If you or someone that you care about has been using ketamine (or thinking about taking this drug), you need to get answers to some important questions, including: What are the effects of ketamine? and How long does ketamine stay in your system?
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a powerful drug that is classified as both a dissociative anesthetic and a hallucinogen. It is also sometimes described as a club drug due to its popularity as a recreational substance at clubs and all-night dance parties (raves).
- As an anesthetic, ketamine may be used to sedate a person and numb their sensitivity to pain prior to surgery.
- This “dissociative” description indicates that the drug can cause people to experience a sense of detachment from their surroundings, or even from their own thoughts and feelings.
- Ketamine’s categorization as a hallucinogen indicates that it can elicit perception-altering effects that may be similar to what a person might experience if they took lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
In the United States, ketamine is regulated as a Schedule III non-narcotic substance. Under the Controlled Substance Act, Schedule III drugs are defined as having moderate to low potential for physical or psychological dependence.
In addition to ketamine, other Schedule III drugs include testosterone, steroids, and medications with less than 90 mgs of codeine in each dosage unit.
Pros & Cons of Ketamine
As alluded to earlier in this post, ketamine has legitimate medical purposes, but its use can also expose a person to certain risks.
In terms of the pros and cons of ketamine use, here are some of the positives:
- It can relax people and animals, ease their pain, and allow them to be operated on successfully.
- In recent years, ketamine has shown promise as a beneficial medication for people who have been living with certain mental health disorders. In 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a version of ketamine called esketamine for people who have treatment-resistant depression.
On the other side of the proverbial coin, here are a few potentially negative aspects of ketamine:
- People who abuse ketamine may develop psychotic symptoms.
- Ketamine is commonly included in the category of “date rape drugs,” because predators have been known to surreptitiously give it to other people for the purpose of incapacitating them prior to a sexual assault.
- The effects of ketamine overdose can include respiratory depression, low blood pressure, abnormal heart rate, seizure, and coma
How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?
There are actually several answers to the question, “How long does ketamine stay in your system?”
Ketamine has a half-life of about 2.5 to three hours. The half-life of any substance is the amount of time it takes for 50 percent of it to be eliminated. It usually takes four to five half-lives for a substance to reach the point that it is considered to be fully eliminated from a person’s system.
Given that formula, the answer to the question, “How long does ketamine to stay in your system?” is between 10 and 15 hours.
However, even after a substance has been eliminated, it may still show up on some drug tests. This is because drug screens may look for metabolites, or evidence that your body has processed a certain substance.
Here are estimates for how long after their last dose that a person may test positive for ketamine on various drug screens:
- Saliva: Up to 24 hours
- Blood: Up to 72 hours
- Urine: Up to 14 days
- Hair follicle: Up to 120 days
Please note that these are only estimates. The exact amount of time that ketamine can be detected in a drug screen may be influenced by myriad factors, including a person’s age, weight, and metabolism, as well as how long they have been abusing ketamine and how much they have been using.
Contact Sanctuary Treatment Center in Los Angeles
Sanctuary Treatment Center is a premier source of personalized services for adults whose lives have been disrupted by addiction and other substance use disorders. While ketamine can be used to treat many different disorders, it can also cause problems in ones life if abused. Our addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, California, offers detoxification, inpatient rehab, and outpatient care to help people end their substance abuse and build healthier lives, free from compulsive drug use.
To learn more about our programs and services or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.