Gamma Hydroxybutyrate Essay, Research Paper
Gamma HydroxyButyrate (GHB)
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GHB, or Gamma-Hydroxy Butyric Acid is an intoxicating chemical with
medical, recreational, and potentially entheogenic uses. It is a normal
component of mammalian metabolism. It is naturally found in every
cell in the human body and is most properly considered a nutrient. It
is believed to be a neurotransmitter, although it is still unknown as to
whether it exhibits all of the properties required to be considered one.
GHB was first synthesized about thirty years ago by Dr. H. Laborit. He
was a French researcher interested in exploring the effects of GABA
(gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. Over the years many
researchers have studied GHB?s effects. In Europe it is used as a
general anesthetic, a treatment for insomnia and narcolepsy, an aid
to childbirth, a treatment for alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal
syndrome and many other things. During the 1980’s it was available
over the counter for its ability to stimulate growth hormone release
which aids in fat reduction and muscle building. Now it is very popular
as a recreational drug due to its pleasant alcohol-like hangover- free
high and strong sexual effects. Some street terms include Liquid X,
Liquid Ecstacy, Georgia Home Boy, Grievous Bodily Harm, and Scoop.
GHB is not approved in the US and has been banned from
over-the-counter sale by the FDA (1990). GHB has not yet been
scheduled as a controlled substance by the DEA, and therefore simple
possession is not illegal. GHB continues to be sold to legitimate
laboratories and scientists for research purposes but selling it
specifically for human consumption, especially while making claims
about its health benefits, is a violation of current FDA regulations and
policy. In some European countries, GHB is an approved drug available
by prescription. The Federal control may have been an act to protect
the pharmaceutical industry from competition from a safer, more
effective and less expensive alternative to sleeping pills.
There are many side effects and concerns associated with this drug.
GHB affects the release of dopamine in the brain, usually causing
effects ranging from relaxation to sleep at low doses. Overall the
effect is similar to that of alcohol. The difference is that duration is
slightly longer and the hangover effects are slightly less and the
unpleasant and dangerous overdose effect of possibly causing
temporarily unrousable sleep, or coma, at high doses. The effects of
GHB are heavily affected by one?s body weight, interactions with other
chemicals, and individual reaction. Some people find GHB useful for
treating insomnia, others use it to treat alcoholism. Some use it as a
replacement for alcohol. The effects can be broken down by the dose
Low Dose: .5 to 1.5g
This often causes effects similar to those of 1-3 drinks of alcohol. At
this dosage, the user can fell a mild relaxation, increased sociability,
slightly decreased motor skills, mild dizziness, and other effects
similar to mild alcohol intoxication.
Medium Dose: 1-2.5g
This increases the relaxing effects and the physical disequilibrium
experienced. Some report increased appreciation for music, dancing ,
or talking. Many report positive mood changes. There is some slurring
of speech, silliness, and slight incoherency . Some report increased
feelings of nausea and grogginess. There are some reports of
pro-sexual effects, an increase in tactile sensitivity, relaxation,
increased male erectile capacity and heightened experience of
orgasm, although some women report that this is harder to achieve.
Heavy Dose: 2.5g +
A heavy dose can increase feelings of disequilibrium in many people
to the point of feeling very ill. (One reason the GHB has gained
notoriety as a Club Drug is that some people experience extremely
positive feelings on Heavy Doses of GHB.) Reports of euphoria,
feeling music deeply, joyous dancing, and other very positive effects
are common. An extra quarter gram can be the difference between
euphoria and vomiting.
Overdose: can be little as 2g
One major problem with GHB as an underground recreational
substance is that it has a sharp dose-response curve, which can be
difficult to manage with the various non- standard preparations
available to the uninformed buyer. Another major problem is that
uninformed users often mix alcohol with GHB, which drastically
increases the chance of vomiting and unconsciousness.
While many overdoses consist mainly of heavy sleep, some are
life-threatening . GHB Poisonings are characterized by very low
breathing, convulsions, vomiting, being completely non responsive
even to ?deep pain?, fixed pupils, etc.
Some people feel drowsy , sleepy, or groggy after the effects wear off.
The hangover from low and medium doses of GHB is usually mild or
non existent. Some people do report feeling slightly ?fuzzy-headed?
the next day. Some also report feeling refreshed, happier, and more
alert the day after use. Using GHB more than once a week can cause
significantly increased negative after effects .
These are the feelings that the user may experience but it is also
important to understand what GHB is doing inside the body.
GHB temporarily inhibits the release of dopamine in the brain. This
may cause increased dopamine storage and later increased dopamine
release when the GHB influence wears off. This effect could be the
reason why users that awake in the middle of the night is more
common with use of higher GHB doses, and the general feelings of
increased well-being, alertness and arousal the next day. GHB also
stimulates pituitary growth hormone release. It also induces
?remarkable hypotonia? or muscle relaxation. It is gaining popularity
in France and Italy as an aid to childbirth. It causes a ?spectacular
action on the dilation of the cervix,? decreased anxiety, greater
intensity and frequency of uterine contractions, increased sensitivity
to oxytocic drus, preservation of reflexes, a lack of respiratory
depression in the fetus, and protection against fetal cardiac anoxia.
GHB also causes a protein sparing effect which reduces the rate at
which proteins in the body are broken down, which along with the
growth hormone, underlies its common use as an aid to
muscle-building and fat loss.
Anesthetic doses of GHB are accompanied by a small increase in blood
sugar levels, and a significant decrease in cholesterol. Respiration
becomes slower and deeper. GHB has been called an almost ideal
sleep inducing substance. Small doses produce relaxation, tranquility
and drowsiness which make it extremely easy to fall asleep naturally.
The primary disadvantage to GHB?s use as a sleep aid is it?s short
term influence, which is about three hours. GHB shows great promise
in the treatment of alcoholism. In Europe, one of its primary uses is
to relieve withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and anxiety among
There are four main prosexual properties :
2) heightening of the sense of touch,
3) enhancement of male erectile capacity
4) increased intensity of orgasm
All four together heighten the purpose of using this drug as a
GHB is available as an odorless, colorless, and nearly tasteless liquid.
Sometimes it is available as a powder, or in a capsule.
GHB is obviously a very powerful, dangerous, and addictive drug.
When not taken with care it can result in severe brain damage, coma,
even death. It is not currently illegal to have possession of the drug,
however , it is illegal to sell, buy, or make it. There are different
dosages depending on weight and body of the individual. Its street
terms include Georgia Home Boy, Liquid X, Liquid Ecstacy, Grievous
Bodily Harm, and Scoop. It is often used as a date-rape drug due to
its ability to cause relaxation, decreased motor skills, a short euphoric
period, grogginess, slight incoherence, and physical disequilibrium.
With very heavy use, many people report very serious physical
addiction. Stopping suddenly results in anxiety, inability to sleep,
feeling like the heart is arrhythmic, and often very unpleasant and
potentially dangerous effects. Many heavy users have reported being
able to taper off their use to zero by reducing their intake slowly over
2-3 weeks. Best advice? Don?t try this at home kids.