What Is GHB?

A DEA Schedule I drug, GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) is often used recreationally or as a date rape drug. While flunitrazepam (better known as Rohypnol) is perhaps the most well-known date rape drug, GHB is also often used because it puts the user into a deep sleep for a period of about four hours during which they cannot be awakened and will not resist.

What Is GHB – and Why Do People Use It?

Because it has very similar results to other sedative-hypnotics like Rohypnol, you may wonder why people would use GHB themselves. Basically, while it puts the user in a sleep state for a period of around four hours, it also builds the body’s dopamine levels. When the body is ready to awaken after the drug-induced sleep, that dopamine is released, giving the user a happy and euphoric feeling upon waking.

Some bodybuilders and weightlifters have also been known to use GHB, as it is believed to help build muscle and burn fat, due to protein synthesis in the sleep state.

For the most part, though, GHB is known as a date rape drug, and it is popular as such because it is easily found in clear liquid form and is not detectable when slipped into a beverage.

The Historical Background of GHB

GHB was first synthesized in 1960, and throughout that decade it was a popular anesthetic throughout the medical world. Doctors found, though, that it had a very poor pain relieving effect, and so they stopped using it as an anesthetic and began recommending it as a narcolepsy treatment. Because it had euphoric side effects, it was ineffective in treating narcolepsy.

It was not until 1990 that the FDA finally declared GHB unsafe for human consumption. It took another 10 years for the drug to become a DEA Schedule I substance. With no known medical uses and a number of potentially dangerous outcomes for use, this drug carries with it the same criminal consequences as heroin and other Schedule I drugs.

Street Names for GHB

Some of the most popular street names for GHB include, but are not limited to:

  • Grievous Bodily Harm
  • G
  • Georgia Home Boy
  • Liquid X
  • Liquid Ecstasy
  • Soap
  • Goop
  • Scoop
  • Easy Lay
  • G-Juice
  • Great Hormones
  • Bedtime Scoop
  • Gamma 10
  • Somatomax

Side Effects of Using GHB

Some of the acute effects of using GHB, even just one time, include:

  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of coordination
  • Seizures

An overdose on GHB can also result in a prolonged coma or death. Extended drug use increases the likelihood of experiencing some or all of these side effects. And, as the body builds a tolerance to the drug, an overdose is more and more likely.

What Does the High From GHB Feel Like?

Because taking GHB almost always results in a heavy sleep state, most people do not take it recreationally. Rather, they use it as a tool for sexual assault or to otherwise take advantage of a victim.

Those who do take GHB recreationally report that after about four hours of sleep, they wake up feeling euphoric and alert. They feel as though they can take on anything, which is one of the reasons that bodybuilders and weightlifters have been known to use GHB – it may help build muscle, and it makes it easier to get up go train, even after a very difficult session the day before.

Remember, GHB is a DEA Schedule I drug, meaning that it has serious legal consequences, even without the potential negative mental and physical side effects.

  • Answered by:
  • Published: 09/18/2016
  • Updated: 03/14/2023
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