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How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that is primarily used in veterinary medicine for anesthesia. However, people may abuse ketamine recreationally to experience a high that includes effects like a distortion of sensory perceptions, disconnection from reality, and hallucinations.[1]

While ketamine can cause euphoric and hallucinogenic effects, it is addictive and should never be abused. Misusing ketamine can lead to an array of unwanted effects, including life-threatening overdoses. If you or a loved one abuses ketamine, it’s time to consider attending professional drug rehab. 

Ketamine can stay in your system for several days or weeks and may be detectable on a urine test for up to 14 days.

How Long Do the Effects of Ketamine Last?

Typically, people who abuse ketamine recreationally snort it. Snorting ketamine causes a fast onset of about 10 to 15 minutes. If you were to take ketamine as a pill, it would take you about 20 minutes to begin feeling the effects. 

Depending on how much ketamine you take and the purity of it, you will feel the effects for about 30 minutes to one hour. Higher doses of ketamine may last longer. 

Effects of ketamine include:

  • Feelings of euphoria and pleasure 
  • Relaxation 
  • Feeling detached from yourself and your surroundings (dissociating) 
  • Hallucinations and sensory perception changes 
  • Altered perception of space and time 
  • An inability to feel pain 
  • Feeling like you are drunk on alcohol 

How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?

Ketamine has a half-life of about 2 to 3 hours. A drug’s half-life describes how long it takes your body to metabolize and eliminate half of a single dose. Typically, it takes about 4 to 5 half-lives for a substance to be completely removed from your body. 

With a half-life of 2-3 hours, it takes somewhere between 8 to 15 hours for ketamine to leave your system. Additionally, how long ketamine remains in your body heavily depends on a variety of factors, including the dose you take, how long you have been abusing ketamine, your overall health, and the rate of your metabolism. However, most people fall within the same time frame when it comes to eliminating ketamine from the body. 

If you are wondering how long ketamine is detectable by a drug test, this will vary depending on the type of test being used.


Ketamine can be detected by a urine drug test for up to 14 days after you last used it. Metabolites of ketamine are left behind in your urine longer than the drug itself remains in your system. 


Saliva tests look for metabolites left behind in the saliva found in your mouth. Because of this, they can only detect ketamine in your system for 24 hours after you last took the drug. 


Blood tests can detect ketamine for 24 hours after you last consumed it and for up to 3 days. 


Hair tests can detect any substance, including ketamine, in your hair follicle for up to 3 months after the last use. 

What Happens When You Take Too Much Ketamine?

Having too much ketamine in your system at once can produce severe and life-threatening side effects, such as:[2]

  • Altered consciousness
  • Dizziness 
  • Stomach upset and pain 
  • Urinary tract issues 
  • Increased heart rate and high blood pressure
  • Paranoia or anxiety 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Out-of-body experiences 

It is important to note that anyone who experiences heart issues or has a condition associated with the heart should never abuse ketamine. Research shows that “ketamine stimulates the sympathetic nervous system resulting in increased heart rate, cardiac output, and blood pressure. Hence, intoxicated patients with severe cardiovascular disease or hypertension may be at increased risk for stroke, myocardial ischemia, or increased intracranial pressure.”[2]

One of the biggest risks associated with large doses of ketamine is the inability to think critically. The highest risk of death associated with ketamine is the likelihood of experiencing an accident.[2] Some individuals may believe that they are okay to drive, causing them to get into vehicular accidents. 

Find Help for Ketamine Abuse and Addiction 

If you or a loved one frequently misuse ketamine, it’s time to consider drug rehab. Ketamine addiction can put you at risk of an array of adverse effects, including personal injury and mental health issues. By attending a drug rehab program, you can receive the tools and support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety. 

To learn more about our drug addiction treatment program, contact Mandala Healing Center today. 


  1. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Ketamine, Retrieved July 2023 From
  2. The National Library of Medicine: Ketamine Toxicity, Retrieved July 2023 From