What is it?
GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) is a depressant drug that is popular in the dance and party scenes. As a depressant, it slows down the signals between the brain and the body – basically, we are a few steps behind the beat. It is typically a bitter or salty-tasting liquid that is close to odourless.
It is sometimes known as G, GBH (grievous bodily harm), fantasy, gamma G, blue nitro, and juice. A close alternative to GHB is GBL (gamma-butyrolactone), which when ingested converts to GHB.
GHB is most commonly swallowed but is sometimes injected or absorbed anally. With injecting, there is a risk of contracting blood-borne viruses, such as hepatitis B & C and HIV if needles are shared and the risk of infection at the injecting site.
What are the effects?
The effects of GHB can vary greatly depending on the amount used and the particular batch. Even a small amount or a small increase in a dose can significantly increase the effects, and that is one of the most dangerous things about GHB – we can never know how strong it is. The effects can usually be felt 5 to 20 minutes after ingestion and the effects can last three to four hours.
- Feelings of euphoria
- Increased sex drive
- Lowered inhibitions
- Severe memory problems
- Heart disease
- Extreme anxiety
- Breathing problems
If the dose is too high or the batch is to strong, it’s easy to overdose on G. Knowing the signs of overdose helps keeps us and others safe, and when we might need to call an ambulance. Watch out for these symptoms and call 000 in an emergency:
Irregular or shallow breathing
Confusion, irritation and agitation
Blackouts and memory loss
Unconsciousness that can last for three to four hours
There is a very small difference in the amount that the body can handle and the amount that results in overdose, and this risk is amplified if other drugs are in the mix.
If someone overdoses on G, they first may ‘drop’ which appears as unconsciousness. If someone drops on G, they need medical attention so call 000 immediately. If they come to, there is the possibility that they will drop again – so medical attention is the best thing for them – but don’t leave the person alone.
Mixing with other drugs
The effects of mixing GHB with other drugs – including over the counter or prescribed medications can be unpredictable and dangerous. Do not mix G with the following medications as it increases the risk of overdose, and even death:
There are a range of unsafe interactions to be cautious of when mixing G and other drugs, and they can be found at TripSit.
The interactions between G and antiretroviral medications are not well known. There’s currently no evidence to suggest that G use directly reduces the efficacy of antiretroviral medications. If some new research comes to light, then we’ll update this section and let you know.
We did find that the interactions between protease inhibitors and GHB can be toxic and life-threatening, as were the interactions between GHB and Delavirdine and Efavirenz. Best to chat with an HIV specialist about the interactions between G and HIV medications.
The interactions between G and PrEP and PEP are not well known. There’s currently no evidence to suggest that G use directly interacts with these medications or reduces their efficacy. We’ll keep looking and update you if any new research comes to light.
To learn about the interactions between specific HIV medications and G head to Liverpool HIV Drug Interactions Checker.
There’s currently no evidence to suggest that GHB use directly reduces the efficacy of HRT. We’ll keep looking and update this information if something new comes to light.
The interactions between GHB and HRT are not well known. Progesterone and Cyproterone Acetate can have sedative effects, so we may be particularly tired, fatigued or sleepy during or after taking GHB.