[disinfo ed.'s note: this original essay was first published by disinformation on November 9, 2000. Some links may have expired.]
Gamma-hydroxybutyrate is a naturally occurring carbohydrate present in virtually every kind of meat-based food. In its clinically synthesized form, GHB is prescribed by doctors as a treatment for sleep disorders, anxiety, schizophrenia, lack of libido, and as an aid to childbirth (GHB enhances dilation of the cervix). For years it has been used by body builders and more recently, as a recreational drug on the club scene, but the substance first became widely known in the U.S. when it was rumored that GHB was the cause of River Phoenix’s death in 1993. Although this story was 100% urban myth (club kids curious on how to die from drugs should look up ‘Heroin’ in the dictionary), it is typical of the misrepresentation which has followed GHB since it first came into our collective consciousness (a Newsweek report from this time incorrectly defined GHB as ‘an obscure and dangerous steroid substitute.’)
There are a lot of people with legitimate intentions who believe GHB is vitally dangerous to your physical well being, and you would do well to do some research before ingesting anything unknown. Bad PR linking GHB to date rape and the 1996 death of Texas teenager Hillory Farias has paved the way for its criminalization in many states around the country. By federal law, GHB is classified as a controlled substance, meaning it can be prescribed by a doctor, but that it is illegal to sell for commercial for human consumption, especially when making claims about its healthful properties. Do-it-yourself GHB recipe kits are widely available on the Net (see below), depending where you live: while in most states simple possession of GHB is not illegal, many states have declared it a Class 1 dangerous substance, making both possession and intent to distribute felonies. All of this despite the fact that the FDA has never followed its own official procedures for declaring it a dangerous drug. Some people claim that the FDA has been involved in unfair media campaigns against GHB in states that have recently lowered the boon (Texas and Florida, for example), where GHB has been fingered as the cause of death in overdose cases. In certain cases the Agency has even provided the coroner with helpful knowledge about GHB’s existence, long after the death occurred. (GHB is in all animal life. If you died now and they did your autopsy, they would find it in every cell in your body. And then, if no other cause were completely evident, they could say you had “trace elements” of GHB in your system, and that that was what killed you. Even though you didn’t take any.)
So anyway, it’s a long story. The few links below yield a deceptively massive amount of information that could keep you occupied for days. At the recommended dosage, the GHB high is somewhat akin to good Ecstasy, without the racy aspects of being cut with garbage. It makes you feel weird, jolly, and completely unlike you did before. It lasts for three hours. If you mix it with alcohol in any amount, you will poison your liver, and puke your guts out in wrenching convulsions. It’s natural like weed, except it doesn’t kill brain cells, yet it can seriously dink your melon if you take too much. Go figure.
Addendum for offended weed fiends: I hereby concede that the above implication that pot kills brain cells is incorrect, although THC does leave fatty deposits on your brain which adversely affect your memory (and possibly your fashion sense). Happy now?
The GHB Page
A clear and authoritative resource containing expert commentary on all aspects of the GHB issue. At this site, the California-based Cognitive Enhancement Research Institute has put together research by doctors in the U.S. and elsewhere detailing the basic misunderstandings about GHB which have facilitated its criminalization. The letter to the California State Legislature by Steve Wm. Fowkes, Executive Director of the CERI, is highly recommended. This also has statements from Fowkes and Drs. Woodward and Morgenthaler (co-authors of “GHB-The Natural Mood Enhancer”) on GHB’s recently expanded illegality and the potential lobbying power of well-informed supplement buyers.
The Vaults of Erowid: GHB
Anyone interested in psychoactive substances should visit the Vaults, a massive and beautiful site with detailed and well-balanced data on all those crazy chemicals. The GHB vault contains sufficient medical research, studies and abstracts of experiments to render you the best-informed raver on the scene, a clear and complete section on GHB’s legal status (if your state is red, no GHB), and an FDA warning regarding their future plans for this ‘potentially dangerous drug.’ Yes, but aren’t they all?
Well-designed site enabling purchase of GHB over the Internet. Features detailed FAQs, a great list of links and testimonials on GHB and pro-sexual applications.
The Lycaeum: GHB
The Lycaeum is another encyclopedic, substance-by-substance reservoir of knowledge that should be consulted by all serious inner-space explorers. The GHB page specializes in pharmacology and synthesis, and there’s also a section on related substances(i.e. legal substitutes).
GHB: New Perspectives
An original and personal web site in the spirit of intellectual experimentation. The pseudonymous web master creates a psycho-spiritual context for his discovery of GHB by excerpting Thomas Moore’s ‘Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in the Everyday World”, and examines the drug’s effects as an antidote to what Willhelm Reich called “character armoring” , the habitual defensive character traits which protect the individual from pain while restricting his or her capacity for pleasure. The site has detailed testimonies from a variety of GHB users on the subjects of sleep disorders, sex, body building, and the treatment of alcoholism, and crucial advice on synthesis and supplies (read this before buying any GHB kit over the Net.) Deep!
Michael Cohn’s painstakingly annotated site has ample clues for the curious in a concise and practical format. The GHB ‘survey’(like a detailed guest book) is an easy way to share your experiences. And don’t mix it with alcohol.
The Global Human Benefit
An adamantly pro-GHB site, informative and updated frequently. Includes a GHB Prayer for the spiritually inclined.
The Truth about GHB
A tight essay exploring medical uses, side effects, the date-rape issue, and the media’s misrepresentation of GHB, on behalf of the Life Enhancement ‘smart drugs’ company.
GHB: Negative Effects
In the interest of balance, some thoughts from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The FDA declared GHB illegal in 1990?
The Art of Bodybuilding and Fitness
Info on GHB (and other supplements) from the athlete’s perspective, recipes and dosage.
Disinformation Dossier on Aleister Crowley
Check out the Disinformation dossier on Aleister Crowley.
Disinformation Dossier on Wilhelm Reich
Check out the Disinformation dossier on Wilhelm Reich.