Drugs are commonplace these days, and many people argue that some illegal drugs are less damaging than legal products like tobacco and alcohol. Given this, it's all too easy to experiment, especially if you're into the club scene. Drugs like ecstasy and speed are well known, and many simple 5-panel drug tests easily detect them, but what about lesser-known drugs like ketamine? Do drug tests detect them? What's more, if you took a bump of ketamine, how long would it stay in your system?
By being prepared, you can avoid the consequences of failing a drug test.
Do drug tests look for ketamine?
This is actually a tricky question with no definitive answer. Ketamine is never part of a standard 5-panel drug test, but unfortunately, this is not the end of the story. PCP is a part of these drug tests, and ketamine can cause a false positive for PCP in some urinary drug screens. Of course, a subsequent GC-MS analysis will clarify it as ketamine, but seeing as ketamine is also now illegal, this may not help your situation.
In addition, from around 2013, testing labs started to include ketamine in their extended tests for "club drugs." It can also be specifically tested for, but this usually only happens if there's a specific suspicion.
In brief, there is a very real risk of failing a drug test, so you should either wait long enough for it to leave your system or take measures before your drug test.
How long will ketamine stay in your system?
As ketamine is relatively new to drug testing, there's some confusion about how long it will stay in your system. There may also be some variations between different labs and testing devices.
A period of about 3-4 days is suggested by many people. If you took just a bump of ketamine, it might be out of your system in a couple of days. This is in line with the specified detection times on commercial testing devices, but there is some doubt about this.
Karl Jansen's book Ketamine: Dreams and Realities paints a different picture. It states that norketamine, which is a metabolite of ketamine, can stay in the system for 7-14 days. For heavy users, it could be even longer. If drug tests look for this metabolite, they will be much harder to pass.
Passing a drug test
Firstly, you could detox yourself for as long as possible, perhaps starting off with a one-week detox program. Unless you can continue for a couple of weeks, it's hard to be sure whether you will pass. There's also little point in testing yourself, because the sensitivity and mechanism of your testing device might differ from that of the real test.
For extra peace of mind, you could use a quality detox drink before a urine drug test. If there is any ketamine (or norketamine) in your system, this drink will flush most of it out of your urine, at least for a few hours.