GBL: Therapeutic use, Treatment. GBL rehab.

Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 3:37 pm

Official names: Gamma butyrolactone (GBL), dihydro-2(3H)-furanone, 4-butanolide, 2(3H)-furanone dihydro, tetrahy-dro-2-furanone, butyrolactone gamma, gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), 1,4 butanediol (BD; tetramethylene glycol; Sucol B), sodium oxybate (Xyrem)
Street names: Renewtrient, revivarant, revivarant G, blue nitro, blue nitro vitality, blue moon, BLO, blow, gamma G, reinforce, longevity, GH revitalizer, insom-X, firewater, invigorate, G3, GH-gold (GHG), genx (genex), jolt, verve (verv), liquid gold, N-force, pure raine, reactive, rejoov, rejuv+nite, regenerize, remedy GH, thunder, X-12
Drug classifications: Schedule I, depressant


Key terms

ANALOGS: Different forms of a chemical or drug structurally related to the parent chemical or drug.
DELUSIONS: False beliefs.
HALLUCINATION: The experience of seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, or tasting something that is not really there.
INTUBATION: Putting a plastic tube into the lungs through the nose and throat to allow artificial respiration in a person unable to breathe independently.
RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION: The slowing of a person’s breathing rate. Severe respiratory depression can cause a person to go into a coma or even stop breathing.
SEIZURES (EPILEPTIC FITS): Bursts of abnormal electrical activity in the brain causing episodic symptoms, including coma or reduced level of awareness, flailing movements of arms and legs, and loss of control of bowels and bladder. Prolonged, untreated seizures may cause brain damage or even death.



GBL and related chemicals, GHB and BD, are used to make floor stripper, paint thinner, and other industrial products. All three substances are central nervous system depressants with sedative-hypnotic and hallucinogenic properties. Health food stores sold GHB as a dietary supplement after it was synthesized in 1960, before its dangerous, addictive, and even lethal effects came to light. In the 1980s, GHB was popular among body builders, who believed it could release a growth hormone that would stimulate muscle growth. In 1990, after more than 30 reports of GHB-linked illness, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared that GHB was unsafe and illegal except in the carefully controlled environment of agency-approved drug studies. Despite these warnings, GHB continues to be illegally promoted for muscle building, for releasing inhibitions and feeling high, and for combating depression, sleep problems, and weight gain.
After the FDA banned the use of GHB in 1990, some supplement manufacturers switched ingredients to either GBL or BD, similar chemicals that the body converts to GHB, and which have the same potentially deadly effects. GBL-related products are illegally marketed and promoted with false claims to build muscles, improve physical and athletic performance, enhance sex, reduce stress, induce sleep, release growth hormone, relieve depression, and prolong life. They have been sold in health food stores as dietary supplements, advertised in muscle-building magazines, and listed as “party drugs” on Internet sites. Their most notorious use is as “date rape” drugs, as they are odorless and colorless, induce loss of consciousness, and cause memory loss in the victim, preventing identification of the attacker.
The FDA has determined that dietary supplements containing these chemicals are actually unapproved drugs because of their harmful and life-threatening effects, including breathing problems, unconsciousness or coma, vomiting, epileptic fits or seizures, and death. It is now illegal to sell anything for human consumption that contains GBL, GHB, or BD. In an attempt to avoid Legal consequences, manufacturers of many of the products formerly sold as dietary supplements have changed the name or the intended use of the product, such as calling it a cleaning solution. However, information provided about the products continues to promote many of the former claims that these substances are performance boosters or sexual enhancers.
Because the public ignored these warnings and laws, causing a serious health hazard, the FDA had to reissue warnings on GHB in 1997 and 1998, and extended its warnings to include GBL and BD. On January 21, 1999, the FDA asked manufacturers to recall their GBL-containing products and issued press releases warning consumers not to take them. The Trimfast Group, Inc. agreed to recall its products, Revivarant and Revivarant G, and most other companies followed suit. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) listed GBL as a scheduled substance in January 1999. On February 18, 2000, GBL became a List I chemical, subject to the criminal, civil, and administrative sanctions of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
To protect the public health, the FDA threatened to use all potential regulatory actions against manufacturers that did not voluntarily recall products containing GBL and related drugs, GHB and BD. In 1999, the FDA declared BD a Class I health hazard, a potentially life-threatening substance, and the DEA made BD a scheduled substance in April 2000. The DEA is continuing to crack down on sales of BD, which should decrease the legally available supply, but which could increase the number of addicts going through withdrawal.
Only public education can help stop illegal use of GBL and its deadly chemical cousins. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is donating $54 million to warn teens, young adults, parents, educators, and public officials about the dangers of GBL and other club drugs, in partnership with Join Together, National Families in Action, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.
Part of the reason use of GBL and similar products have gone unchecked is that the FDA has less authority to control dietary supplements, which are not subject to the same strict review procedures as are drugs. Consumers should be aware that products available in health food stores or even on supermarket shelves can be just as dangerous as prescription drugs. Just because a product is labeled “natural” does not mean it is safe, and “natural” poisons like wild mushrooms cause many emergency room visits, cases of brain damage, and even deaths each year.

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