Butanediol or 1.4 BD, a synthetic drug with many uses

Butanediol or 1.4 BD, a synthetic drug with many uses

The 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BD or butylene glycol) It is a thick, colorless and practically odorless liquid substance with a distinctive bitter taste. This chemical compound is used as an industrial solvent for paints and to make some types of plastics, elastic fibers and polyurethanes.


  • 1 What is butanediol?
  • 2 How does it work?
  • 3 Side effects and safety
  • 4 Main interactions
  • 5 Risks

What is butanediol?

Butanediol is a chemical that is classified as a subclass of alcoholic compounds called diols. The diols owe their name to the fact of having two substitutions of alcohol (OH-) in their structure. It is composed of a butane chain of four carbon groups with an alcohol group attached to each terminal carbon of this chain. Its name 1,4-butanediol refers to these alcohol substitutions, which are found in R 1 and R 4.

In humans this compound acts as a depressant and precursor of GHB, where 1 ml equals 1 g of GHB. It is used as a recreational intoxicant with effects similar to alcohol.

1,4-butanediol, as well as the GBLThey are capable of dissolving most types of plastic, for this reason they are stored and transported in glass containers, standard gelatin capsules (non-vegetarian) or high density polyethylene plastic.

It is illegal to sell butanediol for pharmacological use. However, it is sometimes used as a substitute for other illegal substances such as gammabutyrolactone (GBL) and gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB). Unfortunately, Butanediol is as dangerous as GBL and GHB.

Butanediol has been used to stimulate the production of growth hormone and muscle growth in bodybuilding, also to help lose weight and solve the insomnia problems.

How does it work?

When 1,4-butanediol is ingested, the liver converts it into GHB thanks to the enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase, which is the same enzyme that degrades alcohol. Butanediol is first converted to 4-hydroxybutaldehyde and then released into the bloodstream before returning to the liver to finally convert GHB. This process results in a much slower onset of its effects than GBL or GHB.

GHB slows brain processes, which can cause loss of consciousness along with dangerous decrease in breathing and other vital functions. It also stimulates the secretion of growth hormone.

Side effects and safety

Physical effects of Butanediol

  • Stimulation and sedation: at lower doses, 1,4-butanediol is a stimulant drug, activates movement and maintains wakefulness. In high doses it becomes a physical sedative, promoting sleep and lethargy.
  • Respiratory depression: the overdose produces an abnormal respiratory pattern, characterized by an increasingly deep and sometimes faster breathing, followed by a gradual decrease that causes apneas (a temporary stop in breathing).
  • Excessively slow heart rate
  • Sickness: This effect is more common with 1,4-butanediol than with GHB.
  • Stomach cramps
  • Loss of motor control
  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • Seizures
  • Involuntary eye movements
  • Salivation

Cognitive Effects of Butanediol

  • Promotes empathy, affection and improvement of sociability: alcohol simply increases sociability through disinhibition, but 1,4-butanediol offers strong entactogenic effects (feelings of emotional closeness to others), although weaker than those of MDMA.
  • Euphoria
  • Disinhibition
  • Cancellation of anxiety
  • Slowdown in thought
  • Aggressiveness
  • Amnesia
  • Confusion
  • Greater suggestibility
  • Increased libido
  • Increase in musical appreciation
  • Eat

Butanediol is not an active substance in itself; Its mechanism of action comes from being a prodrug of GHB, since as we have seen, it quickly converts into GHB in the body.

GHB is considered a safe substance when administered in a responsible manner by a physician, and there is no danger of acute toxicity when this compound is taken in appropriate doses. However, it can be very dangerous when used as a recreational drug or abused. And this danger is even greater if consumed in combination with alcohol or other drugs

The special precautions and warnings are the same as you can find in the GBL

Main interactions

Although many psychoactive substances can be relatively safe on their own, they can become extremely dangerous and even life-threatening when combined with other substances. Here are some of the potentially most dangerous combinations, although they may not all be included.

In the last ten years, of 194 deaths attributed or related to GHB, he found that most were due to a respiratory depression caused by interaction with alcohol or other drugs. In humans, GHB has been shown to inhibit the rate of alcohol elimination. This may explain the respiratory arrest that has occasionally occurred after ingestion of both drugs. These substances enhance muscle relaxation, sedation and amnesia caused by the other and can lead to an unexpected loss of consciousness. in high doses. There is also an increased risk of vomiting during unconsciousness and death from bronchoaspiration.

Depressants (alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, GHB / GBL, opiates)

This combination enhances muscle relaxation, amnesia, sedation and respiratory depression caused by the other. In higher doses, it can lead to a sudden and unexpected loss of consciousness along with a dangerous respiratory depression. There is also an increased risk of vomiting while unconscious and death from suffocation.


It is extremely dangerous to combine depressant chemicals with stimulants due to the risk of accidental poisoning. Stimulants mask the sedative effect of depressants, which is the main factor that most people use to measure their level of intoxication. Once the stimulant effects disappear, the effects of the depressant will increase significantly, which will cause intense disinhibition, loss of motor control and loss of consciousness. This combination can also cause severe dehydration if fluid intake is not adequate.


Combining sedative drugs with butandiol can unpredictably enhance sedation, loss of motor control, delusions and amnesia. It can also cause a sudden loss of consciousness accompanied by a dangerous degree of respiratory depression.


Take butanediol together with others psychoactive drugs It can increase the harmful effects of both compounds with serious consequences.

Pain medications (narcotics)

Some pain medications can cause dizziness and drowsiness. As in the case of sedatives, combine butanediol with narcotics It is extremely dangerous.


While substances such as GHB and GBL are considered illegal substances in most countries, 1,4-butanediol is marketed not only as a solvent, but also as a nutritional supplement in bodybuilding, to improve muscle and help the loss of grease. In some establishments it can also be found as an aid against insomnia and even as a growth hormone.