What is ketamine?
Ketamine is used by medical practitioners and veterinarians as an anaesthetic. It is sometimes used illegally by people to get high. Ketamine can produce hallucinogenic effects, causing a person to see, hear, smell, feel or taste things that aren’t really there or are different from how they are in reality. When it’s sold illegally, ketamine usually comes as a white crystalline powder. It can also be made into tablets and pills or dissolved in a liquid. A number of clinical trials and studies are currently being undertaken to assess ketamine as a treatment for depression, early indications are showing good results.
Special K, K, ket, kitkat, super k or horse trank.
How is it used?
Ketamine can be swallowed, snorted or injected. It is also sometimes smoked with cannabis or tobacco. The effects of ketamine may be experienced within 30 seconds if injected, 5–10 minutes if snorted, and up to 20 minutes if swallowed. The effects of ketamine can last for approximately 45 to 90 minutes.
Effects of ketamine
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries risk. Ketamine affects everyone differently, based on:
• Size, weight and health
• Whether the person is used to taking it
• Whether other drugs are taken around the same time
• The amount taken
• The strength of the drug (varies from batch to batch)
The following effects may be experienced:
• Feeling happy and relaxed
• Feeling detached from your body (‘falling into a k-hole’)
• Confusion and clumsiness
• Increased heart rate and blood pressure
• Slurred speech and blurred vision
• Anxiety, panic and violence
• Lowered sensitivity to pain
If you take a large amount or have a strong batch, you could overdose. If you have any of the symptoms below, call an ambulance straight away
• Inability to move, rigid muscles
• High body temperature, fast heartbeat
• Coma and ‘near death’ experiences
Coming down In the day following ketamine use, you may experience:
• Memory loss
• Impaired judgement, disorientation
• Aches and pains
Regular use of ketamine may eventually cause:
• Poor sense of smell (from snorting)
• Mood and personality changes, depression
• Poor memory, thinking and concentration
• Ketamine bladder syndrome (see below)
• Abdominal pain
• Needing to use more to get the same effect
• Dependence on ketamine
• Financial, work and social problems
Ketamine bladder syndrome
Large, repeated doses of ketamine may eventually cause ‘ketamine bladder syndrome’, a painful condition needing ongoing treatment. Symptoms include difficulty holding in urine, incontinence, which can cause ulceration in the bladder. Anyone suffering from ketamine bladder syndrome needs to stop using ketamine and see a health professional.
Using ketamine with other drugs
The effects of taking ketamine with other drugs– including over-the-counter or prescribed medications – can be unpredictable and dangerous, and could cause:
• Ketamine + alcohol or opiates: lack of awareness of effects of the depressant drugs, which may lead to taking too much and vomiting, slowed breathing, coma and death.
• Ketamine + amphetamines, ecstasy and cocaine: enormous strain on the body, which can lead to fast heart rate.