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What is GHB?

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (also known as GHB or G) is a substance used by some gay, bi, and queer guys while partying, having sex, or while hanging out. The high is a bit like being drunk on alcohol without the hangover. Like other downers, GHB has a relaxing, sedative, and sleepy effect. When on G, guys report experiencing giddiness, euphoria, horniness, and less social anxiety. When mixed with water, it produces a colourless and odourless solution that you can drink.

It is important to note that there can be a thin line between enjoying GHB and ending up asleep on the dance floor, also known as “G’ing out”. It takes very little GHB to feel its euphoric effects, so it is important to measure doses beforehand to ensure a safe and fun time.  


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A typical dose for GHB can vary between 0.5 mL to 1.5 mL. Some guys after regular use of GHB develop a tolerance and may require more G to feel the same buzz. Even when taking GHB two nights in one weekend, guys can develop tolerance. Tolerance is also lost quickly, so what may have been a good dose for you last weekend might be a dangerous dose this weekend. When in doubt, listen to your body, and start low and go slow.

If taking more than 2 mL, the next dose should be taken at least an hour after the initial dose and should be 50% of the original dose. GHB takes a while to metabolize. If you take more while your body is in the process of breaking down GHB, then it is possible to have an overdose.

The concentration of GHB differs between batches, so it is important to test out the batch by taking a small amount like 0.5 mL before partying. Practice dosing at home between batches to determine strength.

Instead, use a needleless syringe, or sample containers like the ones provided in our GHB party pack to support you in dosing. You can get syringes from the Works, or other harm reduction agencies.


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GHB is a clear, salty liquid with no smell. GBL (gamma-Butyrolactone) is also clear but has a chemical taste and smell. Both can come as a powder added to liquid. In North America, GHB is more common than GBL, but in Europe GBL has become more popular.

GBL is a more potent form of GHB and should also be treated with caution. GBL is approximately three times as potent as GHB, meaning that if you were to take a 1mL dose of GBL, it would cause about the same effect as 3mL of GHB. Usually, you can tell the difference by the chemical smell and taste but when in doubt, start with lower doses and see how your body reacts.

Harm Reduction Strategies
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Sex and GHB

GHB can make guys horny and can also be used to relax or help them bottom. It also makes condomless sex more likely, as you are less inhibited, and your judgement may be impaired. So, plan ahead if you think you might have sex on G, by taking PrEP, HIV medications, bringing condoms and lube or a combination of your preferred prevention methods.

Consider also notifying your sober friends that you’re partying on G and ask them if they wouldn’t mind keeping an eye on you while you’re enjoying yourself. G can sometimes cause you to become unconscious and if that happens, you’ll want them looking out for your well-being and safety. 

There have been recent reports of GHB being administered secretly within lubricant. This is a criminal technique which causes victims to absorb the mixture anally, leading for GHB to be absorbed quickly into bloodstream, leading to a heightened and immediate effect.

If you are having sex in an environment with people you have just met, there are measures that could be helpful to protect yourself such as: having your own supply of lube in individual sachets and making sure you only use your own lube. Replace the contents of travel sized liquid bottles with lube so that it is easy to carry lube with you.

Consider sharing with your friends David Stuart and Ignacio Labayen’s 2018 Chemsex First AID’ guide for tips on how they can care for you if you experience a problem while on ‘G’ or link them to this page.

Consent and GHB

G can increase your receptiveness to sexual activities and decrease your ability to set and assert sexual boundaries. It is extra important to check in with partners who are on G regarding consent. Keep checking in throughout a sexual encounter. Having sex with someone who is passed out and unable to give consent is sexual assault.

For further tips on negotiating the sex you want while on G, visit our partners at thesexyouwant.




Overdosing on GHB can lead to seizure, coma, and can affect the brain in unhealthy ways. To have a good time on G, take lower doses and space doses 1 hour apart.

Never leave someone G’ing out alone. In most cases taking a little too much G will simply cause the person to fall into a deep sleep that they will eventually wake up from. However, be on the lookout for warning signs such as laboured breathing (slow) and changing colours in the face or extremities (turning blue or purplish black). These are signs they may have taken a dangerous dose. When in doubt, call emergency services immediately.

Additionally, if you come across someone you suspect to be G’ing out at a party or bathhouse, notify staff immediately, especially if the person was found in a hot, enclosed area such as a steam room, sauna or hot tub.


Eating Beforehand

GHB hits you harder if you haven’t had anything to eat before using. Plan ahead by eating lots of nutritious food so that you don’t feel the effects all at once and can last the whole night. Consider prepping food before you party, so that when you come home you have food and snacks readily available to help come down.


Timing Doses

Use a note on your phone or a timer to space doses 1 hour apart from each other.

Know when to press the Brakes


If you are feeling your G, sometimes the tendency might be to accelerate the number of doses per hour. However, this can lead to G’ing out. Learn to appreciate the high that you’re experiencing, and likely if you’re feeling a buzz, more will make you fall asleep rather than have an even better time.



Don’t mix GHB with other downers like alcohol as this can easily lead to unconsciousness or in rare cases, death. Deaths associated with G have been attributed to mixing or overdosing on G, especially in cruising places, saunas or parties where you could easily overheat. Mixing with uppers like ecstasy can mask the sedative effects of GHB, making it less likely to be aware of how much more GHB your body can handle. Your best bet on the dance floor is to avoid mixing altogether.


Shaking and Sharing

If someone hands you a drink, be sure to ask them if there’s any GHB in it before drinking it down. If you are consuming a mixed drink with GHB in it, make sure you shake the bottle. GHB is a dense liquid and much of it falls to the bottom of the container. This reduces the chance that you overdose from drinking all the G that sinks to the bottom.

HIV Medication
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Protease and integrase inhibitors increase the amount of G in your system, increasing the potential for an overdose, making G’ing out more likely. If GHB makes you throw up within an hour of taking HIV medication, it is recommended to take your meds again.