Gamma Hydroxybutyrate

Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a substance naturally produced by the body, in the breakdown of chemicals. It is released when neurons fire. GHB can be found in many organs of the body, including kidneys, heart, skeletal muscle, and brown fat. High levels of GHB in the body slow down breathing and cause relaxation. GHB is used in the clinical setting as a sedative. It has been sold illegally, because it can produce a "high." Since GHB can also cause memory loss and sleep, it has been used as a date rape drug. These effects are increased with the use of alcohol and other sedatives.

WHY ATHLETES USE IT

Many athletes who choose to use GHB use it in an effort to increase growth hormone levels. Some athletes have tried to use GHB for weight control.

ADVERSE EFFECTS

  • Nausea.

  • Dizziness.

  • Vomiting.

  • Confusion.

  • Drowsiness.

  • Low blood pressure (hypotension).

  • Unconsciousness.

  • Coma.

  • Seizures.

  • Slow breathing rate (respiratory depression).

  • Loss of muscle tone (hypotonia).

  • Feeling the room is spinning (vertigo).

  • Slow heart rate (bradycardia).

  • Death.

PHARMACOLOGY

When sold illegally, GHB goes by many street names, including:

  • Grievous Bodily Harm

  • Georgia Home Boy

  • Liquid Ecstasy

  • Liquid X

  • Soap

  • Scoop

  • Easy Lay

  • Salty Water

  • G-Riffick

  • Cherry Menth

  • Organic Quaalude

It has also been illegally marketed under a variety of preparations (medicinal substance, ready for use), including sodium oxybate, sodium oxybutyrate, gamma hydroxybutyrate sodium, gamm-OH, 4-hydroxy butyrate, and Somatomax PM.

For the drug to take effect, it usually requires consuming 1/2 to 3 teaspoons or more. The effects are felt within 15 to 60 minutes. The effects typically last around 8 hours, but in some patients they last as long as 2 weeks. The severity of the symptoms is related to the dose, meaning you will have more symptoms if you take more of the drug. Depressants, such as alcohol, increase the side effects. Stimulants, such as caffeine, may reduce effects. Currently there is no known way to treat the side effects of GHB, except to wait and allow them to pass. When prepared improperly, GHB may be laced with sodium hydroxide, and may cause negative effects on the lungs and esophagus (throat).

PREVENTION

No study has shown GHB to increase athletic performance. Athletes should be discouraged from using GHB.