How Long Does GHB Stay In System?

ghb half-life time

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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. It should be noted that the drug is eliminated mainly via expiration, and only 5% of the time does urine excretes the GHB.

Table of Contents

Duration For GHB To Stay In 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 body up to two hours (2.45-5.30 hours) after consumption.

How Long Does GHB Stay In 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 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 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 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 And 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.

GHB Metabolism Process

Metabolism rates also affect GHB duration and elimination.
someone adding GHB to a drink
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!

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Olivier George

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.


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  • Laila
    Hello I m new in the us . My husband is a doctor i just came its been one month and half . Ive been having a hard time with my husband and we got separated but sleeeping in the same bed. I ve been seeing blue spots in my pillow like drops of something and i forgot about it i thought it was just some stain. Days later i found those spots in multiples places in my pillow. Then i found some drop tools in my husbands closed. I ve been through emotionnal hard time and i started to pass out regulary. I did the researsh and found thi.How can i know if he has been drugging me while im asleep.and what should i do about it . Thanks
    • Tanya
      I can’t believe no one responded to your comment. I hope your not dead honey. I would take the pillow or sheets to be tested and get a cops opinion. Be safe luv.
    • Jane
      Do what Tanya said. Contact the police.
  • casey kesselring
    set up a hidden camera. they are easy to get and can be hidden anywhere.