10 GHB Facts You May Have Missed in Chemistry

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Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, also known as GHB, gained its reputation as the date rape drug due to its tranquil effects. GHB acts as a depressant to the central nervous system. Individuals under the influence of GHB will often feel euphoria, increased sex drive, and a state of repose.

However, GHB is dangerous when it is taken unknowingly or recreationally in large doses. These ten GHB facts can be eye-opening, especially to those who actively participate in the scenes where it is prevalent.

1. Bodybuilders Use GHB

Bodybuilders have reported usage of GHB as it stimulates the release of growth hormones. GHB use in bodybuilders helps to diminish their pain response. An individual that exercises in excess might use this drug to combat the pain associated with the aftermath of his or her workout.

People also take it in conjunction with steroids to enhance their effects or alone in place of an anabolic steroid.

2. GHB Occurs Naturally in the Body

GHB is a naturally occurring depressant in the central nervous system. It is necessary for the full functioning of the brain as well as the central nervous system. However, this drug becomes dangerous due to chemical additives during the synthetic production process. It is also dangerous because GHB is only produced in the body in small amounts.

Despite natural occurrence, an individual can experience negative side-effects from over consumption.

3. It Can Be Addictive

GHB can be addictive. Excessive use of GHB can lead to withdrawal and severe side-effects in association with addiction. GHB facts prove that the drug displays both physical and psychological addictive traits.

The withdrawal symptoms associated with GHB are:

  • Mild tremors, sweating, and hypertension
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium

People become addicted to GHB due to a number of “positive” affects an individual will feel when they take it. GHB use will produce effects such as:

  • Aid in sleep
  • Antidepressant
  • Work out aid
  • Weight loss aid
  • Increase in sociability
  • Increase in sex drive

When individuals, especially if they are pre-exposed to addiction, experiences these effects, they might feel that it’s a “miracle drug.” Their addiction will also progress from taking it multiple times a day. They will feel the need to dose more frequently because of its short lasting effects.

4. It Is Tasteless

GHB is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, for the most part. Individuals that have used GHB recall the taste to be soapy or salty. However, people who are not using the drug recreationally will not know the difference if it is slipped into their drink.

GHB facts prove that the tasteless properties make it easy for people to use this drug as a rape aid. As disgusting as it sounds, it does happen more often than you may think. Individuals slip the drug into an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage and the person has no idea because the drug is undetectable.

The tasteless properties can also be harmful in a sense that if an addict is using this drug, they will not know if what they are getting is actually GHB. Many different chemicals are used in the production of the drug. If GHB contains a harmful chemical, that is unable to be detected by the individual or by lab tests, it may lead to fatal consequences.

Xyrem is a drug that is approved by the FDA to treat symptoms of narcolepsy. It has the exact chemical structure of GHB. Its specific function is to treat cataplexy, a sudden and uncontrollable muscle weakness or paralysis. It occurs usually during the day and is triggered by emotions, the most common being laughter.

The reason why Xyrem (which is actually GHB) treats this illness is due to its sedative properties and its depressive properties on the central nervous system. GHB was, at one point, used in a medical setting because it does have healing properties for this specific illness.

The misuse of GHB led to the FDA banning the drug. However, Xyrem is available to patients when prescribed by a doctor because of its effectiveness.

6. It Is the Date Rape Drug

GHB is used as a date rape drug because it makes the target unconsciousness and unable to remember anything after consumption. Similar GHB facts, in regards to its classification as the date rape drug, are its ability to remove itself from the body in a short amount of time. This creates conflict in law enforcement and medical settings because if the drug is not in the person’s system, it becomes difficult to prove if a rape is drug induced or not.

This usually occurs in clubs or bars, where GHB use is prevalent.

7. It Is Used Recreationally

Because of GHB’s sedating effects, people might use this drug recreationally as a sleep aid as well as for its euphoric effects. Because of its popularity in the club scene, people will take GHB like they would ecstasy or other drugs that produce the same effects. GHB is also cheap and can be found in powder, pill, or liquid forms.

Recreational use of GHB is dangerous due to the production process. Since GHB is no longer available over-the-counter, people are making it themselves. This can create a more potent chemical leading to overdose and fatalities due to one batch being stronger than the last.

8. You Can Overdose on GHB

GHB facts state that the dosage of a small amount of GHB will not produce severe effects. As dosage increases, the more extreme the effects will be. In a matter of seconds, a person using GHB can fall victim to an overdose by a small increase in dosage. There is a very thin window to when the drug becomes toxic to an individual. During an overdose caused by GHB, an individual’s symptoms will include:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of control of body movements
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Slowed breathing (can lead to respiratory failure in severe cases)
  • Rapid eye movement

9. It Can Be Used to Treat Alcoholism

GHB can be used to treat alcoholism withdrawals and help to reduce cravings. Studies have been conducted where alcohol cravings are dramatically decreased with the use of GHB. Also in the studies, people were found to remain abstinent from alcohol while using GHB. This is due to GHB producing similar effects to alcohol as it targets the same neurotransmitters and receptors of the brain.

It was also considered to be safer than traditional medication used in the alcohol withdrawal process.

10. GHB Is a Depressant

GHB facts state that the drug affects the central nervous system and depresses its functions. After using the drug for a period of time, activity in the central nervous system will come to a halt. The effects of GHB are similar to those of opiates or benzodiazepines. It also serves a purpose as an antidepressant, counteracting the depression with its uplifting effects.

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