Ketamine is an effective hallucinogenic drug. It was typically designed to alleviate pain during surgical procedures. Also, the drug has potent anesthetic effects. This article will investigate how long ketamine can stay in the system and what factors can trigger its effects.

Effect Duration of Ketamine

Ketamine is usually injected in a vein or a muscle. Also, the FDA has approved a ketamine nasal spray for patients experiencing treatment-resistant depression. You will encounter an immediate effect when the medicine is administered through veins. However, when administered via muscles, you will experience the impact up to 4 minutes later. The results of ketamine can last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, depending on how it is taken.

Half-Life of Ketamine

Ketamine has an approximate half-life of 45 minutes. It means the drug takes five half-lives to leave your system. Hence, in a healthy adult, ketamine typically takes an average of three hours and 45 minutes to leave the system completely. But the elimination time of the drug varies from person to person. However, metabolites (byproducts of ketamine) are left behind. As a result, it can be shown on drug tests. 

Ketamine Detection Tests

A wide range of tests can be used to detect ketamine in your system. They include:

  • A saliva Test can be used to detect ketamine up to 24 hours after you have taken it.
  • The Urine test can detect ketamine in your body up to 14 days after your last use. However, according to some research, it can still be found in your urine up to 30 days after taking it.
  • Blood tests can detect ketamine in your blood up to 3 days after use. However, it shows more effective results in the first 24 hours.
  • Hair tests can also be used to detect the drug. Ketamine residues may remain in your hair and hair follicles for months.

Factors That Impact How Long Ketamine Stays in Your System

Several factors can influence how long ketamine stays in your system. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Dosage: The amount of ketamine you take can affect its duration in your system. Higher doses typically result in a longer elimination time.
  2. Method of administration: Ketamine can be taken through various means. They include intravenous (IV), intramuscular (IM), oral, and intranasal. The administration method can impact how quickly the drug will be eliminated from your body.
  3. Individual metabolism: Metabolic rate varies among individuals. Hence, it can affect how quickly ketamine is broken down and eliminated from the body.
  4. Frequency of use: If you use ketamine regularly or repeatedly, it can accumulate in your system. Frequent use can lead to a longer elimination half-life. As a result, it takes longer for the drug to be fully cleared from your body.
  5. Age and overall health: Age and general health can influence the elimination of ketamine. Elderly individuals or those with compromised liver or kidney function may experience a slower elimination. Therefore, the drug will take longer to eliminate from the body completely. 
  6. Hydration: Adequate hydration can support the elimination of ketamine. Drinking plenty of fluids may help expedite its clearance from the body.
  7. Concurrent drug use: Other substances, including medications or recreational drugs, can interact with ketamine and affect its metabolism and elimination.

What Are Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms?

If you regularly use ketamine, your body becomes accustomed to having the drug in its system. Consequently, when you quit ketamine, you may experience several uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can manifest as mental health issues. They include severe depression, anxiety, aggression, irritability, paranoia, psychosis, panic attacks, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts.

Physical symptoms of ketamine withdrawal may include stomach cramps, vision and hearing difficulties, bladder pain, excessive sweating, elevated heart rate, and intense cravings for ketamine.

Summing Up

Depending on the test type, ketamine may be detectable in your system for days, weeks, or even months. How long ketamine stays in your system depends on several factors. 

Ketamine can be harmful. If you see someone overdosing on ketamine or having withdrawal symptoms, get them medical help immediately.


What is the Effect of Ketamine?

Lower doses of ketamine will lead to drowsiness and pain alleviation. 
Greater doses result in dissociation and hallucinogenic effects.

Does Ketamine Show Up On a Drug Test?

Within one to three days of consumption, ketamine usually leaves the human body. However, metabolites (byproducts of ketamine) are left behind. As a result, it can be shown on drug tests. 

Is Ketamine Addictive?

Ketamine has addictive potential, although it is considered less addictive than other substances, such as opioids or stimulants. Prolonged and excessive use of ketamine can lead to tolerance, dependence, and cravings.