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What is GHB?

Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and precursors (eg GBL gamma-Butyrolactone) are depressant drugs with sedative hypnotic effects, originally developed as pre-surgery anaesthetic. Depressants slow down the activity of the brain and other parts of the central nervous system.

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γ-Hydroxybutyric acid


GHB exists in the form of a white or pale coloured powder or crystals but is often sold in a liquid form in small bottles or vials. Colorants are commonly used in production to distinguish the substance from water and other liquids. It is occasionally sold as a crystal powder. GHB may have a bitter or salty taste but when mixed in a beverage it is difficult to detect.

Physical effects can include

  • feel good and confident
  • take more risks than usual
  • suffer from tremors
  • have diarrhoea or urinary incontinence

Effects depend on...

The effects of GHB appear to vary greatly according to the amount used. A small increase in amount can result in a dramatic increase in effect, i.e. overdose. 

What GHB does to you depends on how much you take, the type of GHB you take, your height and weight, your general health, your mood, your past experience with GHB, whether you use GHB on its own or with alcohol or other depressant drugs, whether you use alone or with others, at home or at a party, etc.

  • feel excited or upset
  • want to have sex
  • feel drowsy or sleepy
  • feel dizzy
  • get headaches
  • feel sick
  • vomit
  • have blackouts and memory lapses
  • have convulsions (fits)

How GHB affects your body

Tap a body part to learn more of the effects GHB places on your body.

Psychological effects can include

  • suffer memory lapses
  • become uncoordinated
  • become disorientated
  • feel confused, irritated or agitated
  • hallucinate

General information

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