Ketamine is a fast-acting, dissociative anesthetic. Unlike traditional anesthetics, it works by essentially “cutting off” the brain from the body. With no external stimulation being delivered to the brain from the nervous system, perception increases to fill the gap left by the missing senses giving rise to a hallucinogenic state also known as the emergence phenomena.

Introduction to Ketamine

[​IMG]The effects of ketamine vary with the dosage level and method of administration. At lower dosages the effects are mildly hallucinogenic and slightly stimulating. This type of use is often found at clubs and raves and lends itself well to insufflation or snorting. At higher dosages, especially those administered through intramuscular injection, the effects reportedly can be overwhelming. Although descriptions vary greatly, many users talk about alternate planes of existence, a sense of oneness with everything, expansion in awareness of time and new understandings of the fabric of reality and existence. Communication becomes difficult and movement reportedly can be nearly impossible. The trip usually lasts about an hour for an intramuscular dose.

Ketamine was first discovered in 1961. By 1970 it was designed as an improved version of phencyclidine (PCP.) It afforded physicians and surgeons a “safe and potent, intravenously administered anesthetic of short duration which combined analgesic and sleep-producing effects without significant cardiovascular and respiratory depression.” Somewhat out of favor today, when ketamine is used on humans it is usually confined to children, the elderly and people in so-called third-world countries because of the emergence phenomena.

When used recreationally ketamine can come in powder, tablet or liquid form and can be administered orally, rectally, by insufflation (snorting), intramuscular or intravenously. Intravenous use of ketamine is not recommended for recreational users. The main reason for this is that the onset of Intravenous ketamine can occur so rapidly and be so overpowering that a user can be rendered unconscious before even removing the needle.

At higher dosage levels, ketamine should only be used in a safe environment and with a clear-headed sitter whenever possible.

Using Ketamine

The primary medical use of ketamine is as an injectable anesthetic, but in sub-anesthetic doses it produces a profound, dissociative effect also known as an “emergent” state or the emergence phenomena. This state is often labeled ego-loss by users and is described similar to accounts of out-of-body or near-death experiences.

Taken intramuscularly (IM) ketamine comes on quickly with an initial onset of about two minutes. Insufflated ketamine doses come on slower at 5 – 10 minutes, although this can be significantly less the larger amount you take, the quicker it can come on.

For example, insulation of 0.2mg could have an onset of five to ten minutes, whereas insulating 0.6 the onset could come on what seems like immediately, though primarily this could be a placebo effect, a large amount via insulation will begin onset within a minute.

Oral doses slower still at closer to fifteen to twenty minutes. IM doses to last about an hour and oral doses up to two to three minutes. The first feelings of ketamine are a warmish, allover body tingle and a sense of relaxation. From there the effects grow in waves or K-waves as they’re often called. Taken intramuscularly, ketamine will be in full effect by the ten minute mark. IM ketamine peaks at twelve to twenty-five minutes and holds steady for another twenty minutes. At the height of a ketamine trip a person will feel completely removed from their body and surroundings.

Descriptions of the ketamine peak experience vary widely, but often include alternate planes of existence, dazzling insights, powerful hallucinations, communication with various entities, a sense of oneness and connectedness and a merging of past, present and future. Users have additionally reported being able to see the fabric which makes up the world just under our normal perception, this gives to feelings of enlightenment, that they no longer fear death as it doesn't exist, when we die, we are re-made back into the fabric of the universe. It can often be reported that the user has experienced enlightenment from the gods or a higher power, that only they are party to.

During a ketamine trip it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to communicate. Walking or moving around in general can be nearly impossible and is not recommended. To the outside observer, ketamine users will seem to fall into a deep trance state. Having a sober sitter around who is familiar with the effects of ketamine can be highly beneficial. The comedown of ketamine happens gently but rapidly once it’s begun. If a large dose has been taken to the point the user had no sense of reality, then the "come down" will just feel like "coming back" to their body or awakening from a dream.

Though the ketamine experience can be on par with other powerful psychedelics such as LSD and mushrooms, many users find there is less potential for fear or a bad trip. Also, ketamine lasts nowhere near as long as LSD or mushrooms, so in the rare case of an unpleasant trip one is never far from coming out the other side. One of the most commonly reported side effects of the ketamine experience is a decreased fear of death.

Ketamine dosage depends on the method of administration. Food should not be consumed 90 minutes prior to ketamine use and should be avoided for longer if possible as nausea and vomiting are possible if uncommon. Dosages and reactions vary greatly from person to person.

Ketamine Trip Intensities

Light ketamine Dose

A small line or "bump" of ketamine will induce a mild, slightly-psychedelic euphoria not dissimilar to Ecstasy. Visual perception and sense of touch are amplified.

Common Ketamine Dose

Things move in slow motion, buzzing or ringing in the ears, disconnection from one’s surroundings, loss of co-ordination and motor skills up to and including the inability to move.

Strong Ketamine Dose

Things move in slow motion, buzzing or ringing in the ears, disconnection from one’s surroundings, loss of co-ordination and motor skills up to and including the inability to move. Similar to Common Ketamine dose, but stronger in intensity.

K-hole Ketamine Dose

There seems to be a crucial line where the ketamine user will lose grasp of his or her senses; this is often referred to as the K-Hole. At this level, there is a complete separation of mind and body. It becomes difficult to move or speak or do anything other than lay staring at the ceiling.

Anesthetic Dose

Just like it sounds. At this dosage level a user is unconscious, and though it's not necessarily dangerous, it can be off-putting to a user's companion and has zero recreational value.

Methods of Administration

Insufflation/Intranasal Administration

Intranasal Body Weight Approximate Total
Light .15 mg/lb or .33mg/kg 15 –37.5 mg
Common .3 mg/lb or .66mg/kg 30 – 75 mg
Strong .5 - .75 mg/lb 1.1 – 1.6mg/kg 50 – 187.5 mg
K-hole 1 mg/lb or 2.22 mg/kg 100 – 250 mg

Onset : 5 - 15 minutes
Duration : 45 - 60 minutes
Back to Baseline: 1 - 3 hours

Ketamine powder for nasal use is produced by gently boiling off of solution or simply allowing it to evaporate. Nasal ketamine doses are highly nonlinear when compared with oral or IM dosages. The effects are quite different at low doses. A low dose unsufflated will be shorter-lasting and much less intense than a comparable oral ketamine dose. Users are usually aiming for a light dose. The feeling is often described as relaxing, energizing and slightly psychedelic. This method of administration is common to the club and dance scenes.

Oral Administration

Oral Body Weight Approximate Total
Light .6 mg/lb or 1.33 mg/kg 60 – 100 mg
Common .75 – 2 mg/lb or 1.6 – 4.4 mg/kg 75 – 300 mg
Strong 1.5 – 2.5 mg/lb or 3.3 – 5.5 mg/kg 250 – 450 mg
K-hole 3 – 4 mg/lb or 6.6 – 8.8 mg/kg 500+ mg

Onset : 5 - 20 minutes (depending on stomach contents)
Duration : 90 minutes
Back to Baseline: 4 - 8 hours

Oral ketamine doses are prepared from a powder by placing the powder in a cup and pouring about 1 cm of hot water (tap should be ok) in and stirring to solution. Liquid ketamine can be mixed into waster as well. The remainder of the cup is filled with an acid such as orange juice. Ketamine itself tastes quite bad. It is also found occasionally in pill form.

Taking ketamine orally results in slightly different effects. It goes straight to the liver where it is processed into norketamine. Norketamine has greater numbing, sedating and pain-killing effects and will make it more difficult for a user to walk or move around than when insufflated. The psychedelic effects come on slower compared with insufflation and the whole experience can last much longer- up to 4 hours.

Rectal Administration

Rectal Body Weight Approximate Total
Light .6 mg/lb or 1.33 mg/kg 60 – 100 mg
Common .75 – 2 mg/lb or 1.6 – 4.4 mg/kg 75 – 300 mg
Strong 1.5 – 2.5 mg/lb or 3.3 – 5.5 mg/kg 250 – 450 mg
K-hole 3 – 4 mg/lb or 6.6 – 8.8 mg/kg 500+ mg

Onset : 5 - 10 minutes
Peak : 20 - 30 minutes
Duration : 2 - 3 hours
Back to Baseline: 4 - 8 hours

Though less common, ketamine can be administered rectally. The tissues in this area are very absorbent. Some ketamine users who choose the rectal administration route use a syringe without the needle. The desired ketamine dosage can be put in the syringe, inserted (using lubricant) and injected. Rectal use of ketamine is similar to oral in that it has a lower peak, but longer duration.

Intramuscular Administration

Intramuscular Body Weight Approximate Total
Light .15 mg/lb or .33 mg/kg 15 – 30 mg
Common .2 mg/lb or .44 mg/kg 25 – 50 mg
Strong .5 mg/lb or 1.1 mg/kg 40 – 100 mg
K-hole .75 mg/lb or 1.66 mg/kg 60 – 125 mg
Anesthetic 1 mg/lb or 2.2 mg/kg 100 – 200 mg

Onset : 1 - 5 minutes (depending on dose and injection location)
Duration : 45 - 60 minutes
Back to Baseline: 2 - 4 hours

Many ketamine aficionados believe that Intramuscular injection is far superior to any other form of administration. Some go even further, claiming it to be the only way to truly experience the substance.

For IM injection of liquid ketamine, most users find a 28 gauge, 1 CC insulin syringe sufficient. The user would then make sure the syringe is full of ketamine and has no air bubbles. The user would swab the injection site with an alcohol swab to clean the location. The needle is then inserted (like throwing a dart) into a muscle in an appropriate location. Next the user pulls back on the plunger to make sure the needle isn't in a vein. After insuring the needle is not in a vein, a user would push the plunger in at whatever speed is most comfortable. After injection a user should again clean the site and massage the area to help aid in absorption and minimize post-injection pain.

Muscle pain at the injection site can happen occasionally and can persist for several days. This soreness can be limited by using a smaller gauge needle and by injecting slowly. IM and IV administration of ketamine produce a higher peak and have a shorter duration than other administration methods.

How to IM Inject Ketamine- A detailed discussion of injecting ketamine IM from the Ketamine Forum.

To turn ketamine crystals into liquid for injection, a user would add 1 gram of powder (hopefully pure) to 10 ml of distilled water (in the most sterile conditions the user can set up.) This will yield 10ml of liquid. This liquid now contains 100mg ketamine per ml, assuming the ketamine crystals are pure. That's 100mg/ml. Now 1 mL = 100mg. A user would keep this in mind when consulting the IM Dosage table.

Intravenous Administration

Intravenous Body Weight Approximate Total
Light .07 mg/lb or .17 mg/kg 7 – 15 mg
Common .1 mg/lb or .12 mg/kg 12 – 25 mg
Strong .25 mg/lb or .55 mg/kg 20 – 50 mg
K-hole .37 mg/lb or .83 mg/kg 30 – 60 mg
Anesthetic .5 mg/lb or 1.1 mg/kg 50 - 100 mg

Onset : 10 - 20 seconds (depending on injection site)
Duration : 10 - 30 minutes
Back to Baseline: 2 - 4 hours

Intravenous dosages of ketamine are approximately half of intramuscular dosages. IV administration of ketamine is unwise and absolutely NOT recommended. It’s likely that a ketamine user would lose consciousness before getting the needle out of his or her arm. An IV ketamine dose has a much shorter duration than IM and can last as few as 10 minutes. There is very little recreational value in administering ketamine intravenously.

Combining ketamine with other Substances

Ketamine is, for the most part, a solo act. At doses above the lowest levels, ketamine is so powerful and complete that for most users, mixing it with other drugs takes away from the overall experience. Specifically, ketamine should not be mixed with drugs that act as respiratory depressants, e.g. alcohol, Valium or heroin/opiates. That said, the following is a list of specific drugs and the pertinent information with regards to their being mixed with ketamine. It must be stressed that the following information is presented for informational and research purposes only. This information is not to be taken as an endorsement for taking ketamine and or combining it with the substances listed below.


Don't-- can cause nausea and vomiting; can also depress respiratory system. Combining Ketamine with Alcohol thread.


Some users add amphetamines to lower doses of ketamine for a more psychedelic party drug feel. Combining Ketamine with Amphetamines.


Ketamine amplifies certain cannabis effects, most notably closed-eye imagery/visualization. It also increases the body high associated with cannabis. There are no reported problems, but make sure to extinguish any smoking materials before ketamine administration. Combining Ketamine with Marijuana thread.


Some users like to take small ketamine lines or "bumps" towards the end of an Ecstasy experience to bring back the Ecstasy sensations and add a psychedelic tinge. Some users also claim ketamine can be used to come down more gradually from an Ecstasy trip. Others report that if combined at the height of MDMA effects they reach a state of K hole but remain lucid and able to move which could be dangerous if the user is inexperienced. Combining Ketamine with MDMA thread.


This combination is NOT advised. Besides countering the psychedelic effects of ketamine, Heroin depresses the respiratory system which can be very dangerous. Combining Ketamine with Heroin thread.


No reported problems but probably very strange; reduces ketamine's ability to induce out of body experiences. However the combination increases spacial and time distortion associated with LSD to the point of extreme confusion and difficulty to grasp reality. This combination has been referred to as "Kittyflip." Combining Ketamine and LSD thread.


No reported problems. Users report simultaneous mushroom and ketamine effects. Combining Ketamine and Mushrooms thread.

Nitrous Oxide

No reported problems. Ketamine overpowers nitrous in anything but the very beginning or very end of a trip. Combining Ketamine and Nitrous Oxide thread.


This combination is NOT recommended. In a ketamine daze, setting fire to the room in which a user finds themselves can be a very real possibility.


This combination rates a cautionary warning because benzodiazepines depresses the respiratory system. Some users have reported increased Open Eye Visuals when combining ketamine with a benzodiazepine. Combining Ketamine and Benzodiazepines thread


Rare users combine ketamine with Cocaine. This has been called CK1. Occasionally users will inject this mixture intravenously. Reports say that the ketamine makes things trippy, while the cocaine keeps one rooted in the real world. This is far from a common practice. Combining Ketamine and Cocaine/CK1 thread

Alternative Uses for Ketamine

There are several alternative uses for ketamine that are used in standard practice, and still others being researched today.

Local Anesthetic

Ketamine may be used in small doses (0.1–0.5 mg/kg/h) as a local anesthetic, particularly for the treatment of pain associated with movement and neuropathic pain. It has the added benefit of counter-acting spinal sensitization experienced with chronic pain. At these doses, the psychedelic side effects are less apparent and managed with benzodiazepines.

Treating Chronic Pain

Exciting new research shows ketamine being used to treat chronic pain. Ketamine is being used as an experimental and controversial treatment for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). The hypothesis is that ketamine manipulates NMDA receptors which might reboot aberrant brain activity.
British Journal of Anaeshesia
Medscape Today

Treating Depression

Last year, neuroscientists at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) made headlines with a surprising result. They found that a single dose of ketamine--an anesthetic and club drug known as special K--could relieve depression in some patients in a matter of hours, rather than in the six or more weeks it typically takes for existing antidepressants to kick in. What's more, the drug was successful in a group that is usually extremely difficult to treat: patients who had failed to find relief after trying multiple antidepressant medications. MIT Technology Review

Treating Addiction

Though often referred to as the only addictive psychedelic, ketamine has been found to be of benefit in addictionology. The Russian doctor Evgeny Krupitsky (Clinical Director of Research for the Saint Petersburg Regional Center for Research in Addiction and Psychopharmacology) has gained encouraging results by using ketamine as part of a treatment for alcohol addiction which combines psychedelic and aversive techniques. This method involved psychotherapy, controlled ketamine use and group therapy, and resulted in 60 of the 86 alcoholic males selected for the study remaining fully abstinent through one year of treatment. He also found ketamine to be of use in treating heroin addiction.

Pharmacology of Ketamine

Ketamine produces its dissociative and anesthetic effects by noncompetitive antagonism of the NMDA receptor. The NMDA receptor facilitates electrical signalling between neurons and the spinal cord, and as such, antagonists of NMDA receptors keep the brain from effectively communicating sensory stimuli to the conscious mind. Ketamine's analgesic effects are also enhanced through its actions on ion channels and its effects on catecholaminergic transmission, but NMDAR antagonism accounts for the majority of its recreational potential.

LD50 (mg/kg) (hydrochloride) [5]:
Mice : 224±4 intraperitoneally
Rat : 229±5 intraperitoneally

Chemistry of Ketamine

Column 1 Column 2
Systematic(IUPAC) name: 2-(2-chlorophenyl)-2-(methylamino)cyclohexanone
Synonyms: Cetamina, Vetalar, CI-581, Ketalar, Ketanest, Ketaset, Ketavet (hydrochloride)
Molecular Formula: C13H16ClNO; C13H16ClNO.HCl (hydrochloride)
Molar mass: 237.73 g/mol, 274.19 g/mol (hydrochloride)
CAS Registry Number: 6740-88-1, 1867-66-9 (hydrochloride)
Melting Point: 92-93°C, 262-263°C (hydrochloride)
Boiling Point: no data
Flash Point: no data
Solubility: 0.2 g/mL in water; freely soluble in methanol; soluble in alcohol; sparingly soluble in chloroform
Additionnal data: pKa 7.5
Notes: freebase crystallized from pentane-ether
MSDS Downloadable .pdf

The Dangers of Ketamine

Ketamine is relatively safe compared with most recreational drugs. There have been numerous human clinical trials and it’s effects-- long and short term-- are well documented and understood. Self-administering an overdosing is nearly impossible because it has a wide safety margin and a user would pass out well before being able to administer a large enough dose - unless of course they were administering a massive dose through injection. It is important to note, however, that ketamine is not a good drug to take outside the home. Ketamine users attempting to move around are likely to fall down, bump into things or find themselves in a body of water without the ability to swim. Talking, moving or even going to the bathroom can be extremely difficult. It’s very important to be in a safe environment. For inexperienced users, a clear-headed sitter is absolutely essential. Even for the most experienced users, a sitter is highly recommended.

The dangers of ketamine can be split into acute dangers, about which much is known, and dangers that arise as a result of chronic use, about which information is more limited.

Acute Dangers

Environmental Hazards

At high doses, ketamine can be physically incapacitating, even paralyzing. Users must be sure to extinguish all cigarettes, candles and any other flame that could be knocked over. Over the years, several deaths have been attributed to ketamine. In virtually every case, the actual cause of death was some physical accident. A woman passed out and froze to death in her own side yard. Several users have drown, some even in their own bathtubs. It’s very easy for a user under the influence to trip and fall, potentially causing themselves great bodily harm. Given these examples it is hopefully apparent that a clear-headed sitter is virtually essential for even experienced ketamine users.

Respiratory Depression

There seems to be some confusion as to whether or not ketamine depresses the respiratory system. It's no wonder considering that ketamine can have either a stimulant or depressive effect respiration depending on different factors. Most often when respiratory depression is listed as a concern, it happens on anti-drug websites. Under anything resembling normal conditions ketamine doe not depress respiratory function, contrary to what many people believe. In fact, the effect of ketamine on the respiratory and circulatory systems is different from that of other anesthetics. When used at anesthetic or sub-anesthetic doses it will stimulate rather than depress the respiratory system. Ketamine is capable of depressing the respiratory system only when administered rapidly, intravenously and in high doses—all at the same time. Such administration is not common, or even desirable, by the recreational users. First, said users almost never administer IV. Second, the ideal recreational dose is sub-anesthetic and so comparatively low. And finally, on the off chance that a recreational user would opt for IV administration, the dose should be administered slowly as indicated on the packaging.


The LD50, or Median Lethal Dose (50% of users will die at this dosage level) for ketamine is 400mg/kg. Remember, an IM K-hole does is 60-125 mg for an average user. This means that a 200 pound, or 90 kilogram user would need to administer 36,000mg or 36 grams. That’s about 360 normal doses to OD. Overdose is not an issue with ketamine. What is common is for acquaintances unfamiliar with the effects of ketamine finding a user unresponsive and assuming the user is in danger. Again the importance of a safe environment and a clear-headed sitter are to be stressed.

The Dangers of Chronic Use

Olney's Lesions

Some emerging research suggests that heavy and prolonged ketamine use can cause brain damage in the form of 'Olney's lesions' or 'vacuoles.' These vacuoles, however, were found on rats injected with ketamine while experiments on monkeys have failed to produce similar results. This is probably one reason why the Federal Drugs Administration (FDA) in the US has not removed medicinal ketamine from the marketplace.

Ketamine-Associated Ulcerative Cystitis

Recently it's been discovered that recreational ketamine use has been shown to lead to Ketamine-Associated Ulcerative Cystitis. Ketamine users have anecdotally reported increased lower urinary tract symptoms while using the substance. Cessation of ketamine use, with the addition of pentosan polysulfate, appeared to provide some symptomatic relief. Science Direct.

Ketamine Cramps - Gastro-oesophageal reflux (acid reflux)

Excessive prolonged use of Ketamine can cause gastro-oesophageal reflux. It arises from relaxation of the lower oesophageal sphincter allowing the stomach's acidic content to flow back (reflux) up the gullet. This combined with increased stomach acid production due to swallowing the drip from insufflating Ketamine leads to immense pain and discomfort which can last for hours up to days at a time. The pain is said to often come from nowhere in powerful waves and can be associated with difficulties breathing, loss of sensation or tingling in the face, limbs and extremities. The pain can be excruciating and overpowering, incapacitating the person.

It can be treated with over the counter ant-acids such as Rennie. If these prove ineffectual then drugs known as proton pump inhibitors may be prescribed such as Omeprazole, Pantoprazole or Lansoprazole. Histamine H2 antagonists may also be used such as Ranitidine or Cimetidine.

Once the reflux is happening these medications may not ease the pain. Warm drinks or hot water bottles can help or a hot bath. Although if the sufferer is under the influence of Ketamine a bath could be dangerous without someone else to watch them. It is not advisable but some sufferers vomit up the excess acid to try to stop the reflux but this often proves only a short term solution and can have health consequences. Painkillers can sometimes help ease the pain such as paracetemol. Ibuprofen is not recommended as it can aggravate stomach pain. Opiates such as codeine can also help but can interact negatively with Ketamine.


Ketamine is not physically addictive. Psychologically, however, due to it’s pleasurable effects and short duration, ketamine can be extremely habit forming. It’s is often referred to as the only addictive psychedelic. For users who find the ketamine experience enjoyable (especially users who tend to use drugs to escape their current reality,) and have consistent access, the dangers of psychological addiction can be severe. There are reported cases of addicts injecting as many as 4 10ml bottles of ketamine per day. There is also clear evidence of tolerance and dependence. Due to the intense nature of the effects of the drug, ketamine should not be taken by users who are anything other than emotionally stable and mentally healthy. Many regular drug users are completely surprised by the "first addictive psychedelic they have ever encountered."


Ketamine does not usually produce withdrawal symptoms in chronic users. Some chronic users, however, report tension, twitchiness, poor attention span and restlessness. This may be due to the sedative norketamine (a breakdown product of ketamine) lingering in the blood stream. These symptoms can last for as many as three days in the case of extreme abuse.

Producing Ketamine

Ketamine is a synthetic chemical. A synthesis is complicated and should be attempted only by a competent and experienced chemist.

Ketamine is more difficult to synthesize than the previously considered PCP derivatives. Although it is currently a popular and common drug on the illicit market, it is obtained exclusively by diversion of commercial sources rather than synthesis. This route has an overall yield of ~60%, with a difficulty rating of 2-3 out of 10 and a hazard rating of 1-2 out of 10 (ref. 64). The general necessity of producing anhydrous methylamine in a clandestine setting, rather than purchasing it, increases the difficulty. Use of propylamine rather than methylamine would simplify this reaction, as its boiling point is above room temperature vs. methylamine, which is a gas at room temperature.

The synthesis starts with the reaction of cyclopentyl Grignard and o-chlorobenzonitrile to give o-chlorophenyl-cyclopentyl ketone, followed by alpha bromination of the ketone, and then reaction with methylamine to form an alpha-hydroxy imine (1-Hydroxycyclopentyl-(o-chlorophenyl)-ketone-N-methylimine). Heating this imine results in ketamine via a novel alpha-hydroxyimine rearrangement (refs. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 ). Overall yields are ~60%.

Synthetic Procedure for Ketamine Synthesis


Step 1: (o-chlorophenyl)-cyclopentyl ketone

119.0 g of cyclopentyl bromide and 19.4 g of magnesium are reacted in ether or THF to give a cyclopentyl Grignard reagent. The best yields are obtained if the ether solvent is distilled from the Grignard under vacuum and replaced with hydrocarbon solvent, such as benzene. 55.2 g of o-chlorobenzonitrile is then added to the reaction mixture and stirred for three days. The reaction is then hydrolyzed by pouring it onto a mixture of crushed ice and ammonium chloride, containing some ammonium hydroxide. Extraction of the mixture with organic solvent gives o-chlorophenylcyclopentylketone, bp 96-97 C (0.3 mm Hg) (CAS# 6740-85-8).

Step 2: alpha-bromo (o-chlorophenyl)-cyclopentyl ketone

To 21.0 g of the above ketone is added 10.0 g of bromine in 80 ml of carbon tetrachloride dropwise at 0 deg. C. After all of the Br2 has been added, an orange suspension forms. This is washed with a dilute aqueous solution of sodium bisulfite and evaporated to give 1-bromocyclopentyl-(o-chlorophenyl)-ketone, bp 111-114 C (0.1 mm Hg). Yield is ~66%. This bromoketone is unstable and must be used immediately. Also attempts to distill it at 0.1 mm Hg lead to some decomposition, so it should be used without further purification.

The bromination may also be carried out with N-bromosuccinimide in somewhat higher yields (~77%).

Step 3: 1-hydroxycyclopentyl-(o-chlorophenyl)-ketone-N-methylimine

29.0g of above bromoketone is dissolved in 50 ml of liquid methylamine freebase. Benzene may also be used as solvent. After one hour, the excess liquid methylamine is allowed to evaporate, although increasing the reaction time to 4-5 days may increase yield. The residue is then dissolved in pentane and filtered. The solvent is evaporated to yield 1-hydroxy-cyclopentyl-(o-chlorophenyl)-ketone N-methylimine, mp 62 C (yield ~84%).

Step 4: 2-Methylamino-2-(o-chlorophenyl)-cyclohexano
ne (ketamine)

The final step is a thermal rearrangement, and gives almost quantitative yield after 180 C for 30 min. An alternative to the use of decalin as solvent in this step is to use a pressure bomb.

2.0 g of the preceding N-methylimine is dissolved in 15 ml of decalin and refluxed for 2.5 h. After evaporation of the solvent under reduced pressure, the residue is extracted with dilute hydrochloric acid, the solution treated with decolorizing charcoal, and the resulting acidic solution is made basic. The liberated product, 2-methylamino-2-(o-chlorophenyl)-cyclohexanone (ketamine), after recrystallization from pentane-ether, has a mp of 92-93C. The hydrochloride has a mp of 262-263 C.

As with PCE, the freebase is too caustic to be smoked, and must be converted into the HCl salt in order to be consumed in this[/URL]

Forms of Ketamine



Ketamine is found in either liquid or powder form. When liquid, ketamine is most commonly, but not always, found in 10 ml. bottles concentrated at 100mg/ml. The concentration can vary significantly from among the different varieties so potential users should be certain of the exact concentration when planning doses.

Ketamine powder is made by evaporating the liquid form with or without heat. When a user obtains ketamine in anything other than a factory-sealed vial, especially when obtaining the powder form, users would be well advised to be wary of potential cuts that reduce purity.

Ketamine is best stored out of the light at room temperature.

Legal Status of Ketamine

European Legal Database on Drugs
Ketamine is a controlled substance 21 CFR 1308.13


Ketamine has been monitored in the EU since concerns first arose in 2000 about its misuse. At national level, ketamine is subject to controlled drugs legislation (as opposed to medicine regulations) in almost half of the EU Member States, and in Sweden and the United Kingdom, ketamine was listed as a narcotic substance in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
European drug policy is mainly based on provisions set forth in the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotics of 1961. There were representatives from 12 countries present: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. By signing the Convention, the parties agreed to combat drug abuse and trafficking through national legislation. Each country was allowed to develop a plan specific to their country while still adhering to the Single Convention.

United Nations

Convention on Psychotropic Substances is a United Nations treaty designed to recreational drugs. On February 21, 1971, a conference of plenipotentiaries in Vienna signed a new Convention worded to include almost any conceivable mind-altering substance. The Convention came into force on August 16, 1976. Many laws have been passed to implement the Convention, including the U.S. Psychotropic Substances Act, the UK Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Like the treaty itself, these statutes usually divide drugs into classes or Schedules. The Expert Committee on Drug Dependence began investigating ketamine at its thirty-third meeting, noting, "Its use in veterinary medicine must also be considered in relation to its control". Ketamine remains uncontrolled internationally, although many nations have enacted restrictions on the drug.


Ketamine is classified Schedule IV in Australia. Schedule 4 Appendix D (S4D) refers to Prescription Only Medicines which do not have sufficient addictiveness or risk of abuse to be classified as Schedule 8 but for which a significant addiction/abuse risk exists. As such, Schedule 4D drugs are subject to additional prescription and recording requirements over S4. There has been discussion in Australia of rescheduling ketamine to Sechedule 8.NORML


Ketamine is legal only for medical or veterinary use with a prescription, and possession can result in arrest. Drug use is Belgium not a criminal offense when it is an individual, but it is an offense when used collectively. Group use of drugs carries a penalty of three months to five years in prison and/or a fine of 1,000 to 100,000 Bfrs. The penalty for trafficking is three months to five years imprisonment and a fine of 1,000 to 10,000 Bfs.


Ketamine is controlled under veterinary law, and is not legal for human use. This law is not strongly enforced.


Ketamine was considered schedule 1 as an analogue of phencyclidine (PCP) until 2005 when it was listed specifically under the CDSA and item 14 of the Narcotic Control Regulations. Penalties for schedule 1 drugs in Canada under CDSA are maximum 7 years imprisonment for possession and maximum life imprisonment for trafficking or production.


In July 2004, ketamine was rescheduled from Class II to Class I and is covered under the 1997 Criminal Law of the PRC The maximum penalty for trafficking is life imprisonment.
Chinese Embassy U.S.


On February 5th, 2008, the Minister signed the Executive Order amending the Executive Order on Euphoriant Substances adding Ketamine to the list of Schedule B controlled substances. The order went into effect on February 8th, 2008. Ketamine is now illegal except for medical and scientific purposes.


In Germany, according to the Medicinal Products Act, ketamine is a controlled substance available on prescription only. It does not belong to the subgroup of narcotics as defined by German law (Betäubungsmittelgesetz). The possession and sale of ketamine, as well as other related activities, are nonetheless punishable by law.



Ketamine is not listed under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, but it is under with a prescription under medical supervision.Drugs as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, a schedule H substance.
National Academy of Customs, India


Ketamine is unscheduled and legal in Iran.


Ketamine is illegal under Section 39b of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Further, anyone caught with ketamine will automatically be charged with trafficking under the same law. The amount doesn’t matter so long as police can demonstrate that a transaction occurred. Penalties start at imprisonment for 5 – 7 years and a whipping of up to 3 strokes. Repeat offenders could face the death penalty.


Ketamine is a Category 3 drug under Mexico's General Health Law; Cat. 3 drugs "have a therapeutic value but constitute a problem for the public health". [Ley General de Salud, Title 12, Chapter 6] Medicines Administration Regulations restricts the acquisition of ketamine to licensed veterinarians only, and sets strict rules regarding the management and follow-up of the products.
Mexico Secretary of Health


*** NEED TO FINISH *** Ketamine is not scheduled as a controlled drug in the Netherlands, but it does fall under the control of the medicine laws.

New Zeland

Until recently, ketamine was an unclassified prescription medicine, but early in 2008 New Zealand made it a restricted substance, Class C. With this comes increased controls on storage of the drug and increased penalties for its importation, possession, manufacture or supply for illicit purposes. It is still be available as a prescription medicine.


The Dangerous Drugs Board in the Philippines issued Board Regulation No. 3 on 19 July 2005. With this they added ketamine to the Philippines’ list of dangerous drugs and now subject it to all regulatory and control measures provided under Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).

Philliping Embassay


Not scheduled, but controlled as a prescription medicine (unlicensed distribution illegal.)


Ketamine is controlled and labeled Class B under the Misuse of Drugs Act Chapter 185, The Statutes of The Republic of Singapore. It’s illegal to possess or use. Conviction of Possession and/or consumption each face a penalty of up to a $20,000 fine or 10 years imprisonment or both. The Misuse of Drugs Act also imposes a harsh penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment and 10 strokes of the cane for illegal traffic and 30 years to life imprisonment or imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane for import or export.


As of July 1 ketamine is a schedule IV (4) drug in Sweden. This scheduling happened because MPA got many reports of abuse during the spring of 2005 and MPA thus considered ketamine misuse to be an escalating problem.

United Kingdom

Prior to January 1st, 2006, ketamine was not controlled in the UK, however, sales and distribution were controlled under the Medicines Act making it illegal to sell or distribute without a license. On January 1st, 2006, Ketamine was classified as s Class C controlled substances under the UK’s Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment, Order 2005). This followed rising concerns of abuse of the drug in a 2004/5 survey. Class C status means that it is illegal to possess and/or supply it. Possession carries a penalty of up to two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine, while supplying carries a penalty of up to 14 years in jail and/or an unlimited fine. In Feburary 2014, UK ministers announced that ketamine would be re-classified as a class B controlled substance due to concerns regarding the health risks to users.


In August 1999, after a high profile campaign and ketamine’s demonization as a 'date-rape' drug it became a Schedule III controlled substance in the United States. Ketamine is federally illegal to possess without a license or prescription.

History of Ketamine

Ketamine was first synthesized in 1962 by Calvin Stevens in a Parke-Davis laboratory; he was searching for a safer alternative to phencyclidine (PCP.) Originally he called the drug ‘CI581.’ In 1965, ketamine was found to be a useful anesthetic. In 1966, Parke-Davis patented ketamine as an anesthetic for humans and animals. Ketamine was first used as an anesthetic in the Vietnam War for American soldiers.

Today in the developed world its use on humans has been dramatically curtailed because of exaggerated concern about its potential to cause emergence phenomena including out of body experiences. Ketamine is still used widely in veterinary medicine and as a battlefield anesthetic in developing nations. It’s also used occasionally on children and the elderly as they don’t seem to experience the emergence phenomena.

During the 1970’s ketamine started to be used more often and throughout the world as a recreational drug. In 1978 two books were published about the experiences of ketamine use which served to further popularize it. The books are called Journey Into the Bright World by Marcia Moore and Howard Alltounian, and The Scientist by John Lily.

In the following years ketamine continued to grow quietly and consistently, especially in the context of raves and other party scenes. The increase in illicit use prompted several countries to take steps to make or keep ketamine illegal and out of the hands of recreational users.


1. Ketamine: Dreams and Realities
Dr. Karl Jansen’s excellent reference book on ketamine
2. Erowid
Erowid's ketamine vault
3. Lycaeum
Lycaeum's ketamine page
3. Synthesis
Complete ketamine synthesis
4. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia
[5] Merck Index, fifteenth edition (2013)

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