About GHB

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Quick Facts

  • Drug Classification: Schedule I Drug in USA. Schedule III In Canada
  • Street Names: GHB, Liquid Ecstasy, Blue Nitro
  • Forms And Method of Consumptions: Clear liquid with salty taste, capsules
  • Dangers: Small doses can lead to heavy sedation, it does however depend on the individual, doctors may not understand the nature of an overdose leading to incorrect treatment

GHB or Gamma-hydroxybutyrate is a popular club drug that has also been used as a date rape substance, as well as a supplement for bodybuilders despite it’s potential for dependance. GHB is an analog of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid -NH2 (GABA). It has the potential to easily pass through the blood brain barrier, but the GABA does not and partially transforms into GABA in the brain. In the 60s it was discovered that GHB can be found naturally in the body, as well as the brain as receptors.

GHB affects the nervous system in a way similar to the effects of alcohol. It causes a reaction in the inhibitory GABA neurons, which leads to more relaxed social behavior and can lead to coordination problems at high doses. Similar to an alcohol “blackout” A high enough dose of GHB can lead to memory loss of events prior to falling asleep, however different in alcohol in the sense that most GHB users wake up feeling fine with no “hangover” to speak of. Due to the loss of inhibition that GHB causes, it makes the user more at risk to being violated sexually or in some cases seriously harmed or robbed. When mixed with alcohol or benzodiazepines the reaction could lead to coma or death. There exists another “cocktail” that many people use to “come down” from a high on another substance like speed, crack or even ecstasy. The idea behind this theory can be to hide symptoms from family members or friends, or it could simply be a way to sedate yourself enough to be able to sleep and ultimately function better the following day. While it may offer relief to some, this cocktail has potentially fatal side-effects that could lead to other medical complications as the opposing processes of uppers and downers duke it out inside the body.

Is GHB Addictive?

One of the most important short-term effects of GHB is the drug’s ability to block the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that causes the addictive behavior or rush of the drug cocaine’s “high”. Because of this many people were falsely led to believe that GHB is not an addictive substance. This theory has been proved wrong. GHB is addictive and the tolerance to the drug escalates quickly as users will use more and more of the drug to attain it’s effects and prevent withdrawal symptoms in a similar way to alcoholics going through their own withdrawal.

Alternative Uses

In the 1980s GHB was used by bodybuilders in an attempt to capitalize on the growth hormone (GH) which can increase muscle formation and ultimately lose body fat. When the effects of GHB wear off it offers the bodybuilder a good quantity of vitality that can help them train harder.

In addition to GHB’s ability to get the user a strong euphoric high, it was (and in some countries still is) used as an anesthetic because of its capacity to rapidly induce a deep coma with only minor cardiovascular and respiratory depressant effects.