Soviet scientists were hard at work trying to turn their soldiers and cosmonauts into superior humans. The fruits of their labors are seen in synthetic nootropic drugs, such as phenibut, which were created in the 1960s for increasing cognitive potential [1].

Phenibut is the brainchild of Soviet scientists and is an analog of the neurotransmitter GABA [2]. It is structurally similar to GABA, which offers advantages for relaxation, treating depression, PTSD, and a host of others [3]. The drug is so effective for these ailments because phenibut crosses the blood-brain barrier so easily compared to the GABA molecule on its own [4].

The primary benefit of phenibut is as an anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) compound [5] and there are many people who use this for increased mood (euphoria even) [6]. Despite the decades of research, it is still not as well known as piracetam and other drugs developed at the same time. Also, phenibut side effects are usually more pronounced and harmful than some of the other nootropic compounds.

Also Known As

Fenibut, Fenigam, Phenigam, Phenybut, Phenygam, Phenylgamma, PHG, PhGABA

Editors’ Thoughts on Phenibut

Personally, I’ve never tried phenibut as I have never felt the need. My brain is usually quite relaxed and anxiety free (in relative terms) so I’ve never felt the need to use phenibut. That being said, from what I’ve seen it is extremely effective and people either love or hate it as a “cruel mistress”.

I imagine phenibut isn’t necessary “bad”, but it is an effective tool that can easily be abused due to addiction and withdrawal issues. Most of what I have heard is related to these topics, but people seem to LOVE it when they are taking it. If you take a look at some of the Selected Community Experiences below, you’ll find quite a lot of talk that is positive on phenibut.

I do still find it interesting that the Reddit moderators found it necessary to only mention phenibut in a warning and other info sites (like Examine) don’t include it at all.

Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor


Benefits of Phenibut

The benefits of phenibut are researched, but not as thoroughly as some of the other nootropic drugs. Phenibut is said to have strong anxiolytic effects and even elicits effects that are tranquilizing in some way [7]. In the Pavlovian Journal of Biological Sciences, the conclusion was that phenibut had a strong effect for reducing stress and feelings of anxiety. Furthermore, the drug could improve the sleep quality of users [8].

Many of these phenibut benefits come from an increase of dopamine in regions of the brain (such as the striatum), which have many of these downstream effects [9]. Many people who buy phenibut realize that it is a way to relieve stress from the day, unwind, and in many cases get a higher mental performance once the tranquilizing effects have removed this tension.

How Does Phenibut Work?

Phenibut is a synthetic derivative of GABA and this chemical structure changes how it interacts with other chemicals in the brain. The scientific phrase for the question “how does phenibut work” is called the “mechanism of action”. The mechanism of action for phenibut is as an agonist of certain GABA receptors within the brain [10].

As mentioned above, some of the effects on euphoria and mood are related to a brain chemical called dopamine, which is released in higher quantities within the striatum and can (anecdotally) improve how people feel while using the drug.

Side Effects of Phenibut

The side effects of phenibut are definitely more pronounced than some of the other experimental chemicals on the marketplace. The phenibut side effect of withdrawal is considered the most insidious even though there are steps you can take in order to avoid this.

Most people who experience withdrawals have symptoms of severe anxiety and nervousness in addition to fatigue, vomiting, and loss of appetite. In some cases the symptoms can even include hallucinations. Depending on how long you have been taking the drug, the side effects of phenibut can last as long as two weeks [11].

If you are currently taking phenibut, the side effects while using the drug are sleepiness and sometimes hangover effects (such as headache and depression) once the drug has started to wear off.

Phenibut Dosage Recommendations

The phenibut dosage recommendations vary widely depending on your needs. Given the risk associated with phenibut and withdrawal symptoms that can accompany supplementation, it is probably a good idea to only take 250 – 500 mg per day in two doses. Dose ranges can go up to 1500 mg twice a day, but this is a heavier dose to start with.

Starting off with a small phenibut dosage can make sure you are not negatively impacted by the withdrawal symptoms. More importantly, phenibut is a drug that you can develop a tolerance to so the smaller the dose, the less quickly you’ll have this problem.

How and Where to Buy Phenibut

Phenibut is not a regulated compound, which means it is probably not available all that much through your local grocery store or shop. If you want to find phenibut for sale, you are going to have to look on the internet. Online there are plenty of places where you can buy phenibut, but obviously you want to choose one that has the best safety profile and your long-term health in mind.

One thing that comes to mind is to buy phenibut online that only has some type of third party verification and certificate of analysis. Even though this is not always necessary, if you find a vendor who has some third party testing (such as on piracetam and other racetams), then at least you have an idea of the supplier’s intentions.

Phenibut also does not have a great flavor so spending money on phenibut powder might not be in your best interest. There are a few vendors that sell phenibut capsules in doses that are in the 250 mg range. When comparing whether you want to buy phenibut powder vs capsules, just keep in mind the flavor and decide what is most important to you.

As a last note, it seems there is a variation called F-Phenibut (Fluorophenibut), which is anecdotally on the market as of early 2016. Some people are already comparing F-Phenibut vs. phenibut, but it is worthwhile to consider the effects before using an even more experimental research chemical.

Selected Community Experiences

I feel immense daily pressure of life and this causes me to have bad headaches and just feel bad. All of this goes away with Phenibut though. With Phenibut I feel like I have a reason to live. It allows me to just enjoy the moment, something I can only seem to do when I have it in my system.” [12] – justint420

Usually on the days I'm going to use phenibut, I'll wake up, drink a cup of light roast coffee. Right afterward I'll mix the phenibut into a drink (I usually mix it in some soda so it tastes good, but it really doesn't matter) and down that. I won't eat for around 2 hours and the effects are always dramatic. If I eat +/- 1-2 hours from taking phenibut, I literally will not feel anything.” [13] – Ballaticianaire

References (Click to Expand)
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  6. David W. Group (25 February 2015). Encyclopedia of Mind Enhancing Foods, Drugs and Nutritional Substances, 2d ed. McFarland. pp. 186
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  10. GABAb Receptor Pharmacology: A Tribute to Norman Bowery: A Tribute to Norman Bowery. Academic Press. 21 September 2010. pp. 25
  11. David W. Group (25 February 2015). Encyclopedia of Mind Enhancing Foods, Drugs and Nutritional Substances, 2d ed. McFarland. pp. 186
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Nootropedia is meant to be a resource for individuals researching drugs and supplements that are good for brain health, otherwise known as nootropics, and thus we are the Nootropics Encyclopedia. Because of our in-depth coverage of this topic, our community has requested that we cover other brain health topics and "lifehacks" so that has become the focus of Nootropedia.