Phenibut's INSANE Benefits (and Brutally Awful Side Effects)
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Phenibut’s INSANE Benefits (and Brutally Awful Side Effects)

Phenibut is commonly used as a nootropic, an anti-anxiety medication, and sleep aid. Everyone’s always asking me how much they should take.

Here’s my answer…

Everyone’s phenibut experience is unique, but in general, men should take about 2 – 2.5 grams and women 1 – 1.2 grams of Phenibut in a day (source).

Yet even if you take the proper dose, the phenibut hangover can rear its ugly head the following day.

Positive Effects: The Benefits of Using Phenibut

First time users often pose the question, “what does phenibut feel like?”

Before I dive in, it should be noted that I only take pure phenibut crystals, which I buy here.

Sensations on Phenibut – How Does it Feel?

The effects of phenibut simultaneously combine mild-to-moderate sedation with mild-to-moderate stimulation, allowing one to feel physically relaxed and mentally focused at the same time.

This increases sociability, lowering stress and inhibition levels, without impairing judgment.

While some people have compared the primary effects of phenibut to that of a light dose of GHB or MDMA, it’s really just an effective anti-anxiety, antidepressant medication, with few side-effects and remarkable health benefits.

Phenibut gives some users the sensation of mild euphoria, tantamount to a mild “high”. As such, it can be abused if not used correct. Yet, the euphoric phenibut high is not intense, and taking more of it doesn’t intensify the high.

After consuming a dose of phenibut–usually between 250 milligrams and 1000 milligrams—-how long it takes to feel the effects varies considerably from person to person.

Personally, I’ve found that phenibut works most consistently when taken on an empty stomach, and I feel it’s effects in around 15 or 20 minutes.

However, it takes longer for most people to feel the effects.

People generally report that the effects start to kick in around 1 or 2 hours after oral ingestion, and then the primary effects usually last for around 4 or 5 hours, although pleasant lingering effects can last for another 24 hours.

While you won’t ever truly know until you’ve tasted the pudding, the following descriptions come pretty close:

  • The best description of a good Phenibut experience is “extreme calmness”
  • A moderate to drastic reduction in anxiety – general and social
  • A moderate to drastic increase in pro social behavior and the desire to be social
  • A moderate to pronounced “sense of well-being”
  • A slight to moderate euphoria; high levels of euphoria can be achieved sometimes
  • Music sounds amazing, somewhat like MDMA

The list goes on…

  • Slight to drastic increase in alertness, this is also due to stimulants
  • Moderate increase in cognitive processes (you think faster)
  • Dilated pupils from taking 3000mg+ in a 24/hr period
  • Slightly improved memory retention
  • Increased sexual performance (low doses)
  • Unlike benzodiazepines, Phenibut enhances instead of killing your motivation

The Dark Side of Phenibut: Negative Side Effects

1. Build-up and Tolerance

Building up tolerance against phenibut or one of its many effects is quite common, but this build up does not correlate with increases or decrease in phenibut’s nootropic effects.

In other words, more is not necessarily better; re-dosing will only worsen the hangover and provide little to no cognitive benefit.

The first signs of tolerance may be seen within as little as five days. For this reason, it is commonly used for one to two week periods, or dosage is increased by 25-30% after two weeks.

This makes phenibut ideal for short periods of stress or anxiety, but not ideal for chronic use. It is possible that taking only one dose daily may partially reduce the development of tolerance.

Consider this case – an individual taking phenibut in order to get rid of insomnia might see momentary relief of the surface layer symptoms, then after a week of using the product the same problem would occur again.

An ideal time course for phenibut should be no more than a few months.

Taking phenibut for longer periods of time, even as prescribed, increases the resistance to withdrawal. Inevitably the crash will come though, and it can be brutal.

Phenibut is not meant to help you in long term and so it cannot be used as a replacement for making the necessary lifestyle changes that would alleviate social anxiety.

Make use of other anxiolytics whenever possible. I recommend the following herbs:

  • L-theanine, which is in most green teas.
  • Ashwaganda
  • Kava Kava
  • Lemon Balm
  • Valerian Root

Of those five, theanine and Ashwaganda seem to work the best. I always keep them on hand if I plan to use phenibut.

2. Additional Side Effects and Negative Consequences of Phenibut

If you’re taking epilepsy medications like carbamazepine (a prescription anti-depressant for bipolar disorder), oxcarbazepine (a mood stabilizer), or other MAO inhibitors, adding phenibut can be lethal.

This drowsy effect can be very potent in cases of overdose.

Although having anti-anxiety properties, Phenibut is generally not recommended for long term treatment of General Anxiety Disorder. One of the side effects of Phenibut is a withdrawal or “hangover” effect following cessation of use due to GABA receptor down regulation and tolerance.

Though the source of the hangover is unclear, studies are finding that phenibut could alter the properties and functions of some epilepsy and sleep medications.

What happens during phenibut withdrawal

During phenibut withdrawal, excess glutamate floating around the brain causes people to get really bad anxiety, insomnia, and even depressive symptoms.

The depressive symptoms are also in part due to a down-regulation of dopamine receptors (remember that phenibut is a mild stimulant).

These symptoms are not normal. They usually occur in people who have used phenibut for prolonged periods of time in small doses: i.e. consecutive days …sometimes for years.

Most users begin by using phenibut at random times. Because of its steep tolerance ramp and dose-dependent intensity of symptoms, this sporadic dosing schedule leads to irritability and disturbed sleep.

Trying to fall asleep after the sleepless night

In this weakened state, the temptation to use phenibut every day is very high and many users begin the downward cycle of daily use.

If you’ve been in this situation, then you’re well-acquainted with phenibut’s hellish side effects (when used improperly).

To break the habit, many individuals make serious attempts at cold turkey cessation. Cold turkey successes are rare but not impossible.

For the majority however, they only through your GABA receptor rejuvenation cycle further out of whack, intensifying anxiety. There is a solution in the middle ground.

Beating the Anxiety of Phenibut Withdrawal: A Method That Works

The key ingredient: slow your taper.

Many people don’t feel the effects of withdrawal until 24 hours after abrupt cessation of phenibut.

The withdrawal becomes progressively worse and maxes out at 72-96 hours but you’ll still have a rocky road ahead of you for a few weeks in terms of emotional flatness, dysphoria, some anxiety and definitely disturbed sleep. Of course these symptoms will vary from person to person.

Some may experience only one or two symptoms and some people will experience all of them. Decrease your dose by 100 to 300 milligrams every 1-3 days, depending on how you feel.

Usually (not always, but usually), the most dramatic withdrawal symptoms (even while tapering) don’t hit until the 72-hour mark.

For this reason, try maintaining the same dose (eg., gram per day divided in 250mg doses) for three days and then drop another 200 milligrams or so.

All the while, take healthy servings of magnesium bis-glycinate, L-theanine, Ashwaganda and a variety of others to manage anxiety.

Experiment with low-dose NMDA antagonists to ease the withdrawal as well. Eventually you will get off of it naturally with only fragmented sleep for about 2 weeks after discontinuation.

If you still need help, consider soothing audio tapes like this one to soothe your mind:

A word of caution

This method of slow tapering is not always comfortable.

You could very easily take Klonopin or Baclofen to come off phenibut, but honestly it’s going to be healthier in the long run to tackle it with the same vigor that led you into the black hole of withdrawal.

If you have access to a short acting benzo (eg, Xanax) to get you through the initial 10 days, then use it at low doses and as infrequently as possible. But just be careful and don’t overdo it with benzos. YMMV.

If you’re still reading, then chances are you’ve read some of the horror stories about phenibut dependence.

Think about all the pain that others have had to go through, and learn from their mistakes. Phenibut is a substance that should be treated with respect, the same way you would treat a benzodiazepine.

It is an amazing compound and I do believe it has some therapeutic uses – when used appropriately.

That ‘line’ between use/abuse will be different for people but I hope that these tips help shed some more light on proper ways to use phenibut.

Phenibut isn’t so much an “addiction” in that users in withdrawal have no desire to stay on; the body is dependent on it and the positive effects people get from reasonable doses have diminishing returns.

In higher doses, it acts as a stimulant and disturbs sleep – even more of a reason to try and get off the drug.

Compare phenibut to drinking: with alcohol, you can develop a tolerance but you inevitably you hit a wall from drunken behavior or unconsciousness.

With phenibut, the same thing doesn’t really occur.

Once dependent, high doses will not give you the initial effects you felt before like motivation, pro-social behavior, and wonderful sleep.

On the contrary, it will break sleep up. And terribly so.

Handle with care

A final note — while the phenibut comedown can be intense if the drug is misused, phenibut is largely harmless. It is relatively non-toxic and it is not carcinogenic.

For a more in depth look at how phenibut operates, visit this page about the science of phenibut.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 25 comments
Phenibut Dosage & Side Effects - Peak Nootropics - October 21, 2015

[…] Org. Chem., 1987, 52 (22), pp. 5025–5026. [Effect of the GABA derivative phenibut on learning]. The Negative-Side-Effects of Phenibut [Phenibut yielded withdrawal symptoms and psychosis. Drugs for cosmonauts–now marketed as […]

Reply
    John - March 11, 2017

    Fat Pharma was quick to stop this. You’ll be seeing this distributed by your favorite smiling Giant Eagle pharmacist soon.

    There is a special place in Hell for these people.

    Reply
    Scott - March 23, 2017

    Phenibut is a way for drug addicts to purchase natural supliments and get the euphoric feeling they got when they where using. I just lost a sibling due to his withdrawals from phenibut. His hangovers and insomnia pushed him to end his life. This supliment is the reason he decided to end his life. This should not be on the shelves at our health food stores. Please note that if a loved one uses this there are severe side effects from over use and this should be considered a addictive drug.

    Reply
Peak Nootropics Phenibut - January 9, 2016

I personally think the recommended dosages are pretty high. Sure, these dosages will have better effects but positive effects can usually seen at 500mg. There is a less apparent effect but the anxiolytic effect. Also, in the smaller dosages, there will be a smaller chance of abuse as this substance can be addictive and cause tolerance when abused.

Also another note – avoid mixing it with alcohol or any other depressant. Also be advised, the effects can take 2-4 hours before effects are noticed. This are certainly things beginners should keep in mind. The time for it to “hit” me is usually 3-4 hours but everyone has different metabolisms.

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Dominique Astrophysic - March 13, 2016

I have noticed a biphasic action to phenibut. Who knows, it might be because the parent drug affects one set of receptor systems, then a metabolite affects another one.

For the first two hours I get a distinctly ‘benzo feeling’ which, to me, isn’t all that pleasant. At least it isn’t what I’m looking for. Slowed reactions, muscle relaxation, slight dizziness and, yes, a ‘benzo taste in my head’. The latter is something I get after high doses of a benzodiazepine.

Around the 4th hour the ‘benzo feeling’ is gone, replaced by a noticeably “brightened mood” with a surge of energy. And during this phase I’ve lost all fear of approaching people and, in fact, I suddenly feel like talking to everybody. This is no doubt dopamine at play. But it always takes about 4 hours before this feeling kicks in.

It seems to me, with all my years of experience with things, like the initial phase affects the GABA receptors and then, around the 4 hour mark, a strong dopaminergic effect comes into play.

One really positive thing I’ve noticed is, the next day I wake up feeling very optimistic. Before I started using phenibut, I’d always wake up extremely depressed. That deep dark depression has totally left me since I’ve started using phenibut daily.

What I don’t like about phenibut is that it makes me way too emotional. Almost to the point of outright paranoia. It seems, since I’ve started phenibut, that every little thing hurts my feelings and everybody out there is trying to hurt my feelings. Sometimes my emotional reaction to these things flares into rage. And I’ve always prided myself on being a cool headed guy. Before phenibut I could let certain little things roll right off of me. So it’s a definite mix of good and bad.

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KratomHappy - April 15, 2016

Great article I learned new ways to use my phenibut

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Jose - June 14, 2016

This is a miracle drug for my GAD and depression, wish it could be transformed in a approved medication as chronic treatment for me.

Way better than Escitalopram, tought this med worked for me once it cames with a big price in my sexuality..

I use Phenibut once a week, 2g, sometimes 3..and every time i change from anxious and depressed to a new person, but unfortunately in about 2,3 days i’m back to GAD and/or depression..i just don’t want AD’S…but

I HATE Big Pharma…

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    Sar - June 14, 2016

    I feel you Jose… Phenibut really can work wonders when used appropriately.

    Regarding sexuality, that’s interesting. I’ve gotten a fair number of comments and emails from readers on this issue. Some guys say that it helps them last forever, but other guys say that THAT is the problem — they can’t finish.

    I hesitate to think that Phenibut is directly causing the issue though — sexuality and anxiety are closely linked, so that may be the reason so many people are affected in bed.

    Either way, thanks for sharing and best of luck.

    Dan

    Reply
Nootropics & Circadian Rhythms - December 6, 2016

[…] Phenibut has some serious drawbacks; they go so far as to call the drug’s side effects “brutally awful.” Quick tolerance to this nootropic is not uncommon and the withdrawal symptoms are fierce. They […]

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tomn - December 22, 2016

What you say is very misleading. Phenibut is not a safe supplement . It cause a terrible withdrawal and the darkest depression you have even experienced. Stay away..

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    MK_NW - January 17, 2017

    Exactly this. It took me 2 years to fully get over the anxiety and depression caused by withdrawal. I wish I had talked to my naturopath before I took it – she was adamantly opposed to its use as a supplement for just that reason. She helped me deal with the worst part of the initial withdrawal. I understand that it might not happen to everyone, but I tell everyone to stay away. Why take the chance. I wouldn’t wish that hell on anyone.

    Reply
Michelle - February 5, 2017

Epileptics: Use With Caution (please reply if your experience differs)!

I’d like to leave a comment on my experience. Yesterday I took phenibut for the first time in years. My husband enjoys it about once a week.

Anyhow I had a strange and serious comedown. I have epilepsy (grand mal seizures and occasionally tonic clonic for “flavor”). The good news is I get an “aura” and can usually medicate with clonazepam to prevent seizures.

I got a strong aura upon comedown which occurred a short 8 hours after ingesting this supplement. My pupils were uneven and large. I had an overall “something is very wrong” feeling including brain zaps. Took a “k-pin” aka clonazepam and it didn’t work. Had to take a second. That’s not a good thing to do but I am allowed per doctor’s instructions to take 1-2 if needed.

I wonder if it interacts with amitriptyline or even clonazepam. Did the benzo somehow make the comedown worse? Did all of this happen simply because I am epileptic and have some brain damage from seizures? I don’t know.

I do know epilepsy is common. This is anecdotal and for that I apologize. As a rule I leave comments on forums and blogs when anything seems to help or harm my brain when it comes to auras and seizures. If anyone read this far, thank you.

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Ken - February 5, 2017

I’ve been using Phenibut occasionally for about 3 years now. At most I’ll take between 500 and 1000 mg per dose, no more than twice a week.

Although I have at times felt a little down a couple of days afterwards, I’ve never had any symptoms I would call brutal; however, I don’t take it every week, and only 1 or 2 times a week when I do. I’m not the type to abuse any substance, I’ve done Cocaine, smoked pot, and I used to drink alcohol, but I’ve never had a “problem” with any substance the way some people do.

I’ve talked to people who did have “a problem” with one or more of the substances I mentioned. I’ve seen people abuse substances, and it confounds me. I think maybe it’s a psychological thing that causes some people to over-use substances like Phenibut, while others have no problem with it.

Personally, I enjoy the effects, but avoid taking it too often, because doing so causes it to not work as well, which is the opposite of why I take it to begin with. I intentionally avoid taking it for a while so that I’ll get a better “buzz” when I do take it, it’s just more enjoyable that way. Maybe I’m more disciplined. I don’t think substance abuse is directly connected to psychological trauma as means of coping. I’ve had plenty of trauma in my life, but I have zero substance dependence as a result, so I’m convinced that substance abuse is more a lack of discipline than a coping mechanism, although a dependent person might tell you otherwise.

As far as substances and side effects go, Phenibut is not the worse you can do, although I’m sure it would make you feel pretty fucked up if you take it too much, it’s not as bad as other substances like Meth or Heroine. Those are things that can literally destroy a person, but I think it’s the same lack of discipline that leads to abuse of any substance, and that same lack of discipline leads to bullshit excuses from people as to why they abuse substances, but I digress.

Like me, some people have the discipline to limit their use of substances. If you’re someone who lacks that discipline, you should avoid taking anything that has the potential to become a problem, but I’ve seen enough people abuse substances to know you’re going to do it anyway, but I still like to run my mouth sometimes.

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    Emmit R Blackmon - March 28, 2017

    Thanks for reminding us that there’s a tool in every box. 🙂

    Reply
Mike - February 19, 2017

I use phenibut once every other week or maybe 3x a month but take 5-6 grams throughout the day. I use it when I know I have a lot of work to do and I get stressed out. Phenibut is a miracle supplement. The effects last into the next day and I am so calm,focused, and energized all at the same time. I have really bad anxiety and take Xanax daily but don’t take the Xanax when I take phenibut. I’ve been through benzo withdrawal which is hell so I am not taking any chances with phenibut, hence why I only take it a couple times a month. I heard phenibut withdrawal is similar to benzo withdrawal so BE VERY CAREFUL WITH HOW MUCH AND OFTEN YOU TAKE IT! I don’t want anyone to experience that type of withdrawal because it seriously is a nightmare that doesn’t last days or weeks…but could be months or even years depending on how much and how long you take it.

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James - February 20, 2017

OK so I have been taking phenibut HCl for about a week now it feels great. Pulled me out of some type of fog and killed any type of worries I had. But I am having a very unwanted side effect. When I feel so good I haven’t wanted to sleep when I do finally sleep I wake up yelling and clinching With a horribly weird and unwelcome feeling. They sent a 500 hundred Milligram scoop I misread it and somehow though it was 250 . So I have been taking 4000 to 5000 milligrams a day for a week now. Is this the problem and is this a terrible over dose if someone can reply soon or recommend what I should do I would appreciate it. Thanks

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    Dan - February 20, 2017

    James, you’re fine man… people have taken wayyy more phenibut and been okay.

    Regarding your “feel good so I don’t sleep” effect, it’s not uncommon to get that on large does of phenibut (nor on large doses of benzos like Xanax).

    Stay the course for a few days (good diet, exercise, sunlight/outdoors, meditation, etc), and you’ll be back to a regular sleep schedule soon.

    Reply
Joey Joseph - February 26, 2017

Phenibut is plenty euphoric, at least at the dosage I take. I take 1000 mg. at a time and, later once the tolerance sets it, I go up to a max of 2000 mg./dose. But 1500 mg. is the ‘safe spot’ really, and it’s the best dose for euphoria while not being truly intoxicated. (Note: at 2000 mg. & above phenibut is too powerful and will cause some pretty serious amnesia, i.e., ‘black outs’.)

The euphoria comes in the form of a ‘dopamine rush’ and it occurs about 2 hours after I ingest, no sooner than that. When this phase kicks in suddenly I feel, literally, like SUPERMAN. No fears of anything or anybody and yes, music sounds fantastic. And I’ll suddenly lose all fear of talking to people; I turn into Mr. Conversationalist. That’s great when you’re usually Super-Shy and afraid to talk to pretty girls. Phenibut turns that all around. But like I said, it takes a solid 2 hours of time before that phase kicks in.

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    Dan - February 26, 2017

    Yep, you nailed it Mr. Conversationalist. Funny though that “superman” effect for me is just… like I can finally be my normal self.

    Have you tried stacking with anything? I find that small doses of aniracetam stack nicely with phenibut and prolong the pro-social effects. It’s also nice to combine with just a TAD of alcohol (like one light beer) and/or a bit of caffeine (100mg or less… like the amount in a cup of mild green tea).

    Reply
Danny - March 22, 2017

So I’ve been using phenibut for about 5 weeks now, about 3000mg/day. I started using it to help with opiate withdrawal, which it really did help! Combined with Kratom the opiate withdrawal was relatively painless. Now I am sure that I should have followed the common advice not to use for more than three days in a row, etc. At first I could not believe the incredible effect the phenibut had on my overall state of mind. Productive, social, positive, etc. It’s still working but obviously not as intensely. The only unpleasant side effect I’m having is this weird ‘buzzing’ in my head, focused around my temples. It can happen at any time of day but seems to be mostly at night when trying to get to sleep. It actually keeps me up. It’s not a pain, just a weird buzzing, pressure sensation. I haven’t read of anyone having this reaction but I’m sure I’m not alone. I’m thinking that if I do a relatively quick taper and stop the daily phenibut use I should be OK. So just wondering what people’s thoughts are about this side effect I’m having and what kind of withdrawal experience I have to look forward to after a month of daily phenibut use. Thanks.

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    Dan - March 22, 2017

    Haven’t heard of the “buzzing”, but definitely sleep inhibition during comedown is common. Same as you would get after taking above-average amounts of Xanax or other benzos — your mind is constantly racing around bedtime. Meditation usually helps me there.

    Reply
Scott - March 23, 2017

Phenibut is a drug that should be illegal. My sibling just had sever sleep disorder and depression from his withdrawals. The withdrawals made him delotional and ultimately choose to end his life. This product in the hands of a individual that is in recovery is not something that should be available to people at our health food stores

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    Scottstop - March 23, 2017

    Just because you know someone who wasn’t able to use it properly doesn’t mean it needs to be illegal scott. Let’s not let someone ruin it for the rest of us please?

    Reply
      Scott - March 24, 2017

      Spoken like a drug addict. Look at the side affects from other people’s posts. This is a addictive drug with horrible withdrawals. This needs to be re-evaluated by the FDA. Thank you for the comment of stop it Scott. I will make it my mission to make other people aware of the harmful side effects it has on people. Someday I hope you will be buying this on the street to get high. Not on store shelves

      Reply
Improve Sleep Health with Nootropics - April 5, 2017

[…] of the biggest Phenibut benefits is its ability to cross the blood brain barrier, which means that it will have an immediate effect […]

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