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Last updated : February 22, 2018
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.1
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.2,3
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.3
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
Ketamine affects everyone differently, based on:
The following effects may be experienced:
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 by dialling triple zero (000). Ambulance officers don’t need to involve the police.
In the day following ketamine use, you may be experience:
Regular use of ketamine may eventually cause:
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.2,5
The effects of taking ketamine with other drugs– including over-the-counter or prescribed medications – can be unpredictable and dangerous, and could cause:
Giving up ketamine after using it for a long time is challenging because the body has to get used to functioning without it. Withdrawal symptoms usually last for 4-6 days. These symptoms can include:
anxiety, blurred vision, clumsiness, confusion, Feeling detached from your body, feeling happy, feeling relaxed, hallucination, increased blood pressure, lowered sensitivity to pain, panic, slurred speech, violence, vomiting.