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γ-Hydroxybutyric acid, 4-Hydroxybutyric acid, 4-Hydroxybutane acid, C4H8O3, M 104,1 g/mol

Synthetic illegal party drug, usually consumed in liquid form. GHB is often called as liquid Ecstasy, but however, it has nothing in common with Ecstasy. Partly it is consciously used for the effect reinforcement of other drugs, although substantial dangers exist, whereby the breath paralysing effect (corresponding to opiates or alcohol) leads to death.

GHB is related to the GABA neurotransmitters, which steer the body-own "luck hormone" dopamine. The effect is strongly dose-dependent and can be influenced by consuming of other drugs as well as alcohol. However consumed, first it arises euphoric - relaxing effects with 0.75 to 1.5 g, by increasing libido. Higher doses up to 2,5 g lead to the tiredness, above 2.5 g possibility of coma. As adverse effects nausea, vomiting, hypotension, difficulty in breathing, confusion and cramps are observed. The effect begins with oral admission after approximately 15 minutes and can persist up to 3 hours (half-life time 20 to 45 minutes).

Except as party drug GHB is inserted in the surgery (Somsanit®), recently also as against kataplexy (Xyrem®, sodium salt). GHB is used occasionally also as doping agent in competitive sport. Since 2003, GHB is a class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

According press reports the popularity of GHB as party drug increases, in particular with young people, in order of dancing under dream and trance similar conditions. In the USA the number of GHB patients in the rescue reached the twenty-fold within 4 years.

Actually, GHB in combination with alcohol is used to make women sexually obedient and submissive ("date rape drug"). The victims cannot remember exactly what happened.


The proof of GHB can take place only with sensitive measuring methods such as GC/MS in the serum or urine, because of metabolism to CO2 and water. Therapeutic concentrations in plasma reached from 50 to 120 µg/ml, toxic from 200 µg/ml, lethal concentrations above 260 µg/ml. The proof duration in the blood amounts to approx. 6 hours, in the urine approx. 12 hours. The possibility of an GHB intoxication should be considered in cases of unclear unconsciousness with opioid typical symptomatology.


GBL (γ-butyrolactone, Tetrahydrofuran-2-one) is a preliminator of GHB rapidly metabolised in the body to GHB. GBL is industrially produced as technical solvent as well as synthesis component of pharmaceuticals and other chemicals. For this reason it is not a controlled substance. It increasingly used abused as replacement drug for GHB, despite its corrosive effect and in unawareness of possible technical impurities, whereby the absorption takes place faster than with GHB. Because of the larger bio-availability, the GBL dosage should amount to maximally 2/3 of the GHB dosage.

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Last modification (M-D-Y): 02/08/2019 - IMPRINT - FAQ