GHB/GBL

All drug use has risks. This page is for information only and does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have medical concerns about your drug use, please speak to a medical professional.

GHB and GBL are similar with GBL converting to GHB shortly after it enters your body. G can cause physical dependence and people who are dependant should seek support before reducing intake. Combining G with other depressants (e.g. alcohol) is very risky.

Other names

G, gina, liquid E

Appearance

GHB – a fine white powder usually dissolved in liquid and sold as a clear, colourless, odourless, salty liquid. GBL – clear, colourless liquid which has a slight odour and chemically taste

Drugs Wheel Category

Depressants

Legality

Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) - Class C.

A report published by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in November 2020 recommends that GHB, GBL and 1,4-BD should be moved from Class C to Class B of the MoDA.

Penalties for possession without a prescription are up to 2 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Penalties for supply are up to 14 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

How it’s taken

Normally diluted 1 in 100 in juice and swallowed i.e. 1 milliliters (mL) of GHB per 100mL of juice. If it is mixed in a drink, care should be taken to ensure no one else drinks it (adding a food colouring to the liquid can help identify it as G).

Dose

The following information on dosage was taken from PsychonautWiki, but this should not be taken as a recommendation: duration and effects of any drug will depend on purity, regularity of use, other medications or drugs you have taken, your body and how it is taken (route of administration). 

 GHB swallow: 

  • Light: 0.5–1.0 grams (g) 
  • Common: 1.0–2.5 grams (g)

 GBL swallow: 

  • Light: 0.3–0.9 milliliters (mL) 
  • Common: 0.9–1.5 milliliters (mL)

Accessed November 2020   

Strengths vary a lot and if you don’t know the concentration be extremely careful, take a test dose and dose low (<0.5mL). Doses should be researched, recorded and measured accurately. The difference between a dose which will get you high and one which will cause an overdose is very small.

It is essential to use accurate scales – ones that are capable of measuring to 10 milligrams (0.01 of a gram). Knowledge of how to use them and how to ensure they are measuring accurately is important.  

A slight difference in dose can create a different experience or effect. Find out more about reducing the risk from dosing including volumetric dosing. 

General information on dosing.

General information on dosing.

Effects

In small doses GHB and GBL can give you a mild high and cause feelings of relaxation, euphoria and sensuality. They also slow down your heart rate and breathing. People taking it can experience a loss of inhibitions, increased sex drive as well as cravings to re-dose, unconsciousness, agitation and confusion. High doses can lead to memory loss and coma-like sleep.

Risks

  • Mixing G with other downer drugs, including opioids (such as methadone, heroin, codeine) and depressants (such as benzodiazepines, alcohol), is extremely dangerous and increases the risk of respiratory depression and death.
  • Tolerance can build up meaning you might need more to feel the same effect over time.
  • GBL and a chemical often sold for a similar effect (1,4-butanediol) are known to dissolve plastic over time so should not be stored in plastic containers.
  • G has been known to be used as a “date rape” drug – but it is not known how common this is and is likely to be less common than the use of alcohol, however, care should be taken not to leave drinks unattended. If mixing G into a drink label it clearly and make sure no one else drinks it.

Harm reduction

If you choose to take GHB/GBL then the following steps can help to reduce harm.
  • Start low and go slow.
  • Write down the times of doses to avoid taking too much.
  • It is impossible to judge a dose by eye – using a measuring syringe or dropper will allow for accurate dosing.
  • Add food colouring to identify a liquid as G and never leave it unattended.
  • Avoid mixing with alcohol or other drugs, especially other downers such as benzos, opioids and gabapentinoids. This is very risky and in high doses can result in overdose and death.
  • Mixing G with uppers (such as cocaine, caffeine and amphetamine as well as ‘smart’ or ‘study’ drugs like modafinil or Adderall) is risky and increases the strain on the heart and body and can cause feelings of anxiety. Mixing can also reduce some of the desired effects of both drugs, whilst increasing toxicity.
  • Ketamine is a dissociative drug with depressant effects. Mixing G with ketamine is risky as it may lead to blackouts and unconsciousness.
  • Avoid taking benzos alone and stay with friends in case you experience negative effects.
  • Try to sleep on your side if you have been taking benzos. This will help to keep your airway clear.
  • Call 999 and ask for an ambulance if you see the signs of an overdose: confusion, unconsciousness (won’t wake with a shout or a shake), severe nausea and vomiting, fitting, difficulty breathing, snoring/raspy breathing, blue/pale tingeing of knees, hands and lips, slow or erratic pulse (heartbeat), pale, cold and clammy skin.
  • Sudden G withdrawal (or withdrawal from other depressant drugs like alcohol and benzos) is risky and can be life threatening. It is important to slowly and steadily reduce the quantity of benzos over time, rather than suddenly stopping. This is called tapering and your GP or local drug service can help with this.

SEX

  • G can increase your feelings of arousal and sensuality, so it’s important to think about consent. Are you really feeling it? Are they? Ensure you have full consent before, and during, any sexual activity.
  • It’s also important to think about safe sex – grab condoms, dams and whatever else will help keep you safe depending on how you have sex.
  • Use lube. This reduces the risk of the condom breaking, prevents damage to the soft tissue and makes sex more enjoyable!
  • Get tested regularly for STIs and BBVs.
  • Be aware that if you vomit or experience diarrhoea when taking drugs, your contraceptive pill could be affected. Use a barrier method or think about long term contraception such as an injection or implant.
  • For chemsex harm reduction information visit SX.