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Whats with this alternate synthesis of GHB from a GBL precursor (4-halogenbutyricacid)?
Q: Your GHB Synthesis FAQ v.1.5 tells of butyric acid's being chlorinated by sulfuryl chloride to 4-chlorobutyric acid,(a precurser to lactone). But there's got to be another chlorinating agent that is easier to come by and cheaper.
What would you use?

A: We have been getting numerous questions about the alternate synthesis for GHB by making GBL from 4-halogen(chlorine or bromine)butyric acid. Mainly people have been asking for easier chlorinating agents than the one outlined in the FAQ. This truly surprises me, for the next step of the reaction uses sodium metal. This is a highly reactive metal that will ignite in the presence of water. I would be impressed if one could get sodium metal but could not get a chlorinating agent.

The reaction you're talking about requires advanced chemistry skills and professional equipment and is not for kitchen chemists.

I'm not trying to be facetious, I am trying to make a point. The contemporary synthesis of GHB is very easy. It is quite hard to screw it up. It is an aqueous, one step, organic reaction with (relatively) harmless precursors and only one possible product. As long as the pH is within a reasonable range at the end and you are careful with the starting materials (particularly the base), there is little chance youll end up with a product more toxic than GHB/GBL or risk harming yourself in the process. Sure, you may have an excess of lactone or salt in the end, but within the dosage ranges that one has carefully calculated, these are not much more toxic than the GHB itself. One could also get a serious burn or other cooking injury. The biggest risk is in using the resultant GHB material and miscalculating the dosage or being stupid as to how or how much you ingest it.

I understand the pressures from recent legislation that is making GBL quite difficult to obtain. However, this should not be a reason for people to take organic syntheses lightly. The alternate syntheses for GBL and thus GHB outlined in the FAQ are meant for people with an understanding of organic chemistry. Not just a light understanding, but experience dealing with organic reactions and the facilities to carry them out properly. I have a fairly good understanding of organic chemistry, and I would not do this reaction without a fume hood, proper glassware, protective equipment, anhyrdrous solvents and conditions, and pure starting materials. Even then I would be extremely cautious dealing with such things as toxic gasses, powerful halogenating agents, and water- and air-sensitive self-igniting metals.

I am a champion of the information age, and believe that sites such as Erowids are blessings. Harm reduction can only occur with proper knowledge, training, and understanding. I personally feel that providing information on these syntheses would encourage unprepared people to attempt them, and I feel that this would create more harm. If you wish to proceed in such ventures, I highly reccomend taking at least a college level organic chemistry course, with lab work, and preferably get at least a year or two more work in organic chemistry so that you not only understand the reactions and can devise or look up your own syntheses, but that you understand the practical nature of working with chemicals.



Asked By : hippydude
Answered By : psilo
Published Date : 8 / 21 / 2001
Last Edited Date : 8 / 21 / 2001
Question ID : 2805

Categories: [ Chemistry ] [ GHB ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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