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The Manchester Tab Safe Drugs Guide: Ketamine

Test your drugs, know your dosage, and help out your mates

Manchester students and recreational drugs: they go together like one legged-pigeons and Piccadilly gardens. According to The Tab 2018 Drug Survey, Ketamine is an extremely popular drug in Manchester, and many wide eyed freshers from the home counties acquire a bucket hat, an interest in Drum n Bass, and an ambition to become a DJ when introduced to it. But do they know how to minimise the risks when taking it?

Obviously, the safest way to take drugs is to not take them at all, and The Tab never endorses the consumption of illegal substances. Read our article on what combining certain drugs actually does to your body, where Dr Steph Sharp told The Tab that ketamine can cause long-term brain damage, saying: "One study demonstrated brain lesions in ketamine addicts, in many brain regions which appeared 2-4 years after the beginning of ketamine use. There is also evidence for atrophy of the brain occurring in ketamine addicts and long term users."

That said, we can still offer a few tips on how to consume drugs safely. We showed you how to minimise risks and sesh safely on MDMA. Here's ketamine edition of The Manchester Tab Safe Drugs Guide.

Test your drugs first

Firstly, the test kits available from the students union, work on ketamine too. Always test your drugs but remember, marquis tests like these are not always accurate. Start with a small dosage first if you're going to take ketamine.


Now, snorting has the stigma associated with doing harder drusg, and can feel very unpleasant. It is also basically the only way ketamine is taken. However, other options are available. Make sure you use a fresh straw, rather than an old note or sharing, as it reduces the risk of sharing germs.

Smaller bumps, rather than a larger line can lead to less of an unpleasant drip down the back of your throat and can allow you more easily control the level of your high.


The effects of ketamine vary dramatically with dosage, like most drugs, but to avoid the dreaded K-hole one needs to be particularly careful.

25mg: a low dose, enough to feel a little silly, and maybe have slightly wobbly legs.

50mg: Enough to get you nice and wonky.

70mg: Strong physical effects and distortion.

100mg: K-hole territory, at least for rookies.

250mg+: "I closed my eyes and was in another realm." Psychonaut level usage. Seriously discouraged.

Types of ketamine

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There are two types of ketamine available to buy, although testing which you have is practically impossible in a home setting. The first variants is what is called a racemic mixture, meaning it contains both the S and K Isomer (essentially mirrored versions of the same chemical). This is common ketamine that one normally finds on the streets.

S Isomer ketamine is also occasionally available. This is a better painkiller, and causes loss of consciousness more readily. Opinion is split as to if it is a more "enjoyable" drug.

Rhino ketamine, or anything similar to it, is a pure fabrication by dealers looking to big up a chemical that really should be exactly the same from guy to guy.


Fortunately, ketamine is generally taken at a lower than anaesthetic dose minimising the acute health risks from the drug. The main risk of injury is therefore from falls, trips and burns suffered while under the influence. However, all drugs can have potentially dangerous and unpredictable risks.

Unfortunately ketamine does carry with it some long term health risks. Firstly, it does have potential to be addictive, and people have been known to get to the point where they can't frequency or size of doses. In addition it can pose a risk of damage to the lower urinary tract.

Both risks can be minimised by keeping both the frequency of ketamine use low and minimising lifetime useage.

Remember to lean on your mates if you're having a bad time, and always practice safe sesh.