KetamineKetamine hydrochloride, 2-(2-chlorophenyl1)-(methylamino)-cyclohexanone hydrochloride, C13H16ClNO, is a general dissociative anesthetic for human and veterinary use, selling as Ketanest and Ketalar. Pharmacologically it is very similar to DXM and PCP.
Ketamine was first used on American soldiers during the Vietnam War, but is often avoided now because it can cause unpleasant out of body experiences. It is still used in human medicine as a first-choice anesthetic for victims with unknown medical history (e.g. from traffic accidents), in podiatry and other minor surgery, and occasionally for the treatment of migraine. In veterinary medicine, it is usually used for large animals, such as horses. It can also be used, in conjunction with other sedative agents, in small animal surgery -- particularly to aid in the handling of difficult cats, rabbits, and rats.
Ketamine depresses respiratory and circulatory functions less than other anesthetics do. When used in anesthetic doses, it sometimes stimulates the circulatory system rather than depresses it. It is sometimes possible to perform Ketamine anesthesia without protective measures to the airways. Ketamine is also a potent analgesic and can be used in sub-anesthetic doses to relieve acute pain; however, its psychotropic properties must be taken into account.
Ketamine is a Schedule III drug in the United States, and is used in many other countries, such as Mexico. Patients sometimes reported going into other worlds or seeing god while anesthetized: these unwanted psychological side-effects made ketamine less used.
Psychopharmacologically it is a non-competitive glutamate inhibitor at the NMDA receptors. These occur mainly in the hippocampal formation and in the prefrontal cortex, which explains its profound effects on memory and thought.
Ketamine produces effects similar to PCP, and DXM. Like other disassociative anesthetics in low to upper middle dosages, its hallucinogenic effects are only seen in darkness or sensory deprivation. Users tout its trip as better than that of PCP or LSD because its overt hallucinatory effects are short-acting, lasting an hour or less. The drug, however, can affect the senses, judgment, and coordination for 18 to 24 hours. Ketamine sold on the streets comes from diverted legitimate supplies, primarily veterinary clinics. Its appearance is similar to that of pharmaceutical grade cocaine, and it is snorted, placed in alcoholic beverages, or smoked in combination with marijuana. The incidence of ketamine abuse is increasing, and accounts of ketamine abuse appear in reports of rave parties attended by teenagers. Ketamine was placed in Schedule III of the United States Controlled Substance Act in August 1999.
Ketamine puts the user in a dissociated state, meaning that they are not connected to a sense of self, or to reality around them. If a large enough amount is taken, they go through a "k-hole", and experience other worlds or dimensions that are impossible to describe in our language, while being completely unaware of their identity or the outside world. They feel as though their perception is located so deep inside their mind that the real world seems distant (hence the use of a "hole" to describe the experience). Often the user does not remember this part of the experience after they regain consciousness. The "re-integration" process is slow, and the user gradually becomes aware of things around them. At first they may not remember their name, or even know that they are a human, or what that means. Movement is extremely difficult, and they may not be aware that they have a body at all. It may be possible to use this state therapeutically, taking advantage of the dissociation and removing associations from one's brain. After the experience is over, some of these changes may remain.
Many drug users' first contact with Ketamine is involuntary, often from a pill sold as something else (commonly Ecstasy).