GHB, the ‘date rape’ drug: What you need to know

Gammahydroxybutrate, or GHB, is a psychoactive drug used for medical treatment of narcolepsy, and is also known under the names of liquid ecstasy, G, grievous bodily harm, scoop and easy lay. GHB is used recreationally as a party drug, and has earned itself a reputation as a date-rape drug since it has sedative effects and has been implicated in numerous cases of sexual assault. Although use of GHB in Canada has not been well studied, a 2009 survey of Ontario middle and high school students reported that 0.5% of them had consumed GHB at least once in the past year.

What are the effects of GHB?

According to Health Canada, GHB is a molecule naturally present in the body. When consumed, it depresses nervous system function, causing a decrease in its activity. In a similar manner to ecstasy, it reduces inhibitions, leading people to do things they would not normally do. In addition, it causes feelings of drowsiness, euphoria, dizziness and loss of short-term memory. The effects of GHB can be felt within 10-20 minutes after consuming it and may last for up to 5 hours.

Is GHB legal in Canada?

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the only medical use for GHB in Canada is treatment for narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. Currently, it is illegal to produce, possess, traffic, and import GHB in Canada.

Why is GHB dangerous?

Only a small amount of GHB is necessary to overdose, making this drug dangerous for consumption. In addition, consuming alcohol with GHB increases the risk of overdose, since alcohol also acts as a nervous system depressant, multiplying the effects of GHB.

GHB can exert physical effects, such as loss of coordination, loss of consciousness, lowered body temperature, decreased blood pressure and heart rate, as well as slowed breathing (and in the case of overdose, cessation of breathing and potentially, death).

Where does it come from?

Since pharmaceutical GHB is strictly regulated, it is typically produced illegally and sold as a street drug. The drug’s chemical precursors, gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4-butanediol (BD) are commercially sold as industrial solvents, and are used to illegally manufacture GHB. In addition, when consumed, these substances are also metabolized into GHB.

What are the long-term effects of GHB use?

So far, little research has been carried out to examine the long-term effects of GHB on health. However, when used regularly, the drug can result in tolerance, physical dependence and substance use disorder. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

4 × 5 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Drop us your email to stay connected with us.

Contact Location