New research from the UK links Ketamine with memory loss and other adverse psychological effects, as well as reveals the drug might be more addictive than previously thought.
Ketamine, also known as Speical K, has become an increasingly popular party drug, especially among young clubbers, due largely to its drop in price in recent years. Now about half the price of cocaine, Ketamine is a popular alternative to ecstasy and cocaine.
Ketamine is a stimulant that is also known to induce hallucinations. In previous studies, it was found to cause kidney and bladder damage.
Researchers from The University College London performed a range of memory and psychological tests on 120 people. Participants were split into five groups:
- Frequent users, using ketamine each day
- Recreational users, using ketamine one to two times a month
- Former users
- Users of other drugs
All participants took part in a series of tests, and then were followed up with a year later. Researchers found that the frequent user group performed significantly worse on the memory tests, at times having twice as many errors.
There were no significant differences between the other groups in the study.
Furthermore, performance on the tests weakened over the year. All ketamine user groups showed evidence of unusual beliefs and mild delusions, such as conspiracy theories, in the psychological questionnaires.
Alarmingly, the research also revealed evidence pointing to a high rate of addiction in ketamine. Hair samples from the recreational user group showed that their ketamine use doubled over the study year.