Erowid References Database
Bosch OG, Seifritz E.
“The behavioural profile of gamma-hydroxybutyrate, gamma-butyrolactone and 1,4-butanediol in humans”.
Brain Res Bull. 2016 Feb 15.
Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a putative neurotransmitter, a drug of abuse, and a medical treatment for narcolepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Its precursors gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BD) are endogenously converted to GHB and thereby exert their psychobehavioural effects. In humans, GHB has a wide spectrum of properties ranging from stimulation and euphoria in lower doses, to sedation, deep sleep, and coma after ingestion of high doses. However, behavioural studies in healthy volunteers remain scarce and are usually limited to psychomotor performance testing. Most available data arise from either qualitative studies with illicit users or clinical trials examining therapeutic properties of GHB (then usually termed sodium oxybate). Here, we present an overview of the behavioural effects of GHB, GBL, and 1,4-BD in these three populations. GHB and its precursors strongly influence behaviours related to core human autonomic functions such as control of food intake, sexual behaviour, and sleep-wake regulation. These effects are instrumentalised by illicit users and clinically utilised in neuropsychiatric disorders such as narcolepsy, fibromyalgia, and binge-eating syndrome. Considering the industry withdrawal from psychopharmacology development, repurposing of drugs according to their behavioural and clinical profiles has gained increasing relevance. As such, GHB seems to be an attractive candidate as an experimental therapeutic in depression.
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