GHB: 6 things you didn’t know about the “rape drug”

We talk a lot about the “rape drug,” but did you know that GHB was a drug in the first place? That our body is capable of producing it? Here are 6 unusual facts about gamma-hydroxybutyric acid.

We’ve been hearing a lot about GHB lately, a drug that’s resurfaced at festivals, college parties, and nightclubs. In just a few months, dozens of men and women have already filed complaints of “wild bites” in Grenoble, Paris, Besançon, Nice…

On the same subject

Because if GHB was originally reserved for the medical field (it was used, among others, for anesthesia in the operating room), this molecule has unfortunately been used to promote sexual assault and rape: we also commonly speak of “rapist’s drug”. .

Initially, GHB was used in the hospital for anesthesia.

“This drug puts the victim to sleep and causes memory loss,” states the drug information service website. The effect is felt 15-30 minutes after ingestion and lasts about an hour.” GHB can be administered by injection (clearly: by injection) or orally (then it is a water-soluble powder).

Responsible for the “chemical presentation” (according to the French Society of Analytical Toxicology), GHB has been classified as a drug since April 1999 by French law. Thus, its use and marketing are punishable by heavy fines (up to 75,000 euros) and imprisonment (up to 5 years).


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GHB is a tranquilizer
GHB is defined as a “central nervous system depressant”: at a dose of approximately 10 mg of this drug per kilogram of body weight, GHB has a sedative effect, slows the heart rate and breathing, and causes muscle relaxation (hypotension). ) and can cause amnesia. At higher doses (from 20 mg per kilogram of body weight), one can observe the appearance of euphoria, then sleep and coma.

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GHB is used in medicine
In the 1960s in France, synthetic GHB was used in hospitals for anesthesia: however, over the past 20 years, its use has declined significantly in favor of more effective molecules. In addition, GHB is currently used (orally) in the treatment of cataplexy in patients with narcolepsy. In Italy and Austria, doctors are also using this molecule to fight alcoholism.

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GHB is (also) used in bodybuilding
If today we know GHB as a “rape drug,” this synthetic substance has also been taken over by…bodybuilding enthusiasts. Indeed, this molecule has a (small) anabolic effect, demonstrated in mice: in other words, it causes an increase in growth hormone production and therefore muscle mass.

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GHB is addictive
In people who regularly take GHB for self-medication purposes (therefore, due to its tranquilizing or anabolic action), we observe the development of addiction with symptoms comparable to alcohol addiction: irritability, aggressiveness, memory problems, anxiety, insomnia … The first ” signs of withdrawal” occur 4-7 hours after the last intake of GHB.

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GHB is eliminated (very) quickly
This is one of the main difficulties with the “rape drug”: it is very quickly excreted by the body, which makes biological research difficult. Thus, synthetic GHB is eliminated in less than 24 hours in exhaled air (because it is naturally converted by the body into CO2) and urine (because some of the GHB is converted into water in the body).

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