Gamma Butyrolactone



γ-Butyrolactone or gamma butyrolactone is a hygroscopic colorless, water-miscible liquid with a weak characteristic odor. It is the simplest 4-carbon lactone.

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What is gamma butyrolactone?
γ-Butyrolactone or gamma butyrolactone is a hygroscopic colorless, water-miscible liquid with a weak characteristic odor. It is the simplest 4-carbon lactone. It is mainly used as an intermediate in the production of other chemicals, e.g. methyl-2-pyrrolidone.

One of the FURANS with a carbonyl thereby forming a cyclic lactone. It is an endogenous compound made from gamma-aminobutyrate and is the precursor of gamma-hydroxybutyrate. It is also used as a pharmacological agent and solvent.

This compound belongs to the class of organic compounds known as gamma butyrolactone. These are compounds containing a gamma butyrolactone moiety, which consists of an aliphatic five-member ring with four carbon atoms, one oxygen atom, and bears a ketone group on the carbon adjacent to the oxygen atom.

gamma-Butyrolactone (also known as γ-butyrolactone and commonly as GBL) is a synthetic depressant substance of the GABAergic chemical class that produces powerful euphoric and disinhibiting effects similar to that of alcohol intoxication. In humans it acts as a prodrug for GHB, where 1ml is equivalent to 1.66 grams of GHB.

GBL is a common solvent and reagent in chemistry and is also used as a flavoring, stain remover, wheel cleaner, superglue remover, paint stripper, and as a solvent in some wet aluminum electrolytic capacitors. It has also been found in some wine products, which suggests it may be a naturally occurring substance (see section below).

gamma butyrolactone, along with 1,4-butanediol, are known to dissolve most types of plastic over time. For this reason, it is recommended to only transport and store the drug using a glass container, standard gelatin capsules (not vegetarian), or high-density polyethylene plastic (also known as #2 recyclable plastic). To check the type of plastic used on a bottle, one can look at the bottom for a number in the triangle shaped recycling label.

gamma butyrolactone has reportedly been used as date rape drug (as a legal alternative to GHB), in which it is secretly put dropwise into drinks but there is little evidence to support it being widespread, especially compared to alcohol due to its strong taste. GBL and GHB are also referred to as “K.-o.-Tropfen” (K.-o.-drops) in German-speaking countries. Care should be taken when offered drinks from strangers.

Synonyms of gamma butyrolactone
4-Hydroxybutyric acid lactone

CAS number: 96-48-0
Average 86.0892
Monoisotopic 86.036779436
Chemical Formula: C4H6O2

Disadvantages of gamma butyrolactone

Death may occur when GABAergic substances are combined with other depressants such as opiates, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, gabapentinoids, thienodiazepines or alcohol.

It is strongly discouraged to combine these substances, particularly in common to heavy doses.

Physical effects of gamma butyrolactone
Stimulation & Sedation – At lower dosages, gamma  is physically stimulating, encouraging movement and wakefulness. At higher dosages, however, it becomes physically sedating, encouraging sleep and lethargy.

Respiratory depression – In cases of  butyrolactone overdoses, many report experiencing an abnormal pattern of breathing characterized by progressively deeper and sometimes faster breathing, followed by a gradual decrease that results in a temporary stop in breathing called an apnea.

Muscle relaxation
Nausea – This effect is more common with gamma butyrolactone than GHB.
Stomach pain – This effect is more common with gamma butyrolactone than GHB due to its properties as a mucous membrane irritant. The most effective way to reduce this is to dilute it with a large meal or drink.
Stomach cramps
Motor control loss
Muscle cramps
Optical sliding
Increased salivation
Pupil dilation


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