The science of a K-hole

‘I honestly thought I was going to die’

The technical description for ketamine is  a “dissociative anaesthetic”. The same numbness which helps you to relax can also lock you to the floor if you take too much.

But what is actually going on with your body during a k-hole and how can you ride through it?

Kate took more than usual on her birthday.

Speaking through drug charity Frank, she said: “I honestly thought I was going to die, and thought to myself that I’d rather be dead than be in this awful trip.

“I did one small line and in less than five minutes I felt a surge of weird energy wash over me and immediately it didn’t feel right.”


K-hole experiences can vary from seeing fun pink elephants to being glued to the blue

She added: “All I could hear was static noise, which became louder when someone spoke. I wasn’t capable of talking or understanding what anyone else was saying to me, and I felt like I was in a dream.

“I was completely numb. Everything felt so surreal, like I wasn’t there. People kept trying to talk to me but I couldnt understand them.

“I sort of accepted the fact that I was going to die and just lay on the ground for a while. I think some people started to get a bit worried about me and tried to get me to stand up and come outside, but I physically couldn’t move.”

Officially, bumping anywhere from 100 to 250 milligrams will take you to a k-hole, according to – but this can depend on your weight and tolerance too. The k-hole effect will come in around 10 to 20 minutes later.

But the effects of taking a bit too much K aren’t all bad.

Tom got in a k-hole at Bestival this year, and admitted: “I had a really good time, got really wobbly and couldn’t stop giggling.

“Then I lost all feeling in my legs outside the Nando’s tent. While all my friends were dancing I was by myself on the floor.

“I thought that I was laughing but people kept coming up to me to ask if I was alright. I was actually having the best time of my life.”

On the last night of the festival, Tom and his mates took the rest.

He said: “My friend’s face turned into multicolour circles and his eyes were the full length of his face.

“My friend started seeing the nightmarish pink elephant parade scene from Dumbo. Apparently I turned into a pink elephant and he had to get out the tent for a bit.

“But I haven’t let that disturb me and have had no other problems.”

A report from the University of New York Steinhardt explains: “The mind temporarily becomes unaware of physical sensations while imagination and mental awareness are heightened resulting in a hallucinogenic state.”

Inside your head, you’ll experience “decreased interpretation of data and the brain will temporary shut down in certain parts”.

Their advice on having a smooth and safe trip is to make sure you’re not sick while you’re inside the k-hole.

The report continues: “When using ketamine, some people become nauseous and vomit.  If this occurs prior to entering the k-hole, it is possible that someone may choke on their own vomit.”

Often called horse tranquilliser, ketamine was developed in the 1960s and was first given to humans in the Vietnam war a decade later.

It’s not too difficult to see why 35 per cent of students in Manchester have tried ketamine.

One student, Charlie, said: “There’s no chance of drunk calling your ex on it. K is still more attractive than alcohol.

“In terms of price, effects and long-term effects it’s my drug of choice.”


Ketamine is one of the most popular drugs in Manchester, where 35 per cent of students have tried it at least once

A one-time user, Dan, thought he was taking MD but it turned out to actually be ketamine.

He said: “I started to shiver and realised how long my fingers suddenly were. Like, Pinocchio’s nose long.

“I lay there completely motionless for about three hours staring at them extending out in front of me, worrying about what my parents would say if I died.

“For some reason I was convinced that the bad guy from Monsters Inc was scuttling down my road to come and get me. I wouldn’t recommend it.”

The NYU ketamine report adds: “At lower dosages, users feel slightly “trippy” and “out-of-body” with some numbness.  Overall the effects are more stimulatory in nature, making the drug an alternative to ecstasy in some cases.”

On the negative side, there have been 90 deaths in England and Wales attributed to ketamine between 2005 and 2013, but overdosing is not very common.

The majority of these deaths are down to poisonings, getting hit by traffic or other accidents which can occur while under the effects of the drug.

Describing the way out of her k-hole hell, Kate said: “Somehow I managed to drag myself outside where my boyfriend was trying to look after me and I started vomiting a lot.

“If you do find yourself in a k-hole, keep your head down and close your eyes or try and stand up, it will make you feel better.”