Information on GHB

GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) is a natural substance present in the body in very small amounts. As a street drug, GHB is a synthetic (man-made) chemical that is made in illegal labs. Because the chemicals and processes used to make GHB vary, the purity and strength of the final product is not predictable.

GHB is taken orally and is often sold as a clear, colorless, liquid. GHB may also be sold as a white powder, or as capsules. GHB dissolves in liquid; it is odorless and tasteless, allowing it to be slipped into drinks. Its sedative effects have been used to prevent victims from resisting sexual assault. For this reason, it can be referred to as a “date rape” drug,

Also Known As: fantasy, G, gamma hydroxybutyrate, liquid ecstasy, liquid X, grievous bodily harm, organic Quaalude, salty water, scoop, soap, easy lay, vita-G and Georgia home boy.

How does GHB Affect the Body?

After taking GHB, it travels in the bloodstream to the brain. GHB interacts with many neurotransmitters or chemicals in the brain. GHB acts by depressing the central nervous system.

Will GHB Always Produce The Same Effects?

The effects of GHB on a person are unpredictable. It is different for everyone. The way a person feels after taking GHB depends on many factors:

  • age and weight
  • mood, expectations and environment
  • medical or psychiatric conditions
  • the amount of GHB taken (dose)
  • whether the person has eaten recently
  • the type and amount of food is in the person’s stomach
  • how often and for how long GHB has been used
  • use of other drugs, including non-prescription, prescription and street drugs.

Short-Term Effects

The effects of GHB are dangerous and unpredictable. They are usually felt within 10 to 20 minutes and may last for up to four hours. GHB may make people feel relaxed, euphoric, sedated and sleepy. It also causes people to lose their inhibitions. Some people feel dizzy for several days after using GHB.

       GHB can produce many other short-term effects:

  • dizziness
  • loss of consciousness
  • memory loss
  • loss of coordination (e.g. stumbling, jerky movements)
  • nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • decreased breathing
  • decreased blood pressure and heart rate
  • lowered body temperature
  • increased libido (interest in sex)

It is easy to take too much GHB because the amount that produces the desired or pleasurable effects is close to the amount that can cause an overdose. An overdose can cause slowed breathing, coma, seizures and may even result in death. If you think that a person has overdosed, contact emergency services immediately.

GHB is a potent sedative and can cause users to fall into deep sleep. Users may vomit during sleep and choke. Taking GHB with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, is very dangerous and may result in death. When used together, the depressive effects on the central nervous system are greater than when each drug is used alone. This intense depression of the central nervous system can lead to slowed breathing, and ultimately death because the brain stops telling the lungs to breathe.

Is GHB Addictive?

Yes. Regular use of GHB may lead to physical dependence and to addiction.
People also become tolerant to the effects of GHB with regular use.

GHB Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms may occur in people who use GHB often.
Abruptly stopping GHB may result in unpleasant and potentially dangerous effects including:

  • anxiety
  • confusion and delirium
  • hallucinations (hearing, seeing or feeling things that aren’t real)
  • paranoia (feeling suspicious, hostile or fearful)
  • difficulty sleeping
  • nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • high blood pressure
  • sweating
  • tremors and muscle cramps

Source: Health Canada

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