How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System

Ketamine is a medically approved drug that is often taken illegally on the streets

Ketamine in your system

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Ketamine is a medication used by physicians and veterinarians. It is primarily used for helping induce and maintain anesthesia. However, according to the DEA, its sedative effects mean it is also popular among those who use illegal drugs. 1

Those who take ketamine may wonder how long Ketamine stays in your system after it is ingested. This timeline can vary depending on several factors. This article will take a closer look at ketamine, how long it lingers in the body, and what you can do if you become addicted.   

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is known as a dissociative anesthetic. In addition to being used as an anesthetic, it is also a popular street drug. This substance distorts perceptions to make people feel disconnected from pain and their environment.

The drug comes in a clear liquid and, when used legally, ketamine infusion is done through an IV. It is also available at pharmacies as a ketamine nasal spray.

On the street, ketamine for addiction comes in a white or off-white powder form. It can be smoked, snorted, or poured into drinks. 2 It can also be injected with an IV needle for ketamine infusion. Ketamine for depression is also under review. Currently, the drug is being studied for its ability to relieve severe depression. It is said to interact with chemical receptors in the brain for mood-boosting results.

However, there is a thin line between ketamine for depression and ketamine for addiction.  

Street Names

There are many street names for ketamine for addiction, including:

  • Cat tranquilizer 
  • Cat valium 
  • Jet K 
  • Kit Kat 
  • Purple 
  • Special K 
  • Special La Coke 
  • Super Acid 
  • Super K 
  • Vitamin K 

Ketamine Statistics

According to 2015 statistics, 3 million people aged twelve or over have used ketamine at least once in their lifetime.3 It is especially popular with teenagers and young adults. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, 74% of ketamine-related emergency room visits in the year 2000 involved patients 12- 25 years old. Nearly 3% of high school seniors used the drug at least once in the past year. 4    

How is Ketamine Abused?

Because ketamine is popular with the younger generation, it is often used by teens and young adults at raves and dance clubs.    

Is Ketamine Addictive?

Ketamine for addiction is a common problem in the United States and all over the world. In addition to becoming addicted to the pleasant sensation it produces, people who use ketamine build a tolerance, meaning they need more of the drug to get the same effects.    

Is Ketamine Safe?

Ketamine is safe when used in prescribed doses, but when it is misused on the street, it can be quite dangerous.  

The drug causes those using it to have distorted perceptions. This distortion impairs judgment and can lead someone to engage in dangerous situations where they can harm themselves and those around them. It also puts them at high risk for sexual assault.  

Ketamine can also cause a variety of physical and mental conditions including respiratory problems, high blood pressure, amnesia, delirium, depression, and impaired motor functions.    

Dangerous Drug Interactions

Ketamine can be even more dangerous when used with other drugs. Around 373 drugs can cause harmful interactions with ketamine, 197 which are categorized as major, 174 of which are categorized as moderate, and 2 of which are considered minor.    

Drug Class and Schedule

Ketamine became a Schedule III non-narcotic substance under the Controlled Substance Act in 1999. This means it puts people at a lower risk of addiction as compared to schedule 1 and 2 drugs but at a higher risk as compared to schedule 4 and 5 drugs. It is best classified as a Hallucinogen drug. 5    

Ketamine for Depression

Lately, ketamine has been studied for its potential to relieve severe depression. It temporarily takes over a chemical receptor in the brain working to boost mood. However, this effect can also be dangerous as it can bring on addictive tendencies. Doctors that prescribe the substance must be careful to ensure patients follow the proper dosage recommendations.

Ketamine has shown to be more effective than other antidepressants because it works quicker. It produces effects as soon as it leaves the body because it prompts connections between brain cells to regrow causing a boost in mood.

Ketamine for depression is often used in nasal spray or infusion form.

  • Ketamine Nasal Spray: Ketamine nasal spray has been approved for treating depression. The nasal puffs provide fast-acting depression relief. Patients will need to go to their doctor’s office every few weeks to have the puffs administered. 
  • Ketamine Infusion: Ketamine infusion may be the most effective way to treat depression. It has not yet been approved for medical use. If it becomes approved, it is likely patients will have to visit their doctor’s office for administration.   

Ketamine Side Effects

Those who use ketamine find its effects pleasurable at first. But if ketamine for addiction sets in, it is anything but fun.   

What Does Ketamine Do?

If ketamine is abused, it can result in the following side effects:

  • Blood in urine 
  • Difficulty urinating 
  • Blurry vision 
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Puffiness of facial features 
  • Sweating 
  • Restlessness and anxiety 
  • Fatigue 
  • Rashes and hives 
  • Delusions 
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Confusion 
  • Convulsions 
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Trouble swallowing    

Physical Symptoms of Snorting Heroin

  • Needing to increase drug dosage due to developing a high tolerance 
  • Withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not available including insomnia, sweating, nausea, and more 
  • Refer to the long and short-term effects listed above 

How Long Does Ketamine Last?

Ketamine’s effects can last for five to thirty minutes.   

Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms

As with any addictive drug, ketamine is dangerous because it causes withdrawal symptoms. These are unpleasant symptoms that occur when the drug is not in the person’s system. They can only be relieved by using the drug again. Therefore, it is common for patients to relapse during withdrawal.

Ketamine withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Agitation
  • Loss of motor skills 
  • Loss of hearing 
  • Cognitive impairment 
  • Fatigue 
  • Shakes 
  • Insomnia 
  • Respiratory and cardiac issues 
  • Nausea 
  • Rage 
  • Confusion 
  • Delusions and hallucinations    

How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?

There is no one answer to the question, how long does ketamine stay in your system? Rather, it varies from person to person and how long Ketamine stays in your system is dependent on a variety of factors as follows.

  • Body Mass/Body Fat: People with higher body fat are better able to absorb drugs so they do not stay in the body for long.
  • Genetics: For some people, genetics may be a factor in how long any given drug stays in their system.  
  • Metabolism: If you have a fast metabolism, you will be able to metabolize ketamine quickly, so it leaves the body sooner.  
  • Urinary PH: Urinary PH ranges from 4.5 to 8.0. The higher the number, the more alkaline it is. If urine is high in alkaline, it will excrete drugs faster.  
  • Tramadol Dosage: Tramadol increases the ketamine effects and may cause it to stay in the body longer. Tramadol comes in an extended-release and immediate-release formula. The extended-release will linger in the body and cause ketamine to linger as well.   
  • Other Drugs: In addition to Tramadol, other drugs may cause ketamine to stay in the body longer if they are taken together.   
  • Ketamine Half-Life: The half-life of any drug is the amount of time it takes for it to be reduced in the body by 50%. The half-life of ketamine is about 2.5 hours for adults.   

How long does ketamine stay in your system? Studies have shown that ketamine can be found in hair up to 4 months after a single dose is taken. 6          

Treatment for Ketamine Addiction

There are many ways to treat ketamine addiction, but experts say rehab may be the most effective. A rehab clinic will start patients with an assisted detox providing medications to reduce symptoms as well as supervision to ensure they don’t relapse.

After the patient gets the toxic substances out of their system, they move on to therapy. Therapists work with patients to determine the most effective treatments. A variety of options may be integrated, but the aim will be to get to the root of the problem and come up with healthy coping mechanisms to replace addictive tendencies.

Once the patient completes the rehab program, they are provided with outpatient care. During this phase, they are given the support they need to adjust and maintain sobriety.  

Discovery The Path to Healing

The PAC Program is a rehab facility that checks off all the boxes but goes a step further when it comes to helping patients achieve and maintain sobriety.

When it comes to treating our patients, we take a three-phase approach.

We start with a residential phase in which clients receive the therapy they need to overcome addiction and move on with their lives. Our transitional phase involves thirty hours of therapy a week while clients are gradually reintroduced to the ‘real world’. In the final phase, clients must fully transition to sobriety knowing they have the support they need when they need it.

Ketamine and other drugs lead to addiction which can destroy relationships, cause financial and legal problems and diminish the quality of life. Reach out before it’s too late. The PAC Program will set you on a path to increased health and happiness.



If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
623-523-4748 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.

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