What is Phenibut? A Closer Look at the Synthetic GABA
In the last several years, substances called nootropics have become incredibly popular. Promising to improve cognition and boost memory, creativity, or other high-level brain functions, it’s no wonder they’ve garnered a lot of interest.
One nootropic, though, isn’t very new at all. Introduced for medical use in the 1960s, phenibut was actually developed in the Soviet Union.
This drug is used for medical purposes today in Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. While the US and most of Europe haven’t approved phenibut for medical use, people are able to obtain it legally online as a supplement.
What is phenibut, though? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.
What Is Phenibut?
Phenibut is a nootropic that is designed to stimulate the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA or γ-aminobutyric acid. This neurotransmitter act on an individual’s central nervous system.
In the US and other countries, this substance is used by people in order to achieve improved neurological functioning and experience positive effects on their mental capabilities.
It also can have anxiety-diminishing effects. Considering that anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness in the United States, it’s no wonder that this is one of the most popular attributes of phenibut.
Many people find that resolving their anxiety leads to enhance cognitive processes and the return of natural sleep patterns.
Invented in the Soviet Union, Russian cosmonauts were taking phenibut during the Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975. To this day, phenibut is prescribed in Russia as a treatment for a number of conditions, including depression, anxiety, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, motion sickness prevention, and more.
Phenibut has stimulant and anxiolytic effects and is a central nervous system depressant.
It is believed that phenibut imitates GABA and therefore keeps the brain in a less excitable state while also stimulating dopamine receptors. In effect, this seems to enhance an experience of having a positive mood.
Phenibut also has a depressive function on the central nervous system, however, by blocking beta-phenethylamine. It is thought that this quality might contribute to the addictive qualities of the drug.
How Does Phenibut Feel?
When people take phenibut, they often experience these simultaneous sensations of mild-to-moderate stimulation along with mild to moderate sedation.
This allows people to feel both mentally focused and physically relaxed.
Many people say that the substance lowers both their inhibition and their stress while also increasing their sociability. At the same time, they say it does not impair their judgment.
Some people have said that the primary effects of phenibut feel similar to a light dose of MDMA or GHB.
Phenibut gives some people a feeling of a mild “high” through the sensation of mild euphoria.
Most people say that the effects don’t kick in for one or two hours after they ingest it orally. The primary effects are said to stick around for four or five hours, but some effects can linger for an additional 24 hours.
It can be difficult to verbally describe the way that a substance makes a person feel, and each person might have a different reaciton.
That being said, many say that they have either a moderate or significant reduction in both general and social anxiety. It is also said that the experience can be described as “extreme calmness.”
It can also encourage people to be social and deliver a sense of well-being.
Some people might experience euphoria, and many find that music sounds incredible while using the substance.
An individual’s alertness can also be increased, along with their cognitive processes and their memory retention. It can make you feel more motivated and can also increase sexual performance at low doses.
Phenibut As a Medication
As mentioned earlier, some countries use a substance as the medication and have done so for decades. Some of the conditions that it is used to treat include:
- Fears and phobias
- Anxiety disorders
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Sleep trouble resulting from neurosis
Phenibut has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the US, and is therefore not used as a medication in the states. Instead, it is considered a supplement.
Phenibut As a Nootropic
Nootropics, which are also known colloquially as cognitive enhancers and smart drugs, are substances that claim to improve an individual’s cognitive function. In particular, they are thought to boost memory, executive functions, motivation, or creativity in people who are otherwise healthy.
Many people who use phenibut recreationally do so in order to feel more outgoing, euphoric, and generally good. People feel that it helps them stay composed while also calming stress.
There has been some evidence that suggests that the substance can increase mental capacity. There has not been much in the way of formal testing, however. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that it can help with creativity and problem-solving.
It is important to understand that this is a very potent compound. If you choose to start taking phenibut, you will want to start with the lowest effective dose. You can then monitor how you respond to that and adjust accordingly.
For first-time users that do not have a tolerance, a dose of 250 mg might be a reasonable place to start. However, there are several different factors that can impact the appropriate dose for you. These include your age, health, weight, and more.
It can be a good idea to talk to your physician or pharmacist before taking any new supplements.
Users of phenibut say that you should never use phenibut more than twice a week and then also include longer periods where you don’t use the substance. This is to try and make sure that your body doesn’t experience higher levels of GABA activity in a way that can result in withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it.
Everyone that experiences phenibut withdrawal will have their own unique experience. For some individuals, they might have been taking the substance every day in fairly large quantities for a full year and they do not experience any withdrawal symptoms. For others, they might take moderate amounts a few times a week for a couple of months and end up experiencing extreme and severe withdrawal symptoms.
Additionally, some other people might take phenibut at high doses or only a few days in a row and end up being hospitalized because of the effects.
So far, the information that we have about phenibut withdrawal syndrome can only be gleaned from self-reported descriptions found on online forums and case reports published in medical journals.
A person might experience withdrawal symptoms after only three or four hours after they took the last dose. The symptoms can go on for several days and might be followed by protracted withdrawal.
People can experience both physical and psychological symptoms when they are withdrawing from this nootropic. Even though the physical symptoms can be incredibly uncomfortable, distressing, and disturbing, it is actually usually the psychological symptoms that lead people to seek help from medical professionals.
Some of the physical symptoms that an individual might experience include:
- Muscle rigidity
- Fast heart rate
The psychological symptoms that sometimes accompany phenibut withdrawal include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Panic attacks
Many people who are withdrawing from phenibut experience extreme anxiety and agitation. In some reported cases, it was necessary for medical professionals to implement both chemical and physical restraints of the patient for the safety of everyone involved.
There are some nightmare scenarios of individuals who have extreme psychotic symptoms and some that needed IV sedation that was so intense that they had to rely on breathing tubes.
These are obviously worst-case scenario examples. However, it’s important to understand that there can be severe consequences for not respecting the power of this nootropic substance.
For many people, fatigue and depression can cause major problems. They might find that withdrawal symptoms make it very difficult for them to perform and fulfill their normal responsibilities. Some people might experience rebound anxiety and depression for several weeks after the resolution of the acute withdrawal symptoms.
Are You Thinking About Trying Phenibut?
As you can see, phenibut is a fascinating substance that many people find improves their cognitive abilities. However, it’s important to respect how powerful this drug is. There could potentially be serious consequences if you don’t use it with care, so you always want to do your research before you start any new supplement.
Now that you know the answer to the question what is phenibut? you can make an educated decision about whether or not it’s right for you.
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