General Information

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic commonly used in humans. It has a very wide safety margin, with a "therapeutic" dose being as much as ten times a "recreational" dose in a naive user.


Ketamine is generally sold to the recreational user in one of two forms: in the evaporated salts, which are sold as a powder, or crystals called shards, as well as in the multi-dose vials for use in veterinary and human medicine. These latter vials may have concentrations of 5mg/mL all the way up to 100mg/mL, and vary by manufacturer. One manufacturer, Parke-Davis there are cases of accidental overdoses of ketamine as much as ten times higher than that required for surgery (which is to say 40-100x a recreational dose) "with no obvious, lasting effects." It is therefore reasonable to consider it a drug of relatively safe usage.

Because ketamine is a dissociative and an anesthetic, users are prone to becoming injured by interaction with their environment and have died from e.g., drowning (DM Turner). Overdose, however, is unlikely.

Ketamine is usually used either injected intramuscularly (although intravenous administration does happen) or insufflated. Additional routes of administration are "plugging" (rectal) and orallyRoute of administration in which the subject swallows a substance.. Oral availability of ketamine is poor.

In some countries, such as Thailand and Mexico, ketamine is available over-the-counter without a prescription; legality for human use is questionable, however.


Ketamine was originally produced by Sandoz laboratories in the early 1960s, and its recreational use was first reported in 1965; by the early 1970s, the US FDA was concerned about its use as a recreational drug. In the early 1990s, the US "Drug Czar" labeled ketamine as an "emerging drug" because of its involvement in the electronic music scene, and by 1999, it had been scheduled in the United States (Sched III), although this designation is only applicable when the drug is intended for use in humans.


These numbers are quoted directly from Erowid (which uses subjective dosage reports…). Individual dosages will vary based on route of administration, tolerance of the user, purity of the drug, weight of the user, and other conditions. It is always wise to start with a small dose and work up to a recreational dose. Remember, you cannot take less of the drug you have taken, but you can always take more.


1-4mg/lb of body mass. Doses higher than 3mg/lb may exceed the recreational window and leave the user anesthetized rather than "tripping." Doses of 2-3mg/lb may incur greater (short-term) memory loss and have little additional value as a psychedelic.


Threshold effects may begin about 1/4mg/lb body mass, and recreational doses can range up to 2mg/lb. As above, higher doses may not yield greater desirable effect. Ketamine is reported to be fairly gentle on the nasal tissues compared to brominated phenethylamines and organofluorides.

Intramuscular injection

Typically 1mg/lb body mass for IM injection is quite sufficient for a full dissociative experience. Doses of .5-.75mg/lb are more "threshold" and cogent experiences. Doses exceeding 1mg/lb body mass usually result in full anesthesia with little recall of the experience and may take longer to recover. There may be short-term memory loss with higher doses.

Onset: < 2 minutes. Duration: major effects < 60 minutes; tertiary effects 90 minutes; return to baseline 120 minutes.

Intravenous injection

Intravenous injection is possible with ketamine. The doses are the same as for intramuscular injection. However, with intravenous injection, the user can become fully anesthetized before she is able to remove the needle from her body. For this reason alone intravenous injection of ketamine is discouraged. Additionally, intramuscular injection provides a near-identical experience with the only major difference being a shorter (< 1 minute vs < 2 minutes) come-up.





After effects

Harm Reduction

  • Avoid driving and operating heavy machinery
  • Recommended time (pauses) between using the substance
  • Addiction potential?
  • Risk of death?
  • Mental illness?
  • Heart issues?

Chemistry and Pharmacology





Controlled in the United States via the Federal Analog Act but only if it is intended for human consumption.

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