Compound: GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) or prodrugs GBL (gamma butyrolactone) or 1,4-B (1,4-butanediol)
Other names: Fantasy, Frank, G, GBL, Grievous Bodily Harm, Juice, Liquid E, Liquid X, OJ
Download GHB flyer here


GHB is a depressant that acts on the central nervous system (CNS) slowing down breathing and heart rate. In Australia you are more likely to find GBL or 1,4-B than GHB. GBL and 1,4-B are chemicals that are closely related to GHB. Once GBL or 1,4-B enter the body, they convert to GHB almost immediately. GHB can be described as tasting ‘salty’, and GBL and 1,4-B ‘like drinking liquid plastic’ or a strong, unpleasant, bitter, acid, chemical taste. 1,4-B , when pure, is an oily solid (it looks frozen) until it reaches 21° celcius (when it will turn into thick clear liquid). GHB has been used as a medicine since the 1870s and is still used to treat sleep disorders. The dose range is very narrow, be extra careful when dosing because there is a fine line between a safe one and overdose. This drug is heavily stigmatised because it can cause sudden drops in & out of consciousness (‘blow out’) and be confronting to witness and is challenging for first responders to manage.


Know Your Body & Mind — ‘Set’

Know Your Environment — ‘Setting’

Know Your Drug — Practice Harm Reduction

GHB, GBL and 1,4-B are all usually taken orally (by mouth). Sometimes it is plugged. (Squirted up their bum). In both cases it’s easiest to use a 1ml or 3ml syringe to measure the dose and to administer.


Total duration: 1.5-5 hours
Onset: 10-20 minutes
Peak: 45-90 minutes
Coming down: 15-30 minutes
Hangover/after effects: 2-4 hours
Half Life: Even though the apparent effects of the drug wear off after 1.5 hours, the drug is still active in your system for up to 5 hours after you have taken it. Remember this if choosing to use other substances.

Roadside Police:  GHB is not detectable by a saliva test. It is illegal to drive under the influence of any illicit drugs, including GHB and any driver may be subject to a roadside behavioural impairment test. Wait at least 24 hours before driving.

Workplace: OHS law gives employers rights to test employees for drug use. This should be contained in workplace policy, it should be reasonable, and a risk assessment should be done to determine whether testing of employees is appropriate.

Drug Checking: Lab-quality testing has been trialled in Australia and is not available as a health service yet but DIY reagent testing is an option. Robadope reagent reacts with GHB.  See photos of testing results here > verbinding.110110


Effects vary from person to person. Check out our table below that has listed the potential physical, psychological and emotional effects.

Taking drugs is never without risk. In an unregulated market it’s impossible to know the purity or dose of any drug.  ‘Dose’ depends on the form a drug is in (liquid, powder, pill, crystal) and how you have it (snort, eat, inject).

  • Use around friends/people you trust and in a safe environment – somewhere you feel comfortable
  • GHB has a steep dose response – this means that the difference between a good response and overdose is small. A standard recreational dose is between 1g to 2.5g of dry GHB.
  • GHB solutions can range widely in strength. Measure to the exact 0.1ml using a syringe barrel with no needle.
  • Record the time and amount used.
  • If redosing, wait at least 2 hours.
  • Food reduces bioavailability, which can reduce the way GHB is absorbed by your body – wait to take it at least 2 hours after eating.
  • Alcohol is metabolised before GHB, so using both can cause a build up of GHB and increases the risk of overdose.

Read a peers personal story on our blog about overdosing on GHB

Physical effects


  • Decreased motor skills and lack of coordination
  • Relaxation
  • Slurring of speech
  • Involuntary/tonic muscle twitches, which can cause your legs to give way under you
  • Repetitive motions or actions
  • Grogginess
  • Depressed breathing
  • Other effects similar to alcohol intoxication
  • Sweating
  • Irregular shallow breathing
  • Blackouts & Memory loss



  • Nausea / Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness (can last for 3-4 hours)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears



  • Seizures
  • Convulsions
  • Death
  • Physical dependence (withdrawal symptoms become apparent within 1-6 hours of dose)

Emotional effects


  • Mood lift
  • Euphoria
  • Happiness
  • Relaxation

Psychological effects


  • Reduced social inhibitions
  • Increased appreciation of music, dancing and talking
  • Increased sexual desire / Sexually stimulating
  • Others appear more attractive
  • Changed (often increased) response to sexual stimuli



  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis (as it leaves the system)


  • Use around friends/people you trust and in a safe environment – somewhere you feel comfortable  
  • Use a syringe barrel to measure your doses to the 0.1ml. Record the time of use and mls on your arm or somewhere accessible in case you overdose and need help.
  • Use 1ml or 3ml slip lock syringe barrels to dose. No larger.
  • GHB may actually be 1,4-B or GBL, which convert into GHB inside your body. Meaning you’ll need less to reach the same effects and the chance of overdose is increased.
    Start with small dose eg. 1ml.
  • GHB doses accumulate. This means they build on one another. So it is a good idea to lower your dose if you plan on having more. 
  • It is best to dose yourself so that you know the precise measurement. 
  • Wait at least two hours before redosing. Set the alarm on your phone or try to have a sober friend with you who can keep track of time.
  • Remember: Combining GHB with depressants (alcohol, opioids, benzos, ketamine) is an extremely dangerous combination and can result in overdose and death. Know how long each drug stays in the system.


Physical dependence. You can build tolerance within 7-14 days – GHB withdrawal can be fatal and should be managed in a hospital setting.

Shelving (dry)/Plugging (wet mix)

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after
  • Use sterile water to mix with crystal/powdered GHB
  • Lubricate the syringe barrel to avoid tearing skin when shelving


  • Carrying GHB and paraphernalia (e.g. measuring/shelving equipment) puts you at risk of criminal charges including trafficking, even if you don’t deal. Know your local laws e.g. the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (Qld).
  • Keep GHB away from children. Use child proof lids on your G bottles and containers.
  • Add food colour to your GHB so nobody mistakes it for water.
  • GHB is corrosive and can degrade plastic bottles and measuring equipment.

 It is not recommended to use GHB if you have or are at risk of:

  • • Liver problems • Kidney problems • Stomach ulcers • Seizure disorder such as epilepsy • Using GHB, GBL,or 1,4-B during pregnancy may cause fetal harm.

Drug combinations

Polydrug use has many possible outcomes. What could be fun for one person could be dangerous for another. We do not endorse any of these combinations and recommend you proceed with caution.

Unsafe combinations

  • Alcohol – nausea, vomiting and overdose. GHB combined with alcohol is particularly risky as they enforce each other’s depressant effects.
  • Ketamine – overdose, loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing ultimately resulting in respiratory failure and possible death.
  • Opioids and/or other depressants – overdose, loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing ultimately resulting in respiratory failure and possible death.

Cautionary combinations

  • *Meth/Amphetamines– Can cause heart strain. This combo means the drugs are working against each other. The GHB will slow down signals in your central nervous system (CNS) while the stimulant will speed them up.
  • Other Stimulants (MDMA,Cocaine etc)– same as above

    *A methamphetamine (ice)/amphetamine or other stimulants and GHB overdose can be a particularly challenging situation switching between lowered consciousness and confusion, agitation, aggression. Ice will not counter the effects of having too much G.

Low risk effects

Check out the TripSit drug combinations chart here for info on other combinations.

Call 000 if experiencing adverse effects, feel unwell or concerned in any way


This educational resource has been developed collaboratively by healthcare workers and people who use drugs for their peers and the wider community. The role of Hi-Ground is to provide practical, evidence-based, unbiased information to assist you to make educated choices and to promote harm reduction, community care, and wellbeing. In an unregulated market it’s impossible to know the purity or dose of any substance. Taking drugs from an unregulated market carries its own risk, and you can educate yourself and practice harm reduction to reduce this risk.

Knowledge is power.

This resource is produced by DanceWize & Hi-Ground