GHB Alternatives - Are they "Wonder Drugs of the Century?"

(Also, see "Analogs Continue to Surface," by Trinka Porrata, drug consultant, December 27, 1999)

Since GHB was forced off health food store shelves, marketers of GHB have found other ways to get GHB to consumers - in the form of other chemicals that turn into GHB once ingested. Chemicals that turn into GHB once taken include:

  • GBL (gamma butyrolactone)
  • BD (1,4 butanediol or tetramethylene glycol or sucol-B)
  • 2(3H)-Furanone di-hydro.
  • Products that list "proprietary polyhydroxyl complex"

These products are promoted as "safe alternatives to GHB."

There is a growing list of products being sold. New names crop up all the time. Read the Chemical Composition of GBL.

Product Claims: Fights stress and depression, Precursor to GHB, Stimulates Growth Hormone, Induces deep sleep, Relieves anxiety, Aids in muscle-building, Pro-sexual, Enhances Athletic Performance, Combats aging

Read the official FDA warning

These compounds are being sold over the counter and through the Internet as nutritional substances. They are being touted as  "legal GHB" and "herbal GHB."  These analogs are just as illegal as GHB in California and some other states.

From Trinka Porrata: leading expert on GHB and other designer drugs

Blue Nitro, Renewtrient and Revivarant are all analogs of GHB (chemical cousins which give same or similar effects as the primary drug) and they are ILLEGAL in California. Law enforcement is just a little slow on the draw. Just like the fact that it is illegal to sell GHB kits on the Internet, it takes us a long time to act. Two of the Internet kit sellers have been busted, but there are many more. Renewtrient, for example, is comprised on just gamma butyl lactone, the precursor to GHB.......but it acts the same or worse than GHB and when distributed as or in lieu of GHB, it is to be treated as an analog and therefore is illegal.  GHB is Schedule II in California. Any analog of a Schedule I or Schedule II drug is covered by the analog law. It is illegal, just a matter of someone taking action.

There has been at least one death directly attributed to Renewtrient ( as of this writing). Even the Blue Nitro website admits there are no studies on this ingredient. These analogs are all floor strippers, degreasers or something you might expect to find in your car's antifreeze......makes no sense to be drinking them!!! The people selling this !@#$ couldn't care less about the safety factor. Since most coroners don't know to test for GHB or how to test for it.....the likelihood of them even catching a death from one of these products isn't great at this point. This is so, so insane and it isn't over yet. They will keep looking for more analogs and more dangerous chemical alternatives.

ANALOGS OF GHB CONTINUE TO SURFACE

By Trinka D. Porrata
December 27, 1999

Several products being sold via the Internet and over the counter throughout the nation as sports or nutritional supplements, sleep aids, fat loss aids or sexual stimulants are in fact dangerous analogs of the so called "date rape drug" gamma hydroxy butyrate (GHB). The names keep changing, but the dangers are the same.

Names surfacing so far include: Blue Nitro, Renewtrient, Revivarant, Remforce, Firewater, Enliven, Serenity, ZEN, Revitalize Plus, Thunder Nectar, Weight Belt Cleaner, SomatoPro, NRG3, GHRE and, most recently, G3. See list at end of document. They may appear in any color, including clear, light amber, red or blue. Anyone driving a vehicle under the influence of these substances presents a potential safety hazard. They are used in rapes in exactly the same way GHB is used. Several of the documented GHB-related deaths involve these products. GHB and its analogs are also now known to be addictive and withdrawal from this addiction is life endangering. Most emergency rooms and addiction treatment clinics are not fully aware of the hazards. Anyone seeking treatment for a GHB addiction should specifically seek a facility with knowledge of GHB addiction. Any facility encountering a GHB addiction should seek expert advice, as special precautions should be taken.

Many of them list the main ingredient as 2(3H)-Furanone di-hydro and claim that it does not contain GHB or any other illegal substance. This ingredient is gamma butyl lactone (GBL, aka "BLO" or "Blow"), the precursor of GHB, being listed by its other chemical name. As of January 1, 2000, GBL is a listed precursor chemical in California, requiring a license to purchase it. Though a precursor to GHB, it is also an active "analog" of GHB. Several of the products list the primary ingredient as 1,4 butanediol (BD) or its other chemical names, tetramethylene glycol or sucol-B. These products may also surface labeled as degreasing or cleaning products that are in reality being used for human consumption.

Mere possession of the precursor/analog GBL or the analog 1,4 butanediol is not illegal in and of itself at this time. But, depending on which state you live in, any action that converts the product to "human consumption" (such as sticking a straw in the bottle, pouring it into human consumption type water or vitamin or mouthwash bottles, for example, etc.) may make it an analog under state law and thus illegal. Agencies are encouraged to examine their state laws carefully to determine whether or not GHB has been controlled, whether an analog law exists, whether it covers these products, etc., and initiate legislative changes as necessary.

An analog is a substance which has or is represented to have or is intended to have effects on the central nervous system which are substantially similar to or greater than, the controlled substance itself. Some state laws put forth the previous language and offer the alternative that the analog have "substantially similar chemical structure." This makes it an "either-or" situation. California law says "or." Other states may require both conditions, complicating the definition.

The analog status of GBL and 1,4 butanediol in each state needs to be clarified and adequate training given to law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies statewide. Some chemists are reluctant to call GBL (which is a closed ring) an analog of GHB (which is an open ring), but they exist in "equilibrium" and GHB swings (converts) back and forth on its own. One way to view it is that a shoelace is still a shoelace, whether it is tied or untied.

Federally and in most states with analog laws, these analog statutes apply only to Schedule I and II drugs. Whether placed in Schedule I, II, III or IV in any state, GHB cannot be prescribed legally by doctors (except for those doctors specifically authorized through the limited, licensed federal research protocols) because it has been federally banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1990.

These products and similar products are also starting to appear in powder and capsule form. In fact, you will start seeing more and more capsules, especially Renewtrient. Some of the Internet sites promoting these products admit that there is no scientific evidence to back up the safety and beneficial effects claimed by them. Some even note that their product is being manufactured in an FDA approved lab; they further admit that this does not mean the FDA has approved the product itself. Label notations such as "Does not contain GHB" or "legal (or herbal) GHB" are literally your first clue that the product is an analog of GHB! Revitalize Plus denies containing GHB, GBL, GHBA or HGH, but lists "proprietary polyhydroxyl complex," which still fits the GHB analog mode. Many of the labels also foolishly discourage calling 911 when someone overdoses on these products, a deadly recommendation. When cases identify the Internet as the source of the product and when the physical location of the Internet source can be determined, prosecution may be possible either under that state's laws or under federal provisions through the Department of Justice, Office of Consumer Litigation.

When booking crime scene evidence or sexual assault or driving under the influence blood or urine samples where GHB or its analogs or other unusual drugs are suspected, officers must specifically request that tests be performed for such drugs. Analogs of GHB may not test "positive" for GHB in the original product, but will test positive for GHB in blood or urine (if samples are taken within 12 hours after ingestion) because the body converts the substance to GHB. If submitting a drink that may contain GHB or an analog, for example, officers should specify to test for GHB/GBL/BD. Testing for GHB in a product will likely pick up on both GHB and GBL, but will not necessarily result in a finding of BD without a specific request (or at least without specific knowledge of its existence as an analog by lab personnel). The lab would only need to test for BD if GHB and/or GBL were not found.

COMMON CHEMICAL NAMES

GAMMA HYDROXY BUTYRATE (GHB)
GAMMA BUTYL LACTONE (GBL)
2(3H)-FURANONE DI-HYDRO (GBL)
1,4 BUTANEDIOL (BD)
TETRAMETHYLENE GLYCOL (BD)
SUCOL-B (BD)

NOTE: There may be other analogs that will appear.

REPORTED PRODUCT NAMES *indicates product just added to this list (3/09/2000)

AMINO FLEX (BD)
BLUE MOON (May be a product name or just a bar drink using GBL)
BLUE NITRO
BLUE NITRO VITALITY
BlueRaine Cleaner
BORAMETZ (BD)
BVM (BD)
DORMIR (BD)
ENLIVEN (BD)
FIREWATER
FX (BD)---ORANGE FX RUSH, LEMON FX DROP, CHERRY FX BOMB
G3
GH-GOLD (May be referred to as GHG)
GAMMA G
*GENX or GENEX
GHRE (BD)-(GROWTH HORMONE RELEASE EXTRACT)
GH REVITALIZER
INNERG (BD)
INVIGORATE
JOLT
NRG3 (BD)--
PINE NEEDLE EXTRACT (BD)
PROMUSOL (BD)
REACTIVE
REGENERIZE
RENEWTRIENT
*Remedy GH
REMFORCE
REST-EZE
REST-Q (BD)
REVIVARANT
REVIVARANT G
REVITALIZE PLUS (Gamma hydroxybutyaldehyde)
SERENITY (BD)
SOMATO PRO (BD)
THUNDER
THUNDER NECTAR (BD)
VERV or VERVE
WEIGHT BELT CLEANER (BD)
WHITE MAGIC (BD)
X-12
ZEN (BD)
or any product containing these chemicals: GBL (gamma butyrolactone or 2(3H)-Furanone di-hydro), BD (1,4 butanediol or tetramethylene glycol, 1,4-Dihydroxybutane, 1,4-Butyleneglycol, SUCOL-B).

Also---NAIL POLISH REMOVER-UNK BRAND-100% GBL
MISCELLANEOUS-COMBINATIONS, Paint stripper with primary ingredient GBL (Woodman's Pride).

NOTE: New names surface on a regular basis. Also, Revitalize Plus does NOT contain any of the chemical names for BD, but lists only "proprietary polyhydroxyl complex" which is a sneaky way of saying a GHB-related product. Report other names here.

OTHER SYNONYMS for GBL as per MSDS

GAMMA-6480 * AGRISYNTH BLO * GAMMA-BL * BLO * BLON * 4-BUTANOLIDE * 1, 2-BUTANOLIDE * 1,4-BUTANOLIDE * BUTYRIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-, GAMMA- LACTONE * BUTYRIC ACID LACTONE * BUTYROLACTONE * ALPHA-BUTYROLACTONE * GAMMA-BUTYROLACTONE * 4-BUTYROLACTONE * BUTYRYLACTONE * BUTYRYL LACTONE * 4-DEOXYTETRONIC ACID * DIHYDRO-2(3H)-FURANONE * 4- HYDROXYBUTANOIC ACID LACTONE * 4-HYDROXYBUTANOIC ACID, GAMMA-LACTONE * GAMMA-HYDROXYBUTYRIC ACID CYCLIC ESTER * 4-HYDROXYBUTYRIC ACID LACTONE * 4-HYDROXYBUTYRIC ACID, GAMMA-LACTONE * GAMMA-HYDROXYBUTYRIC ACID LACTONE * GAMMA-HYDROXYBUTYROLACTONE * NCI-C55878 * 2-OXOLANONE * TETRAHYDRO-2-FURANONE * 2(3H) FURANONE DIHYDRO