December 1994, v1.0
This is not the most recent version of this FAQ. This version includes out-of-date and incorrect information. It appears on Erowid as part of our historical archives. For more current information, see the newer version of this FAQ or Erowid's summary pages in the substance's main vault.
*****WARNING: In the rave and club scene these days, especially in Europe, various substances are sold under the street names of Special K or Ketamine. More often than not this is Ketamine mixed with several other drugs, among which may be heroin, coke, or ecstasy [Erowid Note: There is very little data on this point one way or another]. Unknown combination of drugs can be dangerous. Be extremely careful and do your homework before choosing to mix ketamine with any other substances. The following FAQ is concerned only with use of pure Ketamine Hydrochloride. It is generally not a particularly good idea to obtain Ketamine (or any other recreation drug) in a club setting due to the ease of mis-identification and mis-representation of potency. *****
- Street Names
- Psychedelic Indications
- The Trip
- Trips by Dose
STREET NAMES :
K, Ket, Ketamine, Special K, Vitamin K
Ketamine is an anaesthetic used primarily for veterinary purposes. Ketamine blocks nerve paths without depressing respiratory and circulatory functions, and therefore acts as a safe and reliable anaesthetic. It is commonly injected intramuscularly, but can also be taken orally and nasal pharyngealically. Ketamine is only available to physicians, and is not commonly sold as an illicit drug, and is scheduled in several states. [Erowid Note: Ketamine was placed in Schedule III in August, 1999 making it illegal to possess in the United States without a license or prescription.] The most common trade name for Ketamine are Ketaset and Ketalar, which are intramuscular veterinary Ketamine HCls.
M.W. - 274.2 C13H16CINO-HCL
LD50 (IPR-MUS): 400 mg/kg, LD50 (IVN-MUS): 77 mg/kg.
white solid - melting point 266*C - non-flammable.
Solubility: water 20g/100 ml
Merck Index, 11th Ed., No. 5174
Anis, N.A., Berry, S.C., Burton, N.R., Lodge, D. "The dissociative anaesthetics, ketmine and phencyclidine, selevtively reduce excitation of central mammalian neurones by N-methyl aspartate." Br. J. Pharmacol 79, 565 (1983).
PSYCHEDELIC INDICATIONS :
Ketamine does not treat music so well. Expect a narrowing of your auditory bandwidth. Music will sound neat but not correct and not transcending. You will selectively lose frequencies. Use mellow music with a psychedelic flavor, and keep the volume less than loud because your perception of overall volume will increase. Visual hallucinations are most notable in low light. Touch is exceptional. Smells and tastes will be nulled. Do not expect to talk, although you may. Expect general reflection but not exceptional emotionality.
Due to its anaesthetic nature, K can produce wide ranging effects from different amounts. There seems to be a crucial line where the patient will lose grasp of his/her primary senses, and this will be termed a Line Dose. A further line exists where the patient will lose complete consciousness. In general, boosting is not adequate and it does not seem worthwhile to boost the original dose more than ten minutes after initial dose. General tolerance is appreciable and several weeks between uses are required to return to original tolerance. For most types, effects are linear with dose, and good experience can be had at low dosages.
ORAL DOSE :PREP :
A Line Dose is about 1.0 mg/lb. body mass. Anaesthetic doses are above 4.0 mg/lb. A maximum oral dose of 3 mg/lb. should be set for adequate recovery. Above line dose, increasing doses yield little psychedelic advantage except for greater temporary memory loss. A good first dose is 300-350 mg for average weight woman, and 350-375 mg for average weight men. A minimum dose of 150-175 mg will give a good psychedelic experience.
IM DOSE :
Intramuscular doses begin at perhaps .4 mg/lb. for a Line Dose. Anaesthetic doses to IM are about 1 mg/lb. Two injections should be made instead of one. Sterility of the bottle and needle are imperative. 100 mg seems to be a good IM dose for everyone. Expect soreness in the injection region for several days or weeks.
IV DOSE :
I do not recommend IV doses but have read reports of successful IV dosing. In the IV case you will probably lose motor control before you finish injecting so beware.
NASAL DOSE :
Nasal doses are highly unlinear next to oral and IM doses. The effects are quite different as well at low doses. At Line Doses, oral consumption is probably a better bet than nasal doses. A Line Dose nasally would again be about 1.0 mg/lb. A minimum dose nasally would be about .25 mg/lb, but will be short and much different from a comparable oral dose. 75-100 mg would be a good starter for most weights. Ketamine is relatively comfortable in the nasal region.
IV and IM require fully sterile Ket bottle and needle. Powder for nasal use can be gotten from gentle boiling off of solution. To prepare an oral dose from a powder, place powder in a cup and pour about 1 cm of hot water (tap should be ok) in it and stir to solution. Fill remainder of cup with an acid such as orange juice.
As with all anaesthetics, Ketamine will make the patient nauseaous to varying degrees, directly related to dosage. Therefore, the patient should find him/herself in a place where he/she can stay for several hours, with most ammenities close at hand (any movement will compound nauseau). A non-Ketting person is a great help, and will be fun to talk to, and convenient for changing music, etc. Darkness will eliminate some very strange visual experiences. Music is very powerful. Warmth can also be important, as although your respiratory system will not be depressed, you may become cold from inactivity. A blanket is a good idea. Dope should be handy for nauseau, and a bucket should be available as a precaution. Vomitting should be rare, but in the case, it is not a good idea to have to travel to the bathroom. You should try to make sure that your co-trippers start when you do, as it is a rapid starting drug. Nasal doses can usually accomodate real scenes, i.e. clubs or company, but expect things to be very strange.
Taken intramuscularly, Ketamine will bring you up quickly in less than two minutes. Orally, with a medium-full stomach, expect 15-20 minutes, and as little as five minutes on an empty stomach. Nasal doses allow 5-10 minutes. The acceleration is great but not alarming. Expect to be semi-unconscious on a Line-Dose for about an hour intramuscualrly, and slightly longer when taken orally. You will come down quickly as well past the first line, and will begin to assimilate senses over about an half-hour. When taken orally, a soft trip will linger for approximately 2-3 hours after that and can be lots of fun. You will feel light, lanky, and queasy for several hours, and may be somewhat light-headed, though not incapacable the following day. Nitrous has had success in bringing Ketamine down quickly, despite its anaesthetic nature.
THE TRIP :
Before reaching the first line, fragmentation will occur- the world will begin to spin, but it won't be dizzying. Music will become fragmented. Chaos will ensue. At some point, you will find yourself complete removed from your surroundings and your body. Descriptions of the post-line experience vary substantially, but most include talk of alternate planes of existence, oneness, past and future revelations, and strange fabrics of all sorts. It will be very difficult to communicate at this point, and you probably will not be able to see or hear others in the room. Some revelations will be extremely heavy and some scary, but that fear does not seem to come back with you and is therefore difficult to describe as scary. You will probably find yourself coming back across the line again visibly, attempting to put an object in focus or define it. It is at this point that you will likely want to get in touch with your co-trippers. This is the "Wow" period. It is very important here that you do not try to move for awhile. The trip will continue mildly for an hour or so after this, with more conventional focuses.
An overdose of Ketamine will knock you out as if in an operating room. This would prove to be a waste of a tripping experience, and will probably make you ill to your stomach. The danger dosage is much higher however, at 10 mg/lb. Interactively, Ketamine should not be used with respiratory depressants, primarily alcohol, barbiturates, and Valium. Ketamine has been used with no ill interactive effects with LSD, nitrous oxide, dextromethorphan, and MDMA, although no combinations are recommended and are highly unnecessary given the totality of ketamine. While ketamine has been used with no ill interactive effects with heroin by some, opiates/opioids are potentiated by ketamine even at low doses, with a consequent risk of respiratory depression. Ketamine does not have a build-on effect with halucinogens and will generally overpower other drugs. Nitrous in the up and down periods can be effective. Unpracticed trippers may be overpowered by the awesome revelations of Ketamine and may be somewhat overwhelmed, although in general fear seems to be unable to compound here (such as in an LSD trip or with other drug paranoias) and will probably be only episodic. Food should not be consumed within an hour and one-half before the trip, and should be avoided for longer periods of time if possible. A peculiar sort of loneliness can occur over the line, so it is a good idea to stay in close quarters with people you are close with, and best to have a sober monitor or experienced Ketter at hand.
TRIPS BY DOSE :
Doses that do not push one over the consciousness line can be very fun if you get close. In general, a 150 mg minimum would be required to realize an effect. Under that amount, you will only feel a very operable up and down over about an half-hour that will give you no insight into Ketamine. At higher doses, the up will last longer, but in less than linear fashion. In general it seems that oral doses last longer. Trips over 450 mg. can be severe on the stomach and have rapidly diminishing returns over lower doses, and are therefore not recommended, although 450 mg. itself is a very sound and powerful trip.
A number of sources claim Vitamin K to be a boring drug. Some complain that it removes you so completely from your body that it is difficult to even work with. Others have found Vit K to be very potent and shapable, an experience that can be tailormade by dosage and setting. There is little question that there is no comparable experience on any other drugs. Most agree that it has a good to very good recovery with little negative effect on the following day and mild hangover. Setting is agreed to be crucial. Most agree that Ketamine not be used by inexperienced trippers unless they want a complete out-of-body experience that is sure to change their life.