Ketamine is a non-narcotic, non-barbiturate powerful analgesic (pain relieving) agent still in use, particularly by vets for anaesthetizing small animals. For those purposes it is normally injected into a vein or muscle. The cough and gag reflexes are maintained so there seems to be little problem of aspirating one's own saliva and secretions.
In humans, ketamine produces "disassociative anaesthesia". The effect is often likened to the mind and body becoming separated from each other, or a near-death experience; if taken enough a "K-hole" entered which can be very terrifying to some, but enjoyed by others. This state is usually reached if about 50 mg is injected, or over 150 mg is snorted or swallowed.
In this state there is a feeling of the mind being detached from the body; some descriptions of this state are -
- "I felt I was up on the ceiling looking down on my own body below",
- "I could see people around me, but I could not communicate with them",
- "I thought I had died and my soul was flying away",
- "I was afraid I was leaving my surroundings and never coming back".
Other drugs, which can produce the same effect, are phencyclidine (PCP) and dextromethophan.
This state is attained more easily by lying still in quiet surroundings. It is therefore not often experienced in crowded and noisy surroundings or by taking the smaller doses or "bumps" which are used recreationally in dance clubs.
Snorting "a bump" will usually yield about 30-50 mg of the powder. In these smaller doses a feeling of lightheadedness, "floatiness", loss of coordination, abnormal distortions of vision, hearing and time, hallucinatory and psychedelic effects are experienced. Numbness of the extremities is often felt. These sensations are felt within 5 to10 minutes and last from 30 to 40 minutes.
Among other undesirable effects are nausea, vomiting and giddiness, especially if taken with alcohol and GHB (gamma-hydroxy-butyrate). In sufficient quantities it can depress respiration, therefore it is dangerous if taken with other central nervous system (brain) depressants. The long-term physical effects are not well documented. However neuronal (nerve) damage and "addiction" to Ketamine following heavy use have been reported. People with kidney or liver disease or those with high blood pressure and seizures should be made aware that they run a higher risk of complications should they consume Ketamine.
A person experiencing a severe reaction or falling into an unpleasant K-hole can be helped by administering sugar granules or a sugary drink. This will shorten the duration of the dissociative anaesthesia and reduce the nausea and other unwanted effects.