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GHB: What is it?

Written by Joseph Mcqueen

The world of new drugs and drug fads move quicker than anyone can keep up with. In fact, if you even tried to understand what ‘the kids’ are taking these days, you’d probably end up both confused and intoxicated quite quickly. There used to be a time when cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy was all anyone spoke about. However, nowadays, the world of drugs has opened up excessively. The likes of GHB, M-CAT, ketamine, mushrooms, acid, crystal meth and unlimited others are all being taken around the world.

Each drug has its own story and its own positives and negatives. So what about GHB? Many enjoy this drug, whilst many fear it. I myself have had an encounter with this drug. Let’s delve into what it is. 

GHB is a drug with a very interesting history and reputation, but, like many other mind-altering compounds, it does have a place in both the worlds of the therapeutics and recreation. To learn more about cannabis and psychedelics, make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one, as well as exclusive deals Delta 8Delta 10 THCTHCVTHC-OTHCPHHC and even on legal Delta-9 THC!

What is GHB?

The world of recreational drugs is often separated by two phrases: ‘uppers’ and ‘downers’. Or in more scientific terms, ‘stimulants’ and ‘depressants’. GHB or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate would be in the depressant section. Obviously the differences between the two categories are pretty self-explanatory, based on the names. However, if you want to understand a little more, here’s a brief description from trusty wikipedia

“Depressants are also occasionally referred to as “downers” as they lower the level of arousal when taken. Stimulants or “uppers” increase mental and/or physical function, hence the opposite drug class of depressants is stimulants, not antidepressants”

What Does It Look Like?

GHB most commonly appears as a transparent liquid, not too dissimilar from water. Usually it will be given to the consumer in a bottle, and they will then use the cap or the lid to pour a little in and sip it. It doesn’t really have much of a taste, but can sometimes have a slight salty twang. It can also be given, less commonly, as a white powder or a capsule. GHB is known also as the ‘ghost drug’ because it’s very easy to disguise and to – in some circumstances – use as a ‘date rape’ drug. 

The History of GHB

GHB is a designer drug, which means it was and is created in a lab with the sole purpose to be used recreationally. In the 1990s, during the birth of rave culture, the drug gained popularity for its euphoric and sedative high. GHB is extremely powerful and it doesn’t take much of it to give someone a powerful experience. Furthermore, it can also quite easily make someone black out. This is why, whilst GHB is known in the drug world to be a club drug, which brings joy to many, it’s also considered very dangerous if used by the wrong person. This dichotomy of good and evil has surrounded the drug’s reputation for decades. 

Fun fact: GHB is often used by bodybuilders, as they believe it can help reduce fat and increase muscle. Do you think this should count as a performance enhancing drug?


If you’re in the United Kingdom, often people will hear the term ‘GHB’, and think of the similar abbreviation ‘GBH’. GBH stands for Grievous Bodily Harm, which is a UK definition for a serious crime against someone that causes severe wounds to their body. GBH and GHB may sound similar, and often people will get the two abbreviations mixed up, but actually, they are very very different things. Of course if you’re not based in the then perhaps you haven’t heard of that, but it’s always good to make the distinction early on. 

GHB: How does it make you feel?

As mentioned previously, GHB can have positive and negative effects. This is usually down to the individual’s body, and of course, how much they decide to take. Like any drug, it differs from person to person, circumstance to circumstance. For example, if a smaller person consumed GHB they are much more likely to feel the effects stronger than a larger person. In addition, if you’re in a club and alcohol has already been consumed then, again, the effects will be a heck of a lot more powerful than if you were sober, sitting in a sunny field. Ultimately, the positive effects will arise for those who take less GHB, and the more negative effects come almost always from overdosing. GHB is a very very powerful drug.  

Positive Effects

  • Confidence
  • Sociability 
  • Euphoria
  • Slightly dizzy
  • Lack of inhibitions

Negative Effects

  • Nausea 
  • Sweating 
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Death

Is GHB Legal?

GHB is illegal in both North America and Europe. In the UK, it has been a class C drug since 2003, which means that it’s technically less illegal than THC cannabis (which is quite remarkable). In the USA, GHB is a Schedule I controlled substance. This means it’s part of the same group as cannabis and heroin. It just goes to show how different American and Britain drug laws are. 

GHB, whilst made in a lab, is technically a chemical found in the brain and other parts of the body. Thus, it is used in certain medical practices – like most drugs are. Some forms of GHB are prescribed to help with narcolepsy, or to help with alcoholism. Like many drugs, GHB has a legal form that is used in medical practices, but it’s recreational form is very much illegal. 

The Date Rape Drug

According to the Office of National Statistics, From 2014-2018, there were 120 deaths in the UK that were caused by GHB. Part of this statistic was due to overdosing, whilst others were also due to it being used as a date rape drug. Due to its intense power, GHB has been cynically and cruelly used by many people (mostly men) to sexually assault another person. Many women and men have been given GHB non-consensually and then fallen unconscious, leading to them being sexually assaulted. A recent award winning BBC Drama I May Destroy You, written by Michaela Coel, portrayed a woman who this had happened to. In fact, Michaela Coel wrote about her own experience. She believed that by portraying her experiences on screen, she could hopefully highlight the dangers of date rape, whilst also repelling men from doing it. If you haven’t watched the show, it’s 100% worth a watch. 

GHB: My Own Experiences

Like many other people, I myself have had mixed experiences with GHB. I like to think of myself as an open person and am willing to try different substances from time to time. Although, to be honest, as I get older, my willingness to try different substances is definitely starting to diminish. However, I travelled to Amsterdam not so long ago with my girlfriend to stay with my father who recently moved there from the UK. We decided to attend a dinner party with some new friends and they spoke about buying some GHB for the evening ahead. I hadn’t heard much about GHB except the ‘date rape’ stuff and, thus, wasn’t too keen on the idea. But I’m aware that drugs can often be surrounded by bad reputations, which may be justified, but aren’t always the case if you’re safe and smart about it.

Therefore, we decided to accept the offer and my girlfriend and I continued the evening knowing that GHB would be on the cards at some point. Eventually, after some drinks, we were taken into a room and given a little lid to sip from. The liquid was transparent and didn’t taste of anything. My initial thought was: ‘is that seriously all I need to get high? That’s nothing’. I then instantly became anxious as I imagined all the people who would have simply taken the bottle and swigged from it without knowing the safe amount to take. As the night went on, I began to feel beautifully euphoric. My girlfriend and I danced, had deep conversations, and genuinely had a great evening. 

It was all going well until I blacked out and woke up on the sofa a few minutes later. It was very confusing. I then sobered up, unsure if it was the GHB or the alcohol that had caused my slight black out. My girlfriend and I decided to leave the party and return home, but just before we left – she decided to take one more sip of the GHB for the journey. This was when both of our experiences with GBH began to turn sour. Within minutes my girlfriend had passed out and would not wake up. In the end I took her to the hospital and it wasn’t until the next morning that she awoke from her deep sleep. She was completely unaware of what had happened. Luckily, she was okay and had been looked after. What had started as a nice experience, had quickly become a very scary one.

What’s Your Opinion?

Like all drugs, everyone has different experiences with them, thus there are varying views out there. The truth is, if people are responsible, safe and aren’t taken advantage of, then the majority of drugs can be enjoyed. However, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. GHB, more than most drugs, has been known to be abused and utilised in an immoral way. What do you think? What’s your opinion of GHB?

Thank you for stopping by CBD Testers! Your hub for all things cannabis-related. For more articles like this one, and exclusive deals on various products, make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter.

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About the author

Joseph Mcqueen

Joseph is a cannabis journalist in the UK. His search and love for the truth in the cannabis industry is what drives him to write.