What is GHB?

by | May 15, 2023 | 0 comments

Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is another name for the generic drug sodium oxybate. Xyrem® (which is sodium oxybate) is the trade name of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prescription medication. Xyrem® is approved as a treatment to improve daytime sleepiness and muscle weakness with narcolepsy (a disorder marked by sudden, unexplained, spontaneous fatigue, napping, or falling asleep throughout the day).

Analogs that are often substituted for GHB include GBL (gamma butyrolactone) and 1,4 BD (also called just “BD”), which is 1,4-butanediol. These analogs are available legally as industrial solvents used to produce polyurethane, pesticides, elastic fibers, pharmaceuticals, coatings on metal or plastic, and other products. They are also sold illicitly as supplements for bodybuilding, fat loss, reversal of baldness, improved eyesight, and to combat aging, depression, drug addiction, and insomnia.

GBL and BD are sold as “fish tank cleaner,” “ink stain remover,” “ink cartridge cleaner,” and “nail enamel remover” for approximately $100 per bottle — much more expensive than comparable products. Attempts to identify the abuse of GHB analogs are hampered by the fact that routine toxicological screens do not detect the presence of these analogs.

Street Names

Easy Lay, G, Georgia Home Boy, GHB, Goop, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid Ecstasy, Liquid X, Scoop

How is it abused?

GHB and its analogs are misused for their euphoric and calming effects and because some people believe they build muscles and cause weight loss.GHB and its analogs are also misused for their ability to increase libido, suggestibility, passivity, and to cause amnesia (no memory of events while under the influence of the substance) — traits that make victims who unknowingly consume GHB vulnerable to sexual assault and other criminal acts.

What is its effect on the body?

Euphoria, drowsiness, decreased anxiety, and memory impairment. GHB can produce both visual hallucinations and — paradoxically — excited and aggressive behavior. GHB takes effect in 15 to 30 minutes, and the effects last 3 to 6 hours. Low doses of GHB produce nausea. At high doses, Unconsciousness, seizures, slowed heart rate, greatly slowed breathing, lower body temperature, vomiting, nausea, coma, and death.

What are its overdose effects?

GHB overdose can cause coma and death.

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