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Ketamine – What are the effects when abused

Ketamine is used by medical practitioners and veterinarians as an anaesthetic. It is sometimes used illegally by people to get high

As Ketamine gained more widespread use as an anaesthetic in the medical world, it increased in use as a party drug. You may have overheard people calling it by its other nicknames: Dorothy, special K, Kit-Kat, Vitamin K or Cat Valium.

(Not to be confused with the drug Kat or Cat)

First formulated in the 1960s. Originally, it was used primarily as a sedative for animals. Though, since its growth, it has been recognised as a useful and effective anaesthetic in other medical situations.

It belongs to a class of drugs known as dissociative anaesthetics, drugs in this category make a person feel detached from sensations and surroundings as if they are floating outside their body. Similar and related category drugs include the hallucinogen, phencyclidine (the notorious PCP), dextromethorphan (DXM), and nitrous oxide(laughing gas)


Traditional Ketamine Use

Used in veterinary medicine, the most widely used anaesthetic and is used in some surgical procedures in humans.



Is Ketamine safe to use?

Used under close health administration Ketamine can be a beneficial medication. Nevertheless, taking the drug without medicinal guidance is hazardous. A wide range of side effects and problems, come with Ketamine recreational use, some of which can be deadly.

Other sedative type substances, particularly alcohol, are antidepressants in consequence. Still, the antidepressant result of sedatives is frequently short-lived and there is an inclination when used for that result the impact is that addiction can develop.

The consequences of long-term use is still unknown, an often overlooked consequence, is Ketamine Bladder Syndrome the walls of the bladder become irritated and inflamed.
If ignored, Ketamine bladder can have grave results. The damaged bladder tissue can ultimately become badly scarred. Once scarred, a damaged bladder requires major surgery.


At the present time, Ketamine has numerous medical purposes:

  1. As a general anaesthetic, to put individuals to sleep for surgical procedure
  2. As an numbing analgesic, to provide respite from pain
  3. As part of a individual handling agenda for hopelessness and related depression

Club Recreational  Use

Individuals initially started using it as a recreational drug in the early 1980s. Thinking mistakenly it was less hazardous than other “club drugs”.

As ketamine is a dissociative drug, it acts on the receptors in our mind and makes reality appear distorted. Although Ketamine can lead to some pleasurable effects. For example:

  • A feeling of being removed from reality and its difficulties
  • Undergoing graphic or acoustic hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real)
  • Reduced sensitivity to discomfort

It is considered similar to ecstasy and abused as a date-rape drug.

Ketamine can be swallowed, snorted or injected. It is also sometimes smoked with cannabis or tobacco. The effects of ketamine smoking Ketimine is immediate AND may take up to 30 seconds if injected, 1-5 minutes if snorted, and up to 20 minutes if swallowed. The effects of ketamine can last for approximately 45 to 90 minutes.

Adverse effects can be:

  • drowsiness
  • hallucinations, confusion, and delirium
  • dilated pupils and changes in eyesight
  • inability to control eye movements
  • changes in perceptions of colour or sound
  • dissociation from body or identity
  • slow heartbeat
  • behavioural changes
  • increased pressure in the eyes and brain
  • difficulty thinking or learning
  • nausea
  • agitation
  • slurred speech
  • numbness
  • amnesia
  • involuntary muscle movements and muscle stiffness

When used as an anaesthetic in humans, doctors combine it with another drug to prevent hallucinations.


Regular use may eventually cause:

  • Headaches
  • Flashbacks
  • Dependence on ketamine
  • Financial, work and social problems
  • Mood and personality changes, depression
  • Poor memory, thinking and concentration
  • Ketamine bladder syndrome (see above)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Poor sense of smell (from snorting)
  • Needing to use more to get the same effect

    Fast facts on ketamine: taken from Medical News Today article 

    • Ketamine is similar in structure to phencyclidine (PCP), and it causes a trance-like state and a sense of disconnection from the environment.
    • It is the most widely used anesthetic in veterinary medicine and is used for some surgical procedures in humans.
    • It is considered a “club drug,” like ecstasy, and it has been abused as a date-rape drug.
    • The drug should only be used as prescribed by a doctor.

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