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Ketamine is a medication that is largely used for starting and/or maintaining anesthesia in both humans and animals. While ketamine has many legitimate medical uses, it has maintained popularity as a recreational drug for several decades.

Here we take a look at recreational ketamine effects and the dangers of its use.

What is ketamine?

Ketamine is a rapid-acting general anesthetic that is largely used in medicine currently. (1) Not long after being developed, however, ketamine became a popular recreational drug.

When used at sub-anesthetic doses (below what is normal for medical use), ketamine acts as a powerful dissociative drug.

Ketamine has developed several street names over the years, such as Special K, K, K-hole, Vitamin K, and countless others. Ketamine is typically insufflated, injected, or ingested. (2)

What are the effects of ketamine?

Ketamine is a dissociative drug that causes the user to have hallucinogenic and greatly altered states of mind. Ketamine users typically describe experiencing an out-of-body type experience, often nicknamed entering a “k-hole”.

The following effects are commonly associated with ketamine abuse:

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  • Altered state of mind
  • Feeling detached from the body, aka an out-of-body experience
  • Depersonalization
  • Auditory and/or visionary hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Altered perception of time and space
  • Inability to feel physical pain (3)

The effects of ketamine typically last between 30-60 minutes in duration. This varies, however, on the individual and the route of administration. (4)

What are the dangers of Ketamine abuse?

Recreational ketamine abuse can be highly dangerous. For example, a number of emergency room visits each year are reportedly due to ketamine abuse. (5)

The following list provides only some of the potentially dangerous effects ketamine abuse can cause:

  • Death, due to traffic accidents, overdose, drowning, and suicides (6)
  • Addiction and dependence (7)
  • Increased depression
  • Impaired memory, including verbal, short-term, and visual (8)
  • Neurotoxicity (9)
  • Lower urinary tract issues (10)
  • Liver toxicity (11)

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783, email us at or visit us online.