Ketamine is an anaesthetic, a substance that reduces sensitivity to pain. It is used in human and veterinary medicine.

Ketamine is a synthetic drug consisting of chemical molecules produced in labs. Synthetic drugs sold on the street are manufactured in clandestine labs.

A dose of ketamine can contain:

  • Pure ketamine
  • Ketamine cut with other products
  • Everything else but ketamine
What it is calledAppearance Characteristics 
  • Special K
  • K
  • Super K
  • Cat valium
  • Jet
  • Super acid
  • Green
  • Cat tranquilizer
  • Vitamin K
  • Kit kat
  • Purple
  • Lady K
  • Ket
  • K2
  • Powder
  • Liquid
  • Occasionally in pill or capsule form, offered as speed or ecstasy 

You can never be certain what you are actually consuming when you buy ketamine off the street. 

Effects of ketamine

Ketamine can cause:

  • Visual hallucinations
  • A floating feeling
  • Disorientation (distorted sense of space and time)
  • Tolerance to pain

Risks associated with ketamine and possible consequences

Physical problems

Ketamine can cause the following physical problems:

  • Digestive problems, nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Varying degrees of paralysis without loss of consciousness. When in this state, known as K-hole, the person is highly likely to injure himself or herself.
  • Impaired coordination of movement
  • Nasal irritation or damage to the nostrils when ketamine is snorted
  • Symptoms of overdose
  • Risk of serious urinary damage in the case of long-term regular use

Ketamine can also damage parts of the brain. Such damage can sometimes be permanent.

Psychological problems 

Ketamine use may cause the following psychological problems:

  • Out-of-body experience
  • Temporary memory loss
  • Aggressiveness and paranoia
  • Anxiety, panic, a psychotic state characterized by confusion, disorientation (distorted sense of space and time), delirium and hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Distress, suicidal thoughts


In case of overdose, ketamine can cause:

  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety, panic and paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Coma and death

To lean more, consult the Intoxication section of Problems Associated with Alcohol Consumption and Drug Use.


Frequent and prolonged use of ketamine can lead to psychological dependence, which means that the person needs to take the drug more often in order to feel better about himself or herself, relax, calm down, feel stimulated or have the courage to face problems. The dependent person trying to stop using may experience irritability and symptoms of depression and anxiety.

To learn more, read the Addiction section of Problems Associated with Alcohol Consumption and Drug Use.

Consequences associated with safety and law

Possession of synthetic drugs such as ketamine is illegal. Simply possessing a small quantity can lead to fines and a criminal record. These consequences also apply to people younger than 18. To learn more, consult the Éducaloi website This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Help and resources

Last update: September 13, 2017


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