Skip Navigation

GHB or GBL Category: Depressants

(also called: GBH, liquid ecstasy, liquid X, gammahydroxybutyrate)

How it’s used

GHB is a synthetic drug used as an anaesthetic. It comes in a clear liquid or in powder form and has a slightly salty taste. You can usually buy it in small bottles to swallow by the capful. The potency varies so there is no ‘safe dose’. GBL (gamma-butyrolactone) and 1,4-butanediol are sold as substitutes for GHB. You can legally buy these as cleaning solvents and they naturally convert to GHB when you swallow them.

Short-term effects

Long-term effects

Other dangers

If you are pregnant

Do not use if you are pregnant as we don’t know enough about the risks to your baby.


You can become physically and psychologically addicted to GHB very quickly, so your body craves it and you find it hard to cope without it. This only happens to a small percentage of people who use it.


If you use it often, withdrawal can be severe and last for several days.  Symptoms include sleep problems, vertigo and chest pains.

How long does it stay in your system?

A urine test can only detect GHB for a couple of hours.

What help is available?

G Campaign

For G harm reduction information, find out more at our campaign page.

« Back to Types of Drugs page
Share this:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • LinkedIn
  • E-mail

Find a local service that can help

The HSE and Union of Students in Ireland (USI) ask students to think about drug safety measures when using club drugs
Harm reduction messages from the #SaferStudentNights campaign.
Poll Poll

Have you ever been impacted negatively by someone else's drug taking?