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GHB
Legal Status
by Erowid
U.S. FEDERAL LAW #
Caution :   All legal information should be verified through other sources. [see below]
U.S. FEDERAL LEGAL SUMMARY
GHB
REGULATED
Yes
STATUS
Scheduled
SCHEDULE
Schedule I
CLASSIFICATION
Depressant
SCH. DATE
Mar 2000
U.S. FEDERAL LEGAL SUMMARY
Xyrem
REGULATED
Yes
STATUS
Scheduled
SCHEDULE
Schedule III
CLASSIFICATION
Depressant
SCH. DATE
Mar 2000
GHB is Schedule I in the United States, except when in the form of the prescription drug Xyrem. This means it is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, or distribute (sell, trade or give) without a DEA license.

In another bizarre twist of U.S. Drug Law, an exception has been made for one GHB product which has been placed in Schedule III. Despite the fact that Schedule I substances are defined as having no accepted medical use, a New Drug Application was accepted by the FDA for Orphan Pharmaceuticals' (acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals in mid-2005) GHB-containing product named Xyrem. It has been approved for use in the treatment of certain types of narcolepsy and sleep disorders. See Orphan's Press Release on the scheduling. Cannabis was also given this contradictory scheduling in the mid 1990's when Marinol was made Schedule III and approved for sale.

GBL (gamma butyrlactone) has become a List I Chemical federally and is scheduled in some states (California, Hawaii, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon). For information about the legal status of 1,4-butanediol, see the 1,4b Law Vault."

  • 2002 - The DEA engaged in a very active campaign to reduce GBL, GHB, and 1,4-butanediol sales over the internet, calling their project Operation Webslinger. In late 2002, the DEA arrested a large number of people for buying and selling GBL over the internet.

  • 2000 - Since its federal scheduling, the grey market sales of GHB on the net and elsewhere have dropped considerably, but have certainly not disappeared. Since most of the GHB available through such channels is of the "bootleg" variety, manufactured by non-professional "kitchen" chemists, concerns about quality and purity should be kept in mind.

  • 1996 - Beginning in the fall of 1996, GHB started receiving a lot of negative press. This led to fairly rapid changes in its legal status in many U.S. states and eventually led to federal scheduling in March 2000.

ARRESTS :
Text of the FDA reports on 2 cases of mislabelling (pre-scheduling).

INTERNATIONAL LAW #
The UN, UN CND, and WHO are considering moving GHB into Schedule II from Schedule IV and further controlling 1,4b and GBL. See http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-02-08/pdf/2013-02859.pdf. "[T]he Director-General of the WHO [...] is of the opinion that Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) should be transferred from Schedule IV to Schedule II of the 1971 Convention."

Australia #
Brazil #
GHB is controlled and is only legally allowed for medical use. (thanks P)
Canada #
GHB was added to Schedule I in 2012 (see http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Docid=5124131&file=4). after having been made Schedule III in Canada April 1, 1998. Gamma butyrlactone is a Category I chemical in Canada, meaning it can only be sold to account customers or cash sale customers who produce suitable identification. (thanks pgg) (last updated Sep 25 2012)
E.U. #
The U.N. Narcotics Commission added GHB to Schedule IV in March 2001
Finland #
GHB is a scheduled substance in Finland, making it illegal to possess without a license or prescription [reference]. It has been approved for medicinal use [reference]. (thanks OV & EH)
Germany #
GHB Controlled as of March 1, 2002. Added to Anlage III (Schedule III), meaning it can be prescribed by doctors. (BGBl. I S. 358 - 1180)
Israel #
In Oct 2003, Israeli Knesset (parliament) voted to add GHB to the list of "dangerous drugs", "making its sale and use illegal" (JPost, Oct 31 2006). In Oct 2006, its Committee on Drug Abuse recommended that the Health Ministry implement a system to track GHB.
Japan #
As of Nov 25, 2001, GHB has been illegal to possess without a license in Japan. Some vendors have replaced GHB products with 1,4B and colored the liquid blue. (from KO)
Netherlands #
GHB is considered a 'soft drug', meaning it is banned but possession is punished by light sentences. GBL is sold as paintstripper and not directly controlled. (thanks O)
New Zealand #
GHB is Schedule II / Class B in New Zealand.
Norway #
GHB is illegal to buy or possess without a special license. See Norway Law. (thanks Y)
Phillipines #
It is unclear to us what the status of GHB is in the Phillipines, because the law we have seen seems to confusing include "gamma hydroxyamphetamine (GHB)" in the penalty list and then "60. VINYLBITAL GHB (Gamma-Hydroxyburic acid)" is included in Schedule IV. Phillipine Laws & Statutes - Chan Robles Virtual Law Library.
South Africa #
Illegal to possess & sell. November, 2000 GHB was added to Schedule 8, the same Schedule as heroin.
Sweden #
Switzerland #
GHB Controlled as of Jan 1 2002. (no reference)
Thailand #
We have been told that GHB became illegal in Thailand in early 2005 and that possession carries a 5-20 year sentence and 400,000 bht fine. This according to a Bangkok Post article from Feb 1, 2005 which we have been unable to access. (thanks S)
U.K. #
GHB was placed in Schedule C in the U.K. on June 27, 2003. For more information, see U.K. Home Office. As of December 2007, GBL, which is converted by the body into GHB, is not legally controlled. It is reportedly being sold as GHB for recreational use (see BBC Article).
In some European countries, GHB is an approved drug available by prescription. Local doctors, pharmacists and government bureaucrats should be able to provide country-by-country specifics.

If you have information about the legal status of this substance in any other country, please let us know.

CAUTION & DISCLAIMER #
Erowid legal information is a summary of data gathered from site visitors, government documents, websites, and other resources. We are not lawyers and can not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided here. We do our best to keep this information correct and up-to-date, but laws are complex and constantly changing. Laws may also vary from one jurisdiction to another (county, state, country, etc)...this list is not comprehensive.