As GHB has a short half-life, the drug can leave the system of the user up to two hours after ingestion. Some tests can detect GHB: blood tests – up to 6-8 hours, swab tests – between 10 minutes and six hours, and urine tests – up to 12-24 hours. As GHB is known as a date rape drug, testing is crucial.
Although the liver metabolizes GHB, unlike other drugs, that process happens via non-hepatic pathways. One of the primary enzymes is GHB dehydrogenase, which is involved in the Krebs cycle. The body metabolizes GHB to water and carbon dioxide. We should mention that the drug is eliminated mainly via expiration, and only 5% of the time does urine excretes the GHB.
How Long Does GHB Stay In Your System?
Although professionals use GHB in the treatment of various health problems, such as narcolepsy, the drug is a potent depressant, known as a date rape drug. Thus, being familiar with GHB and its duration is crucial.
GHB half-life is around 27 minutes (20-53 minutes). That’s why the drug can leave your body up to two hours (2.45-5.30 hours) after consumption.
How Long Does GHB Stay In Your Blood?
Peak plasma levels occur 20-45 minutes after intake. Note that blood tests can detect GHB only up to 6-8 hours.
How Long Does GHB Stay In Your Urine?
Peak levels in the urine appear four hours after intake. Only 5% of the drug is unchanged after urine excretion, and urine tests can detect GHB for up to 12-24 hours.
How Long Does GHB Stay In Your Saliva?
Professionals can find GHB in saliva. Swab tests can detect the drug in 10 minutes to six hours, which makes them useful, noninvasive, and quick.
How Long Does GHB Stay In Your Hair?
Hair tests that detect GHB are rare. Therefore, there’s no reliable data. However, hair tests, in general, provide a longer window of detection (up to 90 days).
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Factors That Affect GHB Duration & Elimination
Various factors affect how much time GHB will need to leave one’s system:
- Dosage: Larger doses require more time to exit the body.
- Alcohol: Mixing GHB with alcohol and other drugs can lead to slower elimination.
- Age: Older users (over 65) process the drug slower than younger people.
- Sex: As GHB is a hydrophilic and women have less water per kilogram in their bodies, it takes less time for females to get clean of the drug.
- Overall health: Some health problems, such as renal failure, can lead to a slower elimination of GHB (as kidney failure may prolong the urinary excretion of the drug).
- Lifestyle: Exercising, drinking water and having a particular diet also influence GHB duration and elimination. For example, taking GHB with a high-fat meal reduces the overall peak plasma concentrations of the drug.
Note that the points above don’t represent the complete list of factors. Remember that each case is individual and we can’t say how long GHB needs to leave the system.
How Is GHB Metabolized?
Metabolism rates also affect GHB duration and elimination.
After consumption, the drug crosses the brain-blood barrier, and it distributes throughout the body, with high concentrations in the basal ganglia.
The liver metabolizes the drug. However, unlike other drugs, GHB is metabolized via non-hepatic pathways. CYP450 isoenzymes are not involved in the process. The enzyme GHB dehydrogenase, involved in the so-called Krebs cycle, is among the main particles.
GHB transforms into succinic acid and metabolizes to water and carbon dioxide.
The drug clears from the bodies system via expiration. Only 5% of GHB is excreted in urine.
GHB & Drug Testing Information
Standard tests can’t detect GHB. On top of that, its short half-life and quick elimination make it hard to detect the drug.
However, as GHB is known as a date rape drug, testing for GHB is crucial for victims of assault or an overdose.
- Blood Tests: Blood tests can detect GHB up to 6-8 hours. After GHB intake, concentration levels can vary between 20 mg/L and 500 mg/L.
- Urine Tests: Urine tests can detect GHB for up to 12-24 hours. 10 mg/L is commonly used as a cut-off level.
- Swab Tests: Swab tests can detect the drug between 10 minutes and six hours. Concentrations of 3.33 mg/L test positive.
- Hair tests: Note that hair tests are not used. In one case, hair samples were collected from a female victim of an assault. The results showed GHB concentrations of 2.4 ng/mg. For comparison, standard segments vary between 0.6 ng/mg and 0.8 ng/mg.
In the case of a sexual assault or another violent act, testing for GHB has to happen as soon as possible.
GHB is a powerful drug, so do not risk experimenting with its recreational properties. Stay clean and safe instead!