A friend of mine told me about Phenibut, so I did some online research, and it sounded too good to be true. Phenibut combines tranquilizing effects, reduction of stress and anxiety, improvement of impaired sleep, and even anti-convulsant and anti-PTSD effects, while being legal in the U.S. and almost totally free from side effects. In short, it sounds a bit like completely legal high-CBD cannabis for medical purposes, although in powder form. Phenibut works because it’s a derivative of the neurotransmitter GABA that happens to pass through the blood-brain barrier. According to Wikipedia:
Phenibut is mandated standard equipment in a Russian cosmonaut’s medical kit. The use of “conventional” tranquilizers for stress and anxiety makes patients drowsy, which was deemed unacceptable for cosmonauts; phenibut, however, lowers stress levels without adversely affecting performance.
There’s just one little problem.
It’s addictive. Not just “psychologically addictive” the way some people talk about cannabis, sex, and the Internet, but physically addictive…less than heroin, but lots more than caffeine. The good news is that you can easily avoid this problem, so you should be intelligent enough to use Phenibut safely. If you know you can’t control yourself, or can’t do simple math (such as count the number of days you’ve been taking it or how many pills you’re taking), then please do yourself a favor and don’t get involved with this stuff.
OK, actually two problems. It shares with cannabis (and many other drugs) the problem of developing tolerance, but unlike most substances, tolerance can build quite rapidly, such as in the first week! Once again, this effect is rather dose-dependent, and I haven’t seen it yet myself, but then I’ve been following all my own rules.
So I strongly urge anyone potentially interested in the effects to read up on this stuff. Even if you’re a die-hard cannabis user, it’s good to know about it, specifically because nobody does drug tests for it! So, if you use cannabis regularly for anxiety, stress, PTSD, panic attacks. or possibly even depression, you could conceivably use Phenibut — if it works for you — during periods where you absolutely, positively, can’t (or shouldn’t) use cannabis for some reason.
How I Use Phenibut
Frankly, there are a lot of people out there that subscribe to the “if a little is good, a lot is better” theory, and they’re downing teaspoons even after being informed that (a) Phenibut is bitter as hell and (b) too much will hurt you. To me, both these facts make it obvious that capsules are the only way to go. And it just happens that a standard #00 capsule will hold 450 mg. of Phenibut when packed down, so that’s half a gram (with a 10% safety factor), easy to do the math.
The first time, I tried a single capsule and felt really nice, about [2.5] if it was cannabis (that’s just to give you a reference, but please read Rule #3). I had no particular stress at that time. It lasted about 4 to 5 hours. The second time, I had a family gathering I expected to be quite stressful, and I took two capsules. Nothing bothered me a bit, and I breezed through the afternoon as if I was on a nice indica…not really feeling high, just nice. If it was a full day of insanity, I could have taken the two in the morning and then one more in the middle of the afternoon to cover the whole day.
Anyone who’s read my myriad cannabis articles know that most problems with overdoses (greenouts and such…there are no fatal overdoses from cannabis) are caused by “too much, too fast”. It’s pretty much the same for Phenibut, although I’d modify that slightly to “too much, too often”.
- Don’t use more than 1.5 grams a day. Every single reference I could find talks about the possibility of toxic effects over this amount, yet every account I read on Erowid involved doses by the teaspoon, and starting off with 2 grams at a swallow!
- Don’t use it more than 5 days out of 7, or (even safer) 2 days out of 3. So if I have a couple of stressful days, I go right ahead, but then skip at least a day after that. Uninterrupted periods of use is what seems to trigger the addiction.
- FFS, don’t use this stuff to get high. Either use it for occasional medical, stress-relieving purposes, to avoid pharma drugs or cannabis used for anxiety, panic, or insomnia, or leave it the hell alone. Be responsible.
And that’s it. Fairly simple and straightforward, but the Internet is full of stories of people who got hooked, ended up with a 9 gram a day habit (or worse), or bad reactions. Don’t overdo it.
If you choose to investigate or use Phenibut seriously, I found a dedicated site that offers even more hints and tips. If you have Pubmed access, you can find scientific information here.
Where To Buy Phenibut
I found the cheapest available option for a reasonable amount for experimentation (100 grams) was to buy Phenibut as bulk powder from Amazon and put it into capsules myself (since I already had gelatin capsules and a capsule filling machine available from making Canna Caps). A bottle of ready-made Phenibut capsules costs around $16.