverse experiences and increases the likelihood of reaping benefits. It can be easy to use ketamine frequently in social settings, which may pose a risk of psychological reinforcement and harm to your bladder or kidneys.