What Are the Effects of Ketamine?

The Effects of Dissociative Drugs Are Unpredictable

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Question: What Are the Effects of Ketamine?

Answer: Ketamine was introduced in 1963 as a replacement for PCP and is still approved for human anesthesia and veterinary medicine. It is produced as an injectable liquid, but in street form it is evaporated into a powder that can be snorted or compressed into pills.

Ketamine is known as a dissociative drug.

Ketamine's effects are very similar to those of PCP, but less potent and of shorter duration.

Ketamine users report effects that range from a pleasant feeling of floating, to being separated from their bodies.

But, the effects of ketamine can be unpredictable. Some users report having terrifying feelings of complete sensory detachment similar to a near-death experience. This experience is known as a "K-hole."

Because Ketamine is odorless and tasteless is has been known to be used as a "date rape" drug, slipped into beverages unnoticed.

These are not the only effects of ketamine. Here are some of the general effects of dissociative drugs:

Effects of Low to Moderate Doses

  • Numbness
  • Loss of coordination, disorientation, and confusion
  • Dizziness, nausea, vomiting
  • Changes in sensory perceptions (sight, sound, shapes, time, body image)
  • Hallucinations
  • Feelings of detachment from self and environment
  • Increase in blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature

Effects of High Doses

  • Memory loss
  • Physical distress, including dangerous changes in blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature
  • Marked psychological distress, including feelings of extreme panic, fear, anxiety, paranoia, invulnerability, exaggerated strength, and aggression
  • Use with high doses of alcohol or other depressants can lead to respiratory distress or arrest, resulting in death

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    National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs." Research Report Series Updated January 2014

    The Partnership at DrugFree.org. "Ketamine." Drug Guide. Accessed March 2014.

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