Ketamine is an anaesthetic with analgesic, stimulant and psychedelic properties. Chemically related to phencyclidine (PCP), it has been used extensively in human and veterinary medicine. Like PCP, it is a ‘dissociative’ anaesthetic which means that patients feel detached and remote from their immediate environment. Users say that under its influence they assume a different point of view, outside of body and self.
The drug comes in a variety of forms. Pharmaceutical ketamine is usually a liquid. On the street it is more common to see tablets or a white crystalline powder.
Powdered ketamine is often snorted, though it may be swallowed.
If sniffed the effects of ketamine generally come on quickly and can last from about 20 minutes to a couple of hours.
Ketamine is controlled as a Class B Drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. (It was reclassified from Class C in June 2014).
Penalties for possession are up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Supply holds penalties of up to 14 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
In practice, maximum sentences are rarely used. For more information please see the sentencing page on the Release website.
Ketamine is a dissociative anaesthetic, meaning users will feel detached from themselves and their immediate surroundings. The drug also has painkilling, stimulant and psychedelic effects. Effects are immediate if injected, though this practice is rarer, with most users sniffing the drug. If sniffed, the effects will take around 20 minutes to come on, and can last for one or two hours.
The amount of ketamine taken determines both the extent and type of effect the drug will have. At a relatively low dosage (around 100mg), users will commonly experience mild dissociative effects, hallucinations, and distortions of time and space.
Larger doses (anything above 200mg) may induce a so called ‘K-hole’, where a user can experience considerable and lengthy detachment from reality. The user may experience hallucinations, similar to those while using LSD followed by numbness, often in the limbs, and strange muscle movements. Users may also feel sick or throw up – which can be very dangerous at high doses if the user is unconscious or disorientated as people may choke on their vomit.