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  • How Long Does Ketamine Last? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

How Long Does Ketamine Last? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

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Last Medical Reviewer On: January 23, 2024
Updated On: Jan 23, 2024
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Written by:

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

Medical Review by:

Dr. Po Chang Hsu MD, MS

How Long Does Ketamine Last
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    What you will learn
    • Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that makes you feel disconnected from your body.
    • A Ketamine high can be felt for 30 to 60 minutes, and then the effects can last for weeks.
    • Abusing ketamine at high dosage can result in respiratory failure and unconsciousness.
    • Seek treatment immediately if you suffer from Ketamine addiction

    A Ketamine high lasts for 30 to 60 minutes. It has a half-life of 2.5 hours and will be effectively eliminated from your body in 10 to 12.5 hours or longer. Effects like “Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder” (HPPD) can persist for weeks and require medical intervention.

    There is a high potential for addiction, overdose, and death.

    Ketamine Drug Facts

    Ketamine is a Schedule III non-narcotic, dissociative anesthetic with some hallucinogenic properties. At sub-anesthetic dosages, it is FDA-approved to be used in the alleviation of chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. Highly versatile, it can even be safely used in combination with injectable nonsteroidal pain medications as well as opioids.[1]

    First introduced as a veterinary anesthetic in 1962, Ketamine was approved by the FDA for limited use in humans in 1970. It works by blocking your HCN1 receptors.[2] It is manufactured in licensed laboratories but then diverted (particularly in veterinary clinics) for illegal use. The most common place to find illicit Ketamine is at dance parties, raves, or festivals.

    Ketamine can be consumed as a liquid or as a powder. Liquid Ketamine is often mixed into drinks, and the powdered form can be snorted or smoked. It’s often accompanied by other drugs like MDMA, amphetamine, methamphetamine, or cocaine, which intensifies its effects. It mirrors the effects of PCP, another dissociative anesthetic.[3]

    Effects of Ketamine

    You may take Ketamine because you want to feel detached from pain or your environment. It distorts your perception of light and sound, which makes you feel disconnected and not in control of your body. Some slang for subjective Ketamine-induced experiences includes:[4]

    • “K-land”: A calm and colorful experience
    • “K-hole”: Detached, “out-of-body” experience
    • “Baby food”: Like nostalgia minus wistfulness… a blissful, comforting experience
    • “God”: Where people meet a deity

    In some cases, Ketamine is taken to ease sexual inhibitions, as engaging in sex is easier if you don’t feel connected to or in control of your body. But, Ketamine also has been used as a date-rape drug, where it is slipped unwittingly into your drink. Since it detaches you from the feeling of control over your body, somebody else can easily take advantage.

    A profound effect of Ketamine is amnesia. You likely will have no distinct memory of what you were doing while you were under the influence. If you are a sexual assault victim, this may allow the perpetrators of your sexual assault to escape the consequences of their actions with impunity.

    How Long Does Ketamine Stay In Your System?

    When Ketamine is absorbed into your body, your body metabolizes it. The product of that metabolism is the metabolite “norketamine.” Ketamine and its metabolite, Norketamine, can stay in your system for up to 14 days, depending on several factors.

    The FDA-approved dosage level for ketamine for the purposes of anesthesia is 1 to 4.5mg/kg for those 16 years of age and older.[5] If taken intravenously, this will lead to the onset of action in 10 to 30 seconds, and will these anesthetic effects will last 5-15 minutes.

    A promising study using Ketamine as a treatment for depression used a sub-anesthetic dosing level of 0.5mg/kg, with no dissociative effects reported. [6]

    Ketamine Duration

    The dissociative effects of illicit Ketamine can appear in as little as 1 minute if injected intravenously and in as many as 30 minutes if swallowed. The immediate dissociative effects can last around 30 to 60 minutes, but the secondary effects can last hours, days, or even several weeks.[7]

    Ketamine Half-Life

    A half-life is how long it takes for 50% of a substance to be eliminated from your body. It takes 4 to 5 successive half-life eliminations for a substance to be considered effectively eliminated ( greater than 95%).

    Ketamine has a relatively short half-life of 2.5 hours. Effective elimination from the body should occur in 10 to 12.5 hours.

    Ketamine Drug Tests and Detection Windows

    Around 90% of Ketamine is metabolized into the metabolite “Norketamine.” Ketamine or its metabolite, Norketamine, can be detected in your system for up to 90 days, depending on which drug test you undergo. Here is the range of detection windows:

    • Saliva: Up to 1 day
    • Blood: Up to 15 hours (five elimination half-lives)
    • Urine: Up to 14 days
    • Hair: Up to 90 days

    Side Effects of Ketamine Use

    Side Effects of Ketamine Use

    A complete list of Ketamine’s side effects includes:[8]

    • Inconsistent breathing and/or swollen throat
    • Facial swelling
    • Hives
    • Irregular heartbeat
    • Reduced blood pressure
    • Heart attack
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Uncontrollable muscle spasms and seizure-like symptoms
    • Confusion
    • Amnesia, anxiety, confusion, and depression
    • Hallucinations and flashbacks
    • Irrational behavior (e.g. as drug-seeking)
    • Insomnia
    • Addiction

    Long-Term Health Risks Of Ketamine Use

    There are many long-term risks to using illicit Ketamine:[9]

    • Degraded sense of smell (if snorted)
    • Mood and personality changes (e.g., depression)
    • Poor mental faculties like memory, thinking, and concentration
    • Abnormal liver or kidney function
    • Small, painful bladder (ketamine bladder syndrome)
    • Needing to use more to achieve the same effect
    • Addiction
    • Failure to fulfill professional, scholastic, or familial obligations

    Lingering Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) has also been reported several weeks after ketamine is used. It is marked by distortions in the peripherals of vision.[10] Like all scheduled drugs, even using Ketamine legally carries the risk of addiction.

    After repeated chronic administration, your body will develop tolerance to Ketamine. This is dangerous because you will need to take ever-increasing amounts of ketamine to experience the same initial dissociative state. Because the tranquilizing property of Ketamine slows down your breathing, you can suffer total respiratory failure while in an unconscious state.[11]

    Treatment For Ketamine Use and SUDs

    During Ketamine withdrawal symptoms, you might decide you need help curbing this addiction. There are good treatment centers that are ready and willing to assist you. Treatment for Ketamine addiction should start with a comprehensive assessment plan done by a caring team of doctors and medical staff who have your best interests at heart. This may include detox programs, PHP (Partial Hospital Program), IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program), Outpatient, or even dual diagnosis. Aftercare is an essential part of any recovery plan.

    There’s Hope In The Help You Need

    At Epiphany Wellness, our mission is straightforward. We’re all about equipping our patients with the necessary tools and the drive they need for a sustainable recovery and a fulfilling life. With the compassionate backup of our seasoned medical professionals, we’re proud to offer this personalized care in two key locations – our drug and alcohol treatment hub in Tennessee and our dedicated rehab center right in the heart of New Jersey. We’re here to support you at every stage of your journey.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Ketamine

    Can You Overdose on Ketamine?
    If you mix Ketamine and alcohol, what happens?
    What else is ketamine commonly mixed with?

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