Phenibut is an anxiety-reducing, mood-boosting drug often sold alongside popular nootropic supplements. It is used to treat social anxiety, insomnia, and stress, among others. The drug is not illegal and can be bought online from any country in the world. It isn’t approved or regulated by government health agencies (FDA) and is still considered a grey-market product.
The human body gets messages from the Central Nervous System through neurotransmitters. Phenibut mimics the actions of the GABA neurotransmitter and attaches to GABA type b receptors. GABA and GABA-mimicking drugs attach to receptors allowing the body to relax, find relief from pain, and feel sleepy. GABA and GABA drugs help to balance the brain and fight excessive amounts of stimulation in the brain and body.
History of Phenibut
Phenyl-y-aminobutyric acid or Phenibut is a synthetic version of the natural compound gamma-Aminobutyric acid or GABA. Its invention was by a Russian team of scientists led by Professor Perkekalin in Leningrad in the 1960s. Their objective was to synthesize a drug for Russian cosmonauts to lower their stress levels. At that time, the available tranquillisers were too strong for the astronauts who needed to stay alert and calm while in space.
It was labeled a smart drug because can target GABA neurotransmitters, raise GABA levels, and cross the blood-brain barrier – something GABA itself is unable to do. Phenibut stacked with other smart drugs during times of anxiety and stress has proven beneficial for users. Stress has many negative effects on cognitive functioning, therefore, have a supplement to balance this is not always a bad idea.
It can be bought in two forms; as FAA (free amino acid) and as HCL (hydrochloride) versions.
What is FAA? It refers to the free amino acid form; the purer form of Phenibut. Technically, it contains 20% more molecules than Phenibut HCL. It is also more fast-acting and efficient with a less bad taste and acidity. Once it is ingested and finds its way to the stomach, it converts to Phenibut HCL. The downside of the FAA version is that it is more expensive and harder to source than HCL.
What is HCL? Phenibut with hydrochloride salt (HCL) has a positive and negative electrical charge. It is very acidic but stable and easy to dissolve. It is best taken on an empty stomach because it needs acid to be absorbed into the system. Most of the drug sold today is Phenibut HCL. Taken orally, it has a metallic taste that is slightly sour and unpleasant.
Aside from providing temporary relief from social anxiety and stress, the drug has uses on post-op patients and persons who have problems with stuttering, balance, dizziness, vertigo, and other vestibular conditions.
Insomnia, mood swings, generalized anxiety and specific phobias are other conditions that improve with this drug. Its formula can also lower inhibitions without necessarily affecting a person’s judgment or logic. Errors in judgment while on the drug can occur because a person will suddenly feel empowered and bold enough to instigate social contact and interaction – similar to alcohol.
- Mild euphoria
- Reduced anxiety
- Enhanced confidence and self-perception
- Increased mood
- Increased sexual drive
Since Phenibut is not regulated, the dosage can vary although manufacturers have set recommended standards which should be followed especially by those who are taking it for the first time.
To enjoy the full benefits of Phenibut, men should take anywhere from 0.5 to 1.5 grams per dose while women should start at 0.5 to 1 grams and should not exceed 1.2 grams a day. It is not advised for anyone, male or female, to take this drug more than twice a week due to fast tolerance and addiction potential.
The average time to feel the drugs effects lies anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. Noticeable effects can last for up to 7 hours although this can extend to the following day depending on how your body responds to the supplement. The drug can cause negative residual effects such as dizziness and nausea which is known as a Phenibut hangover. “Hangovers” from the drug are a result of dosing too much at one time.
Issues Related to Phenibut
Tolerance is probably the most pressing urgent matter you may encounter with regular intake of this drug. Tolerance refers to not feeling the effects of the recommended dosage resulting in a need to increase the amount taken and frequency. People who develop a tolerance and addiction often complain of increased anxiety and disrupted sleep while off the drug.
The only way to avoid tolerance to the drug is limiting its use. It is important to understand that this is a temporary solution. It is imperative to find a more stable treatment even if you adopt a cyclical stacking schedule.
Stacking with prescription drugs or street drugs is dangerous and can be fatal. Those on treatment for bipolar conditions, depression, epilepsy, or similar medical issues should not take this drug. Nor should it be taken with alcohol as it increases the intoxication effects of the alcohol.
Other potential issues include:
- Muscle cramps and pain
- Increased blood pressure
- Pain or difficulty urinating
- Unusually heavy perspiration
- Lack of inhibition
- Acid reflux
Addictive Potential & Abuse Risks
There have been several documented cases of unconsciousness from overdosing. Most of these reports were when mixing with other drugs. Losing consciousness is temporary but can be frightening to an individual. 99% of reported Phenibut overdoses were a result of mixing with other substances.
Addiction treatment to this drug is usually manageable, but there are the usual withdrawal symptoms which may require professional help. Tolerance and addictive potential to this drug is a very high risk for some people. Consecutive daily use over one week or less can build tolerance. For this reason, this drug is best to avoid if you have struggled with addiction in the past.
Once addicted to this drug; your brain produced and an excessive amount of the glutamate neurotransmitter. Thus, if you decide to stop cold turkey, the excess glutamate can result in depression, greater anxiety, insomnia, brain neuron death (excitotoxicity) and even seizures. For this reason, tapering from the drug is usually the best course of action rather than abrupt cessation.
Phenibut may temporarily help address certain issues difficult to treat like anxiety and mood swings, among others but the risks may far outweigh the benefits for some people. At best, experts advise using it with extreme caution, and only as needed in the right dosages.