You're probably wondering, what is Ketamine? and what are the risks of taking it? Scroll down to find out the answers to those questions and more!

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What is ketamine? 

Ketamine is supposed to be used by vets to sedate horses, but somehow it’s made its way into many of our (much smaller) bodies. If you’re thinking about taking it, here’s what you need to know to stay safe while having a good time.

It’s a powerful anesthetic, the sort of thing they use to knock you out in hospital multiplied by A LOT. Vets use it to sedate horses. If humans take it, it acts as a painkiller. It can also cause amnesia.

What does ketamine look like?

The appearance of ketamine varies according to the way it’s taken. Generally speaking, it’s a white powder a.k.a ketamine powder. If you ever find yourself thinking ‘what does ketamine look like’ to figure out if you should take the drug, it’s probably safest to steer clear. It’s important to know what you’re putting in your body.

How do you take K?

Ketamine powder is the most common form because many people snort it. Although, some prefer to eat it in crystal form, or inject it to get stronger hallucinations.

Why do people take it? 

  • *Enter Dua Lipa* “My sugarboo, I’m levitating”Ketamine reduces the sensations in your body so you feel like you’re floating and are disconnected from this COVID-infested reality.
  • It’s a dissociative drug, so your mind and body take a mini-break from each other.
  • You can hallucinate, experiencing totally different ideas of time and space.
  • You feel really connected to EVERYTHING in the world, even that bottle opener over there.
  • If you have a good ketamine trip, you generally feel totally chilled out and really happy to exist.

What are the bad side effects? 

  • BEWARE THE K-HOLE! You may find it impossible to move your limbs, combined with terrifying hallucinations you can’t escape from. Some people feel like they’re actually on the brink of death.
  • Because K numbs the body, you can bash yourself about without feeling any pain, which is fine, until you wake up the next morning with a trillion bruises.
  • Chunning that morning’s breakfast is pretty standard, which is not it and can lead to you choking on your own vomit.
  • Long- term, it screws up your bladder and causes abdominal pain (also known as K-cramps).
  • It can cause breathing problems and a racing heartbeat.

How long does the effect last?

If you snort ketamine, it usually takes between five and 15 minutes to feel the effects. It takes less than five minutes if you inject it.

The effects last between 30 minutes and an hour.

Is it true that ketamine can wreck my bladder? 

It really really can. When you’re on K, you want to pee a LOT. It can make weeing really hard, very painful, and you may even see blood in your urine. If you’re a regular user it can irritate your urinary tract and your kidneys, eventually wrecking your bladder so badly that you’ll have to remove it

Jackie* recounted her experience of Ketamine addiction to us. Regular partying with over 14 grams of K led to her bladder shrinking to the size of a 50-p coin and her peeing out jelly, along with blood.

Can K affect my mental health? 

Regular use of ketamine can alter your brain in an odd way.

In fact, there are a number of reports that K-users start to see patterns and coincidences in the world that others don’t, and they believe this is because they’re really important and the world kind of revolves around them. This can also lead to feelings of intense paranoia.

To find out more about the general effects of addiction on mental health click here.

Is it addictive? 

Yep. In fact, ketamine is known to be the most addictive psychedelic drug there is. Those who are on K find it extremely hard to break the habit, despite the impact it has on their health. Jackie* is a living example of someone was forced to hit rock-bottom before seeking help.

Should I drink alcohol while on ketamine?  

It’s not a great idea. This usually gives you vertigo, where you feel like the world is spinning. It’s also more likely to make you puke, which is straight up nasty and potentially dangerous.

Can I mix it with other drugs? 

Ketamine is so strong it’s a bad idea to mix it with any other drugs – particularly other depressants like alcohol. This can put unnecessary pressure on your heart. Mixing it with stimulants like MDMA can also give you dangerously high blood pressure.

What is the chance of overdosing on K?

It’s a very strong drug, meaning it is a very real possibility that you take too much and potentially die. Like with all illegal drugs, there’s a danger of overdosing as there’s no way of knowing how pure a drug is.

What happens if I get caught with it? 

Ketamine is a Class C drug, so if you’re caught with some on you it’s a maximum of two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. If you distribute, you’re looking at adding another 12 years onto that sentence.

For more information, read our ‘If caught with drugs’ article here.

How to reduce the risks of the high 

  • Stay away from baths/ponds/rivers etc. your body isn’t capable of holding itself in water properly. Moral of the story: don’t go near ANY body of water until you’ve come back down.
  • If you’re out clubbing and feel sick, don’t lock yourself in a toilet cubicle alone. If you lose consciousness, no one will be able to help.
  • Don’t eat right before you do ketamine, unless you fancy chunning everything right back up again, which is highly-risky if you’re sedated.
  • Don’t take too much initially as you won’t know how strong it is until the effects have hit you properly.
  • As with all hallucinogenics, try and have a sober friend with you to be there if you have a bad trip.
  • Don’t ever share needles, especially given the pandemic we’ve had to go through.

If either you or a friend is struggling please reach-out to our free and confidential support services. Alternatively, visit the Amy Winehouse foundation to learn more about the effects of drugs and get some support.

*Names have been changed

Next Steps

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 29-Jul-2021