Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid or GHB is a naturally-occurring chemical substance known to be found in the human central nervous system, and in some types of citrus fruits, wine, beef and in most animals in varying amounts. In scientific terminology it is known as 4-hydroxybutanoic acid and sodium oxybate. GHB is known to have medical uses to treat insomnia, depression, alcohol abuse, and in some cases improve the performance of athletes.

However, if taken in high doses, GHB causes a state of euphoria and intoxication, which is why it is populary in the party circuit. In many countries, due to widespread abuse of this freely available substance, GHB has been categorized as ‘illegal’ and possession of and dealing in this drug is prosecutable. In many other countries the use of GHB has been regulated by authorities.

Using GHB

GHB is mostly used in the powder form, wherein measuring a GHB dose becomes fairly straightforward. In the liquid form, GHB is made available in different ranges of concentration.A single dose could range from a few drops to a full glass of liquid GHB, either mixed with water or alcohol. Many body builders are known to have abused GHB for stimulating muscle growth.

Due to the nature of its reaction to the central nervous system as an anti-depressant and intoxication, this drug has commonly been abused for recreation by partygoers. GHB is also a popular date rape drug, as the victim is unable to remember anything from the incident.

The Risk of Addiction

GHB addiction has been characterized by round-the-clock dosing which happens every 1 to 3 hours, either during the day or at night. Heavier doses are taken at night for inducing sleep.Continuous use may render the user to take more and more doses and this poses the risk of GHB addiction which can develop within just a few weeks. Using these substances as a date rape drug is common, but this does not cause addiction.

The following people and conditions are more likely to cause addiction to GHB:

  • Bodybuilders and other athletes who use GHB as workout aid to increase muscle build-up or stamina.
  • People intending to lose weight – this accounts for the maximum addiction cases.
  • Professionals who have to travel a lot and tend to sleep less due to the travel or jet lag, use it as a “sleep” aid.
  • GHB has also been used as an anti-aging substance and hence has been abused by the elderly.
  • People, who tend to get into a depression, use it as an anti-depressant.
  • As this substance has an intoxicating effect, many people consume GHB as a substitute to alcohol.

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