GHB is often abused as an intoxicant, and is a central nervous system depressant. Street names such as ‘Liquid Ecstasy’, ‘Juice’, Liquid G and Fantasy are commonly used to describe this drug.
Legally GHB has been used to treat medical conditions such as insomnia, narcolepsy, alcoholism and depression. In the wrong hands the drug has been illegally used as an intoxicant commonly known as a date rape drug.
At lower doses the effect of GHB have been similar to alcohol and ecstasy use, including enhanced sensuality, euphoria and empathogenesis. Dizziness, agitation, depressed breathing; even unconsciousness and death have been reported in cases of high doses. Effects lasting up to 3 hours or longer have been reported depending on the dose consumer. When mixed with alcohol, it can be deadly, leading to vomiting in combination with unrouseable sleep, which can create asphyxiation.
By mixing GBL and an alkali hydroxide (such as sodium hydroxide) mixed in the right proportions, GHB can be easily manufactured at home with very little knowledge of chemistry and resulting in GHB salt. This simple process and access to raw ingredients, makes it that much more dangerous since just about anyone can produce it.
The drug has gained popularity as a ‘date rape’ drug. It is colorless and odorless, but does have an extremely salty taste. When mixed with drinks the flavor is masked which makes it highly undetectable.
For chronic users withdrawal syndromes can include insomnia, tremors and anxiety. Depending on the level of addiction these can subside within 3 to 21 days. When severe, withdrawal syndromes can produce acute delirium, and many require hospitalization, and intensive care.