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Sodium 4-Hydroxyvalerate, a Novel GHB Analog

by Rhodium


In vitro GHB receptor binding studies has shown1 that 4-hydroxyvalerate was an approximately 15% more potent GHB receptor agonist than GHB itself, and with a potency very near that of the known GHB agonist T-HCA (trans-4-hydroxycrotonic acid).

Synthesis of Sodium 4-Hydroxyvalerate

Sodium Hydroxide (8 grams, 0.2 moles) was dissolved in 50 ml of methanol with gentle heating, and some insolubles was filtered off. gamma-Valerolactone (20 grams, 0.2 moles) was added as fast as the exothermic reaction allowed, the solvent was evaporated in vacuo, and the wet, soapy residue was dried in a desiccator over CaCl2. The crude product was finely ground in a mortar, placed in a buchner funnel, washed with 200 ml of acetone and sucked as dry as possible at the water pump. After drying over anhydrous CaCl2, the Sodium gamma-Hydroxyvalerate, a deliquescent, white, crispy and slightly soapy powder, weighed 26.9 grams (96% of theory) and had a pleasant aromatic odor, and a taste not unlike that of Sodium GHB itself.

Bioassay of Sodium 4-Hydroxyvalerate

Sodium 4-hydroxyvalerate was dissolved in a glass of water, and ingested on an empty stomach. As anticipated, the taste wasn't too great, and it reminded me of Sodium GHB. Within about ten minutes the first effects of the material was felt, and the effects developed gradually during the first 30 minutes to at that point be clearly felt and distinguishable. The peak effects are attained around an hour after ingestion. The first effects noted are muscle relaxation, and a sense of calmness. At the half hour point, a sedation can be felt, but the feeling is in part unlike that of GHB itself, this feeling is more like natural sleepiness than the feeling gotten from GHB and other sedating pharmaceuticals. At the same time, the muscle relazation was attenuated, and the body felt very heavy. During one experiment, with 1 gram of the material, I took a nap (voluntarily) at about the one hour point, and when I spontaneously woke up an hour later, I felt very relaxed and refreshed, and the sleep had been very fine. At the two hour point, the muscle relaxation is diminished, as well as the sedation. The effects gradually dissipates during the following hours, and in my opinion, the duration of the effects is slightly longer than with GHB, say rather 3-4 h than 2-3 h.

When compared with GHB, there is more muscle relaxation, and the sedative and anxiolytic effects are noticably more potent. Preliminary, I'd say that the compound is subjectively around 1.5 times stronger on a weight basis. The mood elevating and sociabilizing effects are weaker than with GHB itself. The dosage levels tried so far has been 1000-2500mg of the dry sodium salt. No side effects has been noted, except perhaps a slight nausea at the peak, but this can also be due to my empty stomach.


  1. J. Med. Chem. 31, 893-897 (1988)