GBL or Butyrolactone, a dangerous synthetic drug

GBL or Butyrolactone, a dangerous synthetic drug

GBL or gamma butyrolactone It is a synthetic chemical substance GABAérgica that produces effects similar to those of the consumption of alcohol: euphoria, disinhibition, relaxation, etc.


  • 1 What is the GBL?
  • 2 GBL effects
  • 3 Other dangers of GBL consumption
  • 4 GBL interactions with other substances
  • 5 Dependence and overdose

What is the GBL?

GBL (gamma butyrolactone), such as 1,4-BD (1,4-butanediol) are GHB precursor chemicals, once GBL or 1,4-BD enters the body, they become GHB very quickly, substance that affects several nerve pathways in the brain.

The GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) It is an anesthetic with mainly non-analgesic sedative properties. It is often sold as "liquid ecstasy"due to its relaxing and euphoric effects, although it is not related to the ecstasy.

Both GHB, GBL and 1,4-BD are colorless and odorless oily liquids that have a slightly salty taste. Users often consume them mixed with water or other soft drinks. When used for recreational purposes, GHB, GBL and 1,4-BD are sold in small bottles or capsules.

The GBL is a chemical reagent that is used as a stain remover, glue solvent and paint, flavoring, wheel cleaner and others. It has also been found in some extracts of unsweetened wine samples. It can also be found in cheese flavors, suggesting that it can be found to some extent naturally.

It is known that GBL, along with 1,4-butanediol, dissolve most types of plastic over time. For this reason it is recommended to transport and store these substances only in glass containers, standard gelatin capsules (non-vegetarian) or high density polyethylene plastic.

Despite being a chemical that was initially manufactured for industrial uses and its use is prohibited or regulated, depending on the country, there are people who consume GBL for increase sports performance, improve sleep and increase pleasure and sexual performance. It is also taken for relieve depression and stress, because it causes relaxation. GBL is also used to reduce the level of body fat and as a muscle generator in the body. Some people consume it simply as recreational drug.

GBL effects

As we have already advanced, consuming GBL in low doses (between 0.5 and 2 grams) produces an effect similar to that of alcohol with euphoria, relaxation, disinhibition, etc. In higher doses it acts as a sedative and can reach unconsciousness. The GBL has caused deaths.

The effects appear between 20-30 minutes after taking and are maintained for about two hours. GHB seems to have a certain effect on the sexual sphere (increases tactile sensitivity, facilitates and enhances orgasm ...).

Doses between 0.5-1 ml every 2-3 hours usually achieve the desired effects with a low risk of overdose (although it can vary according to each person). Higher doses or frequencies facilitate toxicity and the appearance of its most dangerous effects.

Its detection in biological fluids (blood, urine, hair ...) is very complicated and is not possible through the usual tests.

Here is a list of GBL effects based on personal experiences. The effects that are listed rarely appear all at once, although at higher doses, more likely to occur. Similarly, adverse effects become much more likely with higher doses and can include serious injuries and even death.

GBL physical effects

  • Stimulation and sedation: at low doses, GBL is physically stimulating, activates movement and promotes wakefulness. However, in higher doses, it becomes physically sedative, which encourages sleep and lethargy.
  • Salivation
  • Loss of motor control
  • Dizziness
  • Respiratory depression: in cases of overdose an abnormal pattern of breathing appears characterized by progressively deeper and sometimes faster breathing, followed by a gradual decrease that causes a temporary stop of breathing called apnea.
  • Sickness
  • Stomach cramps and pain: This effect (as well as nausea) is more common with GBL than with GHB, due to its properties as an irritant of the stomach mucous membrane. The most effective way to reduce this is to dilute it with an abundant meal or drink.
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • Blurry vision

GBL cognitive effects

  • Euphoria
  • Disinhibition
  • Anxiety suppression
  • Empathy and improvement of sociability: unlike alcohol that simply increases sociability thanks to disinhibition, GBL has strong entactogenic effects (increased empathy and the feeling of closeness to others), although weaker than that of the MDMA.
  • Trust
  • Slowdown in thought
  • Amnesia
  • Increased libido
  • Increase in musical appreciation

Serious side effects

The consumption of GBL, the gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and butanediol (1,4-BD) have been linked to serious and life-threatening side effects. These effects include vomiting, loss of bowel control, excessive sedation, agitation, aggressiveness, memory loss, difficult breathing, fainting, seizures, coma and death. The effects may get worse if taken with alcohol or narcotics, such as morphine and heroin and others. Long-term consumption can cause withdrawal symptoms that include insomnia, tremor and anxiety.

Other dangers of GBL consumption

The most common form of consumption of GBL is drunk, directly or dissolved in a soda. Popularly known as chorri, pots, bottles, G ...

It is known that this type of drug is widely used mainly in discos and clubs.

According to some reports and complaints, the GBL It is used as “rape drug In these environments (as a legal alternative to GHB), secretly applying a few drops to the drinks, for this reason special care should be taken when a stranger offers us a drink, it is also recommended not to lose sight of what we are consuming.

Special precautions and warnings:

GBL consumption is not safe and should not be taken by anyone, but certain people, such as those listed below, have a higher risk of serious side effects.

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: its consumption during pregnancy or lactation is very dangerous for the health of the mother and the baby.
  • Irregular heartbeat: It can make this disorder worse.
  • Epilepsy: may favor the appearance of seizures.
  • High blood pressure: can increase blood pressure even more.
  • Surgery: GBL directly affects the central nervous system (CNS). Its combination of anesthetics and other medications used during and after surgery can depress CNS excessively. Nor should it be taken in the two weeks prior to scheduled surgery.

GBL interactions with other substances


The alcohol by itself it already causes drowsiness and depression of the CNS. Taking GBL together with alcohol can greatly enhance these effects and be especially dangerous.


Amphetamines They are stimulant drugs that directly affect the nervous system. Stimulants mask the sedative effect of depressants. Once the stimulating effects disappear, the depressive effects of GBL will increase significantly, which will result in intense intensified disinhibition, loss of motor control and dangerous states of loss of consciousness. This combination can also cause severe dehydration if fluid intake has not been sufficient.

Psychoactive drugs

In general, all medicines indicated for mental disorders (psychoactive drugs) interact with GBL, so that its effects can be enhanced.

Benzodiazepines and other sedatives

Take GBL together with sedative medications enhances muscle relaxation, sedation, amnesia and respiratory depression caused by the other, causing dangerous side effects. Some of these sedative medications they are the clonazepam, the diazepam, the lorazepam, the phenobarbital, zolpidem and others.

Pain medications

Some Pain medications can cause dizziness and drowsiness, one of the effects of GBL. Therefore, as in the previous case, GBL cannot be consumed if we are taking medications such as meperidine, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone and many others.


Medications used to prevent seizures affect brain chemicals. Once ingested, GBL transforms into one of these brain chemicals called GABA. Take GBL along with The medications used to prevent seizures could modify their effects. Some medications used to prevent seizures include phenobarbital, primidone, valproic acid, gabapentin, carbamazepine, phenytoin and others.

Muscle relaxants

Muscle relaxants also cause drowsiness. Consuming GBL along with muscle relaxants can cause excessive sleepiness, slow breathing and other serious side effects. Some of these muscle relaxants are carisoprodol, orphenadrine, cyclobenzaprine, galamine, atracurium, pancuronium and others.

Ritonavir and Saquinavir

Ritonavir (Norvir) and saquinavir (Fortovase, Invirase) are retroviral medications used for HIV / AIDS treatment. Taking both medications plus GBL may decrease how quickly the body eliminates GBL. This could cause serious side effects.

Dependency and overdose

Unfortunately, it is very easy to take an overdose with this type of drugs, because the dose can vary from one bottle to another, in addition it is so small amounts the difference between a recreational dose and an overdose can be a matter of milliliters.

GHB / GBL or 1,4-BD overdose can be very dangerous. It can cause nausea and vomiting, seizures, disorientation, muscle stiffness, coma and respiratory collapse.

There is also a danger of suffering physical dependence. While this seems to be quite rare, when someone develops a dependency it can be quite serious, with a rapid onset of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that may include delusions, psychosis, tremors, insomnia and severe anxiety.

Dependence can develop quite quickly, for example, after a weekend of intensive consumption of GHB and its related compounds, or it may be a consequence of regular use for a longer period. Withdrawal of GHB substances is currently being treated with benzodiazepines, although more studies are needed to establish other treatments.