What is Ketamine? Is it Dangerous?


Ketamine is a club drug commonly found at raves and, even more commonly, at veterinary clinics. Vets use the drug as an animal anesthetic, although it has also been used in certain cases in the treatment of humans with burns or other severe injuries. Despite its ability to serve a useful function, the drug is frequently abused on the club scene and can just as frequently be fatal.

Known as Special K, Super K, Vitamin K, Cat Valium, and Super Acid, ketamine is available in liquid and powder form. The powder comes from heating up the liquid on a hot plate or other warming device until it forms crystals. The crystals are then broken down and pounded into powder. Users typically take the drug orally or snort the white or off-white powder up their nose. Other means of taking ketamine include putting it into an alcoholic beverage or other drink or rolling it into a joint and smoking it. Although ketamine can be injected and inhaled, oral and intranasal ingestion provide the most rapid effects.

The effects typically last 30 to 60 minutes and can begin a few minutes after snorting the drug. Ingesting the drug orally slightly increases the waiting period for the effects to begin.

Dangers of Ketamine Use and Abuse

The drug is big on distorting perceptions, usually those of sight and sound. It can also induce a feeling of detachment, not only from the environment, but also from one’s own self. Perception distortion can make it difficult for users to drive or even function properly, greatly increasing the risk of injury and self-harm. Another effect is the hallucinations and illusions the drug may sometimes produce, taking users further away from reality.

Physical effects can include a total unresponsiveness to stimuli and a trance-like state. The trance-like state generally comes with dilated pupils, uncontrollable tear secretions and salivation, and involuntary rapid eye movement.

Upping the Ante

When users ingest larger quantities of ketamine, they can experience what users call a “K-hole.” This is a state near to complete sedation that some users have said resembles a near-death experience. High doses of ketamine can produce actual death, due to its ability to severely depress the respiratory system.

Additional terms used to describe a ketamine experience include “K-land,” “Baby food,” and “God.” K-land is a colorful and mellow trip while baby food refers to a trip that regresses users into an infantile stupor. God is reserved for an experience in which users are convinced they have, in fact, met God.

Larger doses can also lead to dizziness, muscle twitches, nausea, vomiting, and slurred speech. The confused and helpless state ketamine can produce makes the drug ideal for date rape or other activities and crimes done to the user without his or her consent. Despite the extreme vulnerability the drug causes, users have reported feelings of being invulnerable, a factor that may lead to risky or even deadly behaviors.

Impaired motor functioning, delirium, an extremely rapid heart rate and loss of coordination often come with the ketamine territory, as do rigid muscles and inability to move. Amnesia and aggressive or violent behavior can also be part of the deal. Death can be a given for those who suffer ketamine overdose.

Risk of Overdose

The risk of overdose increases with continued use of the drug. This occurs not only because the users increase their odds of overdosing with each ketamine use, but because they also build up tolerance to the drug. Some users have built up such high tolerances to ketamine that they no longer begin to feel the same effects that earlier use produced, particularly the feeling of dissociation.

A major danger is ingesting more and more of the drug to achieve the same effects, a move that can easily result in overdose and death. Binging on ketamine is not uncommon, where users ingest large quantities of ketamine over a short period, even more drastically increasing the risk of overdose. An overdose of ketamine can lead to dangerously slow breathing and respiratory functioning, unconsciousness and, in the most severe cases, death.

Long-Term Effects

Long-term effects of repeated ketamine use may include flashbacks, depression, and anxiety as well as severe and potentially fatal respiratory issues. Users can develop both a physical and psychological dependence and addiction to the drug, often resulting in extreme and maddening cravings when ketamine is not available.

Kicking a ketamine addiction can be a tough hurdle to overcome, but help is available. Best Drug Rehabilitation offers recovery programs for ketamine and other drugs using a proven holistic method and a recovery program tailored to each individual.

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