Ketamine (ketalar) is an injectable, fast-acting general anesthetic used as a sedative in humans and as a tranquilizer in animals. It is also classified as a “dissociative anesthetic hallucinogen” since it causes patients to feel cut off or disconnected from their pain and surroundings and not in control.

Ketamine is mostly utilized in surgery to induce sleep and minimize pain and suffering during specific diagnostic or therapeutic procedures. Also, lower doses of the drug are used in “Ketamine therapy”, a medical management procedure, to manage treatment-resistant depression, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, because Ketamine causes hallucinations and dissociation experiences at high doses, people abuse it to feel good, deal with life, or handle stress. Abuse has the potential to result in strong psychological dependence or moderate to low physical dependence. Ketamine has also been misused by facilitating sexual assault.

Lower doses of ketamine produce pain relief and sedation, while at higher dosages, the drug produces dissociation and hallucinatory effects. Levels for general anesthesia are typically in the 1,000-6,000 ng/mL range.

Where does it come from?

Many countries produce ketamine for commercial use, including China, America, and India. Most of the ketamine that is illegally distributed comes from hospitals or veterinary practices. In countries like the United States, it is also illegally smuggled from Mexico.

How does Ketamine look, smell, or taste?

Commercial ketamine is produced as a clear liquid or as a white or off-white powder. But, when sold on the street, it is a crystalline powder that is gritty white, brown, or beige. Powdered ketamine (ranging from 100 to 200 milligrams) is commonly enclosed in tiny vials, tiny plastic bags, capsules, paper, glassine, or aluminum foil folds.

In order to increase weight and boost the dealer’s earnings, street ketamine is occasionally mixed or cut with other powders and sold as a white, brown, or beige crystalized powder. It is impossible to determine by appearance whether what you purchased has been tampered with.

Ketamine has an unappealingly bitter taste. The smell produced by heating up ketamine cigarettes is like burning plastic. This makes it difficult to identify the drug based on smell.


Ketamine is classified as a Schedule III non-narcotic substance under the Controlled Substances Act. It does not act as an opiate, but its effects require an opiate receptor signaling pathway.

How is Ketamine used or abused?

Depending on its form, Ketamine can be injected, smoked (in marijuana or tobacco cigarettes), ingested (as a tablet, capsule, or mixed with drinks), or snorted. It is frequently combined with other drugs, such as cocaine or Ecstasy (also known as “kitty flipping”), amphetamine, or methamphetamine. Mixing with other drugs can result in fatal outcomes or death.

How long before the effects of Ketamine kick off?

Depending on how it is administered, ketamine’s effects can take time to manifest. When delivered intravenously (IV), ketamine takes effect in a matter of seconds; when injected intramuscularly (IM), it takes 4 minutes; when snooted or bumped, it takes 15 minutes; and when taken orally, it takes 20 to 60 minutes. Its effects might last for 5 to 60 minutes, depending on the dosage and method of administration.

How long does Ketamine stay in the body?

Many factors can impact how long a drug lasts and how quickly it is eliminated, including age, body mass, metabolic rate, drug dosage, and mode of administration. According to the American Addiction Centers, after intake, ketamine can typically still be found in the blood for up to 72 hours, in saliva for up to 24 hours, in urine for up to 14 days, and in hair for up to one month or more.

What does Ketamine do to the body?

A few minutes after taking Ketamine, blood pressure and heart rate may rise, then progressively drop over the course of the following 10 to 20 minutes. Users may become numb to stimulation. People who are in this state report experiencing muscle stiffness, salivation, tear secretions, dilated pupils, and involuntary fast eye movement. Other side effects include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain (K cramp), or liver damage.

Ketamine affects the kidney, urinary tract, and bladder, leading to uncontrollable peeing. Serious damage to the bladder can occur, with an urgent and frequent need to pee and blood in the urine. The damage can be so severe that sometimes the bladder needs surgical repair or even removal.

Because Ketamine stops you from feeling pain, it increases your chances of injuring yourself without realizing it.

At higher dosages, Ketamine can slow down breathing, create numbness throughout the body, and cause mobility issues. An overdose can be lethal since it can cause breathing to stop, leading to death or unconsciousness. Acute effects of Ketamine have been linked to Matthew Perry’s death, according to medical reports, whereby an overdose of the drug was detected.

What does Ketamine do to the mind?

Ketamine skews one’s perception of sound and vision. This induces hallucination, a sense of disconnection from reality, and a lack of control. The hallucinogenic effects don’t last very long—between 30 and 60 minutes. Also, the effects give rise to different experiences for the user.

Slang terms for ketamine-related experiences or effects have been reported and include:

  • “K-land”, which denotes a tranquil and colorful experience.
  • “K-hole” is a term used to describe an out-of-body, near-death experience. This can last for up to 2 hours.
  • “Baby food”, which causes users to lapse into blissful, child-like inertia.
  • “God”, users who really believed they had encountered their creator.

Side effects after taking Ketamine include hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), agitation, depression, cognitive difficulties, unconsciousness, loss of memory (short and long-term), or an inability to concentrate. Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder is reported to occur several weeks after consuming the drug.

How does Ketamine make people behave?

It can cause people to appear calmer, slower, and more at ease, but it can also make it difficult for them to move normally and to make sense.


Ketamine is made up of a racemic mixture that consists of equal amounts of two enantiomers, (S)-ketamine and (R)-ketamine (or esketamine and arketamine, respectively). The (S)-enantiomer called esketamine is a stronger form of Ketamine which is used as a nasal spray (Spravato®) for those with treatment-resistant depression. Esketamine is only available on prescription.

Street names

Common street names for ketamine include Cat Tranquilizer, Cat Valium, K, Jet K, Kit Kat, Purple, Special K, Special La Coke, Super Acid, Super K, Vitamin K, and Bump.

Can you be addicted to Ketamine?

Yes, you can be addicted. However, because ketamine does not cause any physical withdrawal symptoms, addiction to it is frequently referred to as psychological dependence. Dependence on the drug can lead to potential health risks. Contact an addiction center to help you stop.

Individuals who routinely use ketamine may become tolerant to it and need to take even more to achieve the desired results.