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  • Ketamine can be detected in your system for up to two weeks. However, the actual detection window depends on the type of drug test administered as well as many personal factors.

    Ketamine is an anesthetic used on animals and humans for pre-surgery sedation. It can be effective as a pain reliever and antidepressant, too. 

    Ketamine is also a recreational drug, often abused by young adults for its dissociative effects. It’s known as a “club drug,” along with hallucinogens like LSD (acid), MDMA (ecstasy), and PCP (phencyclidine).

    Ketamine Drug Testing

    Ketamine has a half-life of 2.5 to 3 hours in adults and 1 to 2 hours in children. Half-life is how long it takes for half of a substance to be processed and excreted by the body. 

    While this window is relatively short, ketamine and its metabolites (norketamine and dehydronorketamine) may be found in your system for a much longer time.

    Ketamine Urine Tests

    A urine test can detect ketamine for up to 2 weeks. While most of the drug is out of your blood after the first day, its metabolites may be found in urine for much longer.

    Taking a urine sample is the most common form of drug testing for ketamine because it’s inexpensive, not invasive, and has a large window of detection.

    Ketamine Blood Tests

    A blood test can detect ketamine for up to 3 days but it’s most effective within the first 24 hours. Blood testing isn’t a common method of drug testing for ketamine because of the high cost, invasiveness, and short detection window.

    Ketamine Saliva Tests

    A saliva test can detect ketamine for 24 hours. Saliva tests aren’t often used to test for ketamine because they cost more than a urine test and have a small window of detection.

    Ketamine Hair Tests

    A hair test can detect ketamine in hair follicles for several months after use. Hair tests may be used to determine if someone has been abusing ketamine over time.

    Factors That Affect How Long Ketamine Stays In Your System

    How long ketamine stays in your system depends on your body, how much you use ketamine, and if you’re taking other drugs as well. Factors that influence ketamine metabolism include:

    Age & Health

    Younger people tend to have faster metabolisms that can process drugs more quickly than older people. They’re also likely to have healthier bodies that are more efficient at drug metabolism. 

    However, a young person in poor health may have more difficulty processing ketamine than a healthy older person, especially if their kidneys or liver are damaged.

    Body Mass & Body Fat

    If a person with a small body mass and a person with a large body mass take the same amount of ketamine, the larger person will metabolize it faster because it’s a smaller proportion of their body mass. 

    Ketamine is stored in body fat, so a larger person may process it more slowly than a smaller person if their body mass is made up largely of fat.

    Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

    Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is how much energy you burn while resting. People with active lifestyles tend to have a higher BMR, meaning they have a faster metabolism. That can help you process ketamine more quickly, whereas a low BMR could slow down drug metabolism.


    You may process ketamine more slowly if you have certain genes that slow drug metabolism, specifically affecting kidney or liver function.

    Liver & Kidney Function

    The liver and kidneys are responsible for getting ketamine out of your system. If you have impaired liver or kidney function, that can make it take longer to process.


    Since most of the ketamine you take will be excreted through urine, drinking more water may help speed up the process. However, it’s not likely to make enough of a difference to alter the results of a urine test if you abuse ketamine.

    How Much Ketamine You Take (Dosage)

    A higher dose of ketamine will take longer for your body to process. It’s a lipophilic drug, so if you take a high dose, some of it may be stored in your body fat to be distributed later.

    How Often You Take Ketamine (Frequency)

    If you abuse ketamine, you may take another dose before the last one has left your system. Repeated, overlapping ketamine use can cause a build-up of the drug. Each time you take more, it makes the metabolic process longer.

    Mixing Ketamine With Other Drugs

    Some prescription drugs affect an enzyme in the liver that helps you break down ketamine, which can help or hinder its metabolism. 

    Mixing ketamine with other drugs of abuse makes your body work harder to process multiple substances, so that can keep ketamine in your system longer.

    What To Do If You Test Positive For Ketamine

    If you’re using ketamine against medical advice and test positive, now is the time to seek help for ketamine abuse. 

    Ketamine can cause a psychological dependence (addiction) that makes it challenging for you to quit taking it on your own. You may have withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety or drug cravings, that drive you back to ketamine for relief.

    Some ketamine addiction treatment programs begin with detox to help you get the drug out of your system safely. After that, treatment options usually include behavioral therapy, support groups, and experiential therapies like yoga.

    At Ark Behavioral Health, our trained clinicians work with you to heal the root of substance abuse and improve your mental health. To explore treatment options for yourself or a loved one, contact one of our specialists today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Mental Health Daily - How Long Does Ketamine Stay In Your System?
    PubChem - Ketamine

    Medically Reviewed by
    Davis Sugar, M.D.
    on January 31, 2023
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