Gabapentin: Getting a Non-Toxic High
Picture this: You’ve been crushing work all day, you get home and just collapse on the couch, ready to relax for days.
If you’re like me, this is a daily routine. And, yet, with so many obligations and responsibilities in life, I find it harder to truly relax anymore. Maybe you’ve been stressed about work-related matters and you need to unwind.
Some people like drinking tea to calm their minds while others prefer to drink milk or even wine. But others need something a bit stronger.
Lately, recreational use of Gabapentin is becoming more and more popular. If you are not familiar with Gabapentin—but curious about it—read on.
What is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin is a pharmaceutical drug approved in 1993 as a treatment for epilepsy. It was also found to be effective when used with other anticonvulsants.
It was approved in 2004 for treating neuropathic pain, pain that comes from problems with how signals are channeled from the nerves. It has been shown to be more effective in this area than traditional painkillers.
Gabapentin is structurally similar to GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), however it doesn’t bind to GABA receptors. Gabapentin is thought to be helpful in treating neuropathic pain due to its ability to bind to the a-2-delta subset of voltage-dependent calcium channels.
Although double-blind studies have been conducted, Gabapentin has not been proven to act as a mood stabilizer. Despite this fact, Gabapentin is regularly implemented in the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Additionally, Gabapentin has been approved in the US to treat seizures. It is considered to be an anti-epileptic medication that is embraced by the Epilepsy Foundation.
Because of its anticonvulsant and analgesic properties, Gabapentin is used to improve recovery by reducing post-operative nausea and easing post-surgery pains.
Are you familiar with GABA?
GABA is a neurotransmitter in our central nervous system. Inhibitory in nature, it slows down activities in our brain and CNS (central nervous system), acting as a natural tranquilizer. Hence, the calming effect that Gabapentin can have on even casual users.
Gabapentin works via modulation of GABA synthesis.
Some studies suggest that Gabapentin is an anxiolytic (antianxiety agent) that works well because of the GABA effects.
One report even suggests that Gabapentin behaves like Valium. These factors, plus the fact that drug users are commonly attracted to substances that inhibit activities of the central nervous system, may be why Gabapentin has become a target for recreational use and abuse.
Why is Gabapentin Becoming More Popular?
Gabapentin has become a popular recreational drug over the past few years. It has already been on the market for more than 20 years now. While some take it as prescribed, many have also experimented with its dosage.
While it doesn’t have the exact effect that Valium does, Gabapentin has been used recreationally because of its subtle analgesic effects.
The rise in recreational use may seem bizarre because it is not grouped with typical substances of abuse. But its potential for abuse, tolerance and addiction are higher than most would expect and, certainly, more than has been acknowledged by the medical community.
Recreational users often take handfuls of Gabapentin at a time in order to achieve a drunken effect. When taken in excess of recommended dosage, Gabapentin leads to a loss of motor skills and can cause dizziness and sedation.
In a study of urine samples from 323 patients being treated at addiction treatment centers, 70 patients were found to be taking Gabapentin without a prescription.
It is easy to see why Gabapentin has been targeted for recreational use. Here are some of the other reasons for Gabapentin’s popularity: It’s dirt cheap.
For about 120 pills, you won’t have to pay more than $20 (less than 60 cents per pill on average). Many recreational drug users can easily afford this. Even if they get marked up, the cost will not be too high because Gabapentin is readily accessible and available.
It is easy to obtain. It is available via prescription. Plus, you can refill prescriptions electronically even without a doctor. This is another reason why it is different from those drugs which are subject to strict regulation.
It has minimal side effects. Gabapentin is not associated with lots of unwanted side effects. It has common side effects like drowsiness, dizziness and lack of coordination. However, what makes it appealing is that the side effects do not include teeth grinding or restlessness.[Caveat: Mixing Gabapentin with alcohol can result in extreme agitation and violent tendencies. Speaking from personal experience, mixing just one low milligram Gabapentin capsule with more than two 12-oz. beers can lead to irrational anger and physical violence.]
It is not a “controlled substance.” It is not classified unlike similar drugs. Gabapentin is not documented as a drug that has significant potential for abuse. This makes it legal to take via prescription. Consequently, it is easier to get a physician to write a prescription for it compared to drugs like Oxycodone and Percocet.
It helps with drug withdrawal. Even those who are undergoing withdrawal from alcohol and other drugs can get prescriptions for Gabapentin.
For example, it is already common for someone going through opiate withdrawal to take Gabapentin because it helps in reducing the severity of symptoms. Dosage is important when kicking opiates; a proper dose of Gabapentin for this purpose is 1600 mg/d.
In some cases, those addicted to opioids turn to Gabapentin as an alternative drug if they want to achieve a “safer high.”
The “high” can be soothing. A number of users claim that the drug calms them down, boosts their moods and makes them more sociable. This might not appeal to everyone, but some enjoy the intoxication.
It is said that the “high” from Gabapentin is relaxing and this makes sense because it acts similarly to other benzodiazepines—drugs that are used primarily to treat anxiety.
It has a slow onset. It takes about an hour for the drug to kick in which will then last for several hours.
As it fades, users will often take another dose to maintain the “high.” The rate of the onset of its effects differs from person to person. And, although there is an average range, the onset is relatively slow.
Using Gabapentin Recreationally
Since Gabapentin can be prescribed for various conditions, many people can get prescriptions easily. Some will use it recreationally without following proper medical instructions. Some also locate those with prescriptions to buy, thus being unauthorized users.
Publications suggest that the majority of recreational users ingest as much as 900 mg to 5000 mg orally at a time. Some even say that there is no intoxicating effect for doses lower than 600 mg.
Those with high tolerance may take doses exceeding 3000 mg to experience the “high” but medical experts do not recommend this. Other modes include snorting and intravenous injection which can be problematic and may put the user at risk due to overdose.
Gabapentin has a slow onset before the effects are experienced, taking about an hour before any changes are noticed. When the “high” hits, you will experience physical sensations of relaxation. Some suggest that this relaxing wave starts subtly and gradually builds in intensity.
One user experience on Erowid suggests that doses in excess of 3000 milligrams make it hard to stand up and results in a lack of desire to move.
Recreational users attempt to maintain the “high” by taking additional smaller doses. They usually have a large supply at the ready which can be enough to keep them intoxicated for a whole day.
After the high comes the “crash” the following day which could last for a week. The withdrawal may be characterized by unpleasant symptoms such as feelings of anger, agitation, restlessness or anxiety.
In one study, it was observed that the withdrawal was similar to that of benzodiazepines: agitation, anxiety, and confusion among others. Sometimes, this can lead to a user searching for more Gabapentin in order to avoid this “crash” again.’
In 2007, it was reported that a 67-year old woman with depression and alcoholism used Gabapentin as a recreational drug. She increased her dose to 7.2 grams per day. By lying to pharmacists, she was able to get extra Gabapentin. Finally, when she could no longer get more, she developed withdrawal symptoms such as trembling, sweating, and exophthalmia (eyeball protrusion).
The Risks of Taking Gabapentin
Gabapentin is significantly less risky as a recreational drug than other addictive drugs. However, dangers may still occur when not used as advised by a medical professional.
Reactions such as vomiting, fainting and even comas are associated with Gabapentin abuse. When taken under medical supervision, these can be avoided.
Some have developed a habit of using Gabapentin frequently. Though it may not necessarily lead to physiological dependence, many users may display psychological dependence—the need to take more to maintain a relaxed mood.
Overdosing on Gabapentin is not likely, but it can still happen, especially to first-time recreational users. Even though the drug’s bioavailability decreases as higher doses are taken, it may not be a good idea to go overboard for new users.
Likewise, mixing substances with Gabapentin without medical permission is dangerous. It is best to take Gabapentin according to your doctor’s orders.
Tolerance to Gabapentin does occur over time. The more frequent and higher your dosage, it is more likely that you will develop tolerance.
Recreational users of Gabapentin who use it daily may not be ready for the discontinuation symptoms. Discontinuation, especially from sustained high doses, may include sweating, anxiety, dizziness or depression. Withdrawal symptoms may last long, making it difficult to function mentally or physically without the drug.
As one Reddit user said, “Gabapentin withdrawal is no joke.” In his post, this user relates an awful experience from Gabapentin discontinuation, reporting, “5 days of sweating out of my face, being anxious, exhausted and having bad aches and pains.”
Withdrawal from Gabapentin can cause a dramatic uptake in glutamate levels which can lead to excitotoxicity. Users on Longecity’s forums have recommended that those detoxing from Gabapentin take Creatine to instantly stabilize their glutamate levels.
As helpful as it may be, it is important to remember that drugs must be taken in moderation and with the advice of professionals.
Educating one’s self about the drug as well as listening to an expert will be a big help as you strive to attain a calm, relaxing experience.
- Xanax High: Why Has Recreational Use Taken Off?
- Can You Get High on Lexapro?
- Can You Get High on Kava Kava?
- Can You Get High on Lyrica?
- Methylphenidate: Getting a Super Productive High
- Does Wellbutrin Have Recreational Value?
- Mirtazapine: Is it Worth Chasing the High?
- Chasing a Cyclobenzaprine High
- Can You Really “Get High” by Taking Ritalin?
- Neurontin: A Wild and Enjoyable Recreational High
- Is it Possible to Get High on Zoloft?
- Paroxetine High? Not Likely
- Complete List of OTC (and Prescription) Drugs To Get High
- Phenibut High: Is It Worth It or Not?
- Does Modafinil (Provigil) Make You Feel High?
- Does Valerian Root Actually Make You Feel High?
- Gabapentin: Getting a Non-Toxic High