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Updated on October 20, 2021

How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System (Drug Test Detection Time)?

Ketamine’s effects come on fast and don’t last long, but the drug can still be detected in your system long after you’ve taken it. The time frames for detecting ketamine use will increase with high doses.

Urine Test

The detection window for testing a urine sample is quite long. It can be detected in the urine for about two weeks.

Saliva Test

Drug testing for ketamine in the saliva isn’t super useful. A swab may not detect ketamine use.

Blood Test

Ketamine can be detected in the blood for up to about four days.

Hair Test

Ketamine can be detected in hair follicles for up to about 90 days.

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What is The Half-Life of Ketamine? 

The half-life of ketamine is approximately 45 minutes. The effects may last a lot longer depending on how much ketamine is consumed.

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What is Ketamine & What Does it Treat?

Ketamine is a dissociative drug. It is a veterinary anesthetic drug that’s been approved for use with both animals and humans. But it’s primarily used for animals.

Ketamine is used for pain relief. For example, during surgical procedures, ketamine may be used as an anesthetic.

Bottles of IV Ketamine
Ketamine IV (Addiction Group)

Ketamine slows sensory receptors in the brain and parts of the limbic system. These control memory development and peripheral sensory awareness.

Ketamine can leave the user unable to process pain or memories. This is why it can be used as an anesthetic. Ketamine also has pain killing effects.

Some people abuse ketamine for its hallucinogenic properties (similar PCP). The drug’s common street names include:

  • Horse Tranquilizer
  • Cat Tranquilizer
  • Jet K
  • Kit Kat
  • Purple
  • Special K
  • Special La Coke
  • Super K
  • Vitamin K.

Ketamine is illegally sold as a white or off-white powder or as a colorless, odorless liquid. People who abuse ketamine will mix it with marijuana or tobacco and smoke it. Or pour it into beverages.

As a powder, people also snort the drug or press it into tablets. Users combine it with other drugs like ecstasy. People also inject the drug as a liquid.

Teenagers and young adults — primarily those aged between 12 and 25 — represent most ketamine users and abusers. In 2000, this group accounted for almost three-quarters of the ketamine emergency department mentions in the country. Nearly three percent of high school seniors used the drug at least once in the last year alone.

Of course, abusing ketamine, like all drugs, is dangerous and can have life-threatening effects.

How Long Do The Effects of Ketamine Last?

The effects of ketamine last about an hour on average. Meanwhile, the adverse side effects of abusing the drug can leave a lasting impact.

Some people who are looking for relaxation and pain relief turn to ketamine-induced sedation. Others seek escapism via ketamine because it allows them to dissociate from their surroundings.

The side effects of ketamine drug use include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Unresponsiveness and impaired ability to react quickly to dangerous situations
  • Memory loss
  • Depression
  • Delirium
  • Convulsions and seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Kidney problems
  • Stomach pains
  • Urinary tract dysfunction
  • Increased desire to turn to more potent drugs like Heroin
  • Psychological dependence

Of course, increased frequency of use and higher doses of the drug can worsen these effects.

Because ketamine causes temporary memory loss, the drug has become a notorious “date-rape” drug in cases of sexual assault.

It is also possible to overdose on ketamine by consuming a toxic amount of the drug, which can slow the heart rate and cause a loss of consciousness, a coma, permanent psychosis, tissue damage, and even death. Accidental ketamine overdoses are common.

Some common signs of a ketamine overdose include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty speaking or impaired speech
  • Impaired vision
  • Muscle twitching
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Altered perception of reality
  • Dissociation
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Hearing disturbances

If you, a loved one, or someone you know has overdosed on ketamine, contact emergency medical help immediately.

Treatment for Ketamine Misuse & Addiction

Ketamine abuse can severely harm users’ physical and mental health. If you or a loved one is struggling with misuse and/or addiction, treatment options are available. 

A medically-monitored detox will remove the toxins from your body and help users avoid relapsing when they experience intense cravings. The detoxification process is safest under the supervision of a healthcare professional who can help the user to manage withdrawal symptoms during the detox period.

Click to learn more about the most effective types of addiction treatment:


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  2. “How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System? (Blood, Urine & More): Delphi.” Delphi Behavioral Health Group, 23 Nov. 2019,
  3. Ketamine Fast Facts,
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  5. “Ketamine.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database, U.S. National Library of Medicine,
  6. “Ketamine: Is It Addictive? (Signs, Symptoms & Treatment): Delphi.” Delphi Behavioral Health Group, 3 Oct. 2019,
  7. Kurdi, Madhuri S, et al. “Ketamine: Current Applications in Anesthesia, Pain, and Critical Care.” Anesthesia, Essays and Researches, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, 2014,
  8. Mountainside. “Ketamine.” Mountainside Addiction Treatment Center,
  9. Orhurhu, Vwaire J. “Ketamine Toxicity.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 Nov. 2020,
  10. Rosenbaum, Steven B. “Ketamine.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 5 Oct. 2020,
  11. Williams, Nolan R., et al. “Attenuation of Antidepressant Effects of Ketamine by Opioid Receptor Antagonism.” American Journal of Psychiatry, 29 Aug. 2018,

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