What is GHB?
- GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that produces an alcohol-like intoxication.
- Almost always consumed orally, GHB comes in liquid form and has a salty-soapy taste.
- GHB is used medically for the treatment of narcolepsy, and is also a naturally-occurring brain chemical or neurotransmitter.
- Two industrial chemicals, GBL (gamma-butyrolactone) and BD (1,4-butanediol) convert to GHB in the bloodstream. They are also consumed in liquid form, although they have a more bitter and unpleasant taste than GHB.
- All three chemicals (GHB, GBL and BD) are often interchangeably referred to as “G.”
What are the effects of G?
- GHB, GBL and BD are sedatives that can make the user feel relaxed and more sociable.
- Side effects can include dizziness, sleepiness, minor muscle spasms, nausea, and vomiting.
- At high doses, G can cause a temporary coma or loss of consciousness. (The user passes out and cannot be woken up for 4-5 hours.) This is called being “g’d out.”
- Effects from GHB and GBL can be felt within 30 minutes and last about 3-4 hours. BD takes longer to feel, and its effects last longer.
What is a normal dose?
- Because G is almost always diluted into a liquid in varying concentrations, dosing can be difficult. 0.5-2.5mL of GHB is the average range, but depending on the individual and the dilution a dose could also be too much. GBL and BD are stronger, so their doses are lower.
- Start small in order to find the right dose that works for you. Wait at least two hours before redosing. Many overdoses have occurred from people not waiting long enough before taking more.
- Remember, G is extremely dose sensitive. Even a slightly higher dose than normal can cause loss of consciousness.
- Using a measuring spoon, dropper, or syringe is a good way to accurately measure your dose each time.
- GHB tends to settle at the bottom of the bottle, causing later doses to be stronger than earlier ones. To minimize this effect, always shake your bottle before pouring your dose.
- Combining G with alcohol, opiates, benzos, or any other CNS depressant is extremely dangerous and can be fatal, even if taken several hours apart.
- Never use G alone. If you pass out, your breathing passage can become blocked and you could suffocate.
- G is moderately/highly rewarding and reinforcing. Daily use can lead to severe physical withdrawal symptoms requiring medical assistance.
- Like alcohol, G impairs judgment and motor functioning. Don’t drive on G. Even if you think you can drive fine, the effects of G can suddenly become stronger.
- Don’t store G in a bottle that could be mistaken for water. Some people dye their G blue with food coloring in order to distinguish it from water and help prevent accidental dosing.
- GHB and GBL are illegal under federal and state laws. BD is banned under analogue laws in several states. Possession can result in long prison sentences.
- Be self aware! If you choose to use G, setting an intention and sticking to a predetermined schedule of dosing is an important means of reducing risks and improving potential benefits.
What if someone overdoses?
- If you start to feel dizzy or sick, notify someone immediately. Loss of consciousness can happen very quickly with G. If you feel like you might pass out, lay on your side right away.
- If someone falls unconscious and cannot be roused, call an ambulance immediately. Keep them their side or sitting up so they don’t choke if they vomit. Make sure their air passage is clear and their chin is not pressed against their chest.
- If they they are not breathing, begin (mouth-to-mouth) artificial respiration and CPR.