Monday, November 20th, 2017

Ketamine Use


Ketamine is a drug used in both human and animal medicine. Usually, it is combined with a sedative and used as an anesthetic. It is also used in emergency medicine as an analgesic (pain killer) and as a treatment for bronchospasm. New studies suggest that Ketamine may be useful in treating psychological disorders such as bipolar disorder. Ketamine is similar to PCP in that they both cause a dissociative state.

In a medical setting, Ketamine is injected into the veins or muscles. In illicit use, ketamine is often evaporated from this injectable form to create a powder, which is snorted or swallowed. It is known on the street as “special k” or “vitamin k” and is commonly found at clubs and raves. Ketamine causes visual distortions, hallucinations, loss of sense of time, euphoria, and impaired memory and attention span.

The effects of ketamine use vary with the dosage of ketamine used. In small doses, ketamine use causes a mild, psychedelic euphoria similar to the effect of ecstasy. At high doses, ketamine use can trigger what is known as a “k-hole” effect. A k-hole is the point when the user loses grasp of all his or her senses. There is a complete separation of mind and body. Most users will feel extreme disorientation and experience vivid hallucinations. They will be unable to move or speak at this point.

The effects of Ketamine generally last between one and two hours, depending on the route of administration and the dose. When ketamine is injected, the effect begins almost immediately and is over within an hour. Oral or nasal administration usually takes between 10-15 minutes to kick in, and hallucinatory effects can last up to 2 hours. 

Long-term ketamine use can cause several adverse effects. Mostly, long-term ketamine use has neurological effects including memory loss, depression, and neural dysfunction. Urinary tract problems are also common with long-term ketamine use. Long-term users can experience bladder incontinence, over activity, and even blood in the urine. 

In general, ketamine should not be combined with other drugs. In combination, ketamine will either overpower the effect of other substances, the other substance will take away from the ketamine experience, or the combination will cause dangerous respiratory depression. For example, ketamine use in combination with alcohol, benzodiazepines, or opiates will compound the respiratory depressive effects of these drugs, and in high enough doses, the combination can cause overdose and death. Also, ketamine use does not have an add-on effect with other hallucinogens and will generally overpower them. Stimulants such as cocaine or meth will generally decrease the effect of ketamine.

Sudden cessation of ketamine use does not appear to produce any physical withdrawal symptoms. However, long term ketamine use does have a high risk of psychological dependence and addiction. Stopping the drug can cause various psychological symptoms like craving, depression, irritability and insomnia.