GHB is a central nervous system depressant and a narcotic sedative (gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid, brand name Sodium oxybate). It is typically used to treat daytime sleepiness in narcolepsy patients, and is also used to treat cataplexy, which causes its victims to lose control of some of their muscles. It has recreational value because the effects are comparable to alcohol.

Introduction to GHB

GHB is a central nervous system depressant and a narcotic sedative (gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid, brand name Sodium oxybate) that is standardly used to treat daytime sleepiness in narcolepsy patients, and is also used to treat cataplexy, which causes its victims to lose control of some of their muscles.

Using GHB

Preparation of GHB

Liquid GHB bought from third-parties should be boiled to 150ºc in order to evaporate off the H2O. Once at 150c the now molten GHB can be poured into a metal baking tray to cool and harden.

The hardened chunks can be stored in a tupperware container and then accurately diluted as needed.

This solves the problem of not knowing the potency of any given batch of dilute GHB.

The relatively steep dose/response curve of GHB means that doses should always be accurately measured, not simply taken by way of the, all too ubiquitous, 'capful'.

Ways of administration

Effects of GHB

Combinations with GHB

Different Uses for GHB

Alcohol 'replacement'

people who use GHB more like recreational alcohol by using only in the evenings are not likely to experience any withdrawal issues because they will not be addicted in the first place.

Sleep aid (Xyrem)

Pharma GHB, Xyrem (NaGHB) is normally prescribed at a dose of 4.5g taken twice a night, each dose to provide for four hours of deep sleep. This is, however, usually after a period of titration up to that dose for naive users.

It is clear that, for recreational users, who dose smaller amounts a few times during the course of an evening, that there exists a potential for it to disrupt their natural sleep cycle somewhat if the last dose is taken too close to bedtime.

The wealth of scientific studies concerning the use of GHB for sleep should not be assumed to hold true for GBL, which, due to it's rapid conversion and delivery of GHB to the brain, is more potent and, therefore, more likely to result in neurological alterations (up/downregulation of receptors).

Those who are considering self-medicating GHB for sleep should not be using it recreationally.

Anxiolytic (anti-anxiety)

GHB and, particularly, GBL should not be used for anxiety as 24/7 dosing and addiction can rapidly be fallen into.

Pharmacology of GHB

LD50 (mg/kg) (as the sodium salt) [1] :
male rat : 2000 intraperitoneally
female rat : 1650 intraperitoneally

There is evidence that activation of the GHB receptor in some brain areas results in the release of glutamate - the principle excitatory neurotransmitter. GHB's effect on dopamine release is biphasic, low concentrations stimulate dopamine release via the GHB receptor. Higher concentrations inhibit dopamine release via GABA(B) receptors.

This explains the paradoxical mix of sedative and stimulatory properties of GHB, as well as the so-called "rebound" effect, experienced by individuals using GHB as a sleeping agent, where they awake suddenly after several hours of GHB-induced deep sleep. That is to say, that over time, the concentration of GHB in the system decreases below the threshold for significant GABAB receptor activation and activates predominantly the GHB receptor, leading to wakefulness.

Chemistry of GHB

Column 1 Column 2
Systematic (IUPAC) name: 4-hydroxybutanoic acid
Synonyms: γ-hydroxybutyric acid, [gamma]-hydroxybutyrate, 4-hydroxybutyrate, gamma-hydroxybutyrate, GHB; γ-OH, sodium oxybate, sodium [gamma]-oxybutyrate, Wy-3478, NSC-84223, Somsanit, Gamma-OH, Xyrem (sodium salt)
Molecular Formula: C4H8O3, NaC4H7O3 (sodium salt), Mg[C4H7O3]2 (magnesium salt), Ca[C4H7O3]2 (calcium salt)
Molar mass: 104.10 g/mol, 126.09 g/mol (sodium salt), 142.19 g/mol (potassium salt), 230.50 g/mol (magnesium salt), 246.27 g/mol (calcium salt)[2]
CAS Registry Number: 591-81-1, 501-85-2 (sodium salt)
Melting Point: -17°C (to be verified)
Boiling Point: 178-180°C (decomposition)[1]
Flash Point: no data
Solubility: Sodium, potassium and magnesium salts are miscible with water[3], probably other salts too
Additional data: none
Notes: sodium salt crystallized from alcohol[1]; potassium salt is very hygroscopic; magnesium salt is hygroscopic
GHB exists in various salts forms, from lithium to potassium. The two forms that are likely to be found in the black market are the sodium (NaGHB) and potassium (KGHB) salts. The molar mass of these two forms differs, thus it is important to note that a common dose of NaGHB may not be enough if the product is actually KGHB. Moreover, people used to dose KGHB may overdose themselves if they dose NaGHB the same way.

The following table gives the mass ratios or various GHB salts. These values are defined as the mass of GHB salt required to achieve the same effect as 1 g of sodium GHB. For example, potassium GHB weights 1.13 times more than the same quantity of NaGHB. It means that 1.13 g KGHB are required to get the same effect as 1 g sodium GHB.
The salt % value indicate the mass of counterion (sodium, potassium, magnesium or calcium) present in 1 g of GHB. For example 1 g of potassium GHB contains 275 mg potassium.

Note that since calcium and magnesium are divalent ions, the formula involve two molecules of GHB per ion, therefore the mass ration is lower than 1.

Salt form formula molar mass (g/mol) mass ratio salt %
Sodium GHB NaC4H7O3 126.09 1.00 18.2 %
Potassium GHB KC4H7O3 142.19 1.13 27.5 %
Magnesium GHB Mg[C4H7O3]2 230.50 0.92 10.5 %
Calcium GHB Ca[C4H7O3]2 246.27 0.98 16.3 %

The dangers of GHB

Physical health risks

People have, apparently, died as a result of:

1) Intentionally ingesting a very large amount in order to commit suicide (plausible but would require ingesting large amount without being sick)
2) Accidently drinking a very large amount of neat G believing it to be water (not likely given the extreme salinity and likely immediate nausea)
3) Had their soft drink spiked whilst sober (death not likely as the LD50 for GHB is extremely high) and nobody is going to keep drinking something that tastes saltier than sea water.
4) Had their soft/alcoholic drink spiked whilst drunk (death certainly possible given enough alcohol and GHB, due to the resultant extreme CNS depression and/or inhalation of vomit whilst unconscious resulting in suffocation)
5) Intentionally taking GHB whilst very drunk (as above)
6) Combining GHB with any other drug that depresses the CNS in a similar fashion, thus increasing the CNS suppressive effects to dangerous levels (as above)
7) General GHB intoxication whilst doing anything that is regarded as potentially dangerous to do whilst intoxicated.

When Sodium Oxybate, Xyrem, Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate, GHB, is taken within the properly established safe dosing guidelines, there are no reported deaths as a result of a healthy individual having ingested it.

this report, makes for fascinating reading in respect to GHB and GBL toxicology findings.


Liquids are hard to dose. A lot of measures that size for liquids are inaccurate, and often the exact potency is not known. One gram dissolves in very little water, it's very easy to add a little too much to the second dose.

Blackouts lead to further dosing. Lock your supply up after you take what you need for the night.

Dangerous combinations

Combining GHB with other depressant type drugs (opiates, benzodiazepines, alcohol, barbiturates, dissociatives) can cause a synergistic depressant effect on the central nervous system. This can lead to death, and therefore such combinations should be avoided. Examples of users claiming to have done such combinations and not died means only that it is not fatal 100% of the time.

Combining GHB with stimulants can lead a user to increase their dosage of both substances which, when one wears off before the other, can cause serious complications and adverse effects. Please ensure that the dosing of both does not exceed the usually tolerable amounts taken on their own.

reported deaths

Mental health risks

Side effects


Mental addiction

Forms of GHB

There are two forms of GHB - Liquid and Powder

Dosing will be easier with liquid (as long as the quality and dilution is known) as a graduate syringe can be used.

Over time, powder will absorb water vapor from the air which it will inevitably come into contact with on occasion (such as when the container is opened for use). This increases the weight of the powder, thereby impeding the ability to weigh a dose accurately, and makes it mushy/gloopy.

Solid is safer and easier to store than liquid in large quantities. Bacteria are much less likely to grow in GHB powder than liquid.

Making large batches infrequently rather than smaller ones infrequently also has the benefit of ensuring 100% care is taken during the creation process. This means that the dilution and quality will be known with more confidence.

Storage of GHB

The rate of decomposition will depend on the purity of the GHB and the temperature and temperature variations as well as other storage conditions. As these variables will be different in each case, there is no one answer that can be given to cover them all.

In ideal conditions, liquid GHB could be stored for 2-3 years. Ideal means a perfectly produced product stored in a cool, dark, sterilized container. These conditions, especially the production part, are unlikely to be met in most cases and therefore most users should not expect their GHB to last nearly that long.

Signs of contamination:
Small black dusty particles indicates bacterial contamination. Boil for 3 minutes and filter before use.

If the solution becomes slushy in freezer it means that liquid NaOH has absorbed H2O. Boil the solution up to 150c for 30 mins, allow to cool and harden, break up, weigh and multiply the weight in grams by 5. Add the amount in ml of hot water that needs to be added to bring the dilution to the necessary 1g-5ml.

Contamination may result from using normal tap water instead of distilled water. Use a distilled water filter to eradicate this possibility.

Legal status of GHB

GHB is a controlled substance 21 CFR 1308.11

United Nations


Schedule 1, Schedule 3 as Xyrem pharmaceutical


More GHB Sections


  1. ^ a b cMerck Index, fifteenth edition (2013)
  2. ^Calculated from Atomic Weights of the Elements, 2007
  3. ^Water and GHB salt mixed in comparable amounts form viscous gels

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