Drug and Alcohol

How Long Does Ketamine Stay In Your System?

Ketamine is a popular club drug ... but it's also highly dangerous. Learn about the risks of ketamine abuse, including ket bladder, in our blog.

How Long Does Ketamine Stay In Your System?

Table of Contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

March 14, 2023

The Edge Treatment Center

Ketamine is a notorious dissociative anesthetic that millions of people across the country have used. More often than not, teenagers and young adults become the target of ketamine addiction and abuse. Looking at ketamine abuse statistics, the Drug Abuse Warning Network warns that Americans aged anywhere between 12 to 25 have accounted for 74% of ketamine emergency mentions. It also points out that high school ketamine abuse is at an all-time high and has become a critical issue.

The University of Michigan's Monitoring Future Survey found as many as 3% of high school seniors have been using ketamine. This tells us there is a serious need for people to get aware of the ill effects of using a drug as potent as ketamine.

In this article, we will talk about what ketamine does, how long ketamine lasts, what are its side effects, its half-life, recovery and treatment, and more. Read ahead! 

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication that is used for treating patients who have been suffering from depression as well as for pain management. The drug is classified as a general anesthetic and sedative that reduces the sensation of pain and induces sedation. It is specifically used during medical procedures that are short in duration.

This is because when injected, ketamine's effects quickly wear off within a period of thirty minutes. Pharmaceutical ketamine is more suitable for short medical procedures and emergency cases. Apart from that, as mentioned before, ketamine is used as a general anesthetic. In fact, it has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only for anesthesia purposes but it is often prescribed for off-label use like resting depression and suicidal thoughts. There is another variation of the drug known as Esketamine, which the FDA approves for treatment-resistant depression. But like many other medicinal narcotic drugs, Ketamine is also unfortunately used as a recreational drug to get high.

Why? This is because it produces various euphoric effects like hallucinations, distorted persecution, sensory disconnection, amnesia, disassociation, relaxation, and more. 

Ketamine was first synthesized in 1962 and got approval for the United States market in 1970. ketamine has been approved by the FDA and classified under Schedule III as a non-narcotic drug that can only be used as a general anesthetic. There are various street names for Ketamine:

  • Vitamin K

  • K-land

  • Cat Valium

  • K

  • Special K

  • Kit Kat

  • Blind Squid

  • Ketajet

And more.

The effects produced by ketamine make it attractive as a party or club drug. Due to this, Ketamine has become a popular recreational drug, especially among the youth.

Talking about its appearance, ketamine is generally available in a white powder form. It is both tasteless and odorless but is also sold in a clear liquid form. With the evaporation process, the liquid can be transformed into powder form. The evaporation process will result in crystalized ketamine that can be grounded into powder form. You may have also heard of ketamine for its amnesiac quality because sexual predators have often used it as a "date rape" drug.

The U.S. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has warned that the liquid form of ketamine can be easily mixed into drinks. This can lead to sexual assaults. 

Uses of Ketamine: What Is Ketamine Used For?

Like other abused drugs, ketamine has legitimate medical use. Some of these uses include:

Ketamine: General Anesthesia

As mentioned above, ketamine’s primary use is to induce anesthesia or is a supplement to other types of anesthesia, such as nitrous oxide. It produces temporary and short-term sedation when medical procedures with fractures, dislocations, and general wounds are taking place. 

Ketamine: Pain Management

Ketamine is used in managing severe pain that can be experienced when a person undergoes trauma, fracture, lower back pain, abdominal pain, etc. 

Ketamine: Depression Treatment

Some studies have shown that ketamine may have actually helped depression patients who have not responded well to other treatments. Not much research has taken place, but Ketamine has seemed to instantly relieve depression in some patients.  

Ketamine: Treating Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition where a person experiences a seizure for more than 5 minutes or goes through multiple seizures within this duration. Some studies have claimed that ketamine has helped people suffering from this condition. 

Ketamine: Anxiety

The studies that have claimed that ketamine has helped in treating anxiety disorders are very sparse. Despite this, there has been one that mentioned that ketamine drugs have helped people who are suffering from social anxiety disorder (SAD). 

What Are the Dangers of Ketamine Abuse?

Ketamine is a powerful drug that can cause serious health issues when used in excess. People who abuse ketamine may experience serious physical and psychological side effects, including memory loss, trouble concentrating, depression, and addiction. Abuse of this synthetic drug can also lead to dangerous long-term health risks such as liver damage and kidney failure.

Long-term use of ketamine can also cause changes to your brain's chemistry, leading to a higher risk of depression and suicidal thoughts. It is important to be aware of these risks before beginning any kind of long-term ketamine use.

What Is Ketamine Cystitis?

Ketamine cystitis, more often known as k-bladder, is a condition caused by long-term ketamine abuse, and it can lead to severe bladder inflammation and pain. The condition may cause blood in the urine, frequent involuntary urination, discomfort in the abdomen or genital area, and difficulty in passing urine. If left untreated, ketamine cystitis can lead to incontinence and permanent bladder damage.

It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these symptoms after using ketamine. Seeking help from a healthcare professional can help you recover from ketamine cystitis and protect against further long-term damage. Treatment options may include prescription medications, lifestyle changes, or cognitive-behavioral therapy.

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Would you like more information about ketamine addiction? Reach out today.

How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?

One frequently sought query is how long ketamine stays in our system. In general, most people are able to eliminate this drug from their bodies in about four to eight hours. But this is not an exact answer as it can vary from person to person.

The precise answer is dependent on various factors that influence and determine the duration of stay. These factors that influence ketamine stay are mentioned below. 

Various factors determine how long Ketamine takes to flush out:

  • Overall Health: When we talk about overall health, we are also talking about age. It is normal to have better overall health in younger people, and so naturally, they are the ones who will be able to quickly flush out the drug from their bodies. 

  • Metabolism: Ketamine, like any other drug, can only be eliminated after it is broken down. Those who have a faster metabolism in their body will be able to remove Ketamine from their system. 

  • Hydration Level: If a person is well-hydrated, there is a high possibility that most of the Ketamine is eliminated via urine from the system. So, a better flushing system would be there with more water intake. 

  • Body Mass: People who have a higher body mass level will be able to quickly eliminate the ketamine drug from their bodies as compared to those that have smaller body mass. 

  • Dosage Amount: It is natural that the higher the ketamine intake, the harder it is for your body to get rid of it. 

  • Kidney and Liver Health: The kidney and liver are some of the most vital organs in the body, and they are responsible for flushing Ketamine out. If they are damaged, they will not work properly, and removing the drug will take longer. 

  • Frequency of Dosage: Frequency of the doses means that if you are taking a dose before the elimination of the previous one, it will take more time to flush the traces of all of them. 

Ketamine Half Life: What Is the Half Life of Ketamine?

Apart from the factors mentioned above that can influence the duration of the elimination of Ketamine from the body, the half-life is a vital determiner. The half-life of a drug refers to the time it takes for half a portion of the drug to be broken down and eliminated from the system. It helps in finding out the overall time it will take to flush out the whole dose of the drug.

After taking ketamine, it is rapidly metabolized by the liver into the form of less active metabolites. Even though most of the ketamine is removed from the body via urine and excreta, the half-life of ketamine is around 2.5 to 3 hours. It is said that any drug takes about four to five half-lives to be eliminated completely. So, when asked how much time ketamine takes to leave the system, it would be somewhere between 10 to 12.5 hours in an adult body. 

What is the half life of Ketamine? This image describes the half life of Ketamine

How Long Does Ketamine Last in Your System? A Timeline

Ketamine is administered in various ways. For example, recently, the FDA approved a ketamine nasal spray that will help treat patients with treatment-resistant depression.

Ketamine is generally administered via injection into the muscles or veins. When Ketamine is given at a lower dose, it will produce effects like sedation and pain relief. On the other hand, if it is taken in a higher amount, ketamine can produce effects of hallucination and disassociation.

The effects of ketamine will kick in within a few seconds if taken intravenously, whereas if taken intramuscularly, a few minutes will be there. Overall, the effects can last anywhere between 5 to 30 minutes, depending on the way Ketamine is taken. 

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Do you have more questions about ketamine addiction? Reach out.

How Long Does Ketamine Nasal Spray Last?

Some healthcare providers offer therapeutic ketamine via a nasal spray. It's available in two forms: Spravato, a spray form of S-Ketamine, and R-Ketamine, which is being studied as a less dissociative form of ketamine.

By and large, ketamine nasal spray lasts for around one to three hours. It generally takes effect between five and ten minutes.

Drug Tests for Ketamine Abuse

There are mainly four types of drug tests that can help in determining the presence of ketamine in someone’s body. These tests have different detection timelines. These four drug tests are:

How long does Ketamine stay in your system? This chart shows how long Ketamine stays in urine, saliva, blood, and hair

Saliva Test for Ketamine

A saliva test can detect traces of Ketamine if the last dose was taken 24 hours ago. 

Blood Test for Ketamine

A blood test can show the traces of this drug up to 3 days after the last dose. 

Urine Test for Ketamine

How long does ketamine stay in your urine? It is generally said that urine tests can detect traces of Ketamine 14 days after its use. At the same time, a few claim that it can be traced as long as a month-old dosage too. 

Hair Test for Ketamine

Hair tests can detect Ketamine even after four months of last use. 

What Are Some Ketamine Side Effects?

There are many immediate and long-term adverse side effects of continuously using ketamine without any medicinal purpose. Recreational abuse and addiction can lead to the following side effects. 

  • Common Side Effects: This includes drowsiness, double vision, nausea, confusion, vomiting, dizziness, unease, and more. 

  • Adverse Side Effects: Some of the severe side effects of using Ketamine are heart instability, abnormal heart rhythms, respiratory depression, cognitive impairment, liver dysfunction, and more. 

One of the lesser-known dangers of ketamine abuse is "ket bladder," or ketamine bladder syndrome. Long-term ketamine abuse appears to cause severe damage to the bladder and urinary tract.

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Do you need advice about ketamine addiction? Reach out today.

Ketamine Treatment & Recovery 

The best way to deal with ketamine abuse and addiction is through a medical detox. Drug detox is a medical procedure in which harmful drugs are allowed to leave the body in a safe, controlled fashion.

There is a strong possibility that the patients experience severe withdrawal effects after this procedure. On one's own, these withdrawal effects can be severe. With professional help, drug detox is far more safe, comfortable, and likely to be successful

Ketamine Addiction Is Treatable. Reach Out to The Edge Treatment Center

Ketamine addiction and other forms of substance abuse have become one of the leading healthcare crises all around the world. Millions of people have lost their lives after using the narcotic substance. One of the most dangerous things about addiction is that it affects not only the user's life but also those who are associated with them.

This creates a massive problem of communication. This leads to the inability to reach out for help, often resulting in disheartening consequences. This is why it is important to understand addiction and how it is different from each substance.

If ketamine abuse is disrupting your life, reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today. We'll help you leave ketamine addiction behind through our effective, evidence-based treatment programs. Including a specialized dual diagnosis program and an LGBTQIA+ process group, you'll have every resource you need to build a happy, drug-free life.

Don't risk ket bladder or worse: contact The Edge Treatment Center today to learn more about ketamine abuse and how it's treatable.

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