GHB and GBL are substances that act similarly in the body. They are also simply called “G”, gina, liquid ecstasy, and knockout drops. They are usually colorless, odorless liquids.
GHB is an endogenous messenger substance that is also used in medicine, among other things. GHB has a salty-bitter taste.
GBL is a corrosive liquid used as a solvent and cleaning agent. GBL is rapidly converted to GHB in the body. GBL has a chemical taste. It acts faster, more intensively and for a shorter time than GHB. In the Berlin scene, this form is most common.
Risk: Using G in a controlled manner requires special attention and discipline compared to other substances There is little room for error as a few drops is the difference between the desired amount and an overdose that can cause a comatose state, for example. Some choose not to consume G because adherence to strict discipline, even in the course of partying, is contrary to their sense of celebration.
G is viewed controversially in the scene and the use of it is stigmatized. When paramedics have to be called in clubs or at chemsex parties, a G overdose and/or mixed consumption is often involved. In addition, G has already been abused as a rape drug (knockout drops). Most clubs will ban you if they find G on you.
G is corrosive and must be taken in a highly diluted form. The substance is usually kept in a small bottle and dosed to the milliliter using a pipette or syringe (without a needle).
The dose is diluted with a non-alcoholic liquid in a container at a ratio of approximately 1:100 and the mixture is then swallowed in one go. Alternatively, the dose can be added to a whole non-alcoholic drink, which is then drunk normally over a short period of time (resulting in a more gradual onset of effect).
Risk: In clubs, G is also dosed directly from the pipette or syringe (without a needle) into the mouth, after first taking a large mouthful of a liquid (without swallowing it yet). However, in this way the substance is only slightly diluted and there may be a risk of burns to lips, tooth enamel, throat, etc.
A typical initial dose is about 0.8-1.2 ml of GBL or 1-2 ml of GHB.
Lower doses are used, for example, in cases of low body weight, on an empty stomach, or physical exhaustion. Higher doses are used by people who have already developed a tolerance to G.
A reliable dosage is often not possible with illegally produced G since it is not known which concentration the substance has. Some users therefore initially test a maximum of half a dose with new sources and then wait for a period of effect.
If G is taken several times in a row, the time of each dose is documented, and a minimum interval is strictly observed. If the interval is shorter than the total duration of effect, less than the initial dose must be added to prevent overdosing. (Note: the higher the dose, the longer the duration of effect).
Here is a rough guide for GBL (at typical amounts).
|Time interval||Following dose, with which the concentration of the first dose is not exceeded|
|1 hour||Maximum 60% of the first dose|
|90 minutes||Maximum 80% of the first dose|
|2 hours||Maximum 90% of the first dose|
Never slam/intravenously consume GHB/GBL! Risk of overdose/poisoning and cauterization of veins.
Generally, the effect of a substance varies greatly from person to person, depending on external circumstances, form of consumption, exact composition of the drug, dose, and other factors.
The effect of a typical dose of GBL is noticeable after about 3-10 minutes, peaks about 20-30 minutes after ingestion, and then decreases over another 1.5-3 hours.
The effect of a typical dose of GHB is noticeable after about 10-20 minutes, peaks about 30-60 minutes after intake, and then declines for another 2-4 hours.
G has a mood-lifting, anxiety-relieving effect, makes users sociable and talkative, and intensifies sensory perceptions. Initially it has a stimulating effect, but as use progresses and the dose increases, it has a sedative effect.
G has a sexually arousing and disinhibiting effect. Other people are perceived as more attractive. For these reasons, G is one of the most common drugs used for chemsex.
Some users compare the high of G to that of alcohol, but with a shorter duration, mentally clearer somewhat, as well as more sexually stimulating. Contrary to the nickname “liquid ecstasy,” the high is not as propelling and euphoric as ecstasy/MDMA.
Some users report feeling little to no hangover after the high.
Unintentional overdoses can easily happen with G because the difference between a desired dose and an overdose is so small.
Overdoses can occur from 1.5 ml of GBL or 2 ml of GHB. Amounts greater than 2 ml of GBL or 3 ml of GHB may be lethal.
Risk: The dose consumed is often not precisely determinable with illegally produced G, since it is often not known how much active ingredient and, if applicable, which other substances are contained in the liquid (e.g., GHB produced from GBL sometimes contains portions of GBL that have not yet been converted and, conversely, GBL also contains traces of GHB).
A G overdose can induce sleep, but beyond that it can also induce a comatose state from which a person cannot be awakened for approximately 1-4 hours. There is no “antidote.” Vomiting while unconscious can cause asphyxiation.
A G overdose can further cause seizures, muscle twitching, and loss of control over bowel movements and urine. A high overdose can cause life-threatening respiratory failure.
Initial signs of overdose may include nausea, retching, lightheadedness, gasping, difficulty articulating, involuntary movements or utterances, and sudden falling asleep or startling. However, consumers may be fine until just before the onset of sleep or coma.
Typical mistakes that can lead to overdose are:
If a person becomes sleepy on G, it may be difficult to keep them awake. Exercise, talking with them, fresh air, a cool shower, or mild pain stimuli can help. It is not advisable to try to keep someone awake with additional substances, as this will only make the exceptional situation in the body worse. Under no circumstances should a drug be administered to an unresponsive person.
It is impossible to tell with the naked eye whether someone is merely asleep, temporarily unconscious, or it is a life-threatening emergency.
If a person cannot be woken up, do not be afraid to call the emergency services (112). This is how you can save someone’s life! You don’t have to talk about drugs on the phone, mention that a person is unconscious, and then inform the emergency services about the use of GHB/GBL when they arrive.
In clubs, the door staff is generally responsible for emergencies. Since this is also the controlling authority that enforces G bans, among other things, people are sometimes reluctant to approach them in a G emergency. However, emergencies must not be concealed, or any response delayed!
Always turn unconscious persons into a recovery position on their side to prevent them from choking on vomit. Stay with the person and watch for breathing. A rattle, which may sound like snoring, can be an indication of breathing difficulties.
A person who stops breathing must be kept alive with CPR until emergency services arrive!
People who fall asleep on G are often unaware of this fact, or afterwards often have no sense of the duration and intensity of their sleep. When they wake up again, they are still high and may not show any awareness of the problem.
Recommendation: In such cases, if you help people understand and acknowledge that it was an overdose, they are more likely to learn from it.
Recommendation: If someone was already nodding off on G, i.e., overdosed on the substance, then the party, or at the very least G consumption, should be over for this person! More information about first aid for chemsex emergencies can be found here.
If you suspect that sexual acts have been performed on you against your will or on you while you are unconscious, you should have blood and/or urine drawn and tested as soon as possible. The outpatient Clinic for the Protection against Violence of Berlin’s Charité Hospital offers a court-proof assessment and documentation without the pressure to immediately file a police report. . The documentation is kept for 4 weeks, and you can decide in time whether you want to file a complaint.
In case of injuries in intimate areas, you should visit a hospital or a doctor to have the injuries documented and treated.
In addition, you can get support at the counseling center of your choice:
The drug advice services in your area will be happy to help you! In Berlin, you can contact the following organizations with these or other questions without any commitment:
Gay Counseling Berlin – Drug & Addiction Counseling
Open office hours and counseling every Friday from 3-5 pm. Pre-registration is requested. Tel: 030 44 66 88 111 030 44 66 88 111