Should You Use Phenitbut?
What Is It? Is It Safe? Does It work?
If you’re researching nootrpics, you will inevitably come across phenibut at some point. This post will contain everything I know about phenibut. Hopefully it will give you everything you need to make an informed decision on whether or not you want to take it.
What is Phenibut?
Phenibut is an acid structurally similar to gamma-aminobutyric acid, also known as GABA. It therefore works in a very similar way to GABA, working on the same receptors, and eliciting the same response.
The only difference between the two, in fact, is that phenibut has an added phenyl ring in its structure. This allows it to easily cross the blood brain barrier. GABA cannot do this easily, so supplementing with phenibut rather than GABA is a much more efficient way of increasing the amount of GABA in the brain. This is quite counter-intuitive, but it’s true.
That is not to say that supplementing with GABA won’t work. It can and does work quite well. It just won’t be as effective, or should I say as intense, as the effect you get from taking phenibut.
What does Phenibut do?
Phenibut is a direct agonist of the GABA-b receptor in the brain. GABA-b receptors are inhibitory; they prevent neurotransmitter release. Essentially, agonising these receptors brings about a depressant effect. The GABA-b receptor is particularly inhibitory of skeletal muscle neurotransmission.
If that is a little dense for anyone, the upshot of it is: taking something that acts on the GABA-b receptors makes you feel a little numb in much the same way that alcohol does.
At higher dosages, phenibut works on the GABA-a receptors as well. These receptors are exactly those that alcohol and other barbiturates act on. That should give you a very good indication of the effects of taking this powerful supplement.
It induces a range of effects, from thick mental fog and physical numbness, to euphoria and a complete lack of inhibition. Indeed, the effects of phenibut are very similar to those of alcohol and other central nervous system depressants, but they can be much more unpredictable and far more intense.
Much like alcohol, phenibut makes people feel simultaneously sedated and alert. Yet, much like alcohol, the feeling of heightened awareness is often just that; a feeling. You think you are much more focused, but you are simply more animated.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone therefore that phenibut is often used recreationally in conjunction with alcohol. Taking two depressants simultaneously is incredibly dangerous in general, and that is no less true with regard to phenibut and alcohol. Yet it remains a relatively common practice.
The tranquilising effects of phenibut occur at both high and low dosages, although, obviously, the more you take, the greater the effect.
As far as nootropic effects are concerned, phenibut does have quite a bit to offer.
As stated above, it is a CNS depressant, but at very low dosages it can significantly reduce social anxiety and stress. Crucially, it can do this without the same intoxicating effects of alcohol.
This is why it is often used by people attending important meetings where they will need to speak in front of a large group of people. Phenibut can give users a confident, talkative demeanor just like alcohol, but without much of the yammering and slurred speech that comes with necking a few pints of Dutch courage.
However, note that I say can.
Phenibut can induce these benefits in users, but using it for business meetings, interviews and such is always a bad idea in my opinion. Its effects are far too unpredictable, and potentially disastrous if you are in a professional setting. If you think you can’t risk having a pint to calm your nerves before a presentation, then phenibut is far from a safer, more predictable option.
Imagine walking to the front of a room, notes in hand, turning to face your potential new clients, and before you know it you’ve started making jokes about how “corporate” everyone looks.
“Have you been drinking?” someone might ask.
“No, I’ve taken some phenibut. It’s a derivative of GABA; an acid that depresses the central nervous system.”
Good bye employment.
Phenibut does also make people feel much more alert than usual. At higher dosages, this effect can be quite pronounced. However, I have often thought that this effect was more a result of the intense calmness one feels when on this nootropic, and less to do with its actual properties.
What are the dangers of taking Phenibut?
As with any powerful drug, taking phenibut comes with a degree of risk.
One of the main dangers of phenibut use is the risk of overdose. Users develop a tolerance to phenibut incredibly quickly. You need to take more of the stuff almost every time you use it in order to get the same effect. This makes it incredibly easy to overdose if you don’t know what you’re doing.
For this reason, most people recommend only taking phenibut occasionally, with substantial cessation periods in between. It is not suitable for regular use.
The consequences of taking too much phenibut range from hypertension and delirium to coma, and ultimately death.
Another significant side effect of phenibut is the hangover. I can’t state this clearly enough: the phenibut “hangover” is horrendous. Although taking it as a one off and in a very small amount probably won’t give you a “hangover”, users who take phenibut regularly invariably exprience some pretty nasty withdrawal or comedown symptoms.
As the phenibut leaves your system, your GABA receptors are shot. You would have experienced almost no anxiety while the phenibut was active in your system, but once it slackens off, you could feel incredibly anxious. Panic attacks and feeling generally depressed are common.
Some other side effects regularly reported by phenibut users include:
These are some pretty serious side effects. While their occurrence is rare when using phenibut irregularly and at very low doses, they still occur, and for you they may be pronounced.
In my experience, these side effects are palpable even at low doses and when using phenibut as a one-off. They are just not perceptible if you don’t look for them.
Should I take Phenibut?
Phenibut is a very powerful nootropic drug. It makes users feel intensely calm, often sedated. In some cases it makes people feel much more alert. Regular users take it for its ability to heighten their performance, be it professional, social, or sexual.
However, for people looking for a way to increase their brain power in a safe, reliable, and effective manner, I cannot recommend the use of phenibut, even irregularly.
It cannot be taken long-term, and its “hangover” is both unpleasant and unhealthy. It does not improve your brain power for more than a few hours, and it does not enhance memory or cognition in a lasting way. The benefits wear off, leaving the brain in a worse condition than when you began taking the drug.
A better way to enhance memory and boost brain power is by taking a safe, natural, side effect-free nootropic supplement. Users interested in improving their brain function for the long-term and not just for a few hours should find a supplement that they can take on a regular basis.
Ideally, users should look for a supplement that encourages long term potentiation, where the brain becomes “stronger”. That way, when you stop taking said supplement, the benefits stay with you.