Developed by Parke-Davis in 1962, Ketamine is being marketed as an anaesthetic in human and veterinary medicine. It has, however, become a popular recreational drug due to its capability to produce a dissociative state. Users usually report a sense of detachment from one’s physical body, as well as hallucinations.
Ketamine, which is also known as Special K, K, ket, kitkat, super k or horse trank, comes in a white or off-white powder form or a clear liquid form. Users usually inject, snort or swallow Ketamine when using, but there are users who prefer to mix it in a drink, or smoke it with tobacco or cannabis.
Effects of Ketamine
Upon ingestion, Ketamine users typically feel like they are disassociated from their body. Hallucinations may also occur. It is also common for Ketamine users to feel sluggish, sleepy, confused and clumsy. In most cases, those who have ingested Ketamine may look drunk, and babble incessantly. Some may also have trouble with their memory.
The speed at which these effects kick in may vary depending upon the method of delivery. When injected, it doesn’t take more than 30 seconds. Those who snort Ketamine, however, will have to wait for five to ten minutes before they can feel the effects. Swallowing Ketamine takes even longer, at 20 minutes. The effects of ketamine usually last for approximately 45 to 90 minutes.
Unlike with most illicit drugs like heroin and cocaine, there isn’t much danger on overdosing of Ketamine. Because of its anaesthetic effects, the user is likely to pass out first before ingesting a lethal dose. However, the drug is not without its dangers, especially in the long term.
Dangers of using Ketamine
When taken outside one’s home, Ketamine can prove to be very dangerous, as it physically incapacitates—even paralyses—a user. Ketamine users who go out into the streets are likely to fall over and hurt themselves. They could also get run over by vehicles if they try crossing the street. Injecting Ketamine can also cause respiratory depression. As the body processes the drug, the heart rate becomes elevated, and that could lead to an irregular heartbeat, heart attack or stroke. Other long-term effects of Ketamine use include constant headaches, abdominal pain, diminished sense of smell due to snorting, poor memory and concentration and Ketamine bladder syndrome, a painful condition in which users find it hard to hold in urine. Incontinence is also a common symptom, and that can lead to bladder ulcerations.
Mixing Ketamine with other drugs
As with most other drugs, mixing Ketamine with alcohol can have disastrous consequences as both drugs are classified as depressants. Aside from magnifying the effects of Ketamine, an alcohol and Ketamine mixture can also lead to vomiting, which always poses a danger of aspirating material into the lungs, which, in turn, can endanger the user’s life. The user may also exhibit aggressive behaviour and engage in physical altercations. As for mixing with cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines, ingesting Ketamine with any of those substance puts an enormous strain on the body and could lead to increased heart rate.