Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB)

Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid or GHB is a naturally-occurring chemical substance known to be found in the human central nervous system, and in some types of citrus fruits, wine, beef and in most animals in varying amounts. In scientific terminology it is known as 4-hydroxybutanoic acid and sodium oxybate. GHB is known to have medical uses to treat insomnia, depression, alcohol abuse, and in some cases improve the performance of athletes.

However, if taken in high doses, GHB causes a state of euphoria and intoxication. Due to this it is very popular in the party circuit. In many countries, due to widespread abuse of this freely available substance, GHB has been categorized as ‘illegal’ and possession of and dealing in this drug is prosecutable. In many other countries the use of GHB has been regulated by authorities.

GHB is normally produced as a white powder, which is water soluble and appears as a clear liquid. It has also been produced in a tablet and capsule form. GHB is colorless and odorless thus making it undetectable, though it does have a salty taste. GHB can be manufactured in homes also. We know this because recipes and production kits have been found and can be purchased on the Internet.

Using GHB

GHB is mostly used in the powder form, wherein measuring a GHB dose becomes fairly straightforward. In the liquid form, GHB is made available in different ranges of concentration.

A single dose could range from a few drops to a full glass of liquid GHB, either mixed with water or alcohol. Many body builders are known to have abused GHB for stimulating muscle growth.

Due to the nature of its reaction to the central nervous system as an anti-depressant and intoxication, this drug has commonly been abused for recreation, in particular by partygoers. GHB has been used to gain undue advantage of its knocking-out properties to render a girl unconscious and force a sexual encounter. The victim would not be able to remember anything from the incident.

GHB Slang Terms:

Due to the illegal nature, GHB has been nicknamed in many different ways among partygoers and dealers, to avoid being noted by authorities. Some of these names are:

  • battery acid
  • cherry meth
  • Georgia home boy
  • grievous bodily harm
  • liquid Ecstasy
  • liquid G
  • liquid X
  • fantasy
  • salty water
  • “G”

The Risk of Addiction

Essentially, GHB was prescribed earlier as an anti-depressant when it was found that it seemed to create a state of extreme happiness and well being. Due to its nature of improving body weight and muscle toning abilities, school kids used it to perform better in sports. This gained momentum and resulted in GHB addiction primarily among kids who wanted to excel. This caused more problems during their performance than before.

GHB addiction has been characterized by round-the-clock dosing which happens every 1 to 3 hours, either during the day or at night. Heavier doses are taken at night for inducing sleep.

Continuous use may render the user to take more and more doses and this poses the risk of GHB addiction which can develop within just a few weeks. Using these substances as a date rape drug is common, but this does not cause addiction.

The following people and conditions are more likely to cause addiction to GHB:

  • Bodybuilders and other athletes who use GHB as workout aid to increase muscle build-up or stamina.
  • People intending to lose weight – this accounts for the maximum addiction cases.
  • Professional who have to travel a lot and tend to sleep less due to the travel or jet lag, use it as a “sleep” aid.
  • GHB has also been used as an anti-aging substance and hence has been abused by the elderly.
  • People, who tend to get into a depression, use it as an anti-depressant.
  • As this substance has an intoxicating effect, many people consume GHB as a substitute to alcohol.

GHB Side Effects:

GHB effects can last between 1.5 and 3 hours, and with larger doses even longer. The effect is longer if it has been consumed with alcohol. The effects of GHB can be either short term or long term depending on the dosage. These GHB side effects tend to subside after 2 to 21 days, depending on the frequency of GHB usage and the dosage size.

  • The Short Term Effects Of GHB

GHB has been used as an anti-depressant and anesthetic and hence at low doses, it can provide relief and relaxation from anxiety, and high blood pressure. If this drug is combined and used with other mild drugs such as alcohol, it can cause nausea, lack of muscle control, dizziness, drowsiness, and breathing difficulties. GHB is also known to produce certain mild withdrawal effects such as sleeplessness, agitation, high BP, sweating, anxiety, and body tremors.

  • The Long Term Effects Of GHB

With increased dosage and actual state of drug or substance abuse, the sedative and anesthetic effects of GHB may result in unconsciousness, very deep sleep and may also eventually lead to coma or even death. Other long term effects also include difficulty in thinking or making sense of the surroundings, visual disturbances, hallucinations, slurring of speech, mild or severe headaches and also amnesia. In many cases, as mentioned above, GHB has also been used as date rape drug. As GHB is odorless and mostly tasteless, it cannot be detected in a drink and hence can be passed to a girl without her knowing, thus knocking her unconscious.

GHB addiction has reduced over time due to increased awareness of its side effects, among people who use it for medical reasons. In current times, it is known more for its use as a date rape drug. Parents need to be made aware that GHB is available freely in the illegal circuit, and the children are prone to this sense of adventurism and also gullible to talks about body enhancement, etc.

Addiction detoxification should always be undertaken with proper medical supervision. GHB addicts must learn and recognize why they ended up abusing the substance. In order to stay addiction-free for good, it is important to be able to recognize the events which lead to GHB addiction and stay clear of those.

If you or someone you care about needs help with GHB addiction, please call (877) 674-2164. All calls are confidential.

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