Gamma-Butyrolactone that is commonly known as GBL is an aromatic chemical compound. The IUPAC name of this compound is Dihydrofuran-2(3H)-one. GBL is a colorless compound, oily and water soluble in nature. It is used as a solvent as well as a reagent for different chemical reactions. Besides Gamma Butyrolactone also finds application as a wheel cleaner (alloy wheel cleaner), rust remover, stain remover and a paint stripper. Gamma-Butyrolactone serves as a prodrug for GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid) in the human body.
Gamma-Butyrolactone or GBL is industrially produced from unadulterated wine samples. In the laboratory it is prepared by removing water (H2O) from Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid. Many people use this compound as a medicine for certain beneficial effects but this can also cause harm to the human body if it is not taken in proper dose or under proper body conditions. In the human body under enzymatic actions (lactonase enzyme) in the blood stream GBL is readily converted to GHB. GBL serves to be a prodrug of GHB, though the effects of GBL vary from person to person as the level of Lactonase enzyme varies.
GBL is used as a recreational drug, which improves relaxation. This compound helps to increase the Growth Hormone (GH), improves mental clarity, kills depression, fights with stress, improves sexual activities and athletic abilities as well as helps to reduce fat. But till now the proper dosage of this drug has not been determined as the level of lactonase varies from person to person and also under different body conditions. But the harmful effects of this compound GBL include nausea, vomiting, increased blood pressure, headaches and liquid ecstasy. Not only this, GBL can have serious side effects which include loss of memory, mental agitation, fatal breathing and heart problems leading to coma and even death. GBL readily converts into GHB in the human body and affects the CNS (Central Nervous System) and is very harmful for pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers; causing serious harm to the new born.
Thus we see that GBL can be very harmful and can cause serious damage to the human body and hence it has legal regulations regarding its possession and sale. But the regulations vary from one nation to another. Like in the United Kingdom one can be imprisoned for possessing or selling GBL without proper license, while in Netherlands it can be bought freely without any license as a cleansing agent. In the United States GBL comes under controlled chemicals while in Poland it is not considered as a drug. Hence we see legal issues varies from one country to another but the harmful effects of GBL doesn’t and so one should not freely administer GBL or take an overdose of GBL causing serious damage to the human body even leading to death.