What is a K-Hole?

what is a k-hole

Ketamine is an anesthetic drug that doctors use to sedate people for surgery or other medical procedures. While it can be safely used in a medical setting, people may misuse it by taking the drug recreationally. Using ketamine–sometimes called Special K or Kit-Kat– recreationally can be hazardous to your immediate health and safety and may cause long-term health complications.

People may abuse ketamine for its calming, sedative effects. Some may use the term “k-hole” to describe a ketamine high. But going down a K-hole can be dangerous. It’s essential to recognize the risks of Ketamine abuse and seek treatment to stop using it.

This article will explore the risks of using Ketamine recreationally and the effects of a K-hole. For more information about Ketamine abuse or to find treatment, reach out to the PAX Memphis team now.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a Schedule III non-narcotic drug used as a general anesthetic in medical settings. Doctors use this dissociative anesthetic to induce anesthesia when muscle relaxation is not required. Some examples of procedures where ketamine may be used include:

  • Reducing fractures
  • Treating dislocated joints
  • Repairing wounds in children or others who cannot cooperate with medical care

Doctors may use ketamine in combination with other sedative medications, such as nitrous oxide. It is commonly used in emergency departments.

Medical practitioners may also use low doses of ketamine to relieve severe or chronic pain from trauma, fractures, back pain, and more.

When used under careful medical supervision, ketamine is considered to be safe. But recreational use can cause unwanted side effects and damage your health.

The Side Effects and Risks of Ketamine

Using ketamine under medical supervision can cause a range of uncomfortable physical and psychological side effects. The most common side effects of ketamine include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Double vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • A sense of unease or anxiety

While ketamine is considered safe when used under medical supervision, there are some known risks associated with the drug. These include:

  • Instability of heart and blood vessel functioning
  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Agitation or confusion
  • Increased intracranial pressure
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Cognitive deficits, especially in children

People with high blood pressure may have increased risks associated with ketamine use, including:

  • Aneurysm
  • Heart attack
  • Aortic tear

People with certain mental illnesses or who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take ketamine.

What is a K-Hole?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, and people who take it recreationally may experience dissociative or hallucinogenic effects. A k-hole is a term that describes a ketamine high where people become detached from reality.

Users sometimes describe a K-hole as a near-death experience or report an out-of-body experience. Others find the sensations terrifying and describe feeling like a zombie.

The dissociative, sometimes disturbing effects of k-hole can occur whether someone takes a large or small dose. The amount of ketamine it takes to produce these effects varies from person to person.

How Long Can a K-Hole Last?

Ketamine users usually ingest the drug orally, snort it, or inject it. The method of ingestion can affect how quickly the drug’s effects kick in and how long the k-hole lasts.

Users who ingest the drug orally may not feel the drug’s effects for 20 minutes or more. Injecting it usually results in a quicker high–usually within a minute or less. The effects of snorting ketamine may develop within 5 to 10 minutes.

The effects of ketamine can last for 45 to 90 minutes. People who experience a k-hole–the dissociative or hallucinogenic effects of ketamine–may remain in that state for as little as 10 minutes or up to an hour.

What Are the Effects of a K-Hole?

People who experience a K-hole when using ketamine may feel disconnected from their bodies or experience hallucinations. Here are some of the common effects of experiencing a K-hole.

Psychological effects

Some ketamine users experience psychological symptoms that last much longer than other effects of the drug. ketamine abuse is associated with a range of psychological effects, including:

  • Delusional thinking
  • Memory problems
  • Anxiety
  • Panic disorders
  • Depression
  • Dissociation
  • Paranoia

Physical effects

In addition to hallucinations, delusions, and other intense psychological effects, ketamine abuse can cause many disturbing–sometimes dangerous–physical effects. These include:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Numbness throughout the body
  • Difficulty speaking or moving
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in heart rate and blood pressure

Ketamine works by shutting off the connection between your brain and body. People who use ketamine may lose control over their bodies, putting them at risk of accidents, injuries, or being the victim of sexual and physical assault.

Can You Overdose on Ketamine?

People may try to go into a K-hole by taking large doses of ketamine, but doing so can be dangerous and lead to an overdose. Ketamine overdose closely resembles PCP overdose, a similar dissociative drug. Symptoms of ketamine overdose include:

  • Sedation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Respiratory depression
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Slow heart rate
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Seizure
  • Stupor
  • Coma

When used with alcohol or other drugs, ketamine overdose can be life-threatening. If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose of ketamine or another drug, call 911 immediately.

Find Help Now

Experiencing a K-hole can cause uncomfortable, dangerous, and disturbing symptoms. If you or someone you love abuses ketamine, you must take steps to stop. Ketamine abuse is dangerous. Comprehensive substance abuse treatment can help you regain control of your life and health by giving you the tools to identify and heal your addiction’s root causes.

Don’t wait another day for the treatment you need. Help is just a call away.


  1. https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Ketamine-2020.pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7152956/
  3. https://focus.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.focus.20180012
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541087/

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.