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GHB

COMMON & BRAND NAMES

G, Sodium Oxybate, Blue Nitro, Xyrem, GBL, Georgia Home Boy, Goop, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid Ecstasy, Scoop, Somatomax

EFFECTS CLASSIFICATION

Depressant Intoxicant

CHEMICAL NAME

gamma-hydroxybutyrate

DESCRIPTION

GHB is a sedative used as a sleep-aid, a recreational intoxicant or as a supplement by body-builders. It is known for its ability to induce a short (several hours) coma-like sleep at high doses. A number of GHB-related deaths in combination with its addiction potential led to it being made illegal in 1999. GHB’s dose/response curve is similar to that of alcohol. GHB affects the release of dopamine in the brain, usually causing effects ranging from relaxation to sleep at low doses. At higher doses, users fall unconscious and are temporarily unable to be awakened (coma). It may also dangerously depress breathing.

EFFECTS

The effects of GHB at recreational doses are physically quite similar to those of alcohol. At lower doses effects include:

  • nausea
  • mood lift
  • dizziness
  • relaxation
  • grogginess
  • slurring of speech
  • decreased motor skills
  • positive mood changes
  • difficulty focusing the eyes
  • reduction of social inhibitions
  • other effects similar to mild alcohol intoxication
  • increased appreciation of music, dancing, and talking

The line between high recreational dose and overdose can be a narrow one. At the overdose level, individuals may experience:

  • vomiting
  • disorientation
  • unconsciousness
  • extreme dizziness
  • extreme grogginess (nodding in and out of consciousness)

During higher overdoses (poisonings), users may experience:

  • vomiting
  • convulsions
  • unconsciousness
  • potentially depressed breathing

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