GBL has been classified as a Class C drug by the Home Office in order to control the illegal and abusive use of GBL.
However the Home Office recognises the safe use of GBL in cosmetic products. The cosmetics industry worked with the Home Office during the proposal stages of the new legislation to ensure the objectives of the new drug classification were met, i.e. legitimate uses of GBL are not affected while legislating against the illegal use and supply of the substance. GBL may be legally and legitimately used in cosmetic products.
As part of a responsible cosmetics industry, manufacturers of products containing GBL have recognised that, even though it is highly unlikely that the level of the substance present in the products would cause a drug-like effect, there may be the potential for possible product abuse. Consequently, such products also contain high levels of the ingredient denatonium benzoate which is commonly used as an alcohol denaturant to make it unsuitable for ingestion. Denatonium benzoate has been added to products containing GBL to ensure the intensely bitter taste renders the product unconsumable.