You may have heard of “candy flipping” and “hippie flipping”—names that psychonauts have given to their favorite drug combinations—in this case, acid-plus-molly and shrooms-plus-molly, respectively. But have you heard of kitty flipping?
What is kitty flipping?
Known to be highly euphoric, kitty flipping is the combination of ketamine and MDMA. Although it may seem odd to combine a dissociative like K, with the highly sensual and emotional MDMA, kitty flipping is quite common in the club scene.
It’s called flipping because you are mixing K, which makes you trip, with MDMA, which makes you roll. A trip plus a roll equals a flip, and that’s why so many combinations of drugs with Molly are called flips, according to James Nolan of VICE. Other combos, for instance, include “nexus flipping” (MDMA with 2C-B) and “sugar flipping” (MDMA with cocaine).
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Why combine ketamine and ecstasy?
There are two main reasons for combining K and Molly. Some psychonauts take both substances at once or within a few hours of each other in order to experience a trip that is much different than taking either separately (more on that in the following section).
Others take MDMA and then snort or inject K several hours later to soften the unpleasant side effects of coming down from ecstasy, which can include anxiety, depression, irritability, aggression, insomnia and impulsivity.
What happens when you take ketamine and MDMA at once?
When you take Molly and K in quick succession, the combination can produce intense visual as well as auditory and kinetic hallucinations, according to Quora commenter Crashed Doherty, who opened up about the experience that he said his friend had with kitty flipping.
“Within seconds both him and his friend was [sic] tripping, big style,” Crashed Doherty wrote. “He saw the moon in the sky and reached out for it, he grabbed it. He passed the moon to his friend and they spent a good 10 minutes in awe passing it to each other. They were both having the same trip. Suddenly, his friend became anxious that somebody would notice it missing, they may go looking for it and find we had it, so we quickly placed it back in the sky.”
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As soon as they put the moon back, they heard a loud boom, then everything started shaking like there was a roaring jet engine in the room with them. Suddenly, they felt overcome by an overwhelming sense of pressure—as if the force of gravity had suddenly increased, like when you’re taking off in a jet plane. A few moments later, they felt completely weightless. After looking outside, they saw that the house they were in was now on the moon, so they went out to explore the hallucinated scenery, which seemed completely real to them.
If that experience sounds too extreme, you might want to wait a few hours between taking MDMA and adding K to the mix. The delayed combination will produce a less intense trip that is nevertheless unique according to Redditor Oliivi, who says that snorting K around four hours after taking Molly will produce a more intense emotional high than you would get from taking either separately.
“The empathogenic effects of the MDMA, mixed with the beautiful weirdness of high ketamine doses, made for an almost overwhelming euphoria that I’ve never felt before,” Oliivi wrote in 2017. “This did not feel like a combination of mdma and ketamine, this felt like a completely new and intense psychedelic euphoria.”
In all, Oliivi claims to have snorted approximately 300 milligrams of ketamine over a five-hour session. That feat was only possible thanks to the physical side effects of MDMA, according to Oliivi, who believes the stimulant prevented them from k-holing, which typically leaves consumers too incapacitated to top up their trip by snorting more K. So kitty flipping offers a unique psychedelic experience by changing the way in which both substances interact with your body.
While Oliivi thoroughly enjoyed kitty flipping, they also shared some words of caution for anyone attempting to achieve that sort of high.
“I must warn that this combo is not for the light hearted. I’ve done a decent amount of acid (trips >350 ug),” they explained in the same Reddit post. “It definitely requires the ability to let go of your fear. The best way to do this in my opinion is to research the shit out of drugs so you can truly know you are physically safe even if you feel fucking stupid and as if it [the intoxicating experience] will never end.”
But not everyone kitty flips for the sake of having an intense psychedelic experience. Some use a little ketamine to help offset the unpleasant side effects of coming down from MDMA (as mentioned in the previous section), while others snort a bit of K to soften the anxiety that often accompanies the onset of molly, according to Quora commenter Cristobal Ferryman. The rush of energy and flood of emotions that commonly occurs while coming up on MDMA can be overwhelming for some people, but taking a little ketamine ahead of time can make that experience less intense.
Is kitty flipping safe?
Despite the popularity of mixing these substances, few studies have examined the short-term and long-term effects of kitty flipping. Most studies of recreational drug use focus on analyzing the effects of a single substance taken in isolation, so polydrug consumption remains a major gap in current drug research.
But one thing is certain: When you combine drugs, you also combine the risks associated with each substance. For molly, those risks include potential negative side effects such as distorted perception, increased heart rate and blood pressure (which can be dangerous for people with cardiovascular issues), and a spike in body temperature that can lead to severe organ damage and even liver, kidney or heart failure (especially among young adults).
The potential negative side effects of taking high doses of ketamine include depressed respiration, dangerous changes in blood pressure and heart rate, violent behavior, elevated body temperature, delirium, and coma. Frequent use can also cause a condition known as ketamine cystitis (or ketamine bladder syndrome), in which severe damage to the urinary tract results in bloody urine because of ulcers and hemorrhages and frequent, painful urination due to the bladder shrinking and becoming stiff.
On top of those health risks, ketamine can also cause short-term memory loss while MDMA makes people impulsive as well as prone to reckless behavior. That combination of forgetfulness and recklessness is what made kitty flipping especially appealing to Roselyn Keo and Samantha Barbash, the convicted felons who ran a ring of thieves that became notorious in the early 2010s for drugging CEOs and other affluent men, then draining their credit cards while their victims were deep in a stupor. Thanks to the effects of the MDMA-ketamine combo, many victims had no recollection of the events that led to those thefts—including several instances in which the men themselves carelessly disclosed their PIN numbers, their mothers’ maiden names and other information that Keo, Barbash and their associates used to access and drain their bank accounts (as seen in the 2019 movie “Hustlers” starring Jennifer Lopez).
How long does kitty flipping last?
The duration of your flip depends on when you take each substance and how you take them. Generally speaking, ketamine takes effect within 30 seconds if injected, five to ten minutes if snorted, and 20 minutes if swallowed in pill form. The effects last for approximately 45 to 90 minutes.
MDMA is most often taken in pill form, which takes around a half hour (roughly 20 to 40 minutes) to kick in. An MDMA roll typically lasts for three to six hours.
Your kitty-flip experience will likely last the longest if you wait for the MDMA to kick in before introducing ketamine, or if you ingest the ketamine at the right time for the onset to coincide with the come up of the molly. If the sequence of doses overlaps perfectly, then the experience should last for the full duration of the K trip (45 to 90 minutes). After that, the kitty flipping session can be prolonged by upping the dose of ketamine before the MDMA wears off.
What is the right dose for kitty flipping?
Because there is very little research on the effects of kitty flipping, there’s no standard dose for a safe experience. However, groups like DanceSafe, a national health nonprofit that specializes in drug education, can offer guidelines and recommendations based on scientific as well as anecdotal evidence.
Before dabbling with kitty flipping, a person should understand how ketamine and MDMA affects them when taken individually.
“I always advise doing each substance separately to get a feel for them before combining. Always,” Rachel Clark, programs and communications coordinator for DanceSafe, tells DoubleBlind.
While there’s no standard dose for taking MDMA or ketamine separately, there are guidelines based on anecdotal evidence.
“People generally take 80-120 mg of MDMA per dose, but people’s consumption is very personal,” Clark explains. “Some people take more, some people don’t even need the full 80 mg. A lot of it has to do with body weight, personal chemistry and how often a person has rolled in the past.”
Ketamine is also very subjective, she adds: “Doses as low as 10 mg can be a threshold for people to feel its effects. A more substantial dose would be 30 mg. And 30-60 mg is a more moderate dosage. Doses above 60 mg can lead to a heavily altered or ‘h-hold’ state. But it’s completely dependent on the individual and the quality of the ketamine.”
Developing an understanding of how Molly and K interact with your particular physiological makeup will help prepare you for kitty flipping, but you should also keep in mind that combining K and Molly will have a different effect than taking them separately.
“Any time someone combines substances, regardless of what the substances are, there is going to be some kind of interaction. In some cases that could be a risky or uncomfortable interaction,” Clark adds. “When combining anything with MDMA, you need to be aware that adding another substance can drastically increase the high, subjectively. Some people might not be ready for that.”
To reduce the likelihood of having an uncomfortable experience, Clark offers the same advice that you often hear when experimenting with any substance: Start low and go slow.
“Starting low and going slow is very important for kitty flipping,” she says. “People won’t know if they will benefit from the experience until they try it. So start low and increase the dose incrementally.”
Since there’s no standard dose for MDMA or ketamine, people have to decide what a low dose is based on their personal preferences for taking each substance separately.
“The individual knows the right dose for them better than anyone else,” Clark explains. “Generally, I would say a person should always look at what they would normally take and then reduce it for both substances. I would definitely reduce it at least by some. It’s a good idea to get a feeling for how they will interact with each other in small doses first. You can always try more next time.”
She also stresses that the setting for kitty flipping is crucial to having a safe experience.
“In an ideal environment, there will be adequate airflow and water,” Clark says, noting that one of the biggest risks with ingesting MDMA (with or without ketamine) is overheating. “Ideally, the substances should be laid out ahead of time so people can dose knowingly. All substances should be tested to the furthest possible extent to understand their composition and potential risk. A place to lie down and rest is also important in case you just need to chill out.”
Having the right people around for your first experience is also strongly recommended.
“When you’re doing drugs in general, I would suggest doing them around people that you trust and that you’re comfortable with. People you know will help you out if you need it.”
She adds that if you have uncomfortable experiences with kitty flipping repeatedly, it just might not be for you.
“As with all drug experiences and mixtures, some people like kitty flipping and some people don’t.”
James McClure is a journalist, playwright and scholar based in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada who specializes in cannabis culture, international drug policy, hockey and English literature. His work has appeared in Civilized, Mental Floss and other publications.