GHB, or gamma-hydroxybutyrate is a naturally occurring metabolite and precursor to GABA (gamma-aminobutyrate). GHB was a widely available over-the-counter supplement until it was banned by the FDA in 1990. The substance has many beneficial effects, but it is typically used by bodybuilders and athletes because it can significantly raise growth hormone levels. Unfortunately, the increase in GH levels is also accompanied by an increase in levels of prolactin. The increase in prolactin counteracts many of the positive effects of an elevated GH level. This probably explains why many athletes experience very little as far as muscle growth with the use of GHB. Several athletes using GHB report an increase in lean body mass and strength. Many users don’t experience any muscle or strength increase, but do feel GHB help to accelerate fat loss.
Besides the increase in growth hormone, there are many other positive effects of GHB that may prove beneficial to athletes. First, GHB is an excellent sleeping aid. A small dosage will induce a state of relaxation, euphoria, and drowsiness. An even higher dosage will intensify the effect and help the user fall asleep quickly. GHB aids in REM and slow-wave sleep, and unlike other popular sleep aids, GHB will not interrupt any stages of the natural sleep pattern. This is crucial in achieving a complete session of sleep necessary for recuperation and muscle recovery. One problem with GHB-induced sleep is that some people tend to wake up 3-4 hours later when the GHB has worn off. This effect is probably due to the fact that GHB will temporarily inhibit the release of dopamine in the brain, and at the same time increase dopamine storage. When the GHB wears off, there will be a sudden increase in dopamine release and this is what may cause some people to wake up in the middle of the night. This is more likely to happen when a high dosage of GHB is used. Therefore, the dosage of GHB used to induce sleep should be lowered. Another way to combat this effect is simply by taking a second dosage upon wakening to allow for another 3-4 hours of sleep. It is interesting to note that this increase in dopamine release is also the reason why so many people report feelings of improved well-being and alertness the next day after a night of GHB-induced sleep.
GHB induces a state of euphoria, relaxation, and sensuality along with a lowering of anxiety and inhibition. It also exhibits prosexual effects by improving tactility (sense of touch), enhancing erectile capacity in men, and increasing the intensity of orgasm. For these reasons, GHB has become a very popular recreational drug. It has become even more popular among athletes because unlike other recreational drugs, GHB will not hinder athletic performance. GHB is used by many athletes as a substitute for alcohol because it does not cause a hangover the following day. GHB is also very effective in treating the withdrawal symptoms of alcoholism.
Now that GHB has been banned by the FDA, an athlete only has a few options if he want to obtain GHB. First, he can buy it on the black market. This has several disadvantages. To begin with, much of the stuff on the black market is made by underground chemists using cheap materials that may contain harmful impurities. Also, it is difficult to determine the concentration since most GHB sold on the black market is dissolved in water. The concentration will often vary and this will make it hard to accurately determine a dosage. A second option would be to mail order the GHB from a foreign pharmacy. This is risky because US Customs may seize the order. There may also be legal consequences to buying GHB. GHB is a controlled substance and many states are trying to make it a scheduled drug. Some states are even trying to make it a schedule I drug. The last option left to the athlete is to make the GHB himself. The manufacture of GHB is illegal in the United States, but many people choose to do it anyway. There are several different approaches for synthesizing GHB available over the internet. Some are good and some are bad. The syntheses of GHB is certainly not difficult, but it is definitely not as easy as mixing some NaOH with gamma butyrolactone in a pot and allowing it to cook in the oven for a couple of hours. The type of procedure will produce some GHB, but the yield will be very poor. Chances are there will also be a lot of unreacted chemicals. Also, depending on the pH, it could be dangerous to ingest. Many of the GHB procedures with good yields may be difficult to perform for the average person that has very little knowledge of chemistry.