In 1999 ketamine was made a schedule III controlled substance in the United States. In the following years China, a major exporter of ketamine, also subjected the chemical to more stringent control and Sichuan began to formally regulate export of ketamine in 2004. If you look at posts on various drug forums during the period between 2002 and 2004 it is frequently stated that China prohibited non-medical export of the hydrochloride salt but not the freebase resulting in laboratories vending the freebase form exclusively:
[There was] a funny window where China had scheduled ketamine HCl but not the base, so that took up the slack.
- J, 2013
There is also alot of Ketamine freebase comming out of china these days, it is diff than the typical ketamine hcl (salt)
(this is because exporting ketamine hcl was outlawed so they just switched to the freebase)
- shroomy, 2002
For some reason people seem to be able to get lots of this ketamine freebase now-a-days. is there some sort of different legal status for this stuff then for the HCL form?
- pberezansky, 2003
There used to be a big import market from China, but there was a clamp down and now China only exports Freebase Ketamine and not Hydrachroide. Freebase is much harder to use and has to be converted into the salt.There are also an abundance of threads and teks from that period detailing the conversion of ketamine freebase to the hydrochloride salt aimed at scientifically untrained ketamine users in possession of the freebase. This is all to say I believe there is sufficient (indirect) evidence to support the idea that this practice was taking place in China in the early 2000s, my question is whether any of you (readers) can help me find direct evidence that China controlled the HCl salt of ketamine but not the drug itself––effectively prohibiting the chloride counterion––which is ridiculous. If anyone reading this speaks Chinese or could direct me to a lawyer familiar with Chinese drug law during that period, help would be greatly appreciated.
- budda, 2004
I want to substantiate the claim that ketamine hyrdrochloride, but not the freebase, was legally controlled in China during the early/mid 2000s.