GHB (fantasy): what are the effects?

Effects of GHB

Effects vary from person to person, and may be immediate or long-term effects. They will depend on the size, weight and health of the person taking GHB, whether they are used to taking the drug, whether other drugs are present in their body, and of course, the amount taken.

It can be very hard to judge the amount taken, as the quality and strength of drugs can vary greatly from one batch to another.

Using GHB carries a high risk of overdose due to the small difference between the amount required to produce a "high" and that which causes overdose.

There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk—even medications can produce unwanted side effects. It is important to be careful when taking any type of drug.

Immediate effects

The effects of GHB may start to be felt within 15–20 minutes and last for approximately 3 to 4 hours. Some of the effects that may be experienced after taking GHB include:

Low to moderate doses Higher doses
  • feelings of euphoria
  • increased sex drive
  • lowered inhibitions
  • memory lapses
  • drowsiness
  • sleepiness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • low body temperature
  • slow heart rate
  • low blood pressure
  • muscle tremors

  • nausea
  • diarrhoea
  • urinary incontinence.
A high dose of GHB can cause a person to overdose. This means that a person has taken more GHB than their body can cope with. The effects can include:
  • vomiting
  • sweating
  • loss of coordination
  • irregular or shallow breathing
  • confusion, irritation and agitation
  • hallucinations
  • blackouts and memory lapses
  • unconsciousness (where people can't be roused) that can last for 3–4 hours
  • seizures
  • respiratory arrest (stopping breathing) and death.

Long-term effects

At this stage, little is known about the long-term effects of GHB use, but we do know that it can be highly addictive.

People who use GHB regularly can develop dependence and tolerance to it, which means they need to take larger amounts of GHB to get the same effect.

Other effects of GHB use

Taking GHB with other drugs

If GHB is taken with other depressant drugs (such as alcohol or benzodiazepines), the chance of overdose is increased.

If GHB is taken with stimulant drugs (such as amphetamines or ecstasy), the body will be put under a lot of stress as it tries to deal with the competing effects.

Using GHB to help with the symptoms of the "comedown" after using stimulants can lead to a cycle of dependence on both drugs.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Read about the effects of drugs on pregnancy and breastfeeding.


Read about the effects of drugs on driving.

For more information, please click on the Australian Drug Foundation's DrugInfo Clearinghouse web site link below.
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