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John B. Saunders, Jason Connor & Gerald F X Feeney

In: The SAGE Handbook of Drug & Alcohol Studies Volume 2

Chapter 15: Gamma-hydroxybutyric Acid and its Analogues: Pharmocokinetics and Pharmacodynamics

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Gamma-hydroxybutyric Acid and its Analogues: Pharmocokinetics and Pharmacodynamics
Gamma-hydroxybutyric Acid and its Analogues
John B. SaundersJason ConnorGerald F X Feeney
Introduction

Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. It occurs naturally in small amounts in the CNS (Bessman and Fishbein, 1963), where it exists as both a precursor and a metabolite of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) (Snead and Gibson, 2005), the principal inhibitory CNS neurotransmitter; indeed, GHB itself is a neurotransmitter. GHB can also be ingested orally and in this form it can be purchased commercially and on the illicit market. As a recreational drug, it is used by many young people for its intoxicating effects. For these purposes it has the important characteristic of passing the blood–brain barrier, unlike GABA.

GHB and its analogues

GHB (Figure ...

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