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Ketamine is a dissociative that has analgesia and anaesthetic properties. It is not a central nervous system depressant. It was developed in the mid 1960s and used primarily for veterinary anaesthesiology. Ketamine is liquid in its original form but it is commonly sold as a white powder for recreational use. Ketamine is used for therapeutic, psychedelic and recreational purposes. Because ketamine’s effect is dissociative, the psychedelic experience is different to many other psychedelic drugs. People who use Ketamine can find themselves completely disconnected from their surroundings, their body and sensations. A well-known effect of ketamine at higher-range doses is the ‘K-hole’, where the user is removed from reality and set adrift in an introspective dream-like world, often involving complete dissociation, visuals and out-of-body experiences.



Total duration: 1-2 hours

Onset: 5-15 minutes

Peak: 20-60 minutes

Coming down: 30-60 minutes

Hangover/After effects: 1-3 hours



The felt effects of the drug wear off after apx. 2 hours, but it’s still active in your system for 3 hours. Remember this if mixing with other drugs.




  • Analgesia, numbness

  • Pleasant body high

  • Increased energy

  • Ataxia (loss of motor skills and coordination)

  • Neutral/slightly increased heart rate

  • Dilated pupils

  • Slurred speech

  • Nasal discomfort after snorting

  • Susceptibility to accidents from loss of coordination and change in perception of body and time

  • Loss of consciousness *LESS COMMON

  • Increased or decreased blood pressure *LESS COMMON

  • Nausea/vomiting *LESS COMMON

  • Reduced heart rate & breathing. Risk increases with increased dose or when combined with CNS (central nervous system) depressants *LESS COMMON

  • Urinary tract infection symptoms *LESS COMMON

  • Heart palpitations *LESS COMMON

  • Stomach pain (most common when swallowed) *LESS COMMON

  • Seizure *LESS COMMON

  • ‘Ketamine Bladder Syndrome’ more common with long term use. *RARE

  • Headache *RARE


  • Disconnection from the world (beings or objects) like a peculiar feeling of separation

  • Euphoria

  • Meaningful spiritual experience

  • Enhances sense of connection with the world (beings or objects) *LESS COMMON

  • Frightening or untimely distortion (or loss) of sensory perception *LESS COMMON

  • Anxiety/Panic *LESS COMMON


  • Sense of calm and serenity

  • Pleasant mental high

  • Abstract thinking

  • Distortion or loss of sensory perceptions

  • Open and closed eye visuals

  • Dissociation of mind and body

  • An amusing sense of confusion/disorientation

  • Dissociation, out-of-body experiences *LESS COMMON

  • Significant distortion of time perception *LESS COMMON

  • A distressing sense of confusion/disorientation *LESS COMMON

  • Visual hallucinations *LESS COMMON

  • Amnesia *LESS COMMON

  • ‘K-Hole’ intense mind-body dissociation *RARE

  • Significant shift in reality perception *RARE

  • Risk of psychological dependency *RARE

  • Severe amnesia *RARE

  • Severe confusion/disorientation *RARE

  • Paranoia, egocentrism and megalomania (with regular use) *RARE

  • Severe dissociation, depersonalisation *RARE

  • Nightmares *RARE

  • Delirium or Psychosis *RARE

Long Term Effects

  • Psychological dependency

  • Can lead to cognitive impairments including memory problems

  • Possible severe degeneration of the bladder. Be cautious with ketamine if you are sensitive to urinary tract infections or bladder problems. These issues are more commonly linked to frequent, long-term use and frequent, heavy use.

It is not recommended to use ketamine if you have or are at risk of:

  • Increased spinal fluid pressure

  • Heart conditions

  • Increased pressure in the eye

  • Blood pressure issues

  • Head trauma or injury or bleeding in/on the brain

  • Eye injury

  • Thyroid conditions

  • Recent stroke



Polydrug use has many possible outcomes. What could be fun for one person could be dangerous for another. We recommend you proceed with caution.


Alcohol: nausea and vomiting at low doses.

It can lead to more serious effects at higher doses

Depressants e.g. GHB, opioids & benzodiazepine i.e.valium: Can cause a loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing & respiratory failure which can lead to death


Amphetamines - Increase in blood pressure. Cocaine - Increase in blood pressure.


Psychedelics: Can intensify psychedelic experience.

MAOIs e.g. antidepressants & DMT/’changa’ mix: Can intensify psychedelic experience.



Roadside Police: Roadside saliva tests do not look for ketamine but other substances can be detected that might have been cut into your ketamine. It is illegal to drive under the influence of any illicit drugs, including ketamine and any driver may be subject to a roadside behavioural impairment test. Wait at least 24 hours before driving. Taking multiple doses over a period of several hours can lengthen this time period.

Workplace: OHS law gives employers rights to test employees for drug use. This should be contained in workplace policy, it should be reasonable, and a risk assessment should be done to determine whether testing of employees is appropriate.

Urine: 1 - 4 days; Hair: Up to 90 days; Blood: up to 2 days

‘Pill Testing’/Drug Checking: Lab-quality testing has been trialled in Australia and is not available as a health service yet but DIY reagent testing is an option. Mandolin gives a reaction. Marquis and Mecke don’t, which can be a helpful process of elimination.



  • Use around people you trust and somewhere you feel safe.

  • Wait a minimum of 30 minutes after eating.

  • Have a sober or experienced safe person with you (trip sitter).

  • Be seated, especially with higher doses due to the effects on coordination

  • A standard dose of ketamine is ~15 to 300mg—Because of this huge variation start with a very small amount to gauge strength and assess your sensitivity.

  • If redosing, wait at least 2 hours

  • Ketamine can increase the chance of developing problems with your urinary tract (eg. UTI).


  • Crush to fine powder as crystals can cause little cuts.

  • Snort water before and after to protect your nose.

  • Use your own straw/spoon (& not money bills) to avoid infection or blood borne viruses (HIV/HVC)

  • Repeated snorting can damage your nose, switch nostrils regularly and take breaks.


  • Wait at least 30mins or preferably 2 hours after eating before swallowing.


  • Use your own, new and sterile injecting equipment (inc. water when mixing).

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after.

  • Learn about safer injecting practices.

  • Dispose of syringes & equipment responsibly.


  • Use lubrication to avoid tearing the skin

  • Use a condom or latex/vinyl glove to avoid internal scratches

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after

  • Use sterile water to mix with powdered pill

  • Find a discreet and safe place to do it.



Carrying drugs & paraphernalia puts you at greater risk of criminal charges (inc. trafficking, even if you don’t deal). Know your local laws.



This resource has been made by people who use drugs for their peers & the wider community. The role of DanceWize is to provide credible & non-judgmental info to promote health & harm reduction. In an unregulated (illegal) market you don’t know the purity or dose of any drug and there is always some risk. You can educate yourself and practise harm reduction to reduce risk. Knowledge is power. #JUSTSAYKNOW

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