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Does Ketamine Show Up On A Drug Test?

Does Ketamine Show Up On A Drug Test?

If you need to take a drug test and have used ketamine recently, you may be wondering: will ketamine show up in a drug test? Standard drug tests don’t generally include ketamine so, in all likelihood, it won’t make a difference if you’ve taken ketamine. In some cases, however, ketamine is screened for.

In this post, we will describe cases where ketamine does and doesn’t show up in a drug test, depending on various circumstances.

Clinic Spotlight: Ketamine Clinics Los Angeles, California

Ketamine Is Not Included On Standard Drug Tests

It is rare for ketamine to be included on a standard drug test. This applies to all types of drug tests, the most common ones being saliva, urine, blood, and hair.

The most common type of drug test is a urine screen and some workplaces will ask employees to agree to such testing. Nonetheless, most employers do not use drug tests that look for ketamine.

Types Of Panel Drug Tests

In the U.S., workplaces that carry out drug testing utilize one kind of panel drug test. There are various types of panel drug tests that look for the presence of different drugs in urine.

These drug tests vary, ranging from 4-panel to 10-panel, with the number corresponding to the number of drugs tested. The most common type is the 5-panel drug test. This is the one that most government agencies and private employers use.

5-Panel Drug Test

The 5-panel drug test detects the following substances.

  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine metabolites
  • Cannabis metabolites
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

10-Panel Drug Test

In some cases, an employer might use the 10-panel drug test. These tests screen for five of the most frequently misused prescription drugs and five illicit, non-prescription drugs.

Along with the five types of drugs above, this more advanced drug test screens for the following.

  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Methadone
  • Methaqualone
  • Propoxyphene

As you will notice, ketamine is not featured even in the most advanced standard drug test. This means it is highly unlikely ketamine will show up in a drug test for work.

RELATED: PCP vs. Ketamine: What Are The Differences?

Why Ketamine Is Not Included In Standard Drug Tests

Most workplace drug tests don’t screen for ketamine because it is expensive to include it. However, if an employer suspects that an employee is using the drug, they may request a blood test, which can detect the drug. But this isn’t a common occurrence.

Cases Where Ketamine Is Included In A Drug Test

There are some contexts in which ketamine is included in a drug test. A drug test may screen for ketamine if you’re serving in the military or competing in a professional sport or athletic competition. Some employers might also include ketamine in their drug testing protocol or in certain circumstances.

How Long Ketamine Stays In Your System

Even if you need to take a drug test that screens for ketamine and you’ve taken the drug recently, this doesn’t necessarily mean it will show up in a drug test. This depends on various factors.

The amount of time that ketamine can be detected in your urine after use is 3-5 days. Nevertheless, the drug can be detectable in urine tests for up to 14 days. It can also show up in hair follicle tests for up to 90 days. So there is significant variation in the amount of time that ketamine could show up in a drug test. But since hair follicle tests aren’t common, you don’t have to worry about ketamine showing up in a drug test for longer than two weeks since last use.

After taking ketamine, your liver will quickly metabolize the compound. The half-life of ketamine (the time it takes for the total amount of the drug in the body to be reduced by 50 percent) is approximately 2-3 hours. It is estimated that 94 to 97 percent of the drug is eliminated from the body after 4-5 half-lives. So, as an adult, most of the ketamine will be out of your system in around 8-15 hours.

If you wait a week since your last use of ketamine, it is unlikely it will show up in a urine drug test. Waiting two weeks, however, will make it even less likely that any traces of ketamine will be detected in your urine. This timeframe will of course be extended much longer should you have to take a hair follicle drug test.

Here’s What Affects The Detectability Of Ketamine

Whether ketamine will be detectable in your body at a certain time after use depends on many different factors. Two people could take ketamine at the same time, yet receive different drug test results after use.

Your Individual Drug Metabolism

The rate at which your body metabolizes drugs will be different compared to others. One person may metabolize a drug quickly, whereas, for someone else, the process can be much slower. Several factors can influence individual drug metabolism rates, including the below.

  • Genetic factors
  • Health conditions, especially chronic liver disorders, kidney disease, and advanced heart failure. If you deal with any of these health problems, you may experience longer detection times
  • Drugs and medications, particularly those that speed up or slow down your metabolism
  • The amount of physical activity you do
  • Hormone function
  • Body mass
  • Age
  • Hydration levels

Ketamine Dosage

Ketamine dosage also determines how long ketamine lasts in the body’s system. A smaller dose of ketamine will stay in your body for a shorter amount of time than larger doses. This is simply because the more ketamine you take, the more material there is for the body to metabolize.

Frequency Of Use

If you use ketamine frequently, or multiple times in a session, then the detection time will be extended somewhat. If you regularly use ketamine, say, once or more a week, then it is possible that some traces of ketamine will always be detectable in your urine.

Studies underscore that in chronic drug users, their drug of choice can be detected in urine for one week after last use. This contrasts with a single dose, in which the drug is detectable in urine after 1.5 to four days. This means that if you are taking ketamine as a one-off, say as part of a treatment plan, then the drug will stay in your system for a shorter amount of time compared to a chronic user of the drug.

As we can see, whether ketamine will show up in a drug test depends on myriad factors. In general, if you are taking a workplace drug test, it is unlikely your employer will screen for the drug. Meanwhile, in cases where ketamine is being tested for, you will need to wait a certain amount of time (depending on the type of test) in order to get a negative result.

Sam Woolfe

View all posts by Sam Woolfe

Sam Woolfe is a freelance writer based in London. His main areas of interest include mental health, mystical experiences, the history of psychedelics, and the philosophy of psychedelics. He first became fascinated by psychedelics after reading Aldous Huxley's description of the mescaline experience in The Doors of Perception. Since then, he has researched and written about psychedelics for various publications, covering the legality of psychedelics, drug policy reform, and psychedelic science.

Dr. Ben Medrano

This post was medically approved by Dr. Ben Medrano

Dr. Ben Medrano is a board certified psychiatrist specializing in Integrative Psychiatry, Ketamine Assisted Therapy and Psychedelic Harm Reduction and Integration. He received his MD from the University of Colorado School of Medicine with additional training in the Urban Underserved Track (CU-UNITE). Dr. Medrano is most known for his work with ketamine assisted therapy and is the former Senior Vice President and US Medical Director of Field Trip Health - the largest in-office ketamine assisted therapy practice to date. He continues to sponsor Field Trip clinics as a local medical director at multiple sites on the East Coast allowing him to further the field of psychedelic assisted therapy and research.

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Comments (1)

  • karen
    September 27, 2021 at 5:34 pm Reply

    My son will be going on probation and uses ketamine. What is the drug test that ketamine use will show up?

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