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GHB Drug Abuse, Side Effects, Addiction & Treatment

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Seeking GHB Drug Addiction Recovery options? Want to know what is GHB drug? What are GHB drug slang names? Learn from the facts about GHB drug abuse, effects, symptoms, withdrawal & treatment.

By We Level Up | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: October 21, 2022

What Is GHB Drug?

GHB or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (C4H8O3) is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that is commonly referred to as a “club drug” or “date rape” drug. GHB is abused by young adults at bars, parties, clubs, and “raves” (all-night dance parties) and is often placed in alcoholic beverages. Euphoria increased sex drive and tranquility is reported as positive effects of GHB abuse. It can produce effects ranging from euphoria (at low doses) to blackouts and amnesia.

The chemical compound became famous as a surgical anesthetic in the 1960s, then gained notoriety as a party drug and fat burner in the 1980s. The body produces small amounts of GHB naturally in the brain. Some meats, beer, and wine also contain GHB; the average liter of wine holds between 4 mg and 21 mg of GHB. Conversely, illicit GHB is confiscated from clubs, and street sales commonly have between 500 mg and 3,000 mg of GHB.

Street Name For GHB [1]:

  • Gamma Oh
  • Georgia Home Boy
  • Great Hormones At Bedtime
  • Grievous Bodily Harm
  • Growth Hormone Booster
  • Liquid Ecstasy
  • Liquid X
  • Salty Water
  • Sleep
  • Vita G

The variation of the GHB drug name illustrates the popularity of the various GHB drug names sold illicitly.

A Xyrem is a medication with GHB used to treat narcolepsy, it is strictly regulated as a Schedule III substance and not available in regular retail pharmacies. On the other hand, Illicit GHB is created by street drug manufacturers and frequently sold on the internet as a Hallucinogen. It can be found as a colorless, odorless liquid or a white powder that may have a soapy or salty taste.

Most people have heard of GHB because of its popularity in the club and electronic music scenes. Some report using the drug for its alcohol-like effects, which occur without the associated loss of body control, slurred speech, or hangover. Gym-goers have also reportedly used the drug to burn fat and build muscles. However, sexual predators have also used the GHB drug as a date rape drug by pouring the nearly undetectable substance into an unsuspecting victim’s drink. The amount used by these criminals is usually enough to make the victim lose consciousness, leave them unable to defend themselves, and cause them to forget the details of what happened the next day.

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GHB Drug Fact Sheet

Also known as Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid.


GHB Drug Street Names

  • GHB
  • G
  • Gina
  • Liquid Ecstasy
  • Liquid X
  • Liquid G
  • Goop
  • Georgia
  • Home Boy
  • Grievous Bodily Harm
  • Easy Lay

GHB Drug Sedative

The brain naturally produces GHB, a depressant that also has sedative and anesthetic properties. The central nervous system’s activity, including that of the brain, is slowed down by depressant drugs. Alcohol, heroin, and benzodiazepines are some other drugs that have depressing effects.

Narcolepsy may be treated by it.


GHB Drug Appearance

Typically, GHB is sold as a liquid or as a white powder that is dissolved the powder in a liquid, such as water, juice, or booze. A liquid solution of GHB has been packed in miniature bottles of water or vials. GHB is a transparent, colorless, and slightly viscous liquid. tasted salty.


GHB Drug’s Effect On The Mind

Very modest levels of GHB are present naturally in the central nervous system. GHB use has depressive effects on the central nervous system (CNS), such as:

  • Decreased anxiety, euphoria, sleepiness, disorientation, and memory impairment

Additionally, GHB can result in violent and ironically enthusiastic behavior, as well as visual hallucinations. Alcohol and other depressants’ CNS depressant effects are significantly amplified by GHB.


GHB Drug’s Effect On The Body

GHB takes effect in 15 to 30 minutes and has a 3- to 6-hour half-life. GHB causes nausea at low doses.

GHB overdose at high levels can cause:

  • Convulsions, a coma, a significant slowdown in breathing, a drop in body temperature, unconsciousness, vomiting, and nausea.

Regular GHB use can result in addiction and withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Insomnia, trembling, anxiety, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and sporadic psychotic ideas. There isn’t a treatment for GHB toxicity at the moment. There are a number of negative effects associated with GHB analogs, including:
  • Topical skin and eye irritation; dizziness, nausea, vomiting, incontinence; loss of consciousness; seizures; liver damage; kidney failure; respiratory depression; and death.

GHB Drug Availability

Prescription only.


GHB Drug & Pregnancy

Due to its association with increased rates of miscarriage and other birth difficulties, GHB should be avoided during pregnancy. Additionally, sedative drugs might make the baby sleepy, have breathing problems, and have low muscle tone.


GHB Drug & Alcohol

When GHB is taken with other substances, such as alcohol, the risk of overdosing rises. It is very risky to combine GHB with other depressive medications. Even at low doses, mixing GHB and alcohol can result in nausea, vomiting, and unconsciousness.


GHB Drug Origin

Both domestic and foreign underground labs generate GHB illegally. Local operators’ covert synthesis is the main way that GHB gets onto the street. GHB is often sold in liquid form by the capful or “swig” at bars or “rave” parties for $5 to $25. Like any drug containing a restricted substance, Xyrem has the potential for abuse and diversion. Almost everywhere in the nation has seen cases of GHB.


How Are GHB Drugs Abused?

GHB and its analogs are abused due to their euphoric and soothing effects, as well as because some people think they help grow muscles and shed pounds.

The characteristics of GHB and its analogs that make victims more susceptible to sexual assault and other crimes, such as their tendency to stimulate libido, suggestibility, apathy, and produce forgetfulness (the inability to recall events while under the drug’s effect), are also utilized inappropriately.

In the 1990s, GHB abuse spread among teenagers and young adults in dance clubs and “raves” and earned popularity as a drug used in date rape. GHB may be consumed singly or in combination with other substances, including alcohol (most frequently), other sedatives, stimulants, hallucinogens, and marijuana.

The typical dose is between 1 and 5 grams, which, depending on the compound’s purity, can be as little as 1-2 tablespoons dissolved in a beverage. The concentrations of these “home brews,” however, have varied so widely that consumers frequently are not aware of the precise dose they are consuming.


GHB Drug Overdose

Overdosing on GHB might result in unconsciousness and death.


Which Drugs Cause Similar Effects To GHB?

  • In place of GHB, GHB analogs are frequently abused. When consumed, GBL and BD both metabolize to GHB and have effects resembling those of GHB.

What Is The Legal Status Of GHB Drugs In The United States?

GHB is a Schedule I controlled substance, which means that it has a significant abuse potential, no recognized medical utility in treatment in the United States, and no recognized safety for use while being monitored by a doctor. The Controlled Substances Act classifies GHB products as Schedule III substances. GBL is a List I chemical as well.

In March 2000, GHB was added to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. However, it is regarded as Schedule III, one of the numerous medicines that are listed in multiple schedules, when sold as FDA-approved GHB products (such as Xyrem).

GHB Drug Statistics

(Source: Drug Abuse Warning Network)

58%

58 percent of all GHB references in drug-related ER visits are made by people between the ages of 18 and 25.

(Source: University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Survey)

2%

In the United States, over 2% of seniors in high school reported using the substance at least once in the previous 12 months.

(Source: National Library of Medicine)

0.05%

Did you know that an estimated 0.05% of adults in the United States have used GHB in the past year?

GHB Drug FAQs

How Are GHB Drugs Used?

It is typically consumed in either liquid (mixed with water) or powder form (tablets).

What Does It Feel Like To Be High On GHB Drugs?

Both hallucinations and a tremendous surge of pleasant feelings are brought on by GHB. Many young people have needed emergency medical care as a result of GHB. The liquid is occasionally unintentionally poured into someone’s drink because it has no smell and no color.

Drowsiness, wooziness, nausea, vomiting, and visual abnormalities are among the adverse effects of GHB use. GHB users run the risk of losing consciousness (passing out), ceasing to breathe, and entering a coma. GHB usage is fatal.

Even if someone has just taken minimal dosages of the drug, mixing GHB with alcohol is extremely risky and can be fatal because both substances are depressants.

GHB’s severe side effects have necessitated the use of emergency rooms by several young people, and it has claimed the lives of more users than the drug Ecstasy.

What Is A GHB Drug Test & Does GHB Show On A Drug Test?

A competent laboratory with the necessary licensing and GHB testing expertise should conduct a drug test for GHB. It should contain both preliminary screening and confirmation tests. There are currently no instant, fast, or point of collection (POCT) test products available for drug test GHB analysis. Therefore, the recommended practice for GHB is always lab testing.

GHB does not stay in each user’s system for the same amount of time. The potency of the substance, frequency of usage, and body weight are all considerations. Urine should be collected for a urine test no later than 24 to 48 hours following intake. A GHB hair test might be a better choice. Hair shouldn’t be gathered until 14–30 days have passed since the incident.

GHB use can be traced back up to 90 days using a hair drug test. So, if you are wondering, “does GHB show on drug test” or “does GHB show up in a drug test”, the answer is yes. GHB on drug test does show up. It is important to quit using GHB if you want to know how to pass a drug test for the substance. After that, you can always take a GHB drug test kit to confirm that you are now clean.

After a night out, people frequently wake up with little recollection of the previous night’s activities. To determine whether you were under the influence of drugs the previous night, a date rape drug test is frequently requested. GHB also referred to as “the date rape drug,” causes users to experience deep unconsciousness and memory disruption.

What Does GHB Show Up As On A Drug Test?

If you are wondering, “does GHB show up on a drug test”, the answer is yes. Even though they are invasive, blood tests are the most popular and accurate method of detecting GHB use. Only eight hours after the last use will blood tests show GHB use. In order to verify the validity of a urine test, saliva tests are frequently performed as a supplementary test.

Am I Addicted To GHB?

GHB is a prescribed and tightly controlled medicine to treat narcolepsy or another illness but can be abused like any other illicit drug. GHB’s long-term effects can be lethal, but before that, there are some signs to identify someone who is abusing GHB drugs.

Taking more than prescribed or using dishonest prescriptions to get access to GHB, when isn’t needed is also considered drug abuse of GHB

Is GHB Addictive?

Due to GHB’s addictive nature, dependence may arise quickly. Dependence results in withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe and even fatal, when a person stops using. Due to the sedative effects of GHB, a person may become unconscious or incoherent, rendering them incapable of giving sexual consent. GHB use increases your vulnerability to sexual assault.

What Are Typical GHB Side Effects Next Day?

GHB comes in small bottles or pill form and is an oily, flavorless liquid with a hint of salt. Usually starting within 15 to 20 minutes, the effects might last up to 3 to 4 hours.

Signs Of GHB Abuse

GHB is a prescribed and tightly controlled medicine to treat narcolepsy or another illness but can be abused like any other illicit drug. GHB’s long-term effects can be lethal, but before that, there are some signs to identify someone who is abusing GHB drugs.

Taking more than prescribed or using dishonest prescriptions to get access to GHB, when isn’t needed is also considered drug abuse of and an addiction to GHB.

Effects Of GHB Drug Abuse

Though many people describe the feelings caused by low GHB doses as euphoric and energetic, even small doses can cause loss of consciousness, hallucinations, amnesia, and coma. Because most of the GHB consumed in the US is manufactured illegally, it’s impossible to know the concentration of GHB in each dose without testing it in a lab. Furthermore, the difference between a low dose of GHB and a potentially lethal dose of GHB can be relatively small.

What is GHB drugs?  GHB medication is employed to treat narcolepsy, an ailment that causes intense daytime drowsiness.The GHB drug can have an addictive potential if used repeatedly.
What is GHB drugs? GHB medication is employed to treat narcolepsy, an ailment that causes intense daytime drowsiness.
The GHB drug can have an addictive potential if used repeatedly.

Side Effects Of GHB Drug Abuse

  • Amnesia
  • Clumsiness
  • Confusion
  • Exhaustion
  • Euphoria
  • Hallucinations
  • Headache
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Lower Body Temperature
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Sluggishness
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

Some of GHB’s effects may feel similar to those of Stimulants at low doses, but GHB is a Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressant. As such, overdose typically involves respiratory depression. When a person overdoses on GHB, often onlookers mistakenly believe the person is sleeping while the individual is asphyxiating.

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The Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol With GHB Drug

GHB is dangerous enough on its own but can quickly become fatal if mixed with other Depressants, including alcohol, Benzodiazepines, Opioids, and Barbiturates. When these substances are taken together, functions the CNS is responsible for (such as breathing and heart rate) are slowed to the point that they may stop altogether.

The combination of GHB drug and alcohol is dangerous because both substances slow down the primary body functions such as breathing and heart rate.
The combination of GHB drug and alcohol is dangerous because both substances slow down the primary body functions such as breathing and heart rate.

There are signs of being on the lookout for if you think someone is under the effects of GHB and other substances. Alcohol and GHB drugs can make someone feel sick, leading to nausea and vomiting. In addition, they may act uncharacteristically sluggish or confused. If they are hallucinating, they may not be able to respond appropriately or even walk. If the individual passes out, or if their breathing becomes erratic, seek immediate medical attention.

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How Addictive Is GHB?

GHB is among popular bodybuilders, this demographic group abuse od GHB because this substance has been demonstrated to elevate human growth hormones; party people between 18 – 22 years old are very influenced by the party scene to take this kind of psychoactive drug. However small doses apparently act more like a stimulant or aphrodisiac, but that is the tricky part with GHB abuse, the majority of users are young people who can be involved easily in GHB abuse, combining this drug with alcohol and do not realize how addictive GHN could be.

Symptoms of GHB Overdose

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures 
  • Reduced Breathing and Heart Rate
  • Amnesia
  • Loss Of Consciousness
  • Coma 
  • Death

GHB Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person stops taking GHB drugs, they may experience withdrawal symptoms — especially if their body has become dependent on the drug to feel normal. Usually, symptoms of GHB withdrawal involve feelings of anxiety, insomnia, shaking, sweating, increased heart rate, and psychotic thoughts. Sometimes, these symptoms are severe and require medical supervision and addiction treatment inside a detox facility or rehab center for a period of 7 to 14 days.

There are no proven addiction treatment medications for a GHB drug addiction. For some, you may be prescribed controlled doses of benzodiazepines, antidepressants, or anticonvulsants during treatment. However, recovery professionals recommend facing a GHB addiction with a long-term treatment plan that promotes positive decision-making, improvements to overall health, and learning coping skills.

GHB Withdrawal Timeline

  • 1 – 2 days: The first GHB withdrawal symptoms to appear are typically anxiety, insomnia, tremors, and episodes of a racing heartbeat.
  • 3 – 4 days: Sweating and blood pressure spikes are common for the first couple of days
  • 1 – 5 days: Hallucinations and confusion are typical, and the person may become violent and completely lose touch with reality.
  • Usually, GHB withdrawal syndrome could last no longer than 15 days, and its symptoms can continue to occur during this period of time.

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Treatment Option For GHB Drug Abuse

Little information is available on treatment options for persons addicted to any club drug, including GHB. Some users of GHB are not physically dependent upon it and can be treated and informed on an outpatient basis. However, chronic use may result in severe withdrawal symptoms upon detoxification, and close medical supervision and supportive care are required for these clients. Hospitalization may range from 7 to 14 days.

Withdrawal effects are reported as severe, and clients may attempt to self-detoxify using benzodiazepines or alcohol. However, using these additional substances may worsen withdrawal and lead to respiratory depression, coma, and death. Therefore, it may need benzodiazepines, antihypertensive medications, and anticonvulsants during detoxification, but only under medical supervision.

Formal medical detox can help reduce needless harsh withdrawal suffering while minimizing the risks of GHB drug withdrawal.
Formal medical detox can help reduce needless harsh withdrawal suffering while minimizing the risks of GHB drug withdrawal.

If you or someone you know has a GHB addiction, contact a treatment provider today. GHB drug abuse is dangerous and may result in users harming themselves and injuring others as well. The We Level Up Treatment Center provides world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. In addition, we work as an integrated team providing information and treatment options for GHB drug abuse. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our GHB treatment specialists. Our professionals know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

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Sources

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