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How Long Does GHB Stay In Your System?

How Long Does GHB Stay In Your System

How Long Does GHB Stay In Your System? How to Test GHB? GHB Addiction Treatment

Why GHB Is Used

GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate), often called liquid ecstasy, is a dangerous and potent central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Small amounts of the drug can render you unconscious or kill you. In addition, recreational use of the drug can quickly progress to GHB drug addiction, and quitting the drug can be hellish and often leads to withdrawal from GHB. Recovery professionals recommend beginning the first phase of treatment in a supervised facility. This will all start by undergoing medically assisted GHB detox in an inpatient drug rehab.

GHB was used as an anesthetic at one time, however, its use resulted in a number of serious side effects, and this use was discontinued. GHB became a popular drug in the 1980s, used by athletes to improve performance and reduce body fat. Its popularity with bodybuilders, for this reason, remains, although the drug is not an anabolic steroid as it is often portrayed to be. This drug was banned by DEA in the year 2000 [1]. Two years later, it was found to be useful in treating narcolepsy (sleep disorder). As a result, it was given special permission by the FDA to be used for that purpose.

How Long Does GHB Stay In Your System
How long does GHB stay In your system? The effects of GHB come on quickly. Within 15 to 30 minutes of drinking GHB, a person begins feeling the euphoric and sedating effects of the drug. 

GHB is used as a club or rave drug. It still has a reputation with younger people as being an alternative to ecstasy. It produces feelings of euphoria and sociability, and it is still considered to be an aphrodisiac. Predators still use this drug as a date rape drug. It can produce memory loss and unconsciousness when given to individuals who take it unsuspectingly. Despite its use, many of the reputed properties of this drug, such as its ability to increase muscle mass, as an aphrodisiac, and as an athletic performance enhancer, are mostly fictitious.

GHB’s Half-Life 

To accurately determine how long GHB is likely to remain in your system after discontinuing treatment, it is necessary to know its elimination half-life. GHB is understood to have an elimination half-life within the range of 20 to 60 minutes when taken orally; this is extremely short compared to most medications. By knowing its elimination half-life, we can estimate that it’ll take up to 1 hour (on average) for your body to eliminate 50% of an ingested GHB dose from blood circulation.

With this information, we can estimate that it’ll take (on average) between 1.83 and 5.5 hours to eliminate 100% of the GHB from systemic circulation. This means that GHB should be out of your system within a few hours post-ingestion. However, just because GHB is out of your system within just 5.5 hours (on average), does not mean that your neurochemistry will have normalized and/or readjusted back to pre-GHB homeostasis.

How to Test GHB

A drug test for GHB should be performed by a professional laboratory with appropriate licensing and experience with GHB testing. Most standard drug tests do not test for the presence of GHB in your system, and few people test positive for GHB, even when they have used it. Nonetheless, urine, blood, saliva, and hair tests have been developed to test for GHB.

GHB Urine Tests 

GHB Urine tests are noninvasive and relatively affordable ways to test for GHB use. The detection window is short, however, only being able to detect a small amount of GHB in urine up to 12 hours after last use.

GHB Blood Tests

GHB Blood Tests, while invasive, are the most common way to test for GHB use because they are highly accurate. GHB Blood tests will only detect GHB use for up to eight hours after last use.

GHB Saliva Tests

GHB Saliva tests are often used as a secondary test to confirm the accuracy of a GHB urine test. Inexpensive and noninvasive, GHB saliva tests are convenient ways to confirm GHB use for up to six hours after last use.

GHB Hair Test  

GHB Hair tests are less accurate than the other forms of drug testing for GHB, but they offer a much longer detection window of up to one month. GHB Hair tests can be useful for testing victims of GHB-aided sexual assault who were unable to get one of the previous forms of drug tests conducted in time.

Laboratory technicians often want several strands of hair to test, and they can determine when a single dose of GHB was taken. While GHB can persist in hair, test results can be altered through:

  • Coloring, bleaching, or otherwise subjecting hair to chemicals could shift the results.
  •  People who shave their heads before the GHB hair test have no samples to give.
  • Hair can pick up chemicals from the air, and that can show up in GHB hair test results too.
  •  Some health issues change how quickly your hair grows, and that could alter results.

Some companies that offer hair testing don’t include GHB in the substances in which they search. That means a test provided by some groups may not even look for the drug that worries you. In general, GHB is difficult to detect on drug tests because of the short detection windows and lack of accuracy of it showing up on each type of test. In addition, in situations of overdose, medical professionals are often unaware that GHB has been ingested and don’t even think to test for it, as the use of other drugs that were also consumed, such as alcohol, is usually more apparent.

How Is GHB Broken Down in the Body?

After someone drinks GHB, the drug is rapidly absorbed into the blood through the gastrointestinal tract. GHB reaches its peak concentration in the bloodstream within 20 to 40 minutes.

After that, the drug is broken down by the liver in much the same way as alcohol. The liver converts GHB into several other chemicals, which are broken down further and eventually leave the body as carbon dioxide and water.

People naturally produce low levels of GHB in their body, which can sometimes be detected in urine — but natural GHB levels are considerably lower in most people than they are in people who use the drug recreationally or have a GHB addiction.

How Long Does GHB Stay In Your System
How long does GHB stay In your system? The more GHB someone takes, the longer it may take his or her body to rid itself of the drug.

Treatment for GHB Abuse or Poisoning

GHB is a very dangerous drug. Although it is not widely abused for recreational reasons, it can be given to victims of rape or sexual assault prior to the incident. Some people do abuse GHB to get high, however. Understanding how rapidly the effects of GHB begin, and then wear off, can help medical professionals appropriately test potential victims and manage withdrawal symptoms if a person abuses GHB and needs help ending their addiction.

Those accidentally poisoned by GHB should be hospitalized as soon as possible. A person who abuses GHB specifically to get high may also end up hospitalized due to symptoms of GHB overdose, and this provides an opportunity for medical professionals to briefly intervene and help the person get evidence-based addiction treatment. Medical supervision for detox followed by treatment in a rehabilitation program are the foundation of addiction treatment for many substances, including GHB.

GHB Addiction Treatment

There is a strong link between mental health and substance abuse. Individuals who struggle with mood disorders like depression, and anxiety are more susceptible to developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol, often to self-medicate symptoms of their underlying mental health condition. These co-occurring disorders can make each other worse without proper treatment.

If you are experiencing withdrawal GHB, it’s crucial to first get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. When the symptoms have been evaluated by a mental health professional, it may be determined that another form of mental condition is present and needs a particular type of treatment. Very often, some combination of psychotherapy, medication, and/or lifestyle changes are effective for coping with functional. 

Medically-Assisted Detox

Detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of GHB withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of GHB withdrawals.

Psychotherapy 

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with addiction, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution Focused Therapy – is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use disorders and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

Contact us to learn more about how long does GHB stay in your system and what treatment program could work for you. We Level Up can provide information on dual diagnosis and detox programs that may fit your specific needs.

How Long Does GHB Stay In Your System
GHB is a dangerous drug that’s used both recreationally and to facilitate sexual assault. If you or someone you know has become dependent on GHB or any other drug, call us now
Sources:

[1] DEA – https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/GHB-2020_0.pdf

[2] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430781/

[3] NCBI – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28763296/