PCP, angel dust, T, PeaCe pill, Special K, K. Both Ketamine and PCP cause hallucinogenic reactions
that resemble those caused by LSD.
PCP and Ketamine are
hallucinogenic drugs with anesthetic properties. PCP's chemical name is
The drug is typically smoked, mixed in powdered form with a leafy substance
such as parsley, mint, tobacco, or marijuana; it may also be dissolved in a
liquid and sprayed onto the leaves. It also can be injected or inhaled. The
effects of PCP depend on the susceptibility of the user and other variables
such as mood, dosage, and setting. Effects are evident one to two hours after
ingestion and generally last four to six hours. Among chronic users, the
reappearance of disorientation and visual, memory, and speech disorders has
been noted. The drug accumulates in the body.
As with other hallucinogenic drugs, PCP does not cause physical dependence. In low doses, it produces effects similar to those of LSD, although violent and psychotic behaviour seem to be more characteristic of PCP.
Both Ketamine and PCP have mild effects including feelings of detachment from
the surroundings, emotional swings and an altered sense of space and time.
Higher doses cause visual distortions and illusions. Users can also feel a
separation from their bodies. Most users do not have psychotic episodes, but
PCP especially is extremely unpredictable. The PCP user exhibits emotional
instability, excited intoxication, lack of coordination, and is often
impervious to pain. At high doses, PCP is highly toxic and can cause
convulsions and coma.
Physical effects of PCP include high blood pressure,
increased deep-tendon muscle reflexes, respiratory depression, dangerously high
body temperature and muscle rigidity. The physical effects of Ketamine are
similar but are much milder.
Both PCP and ketamine block the actions of the neurotransmittor glutamate at one of its
receptors. Glutamate is an inhibatory neurotransmittor. This can cause the
feeling of disconnection from body or environment. At the same time, PCP acts
like an amphetamine by releasing the neurotransmittor dopamine. This accounts
for the excitation, increased energy and activity. This makes PCP have a
tremendous overdose hazard and causes users to react unpredictably and hurt
themselves. Ketamine does not have this effect on dopamine.
At high doses, PCP is highly toxic and can cause
convulsions and coma. Among chronic users, the reappearance of disorientation
and visual, memory, and speech disorders has been noted. The drug accumulates
in the body. PCP also can cause general anesthesia at high doses, which in
turn can lead to dangerously high body temperatures (up to 108 degrees), blood
pressure so high it can cause a stroke, breathing can cease, or a prolonged
seizure period. Both PCP and ketamine can also cause a prolonged state
resembling paranoid schizophrenia.
portions reprinted from:
portions reprinted from:
npr reports · interviews · discussion · archive · video · quizzes · charts · timeline
synopsis · teacher's guide · tapes & transcripts · press · credits · FRONTLINE · pbs online · wgbh
web site copyright 1995-2013 WGBH educational foundation.