Phenibut Review – Its Effects, Dosage, Potential Benefits, and Risks

Heard of the name Phenibut before? Well, Phenibut is a nootropic that has been around since the 60s. It’s mainly used in the management of anxiety and insomnia. It’s also a prescription drug in countries like Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Russia.

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What is Phenibut?

This smart drug (as all nootropics are commonly known) is instrumental in treating various conditions such as motion sickness, stuttering, alcoholism, depression, and sleep disorders. That said, it would interest you to know that in Europe and North America, the drug cannot be used for any medicinal purposes but most folks use it off-label as a recreational drug.

Studies reveal that Phenibut and piracetam have close similarities in their clinical and pharmacological effects. For instance, in 2001, Dr. Izyaslav Lapin carried out a study which highlighted the fact that it is capable of stimulating dopamine production and also be used pharmacologically as a tranquilizer.

That’s more or less what piracetam does only that it often ends up causing hyperactivity.

What Are The Effects of Phenibut?

When you take Phenibut, it has some effects on your body. Of course, the results are not always typical but the following are some of those generally associated with this nootropic compound.

Anti-Anxiety Treatment

Primarily, Phenibut was created to reduce anxiety and was widely used in Russia as a treatment for anxiety-related disorders such as depression, asthenia, fear, tension, and posttraumatic stress. Most of the research carried out on the drug is on animals, though.

However, there is a bit of human research on the anti-anxiety properties of the drug. For instance, in a 2016 article by Abby Campbell (MD, Ph.D.), the author noted that a dose of 1,000 mg per day given to 62 adults diagnosed with anxiety-related disorders led to a conclusion that the drug may help in the management of protracted anxiety disorders.

Dr. Campbell further went ahead to report that human studies done on the drug so far have been confined to children subjects. That said, there is a need for more peer-reviewed studies to be done on the drug.

Treatment of Insomnia

In countries where Phenibut is prescribed such as Russia, it is often used to treat sleep disorders and insomnia. Subjective evidence is varied when it comes to users on this characteristic of Phenibut. Some users reported that they had revitalizing, and sound sleep after taking the drug in lesser doses. On the other hand, some said that the drug hindered their ability to get sleep or maintain it.

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How Does Phenibut Work?

Phenibut is the equivalent of the brain chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, a key inhibitory neurotransmitter.

GABA obstructs impulses between brain nerve cells and plays the complementary part of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. Although GABA can be taken as a supplement, it cannot cross the blood-brain obstruction.

Phenibut is a result of adding a phenyl group to the GABA molecule. This enables it to pass the blood-brain obstruction and stick to GABA receptors in the brain.

When GABA receptors are activated, the neural activity in the brain is reduced and this, in turn, reduces anxiety and creates a sense of relaxation. This action is what is believed to be accountable for Phenibut’s tranquilizing and anti-anxiety properties.

Animal studies reveal that Phenibut is able to easily penetrate the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is an essential instrument that prevents dangerous toxins and bugs from flowing through the bloodstream and getting into the brain.

This was a fact that a team of researchers led by Dr. Roberta Haddad-Tovolli duly observed noting that the blood-brain barrier (BBB) provides an interface through which the neuronal network interacts with the blood capillaries.

Worth noting is that the processing of Phenibut takes place in the liver and only crosses the blood-brain barrier in less than 4 hours. What’s more? Its half-life is roughly 5 hours and the drug can remain in your system for up to 24 hours depending on the quantities taken.

Dosage Recommendations

If you are treating anxiety, the endorsed dosage of the registered version of Phenibut known as Noofen, is 250–500 mg, taken 3 times a day. However, the dosage can be increased to a single one of 750 mg for patients under the age of sixty.

The normal course of treatment is 2–3 weeks, but if necessary, it can be extended to a maximum of 4–6 weeks.

There is no maximum dosage accepted for Phenibut taken for off-label or recreational use. Users have reported a broad range of dosages.

It is important to note that the usual recommendation, to begin with, is the lowest possible dosage applies here as well. Adjustments can be made as necessary because Phenibut is a very powerful and enduring compound. Its effects may vary from user to user.

Stacking Phenibut

Stacking is the word used when two or more nootropic supplements are taken to develop interactive assistances through the existence of the other constituents. This practice is common among nootropic users.

When it comes to Phenibut, it is occasionally added to common stacks just to decrease anxiety on days that are more stressful. Some of the nootropic compounds that pair up well with this “smart drug” include:

  • Stacking With Modafinil - If you can manage to get some moda, it’d make a very good stack with Phenibut. Modafinil provides you with endurance while Phenibut calms down your jitters.
  • Stacking With Caffeine - Caffeine is a great source of energy and focus. It, however, tends to cause anxiety and that’s where Phenibut comes in. As we have already mentioned, the latter drug does a pretty good job of calming down anxiety.
  • Stacking With Magnesium - It is widely believed that magnesium shares affinity to the same receptors with GABA. Generally, studies have suggested that magnesium activates the glutamate pathway which is the main influencer of the effectiveness of anxiolytic drugs like Phenibut. Therefore, when you take a combination of these two, you can help prevent your tolerance levels from going any higher.

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Benefits of Phenibut

While Phenibut is generally a good nootropic, it can have dire consequences if used inappropriately. But when properly used, it can actually give you various benefits including improved sleep quality, reduced social anxiety, and even enhance your sex life. Let’s take a closer look at some of those.

1. Improved sleep

Time and again, Phenibut has been singled out as one of the most effective tranquilizers. In a 2015 article published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, Phenibut (being a rich source of GABA) was seen to shorten sleep latency by almost 5 minutes.

That said, it takes a considerable amount of Phenibut to “lure” one to sleep although the results vary from one person to another. This is one of the greatest benefits of this drug. It relaxes your mind and body and after an hour of sleep, you will feel like a brand new person.

If you are struggling with anxiety, Phenibut can actually double your sleep quality. Despite its sleep improvement benefits, Phenibut will not reduce your mental clarity or make you feel drowsy.

2. Reduce General Anxiety

If you have general anxiety disorder (GAD), Phenibut can be of great help. However, you should not take it daily. Most people get optimum benefits when they take it one or two times a week. Using it recurrently may reduce its benefits and increase side effects.

Luckily, Phenibut has a relatively long half-life that will make you feel calm the following day as well. If you want to unwind away from the party scene, this is the drug for you.

3. Social anxiety treatment

One of the greatest benefits and perhaps the most effective ability of Phenibut is its ability to diminish social anxiety. You will notice a decrease in anxiety when you are around people while on the drug so try a bit of Phenibut before going out on that date and see how well that goes!

4. A substitute for Alcohol

Alcohol works more or less the same way Phenibut does. We know that alcohol is not that good for you so why not try its alternative.

If you would like to avoid the hangovers, fatigue, and stupid decisions that come with alcohol, Phenibut is definitely worth a try.

Phenibut can significantly power alcohol’s effects and a few drinks may feel like a whole lot more so do not mix the two if you do not want to end up in the circus.

However, the effects of taking this “smart drug” alongside alcohol can be dangerous. For instance, in one study, scientists recorded that some individuals reported insomnia and flashes of color after taking a combination of these two drugs.

5. Beneficial for Sex

Most anti-anxiety drugs are particularly severe on libido. Not with Phenibut though because it seems to have the opposite effect.

Look at it this way, the drug does such a good job at reducing anxiety right? Did you know that anxiety kills libido?

So then, after taking the drug, both men and women find it easier to get into the mood. If you want to get the best results, you should take it several hours prior so that it can take effect. Lower doses work best in such situations.

Common FAQs About Phenibut

Is Phenibut Legal?

Is Phenibut Safe to Take?

Is Phenibut Similar to Xanax?

Is Phenibut a Benzo?

How Addictive is Phenibut?


In summary, Phenibut is a GABA-based nootropic that’s renowned for its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. It has numerous benefits especially in regards to lowering anxiety levels and improving the quality of sleep.

However, studies done around it are mainly done using animal subjects. And, therefore, there is still a need for more human studies to be done on it – particularly peer-reviewed studies.

So, far, various side effects have been associated with this drug and it should not be taken with alcohol as it can lead to detrimental effects.

Compared to Xanax, this nootropic helps calm you down without exposing you to any of Xanax’s infamous side effects. And when weighed against the effects of benzos, Phenibut does an incredible job of protecting your memory and psychomotor coordination.

While we think that Phenibut is a great brain supplement. Care needs to be taken when taking it to prevent any potential dangers that may arise from taking it. Fortunately, the drug is largely safe to use – so why not give it a shot?

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