GHB was originally an anesthetic, but is nowadays used on a recreational level in the nightlife or at home. The salty tasting liquid provides a warm and calm feeling with an anesthetic effect. GHB is both mentally and physically addictive and withdrawal is a fierce process. 

What is GHB

GHB, which stands for Gamma Hydroxide Butyric Acid, is a colorless liquid that has been used in the past as an anesthetic in hospital operations. Since 2012, GHB has been on list 1 of the Opium Act and is a prohibited substance. 

GHB acts on the substances that transfer stimuli between cells in the brain. This affects, among other things, the substances dopamine, GABA and glutamate. Too little research has yet been done into the exact effect of GHB.

GHB is usually used in nightlife, but also at home for sex, for example. It is available as a viscous, salty liquid and often comes in a 5 ml plastic tube. 

GHB effects

GHB provides a calm and warm feeling: numb and tipsy at lower doses, and the effect of drunkenness at high doses. Fears and inhibitions diminish and it can make you talk. You can also get a lot of sex drive.

GHB is drunk neat or mixed with soft drinks, it is difficult to recognize GHB in a drink, especially because your taste buds alcohol are often sedated. If you take GHB without drinking, you will taste it better. 

The first effects appear after about 15 to 30 minutes. The effects last between 2 and 3 hours and can vary greatly from person to person. GHB makes you feel:

  • Laid back and calm
  • Cheerful and sociable
  • Pleasantly numb
  • Stoned
  • Drowsy
  • Agitated; sex drive increases.

The difference between a dose with desired effects and a dose with unwanted effects is small. A little bit extra can be experienced by many as unpleasant. Common effects of this are:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness in the muscles; shaking and falling as a result
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Unstoppable sleep

GHB addiction

The chance of becoming addicted to GHB is relatively high. Mental dependence occurs more quickly than physical dependence. For example, if you use GHB when going out or if you use it at home, there is a good chance that people will use it more and more. It becomes a habit that you take it at a party. It is difficult to fall asleep after going out and so you decide to take another dose. Or you enjoy sex less without GHB. In short: you stretch the boundaries of recreational use.

If you use it on a daily basis, there is a high risk of addiction. Your body gets used to the effects and physical addiction can develop after a few weeks. A physical addiction can be recognized by the complaints that you can experience when you do not take GHB, these are:

  • Insomnia
  • Shaking
  • Sweating 
  • Nervousness 

GHB withdrawal

When there is a physical addiction, it is necessary that it goes under medical supervision. Withdrawal is a very violent process and is comparable to withdrawal from a heavy one alcohol addiction. Withdrawal symptoms that can be prevented include:

  • Gloom
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic disorder
  • Sleep problems
  • Convulsions
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Kramp
  • muscle strain

Suddenly stopping GHB use can lead to life-threatening situations in serious cases. Symptoms that can occur are: seizures, hallucinations and psychoses.

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