Sci + Society,
Smart Drugs,

#090: GHB – The Good, The Bad and The Sleepy

August 21, 2015

So what exactly is Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB)? It’s a naturally-occurring metabolite of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, and is present in small amounts in almost all animals. (Sounds innocuous so far…) But, it has acquired an infamous reputation over the years, and is now a highly controlled substance in most countries. In Episode #90, Jesse takes a deep dive with Dan Pardi into the world of GHB – its development, its promise as both a sleep aid and a physical-health supplement, and its misuse potential and the subsequent ban.

A quick taste of what else is lined up this week: Research about the apparent (and surprisingly) usefulness of mixing pictures of food (nom nom) with disgusting images of multi-legged creepy-crawlies. And if you happen to find yourself in foggy ol’ London, there’s a unique experience that you may want to try…

All this and more in the 90th episode of Smart Drug Smarts.

PS: As the old saying goes, “If one door closes, another opens.” Feed your head and keep your neurons charged with the choicest of neuroscience tidbits by signing up for our newsletter below.

Show Notes
  • 00:00:32

    Jesse kicks off the 90th episode with a flashback to the 1st.

  • 00:01:43

    This Week In Neuroscience: The power of Disgust on Diet.

  • 00:03:52

    The audience interaction section.

  • 00:04:59

    A follow-up on Episode 89 - Dr. Eyerman's Music List.

  • 00:05:22

    Clash of the Giant Robots.

  • 00:06:01

    Visit Axon Labs and check out our stacks.

  • 00:06:47

    Jesse introduces Dan Pardi.

  • 00:07:55

    Dan shares his background and introduction to GHB.

  • 00:10:52

    The imperfect drug.

  • 00:12:22

    A discussion about Narcolepsy.

  • 00:19:25

    GHB as a health supplement.

  • 00:20:43

    The abuse potential.

  • 00:22:08

    Dose response and half-life.

  • 00:22:49

    GHB as a neurotransmitter.

  • 00:24:54

    Misuse of GHB and its' subsequent ban.

  • 00:28:41

    A look at current regulations.

  • 00:32:09

    The toxicological profile.

  • 00:33:38

    Mechanism of action.

  • 00:38:29

    Ruthless Listener Retention Gimmick: More than a silver lining.


  1. Joe says:

    Sounds like a great sleep aid. Are there any countries where it’s still legally available?

  2. Joe says:

    China is one. You can buy GBL from China but Customs looks for it.

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