Introduction.

Ketamine is a central nervous system depressant. It is chemically known as ()-2-(2-Chlorophenyl)-2-(methylamino)cyclohexanone, and belongs to a class of drugs called "dissociative anaesthetics", so called as they separate perception from sensation. Other drugs in this class include PCP and Laughing gas (nitrous oxide). Ketamine was first synthesized in 1962 by a doctor searching for an alternative to the anaesthetic PCP. It was mass-produced by the pharmaceutical company Parke-Davis and was extensively used in the Vietnam War.

Ketamine was used for anaesthesia because it was seen to suppress breathing much less than most other available anaesthetics, but in the 1970's patients began to report unwanted visions while under its influence. 

Today, ketamine is sold commercially in the UK as Ketalar and is widely used as a veterinary anaesthetic. It is mainly used in the treatment of farm animals, although does still have some medical applications in humans.

[Photo taken without permission from www.erowid.org.]

Ketamine is usually found in liquid form, as shown above. It can also be found in powder and often pill form. The similarity in appearance means that ketamine is often mistaken for cocaine.

 

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