GHB is a wonderful drug. It is safe, reliable and makes you relaxed and happy with almost no after-effects.
GHB is an awful drug. I have seen nasty things: a person staggering into middle of the party and falling over, out cold. Unprotected sex with a new partner, and regretting it the next day. Unnecessary hospitalisation and a call to the parents: "Your child has OD'd on drugs". If this stuff was widely available, ignorant people would be killing themselves and others regularly.
Warning: Do not mix GHB with alcohol. This will make you feel bad, and could result in vomiting and/or passing out. Large doses could result in hospitalization or death.
GHB in short
GHB, Gamma-OH, Liquid Ecstacy
, Fantasy, GBH
(Grievous Bodily Harm), Georgia Home Boy, Georgia Home Brew, etc.
: Gamma-Hydroxy Butyrate
, Sodium Oxybate.
Formula is C4H8O3
It is a Sodium salt
. The equivalent salt with Potassium
instead is also found, and is essentially the same drug. GHB is a white crystalline solid at room temperature, but is hygroscopic
and soluble in water, and is more commonly found in solution.
Description: A clear liquid. Usually sold in a small bottle, which contains several doses. Also found as a white powder.
The most favourable description of the taste is "old seawater". Though there are worse tastes, very few people grow to liking the taste of GHB. The rest just grimace and exclaim that it tastes a bit rotten. The taste can't be mistaken for water.
Effects: Intoxication, increased energy, happiness, talking, desire to socialize, feeling affectionate and playful, mild disinhibition, sensuality, enhanced sexual experience, muscle relaxation, loss of coordination due to loss of muscle tone, possible nausea, difficulty concentrating.
Sleep is possible. Music is enhanced - changes in volume and tones can be more noticeable. No hallucinations or trippy visual effects occur. GHB makes you extrovert rather than introspective and self-analytic. You will go out and enjoy yourself and chat to your friends, not sit in a corner thinking about yourself.
Many people have bad reactions These can include nausea, headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, amnesia, vomiting, loss of muscle control, respiratory problems, loss of consciousness, being conscious but unable to move.
Effects of large doses: Sedation, desire to sleep, difficulty thinking, giddiness, slurred, rambling or incoherent speech, silliness, disinhibition, regrettable behaviour.
Effects of overdose: Sleep or deep sedation, "GHB coma" from which you cannot be awakened by any means for about three hours. Slowed heart and breathing.
Duration: A dose of GHB takes from 5 to 20 minutes to have its full effect. The effects last one and a half to three hours.
GHB is an illegal drug in many countries including the USA (except for the Xyrem thing). As with many drugs, this is the biggest danger to users.
What does it feel like?
A few minutes after taking GHB, you get this feeling like you a few minutes ago you downed your first shot of whiskey on an empty stomach, and now it's happening. Your head is moving and your hands are tingling.
GHB feels a bit like Ecstasy and a bit like alcohol. It makes you happy, relaxed and intoxicated.
GHB lacks the most of the nasty comedown effects or hangover of alcohol and other relaxation-oriented drugs if used in moderate doses. In fact, many users report feeling particularly refreshed, even energized, the next day.
There are very few after-effects from GHB, though users have reported feeling groggy the day after a long session, and feeling run down and tired after several days of daily heavy use.
GHB can enhance the experience of sex, among other experiences. GHB is claimed to have aphrodisiac effects, notably: disinhibition, heightening of the sense of touch (tactility), enhancement of male erectile capacity, and increased intensity of orgasm.
Safe GHB use
There are simple rules for a safe GHB experience:
- Know how much GHB you are taking. The concentration of street drugs varies. Know how strong your GHB is. Try a little first if you are not sure. Stronger GHB than usual can knock you out.
Know how much GHB you are capable of taking. People's responses to GHB vary greatly. Know what your limit is. If you take more than this, you could pass out.
- Don't drink alcohol with GHB. This is toxic, and could kill you.
- Don't use GHB all the time. Because GHB use has so few aftereffects, there is a temptation is to use it every weekend, or every evening, or even all the time. Keep it for special occasions - you don't want your pastime to become a habit. GHB is not powerfully addictive (like say, crack, crystal meth, heroin or nicotine), but addiction to anything nice is possible for some.
Correct dosage is very important with GHB. People's responses to GHB vary, and tolerance builds up but is soon lost, so it's difficult to tell how much to take. There's no need to down the whole bottle in one gulp - this is dangerous. Know how much you can take. Start small. Take capfuls or small sips.
Don't do GHB if your intention is to get as fucked as possible. GHB is not a strong drug. It comes in two strengths - mild and too much- beware of the fine line between them! Too many small sips can add up to too much.
If you down a dose of GHB and then take another before the first one has taken effect (20 minutes) you are also asking for trouble.
GHB makes some people nauseous - sometimes to the point of gut-wrenching puking. If you have not had it before and don't know you will react to it, try a very small amount (half a teaspoon) first. You will know within 20 minutes.
Many people also find that GHB is not for them. Some people experience nausea, sluggishness, dizziness, among other negative side effects. Listen to your body and heed its warning signals.
Too much GHB makes you pass out into a deep sleep from which you cannot be wakened for several hours. This is not dangerous but could cause unnecessary panic and hospitalisation. You will wake up in 3 hours or so, feeling fine, with no memory of anything being wrong - in fact no memory at all of 3 hours passing.
If you take GHB, make sure your friends know what the score is - even experienced users have misjudged the dose and passed out unexpectedly. I'm sure that you'd rather have someone there who will make sure that you are comfortable and your wallet is not stolen while you are out.
A lethal dose of GHB is estimated to be over half a kilogram of powdered GHB (the LD50 is 12 grams of GHB per kilogram of body weight). A GHB fan claims: "GHB is so non-toxic that one person who "accidentally" took 15 tablespoons woke up 24 hours later, feeling sedated with a headache--but no other negative effects--and recovered completely within hours upon awakening. "
A report on hospitalisations due to GHB noted: "more severe reactions...generally occurred when patients took an unmeasured dose, a particularly large dose, or several doses within a short period of time."
However some claim that "3-4 times the normal dose can make you unconscious and vomiting" - a very dangerous combination!
Combining drugs is risky - each individual will have a different response. Some combinations can be very dangerous.
GHB with alcohol can be fatal.
GHB, like alcohol and other depressants, tends to cancel out against stimulants such as cocaine and speed, and the depressant effects are not felt as strongly.
Users have mixed reports on mixing GHB with hallucinogens such as LSD or Magic Mushrooms. GHB is not usually used whilst high on other drugs such as LSD or Ecstasy, but it is often used afterwards because it relaxes stiff muscles, and to delay the inevitable comedown. It works, but you have to come down some time.
GHB should not be used with benzodiazepines ("minor tranquillisers" such as Valium and Xanax), phenothiazines ("major tranquillisers" like Thorazine and Stellazine), various painkillers (barbiturates and opiates), alcohol, anticonvulsants (Dilantin and Phenobarbital) and even many over-the-counter allergy and sleep remedies. As with alcohol, the depressant and respiratory suppressing effects are dangerously amplified.
How soon after alcohol is it safe to take GHB? Depends how much you drank. Essentially, you should sober up and get over the hangover before you think about it. For one beer, maybe six hours. For a strong booze bender, call it 24 hours.
GHB in the real world
GHB is easy to make. To make LSD
, for instance, takes years of training and many exotic and watched chemicals
. To make GHB: two chemicals, GBL
and sodium hydroxide
and 30 minute's instruction. GBL is however now a watched chemical
Know what you are taking. GHB is simple to make - simple enough that amateurs will try it, but not so simple that they will always get it right. A strong soapy taste indicates unreacted sodium hydroxide. A harsh, burned taste indicates a reaction that overheated. Both indicate a poor quality product.
Beware of strangers asking you to down something unknown. Never take an unknown drug! Always suspect the motive of someone offering you drugs for free. Remember that GHB has been used as an aid to date rape. If you must take drugs, rather do it with friends who know what you are on and will be there if something goes wrong.
In my opinion, anyone who slips someone else GHB in an alcoholic drink should be prosecuted with "assault with a deadly weapon".
Don't drink and drive. In high doses, GHB lowers muscle tone, interferes with coordination and slows reaction time. You'll sober up in a couple of hours.
The biology and history of GHB
GHB is essentially a version of the naturally occurring neurotransmitter GABA
, modified to be a sodium salt
, thus able to cross the blood-brain barrier
. GHB occurs naturally in small amounts in many foods and in every cell in your body. Hence every once in a while GHB is detected during autopsy in the body of some unfortunate
who hasn't taken any.
Your body manufactures enough GHB for its normal metabolism. The only reason for taking GHB recreationally is to get high, not to improve your health. Don't kid yourself that you are taking a vitamin supplement or amino acid, even though GHB has been marketed as such.
Dr. Henri-Marie Laborit, a French researcher into brain chemistry, first synthesized GHB in the early 1960s whilst researching GABA. It was later found that GHB occurs naturally in the brain as part of the GABA metabolism.
Dr. Laborit's other achievement is the discovery that Chlorpromazine (Thorazine) can be used to suppress the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Over the intervening years, numerous researchers have extensively studied GHB's effects. It is has come to be used in Europe as a general anesthetic (yes, you pass out so profoundly that you don't wake up when they cut you open) According to some reports it is no longer so used due to difficulty in determining correct dosage. It has also been used as a treatment for insomnia and narcolepsy - see xyrem, as an aid to childbirth (increasing strength of contractions, decreasing pain, and increasing dilation of the cervix), a treatment for alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal syndrome, and for many other uses.
During the 1980s, GHB was widely available over-the-counter in health food stores, purchased largely by body-builders for its ability to stimulate growth hormone release which aids in fat reduction and muscle building. In the 1990s it gained popularity and illegality as a "recreational" drug.
GHB is extremely non-toxic when used on its own. Some researches claim that pure GHB used on its own has "zero toxicity
Studies on rats have shown no health problems from daily long-term use.
GHB is broken down in the body into carbon dioxide, water and salt. There are few after-effects. Users sometime feel groggy the day after a long session, or feel run down and tired after several days of daily use.
Advice on treating a GHB overdose.
Note: this is just opinion and experience. I am not a health-care professional.
- Do not sedate. As noted above under combining, the combination could cause problems. A patient who has had too much GHB is sedated already, if they are still conscious. By far the most common problem with GHB is a person collapsing or passing out.
- Find out if alcohol is involved. If the patient was sober and the dose of GHB was not severely large, there is little likelihood of problems. If the patient was very drunk, or consumed a very large amount of GHB, they are in danger. If there was moderate or unknown alcohol use, you'll have to rely on the next point.
- Check the vital signs. Weak breathing and heart are danger signs. The most common cause of death is respiratory arrest. If the vital signs are strong and you are sure that no alcohol was involved, the patient can be left in safe place to sleep it off. In other cases, continued observation or hospitalisation will be required. It's your call!
- GHB is a Central Nervous System depressant, and treatment is different from a stimulant overdose (e.g. Ecstasy or speed overdose). In many ways the treatment is opposite - keep the patient warm rather than cool.
- Recovery Position. Always keep unconscious people in a position where they can puke without problem! This means that they should be lying on their side not on their back.
- Once someone is unconscious from GHB, they are out cold. They cannot hear you, and cannot be woken before the GHB wears off. This can take 3-4 hours.
- Inducing vomiting may not be useful - GHB comes in liquid form and is thus quickly absorbed.
Most of this text originated in a Ravesafe workshop in the early 1990s. It has been seen on the Internet before, and it is not entirely my work. Some paragraphs have since been pasted into other documents. That doesn't make this cut and paste or copyright violation. It's here primarily because people will benefit from reading it.