Citation: Xorkoth. "Phenibut A 10-Year Comprehensive Synopsis: An Experience with Phenibut (exp109269)". Erowid.org. May 6, 2017. erowid.org/exp/109269
Phenibut: A Comprehensive Long-Term Synopsis and Usage Guide
I first encountered phenibut in 2006. I was a member of a bodybuilding forum, not that I did any bodybuilding whatsoever (indeed, at the time I had virtually no upper body strength and had never been to a gym). I regularly participated in the Neuroscience section of that forum, and people were beginning to talk about the latest bodybuilding fad supplement, phenibut, or ß-phenyl-gamma-aminobutyric acid. It is a close analogue of the neurotransmitter GABA that appears to selectively bond to the GABA-B receptor types. People were claiming a wide range of effects from it, from nothing, to relaxation or varying degrees of euphoria. Being that I enjoy new avenues of altering my consciousness, and at the time it was probably my primary
goal in life, I thought, hey, I'll try this. In short, I really liked it, and I began using it regularly at varying levels of usage for the past 10 years. It is now 2016, and I continue to use it. It has proven to be a tool of the greatest level, and is one of my favorite substances. I wanted to write up this report because I feel like I am as experienced with it as anyone out there, and I have a lot of information to provide when it comes to using it safely and effectively, should you be considering it. I've divided this report up into sections, which each pertain to specific aspects of phenibut use, and which in reading through will also tell my personal story with it.
The first time I took phenibut, on that day 10 years ago, I got home from work and eagerly found my package waiting in the mailbox of my apartment complex. I went inside and tore open the package. Some buddies of mine on the forum were reporting significant levels of euphoria and relaxation, and that sounded right up my alley. People were reporting various dosages from 500mg to 5 grams or more. I thought, hey, it must not be that strong, it's just a supplement (but remember, GHB was also a bodybuilding supplement before it became illegal). So, of course, I took 3 grams. I thought it was right in the middle of dosage ranges. I shoveled 3000mg into my mouth and swallowed with water, noting for the first time its specific taste. The taste of phenibut is sharply sour, really not bitter at all, it's like chewing on a warhead candy. I always rather enjoy it, mostly the aftertaste which is pleasant to me. But consider that I am somewhat of a freak, I pour all substances on my tongue and swallow that way, and it's (rarely ever) too bad. My friend who uses it sometimes usually pours his into a beer, and he finds it to make the beer taste pleasantly sour and different.
I sat there and waited. After a while I felt relaxed, but it wasn't much to write home about. Then after a handful of hours, I suddenly found myself very intoxicated. I was lying there, feeling really glowing and pretty great, laughing, but very uncoordinated and almost uncontrollably sleepy. My limbs, especially my legs, hurt, like they were sore down to the bone... the feeling was very similar to a moderate to major alcohol hangover. I was having an alright time but I was barely able to hang out because I was so tired. The feeling was pretty overwhelming and my body felt unpleasant except for the warm glow. I remembering thinking to myself that this was a lot stronger than I expected but I wasn't sure if I liked it. Eventually I passed out and woke up the next morning on the floor where I passed out, got up and got ready for work. I was very groggy, my head felt stuffed with wool, and my legs were still sore. This feeling slowly dissipated throughout the day until by the evening I pretty much fine.
I put that anecdote in the dosing section as a way to illustrate my description of how to dose phenibut. It seems to have a narrow window where the fully ideal effects emerge. A little too little, and you just get a mild relaxation and slight anxiolysis. A little too much and you enter overdose territory, of which the above is a great example. But dose it just right, and it can be one of the nicest things. Dosing needs to be done with intent and discipline if you want to really utilize this drug effectively and safely.
My recommendation is to work your way up slowly from a low dose until you find where it develops fully for you. I know people where even 500mg produces full effects, but for most, it's higher, and for some, even quite a lot higher. Just take that one dose, and do not redose at any time during the day. Phenibut takes a long time to fully develop, and it also lasts all day long, so redosing can only be done once you understand how it affects you. The timeline of its effects are roughly as follows:
- 0 - 1 hour: Nothing
- 1 - 3 or 4 hours: Mild but noticeable relaxation, anxiolysis
- 3 or 4 - 12 or so hours: The good effects
It really does take a long time to come on and it can be tempting to redose when, after 2 hours, you're not feeling much, but trust me when I say avoid this. Another thing to note about dosing phenibut is that staggering your dose supposedly makes it absorb better. So redoses will actually add a little more punch than if you had taken that total amount all at once right at the beginning. This, coupled with the very long come-up time, is why you shouldn't redose until you know what you're doing. So, that in mind, what you should do is start out trying 500mg taken all at once. Most likely it will do very little to nothing, but it may be enough for you. If it doesn't develop into much, wait at least a full day after that day, and then try it again by adding another 250mg. Keep repeating this process until you find a dose where, by the end of the day, you say to yourself, wow, that was a great day, what an awesome drug.
For me, that level is 1500mg total in the day when I have no tolerance, and when I take it every day other day, which is the most often I am willing to do, it slides up to 2500mg total in the day after a while. You should find your level by taking it all at once and not staggering the dose, and once you have found it, you can try taking all of it but 500mg at once, and then take that last 500mg around 2 hours later. I find it is just a little better that way, a smoother main phase of effects and it lasts in total for 2 hours longer. If you're able to get good effects from phenibut (some just can't seem to), this will be a good thing, trust me. I very occasionally, if mixing with a stimulant or psychedelic later in the evening, will take a second 250mg booster somewhere around 6 to 8 hours after the initial dose, which keeps it going at peak for longer but has actually on a number of occasions caused me to enter slight overdose territory so be careful. I have also had varying results from trying to take smaller amounts more times throughout the day... it's hard to hit that perfect level because each dose takes hours to come up, and for the same reason it's easy to overshoot and take too much.
I always take phenibut in the mornings when I wake up, and it lasts until I go to sleep, with a peak at right around when I normally get off work (~5-6pm, and I take it at 10-ish), through full effects usually begin around 3pm, and start to trail off around 10pm. I take all but 500mg of my dose within an hour of waking up, and then I add 500mg more 2 hours later. If I know I am going out late and want to time to peak effects for when I'm out, I take the first dose that many hours later.
The main effects of phenibut are a beautiful thing. The earlier stages of the experience feel mildly sedating, but when the main effects kick in, I am suddenly filled with warmth and my mind feels charged with inspiration.
I am suddenly filled with warmth and my mind feels charged with inspiration.
It's extremely easy to feel excited, and I find myself with a baseline wide smile and bubbly, joyous feeling. I feel relaxed still, but like I want to jump around. It is highly pro-erotic, and some of the best sex is when I'm on phenibut. I want to talk to people, any people, all people. If I go out to the grocery store, I might get into a conversation with the clerk or a random person, whereas normally I probably won't seek that out. If I'm hanging out with friends, I am really into making everyone laugh and having intense conversations and being the life of the party. When I'm writing, it inspires beautiful word combinations and stimulates my motivation to write. Its effects on music are wonderful... music will transport me much more readily and it produces extremely strong feelings of euphoria. Making music on it is one of my primary reasons for continuing to use it so regularly today. It is a tool of surpassing usefulness. It invariably puts me into a state where I catch the 'music high' immediately and have the best possible time of it. Any musician will know what I mean by 'music high'. It's that feeling where you're in the music and you're playing with people and you're doing this intensely complex thing, and it's just flowing from your subconscious mind somewhere, and it's transporting you all together, and it's the greatest feeling in the world, and the excitement and inspiration are all wrapped up in one and just bursting out of you, and afterwards it's like a post-orgasm glow but better and longer-lasting. I get into the music immediately and new ideas just spill out. I feel adept and confident (phenibut greatly boosts my confidence both socially and my belief in my capabilities) and it does not impact my coordination at all, but it does give me a lot of energy and motivation to keep playing for absurdly long periods of time. If I lay down and close my eyes and try to sleep in this state, I can paradoxically sleep pretty quickly and deeply, despite the fact that if I'm doing stuff, I am full of energy and wide awake.
I would say phenibut produces a mild to moderate hypomanic state, the sort of hypomania that feels very positive and isn't so strong as to produce delusion or self-control issues. Such a state can be very useful. It's great for if you're having a day where you just can't quite get out of a slump, like one of those cold, dark winter days where you just don't feel great. It's great for producing art of all kinds, or stage fright, or giving a speech, or going out to socialize or meet new people. It doesn't impair or intoxicate you or alter your perception so you still feel like you and you don't appear to be on a drug. In fact I don't find it to feel like being on a drug at all, it feels like just the natural way I feel. It's akin to the feeling of when you've been worrying about something, had it hanging over your head for months, and then you find out it's resolved, and you're just hit with endorphins and for the rest of the day you're on top of the world. In this way, phenibut is a very useful tool, a modifier of your confidence, motivation and inspiration, without any undesired side effects or next-day hangover. It is unparalleled as a social anxiety medication; a benzo will reduce how much you care and feel the negativity, but phenibut can make you feel fearless and confident, and actively want
to socialize. I think it could even be used in therapy in a similar way as MDMA is except much more well-tolerated and less powerful/impactful. It facilitates sharing and confidence and should make facing issues easier. It can also be used to provide a nice aid to withdrawing from opiates. It may increase the soreness a bit but it can really help with the depression and anxiety.
There are a few neutral effects, neither positive nor negative (for me at least). Phenibut makes me feel very warm, and it does not seem to raise internal body temperature (except, see below, in overdose levels), but it does very measurably increase the amount of heat my skin is radiating. My girlfriend says she can feel the heat pouring off my skin when I touch her. Phenibut also tends to give me the munchies to a powerful degree. I feel like I can eat endless amounts of food, and if I'm not doing something else, I tend to want to do that very thing.
If you take too much phenibut, even just a bit above your level (which is why you should follow my dosing regimen above to find out how much you need), you will enter overdose territory. I am unaware of anyone having actual health concerns from an overdose, though it could be that someone has, so by overdose I just mean taking so much that you pass through these ideal effects into the overdose range of effects. When I've taken too much, I will first hit the ideal effects stage, but it will continue to grow stronger and I will find myself feeling a bit too manic. Then it transforms after a couple of hours into a mutated version of the ideal effects. Where earlier my skin had been emanating heat, now I am flushed and feel very hot, and my body temperature raises somewhat to very light fever level.
I find that I have a slight but persistent headache. Where normally I feel nothing in my body other than a pleasant glow, in an overdose I experience limb soreness, especially in my legs, and a general body malaise. All of the euphoria goes away, replaced with a listlessness and extreme fatigue to the point that it's difficult to stay awake or even want to do anything but get in bed and pass out. I will start using 'sleep logic' to come up with reasons to lay down, despite them maybe not being very rational. Where before I had felt very coordinated and capable, in an overdose I feel clumsy and stumble a bit, and my body feels heavy and unwieldy. It makes my pee smell really weird too, and it burns a little coming out. I will pass out and sleep for an absurdly long amount of time if I am not woken up, and when I do wake up, I feel sore still and kind of strange, and very fuzzy-headed and groggy. The hangover slowly fades and I have not had it last more than just the next day.
In short, taking too much phenibut, even 500mg too much, feels like being poisoned and it has no redeeming qualities except perhaps if you absolutely can't sleep and you've tried other sleep aids, it will probably knock you out hard. But it feels like a bad idea to take too much, it's not good in the body. The temperature increase alone worries me about it.
Addiction and Dependence
Phenibut is, unfortunately, physically addictive. When it came out, back when I started using it, people were raving about how it's a 'new, non-addictive alternative to GHB'. Of course, they said the same thing about GHB itself years before that, and that is, of course, ridiculous. GHB is addictive, and so is phenibut. I, however, chose to believe the hype (because I wanted to use it a lot and my powers of self-deception were legendary at that point in my life), so I began taking it every day for a year
I began taking it every day for a year
. I worked up to 3 grams once a day and sometimes a 500mg-1000mg booster partway through. After a year went by, I was moving and in the mad dash to pack up and move our stuff, I lost my tub of phenibut. I was like, aw man, that sucks, I really wanted to use it today. But I'll find it.
Well, I didn't find it, and I also didn't have the money, seeing as how I had just put a downpayment on my first house, to buy more. I figured, well, this sucks but I guess I'll take a break. The next morning I felt a little off, like I just had this base level of low-grade anxiety where before I had had a base level of light giddy euphoria. Throughout the day, which was moving day, that feeling got stronger, but I chalked it up to this being such a huge step for me, and undoubtedly that was making it more noticeable. But the next morning I realized I was withdrawing from phenibut. I felt very anxious to the point where I spent a fair amount of time lying down in a fetal position because the butterflies in my solar plexus were so bad. Everything in my life seemed to be reflected in a negative light. I was excited to move here (to where I live now and likely will forever, I love where I live so much), but it felt like a huge mistake, like, you idiot, what are you doing? I reflected on my addiction to kratom and the fact that I had just gotten into a very intense financial commitment. I spent the next 2 days feeling like that, just really bad. I felt uncomfortable in my skin a bit but it didn't seem to be dangerous, or physical, or cause delusions or hallucinations or anything. 'Just' tremendous, crippling anxiety.
We drove back to check out of our apartment on day 3, and I checked my mailbox, hoping that some pregabalin (which I had never tried) would be there... a friend had sent me some pills, but they were very late and I had given up on them. But, lo and behold, there they were, my last chance ever to claim them. I immediately took 300mg... I think I was hoping it would ease my anxiety since it is supposed to be anxiolyic too. And boy, did it. After a couple of hours, for the rest of the day I not only felt fine, I felt amazing
. Pregabalin felt like super phenibut to me, really similar feeling but with much greater intoxication and euphoria, most unmistakably a drug feeling. But it knocked my withdrawal out 100%. I had enough for 3 experiences, so I took nothing the next day, then pregabalin, then nothing, then pregabalin one last time, then nothing, and I was fine, I felt only very light residual anxiety which was understandable given I was actually in an pretty intense time in my life. So for me, the withdrawal was very unpleasant, quite awful to live through, but certainly not dangerous, and it lasted about a week, probably (though admittedly the pregabalin I used as a withdrawal aid complicated things a bit).
However I have heard stories from some Bluelight friends over the years that paint a different picture for them. I seems some people have a much more severe withdrawal syndrome that is quicker to establish and much more dangerous. I have seen people claiming that for them phenibut withdrawals are worse than GHB withdrawals and include seizure risk and delirium. So I implore you to be very careful when using phenibut. Certainly daily use will cause dependence. For me, once I stopped after that first year and got through withdrawals, I never went back to daily use, though I have, when withdrawing from opiates, used it daily for almost 2 weeks, and I did not experience any withdrawal. That was after a period of not using it for probably a year or maybe more. I have since then, when using it, followed one of two paths: on 1 day off 2 days, or on 1 day off 1 day. The former, with 2 full days off in between, does not seem to produce significant tolerance, nor does it produce physical dependence. It seems very sustainable.
Once every other day does actually slowly produce tolerance, and light dependence. For me
, at this level, I slowly work up from 1500mg to 2500mg over the course of maybe 2 months, and once I am up at the higher level, I find that if I skip a day in the cycle (ie, don't take it the second day after my last dose), I will feel a bit flat, slightly anxious at times throughout the day, and I feel pretty uninspired. Basically the opposite feeling of phenibut, but it's pretty manageable. The next day will be a little better and then after that I feel fine. For me
it's no big deal so I feel pretty comfortable with having that level of dependence - at the moment I have been on an every other day cycle for about 6 months, coming off of an every third day cycle for an additional 6 months before that. I time the days so they're on band/music days because I value its aid in that area so much. Occasionally I will take it 2 days in a row - very occasionally - because we have a show on an unusual day or something. I notice when I take it 2 days in a row in the midst of an every other day run, I will feel just slightly down and anxious even on the regular day off for a cycle or two, where if I just stick to strictly every other day, on my days off I just feel normal.
Please remember that some people experience a much more severe withdrawal syndrome than me
, and seem to get addicted faster, so please be very cautious and build up into everything slowly, being very mindful of how you feel along the way. If you're trying to get into a schedule with it, make sure you don't just jump right into every third day and do that for a long time... take it every third day twice and then stop for a day or 2 in the cycle and make sure you don't feel bad. Go slowly.
Of course, the best option is occasional use, for special occasions. I don't find it difficult to stay to my regimen, but it is tempting sometimes to just take a few scoops of a powder and I know I can have a significantly better day than without it, regardless of whether my day is already good or not. Having a regular schedule with a drug is, IMO, a slippery slope, but it's one you may be able to handle. I can stay to every other day, or every third day, without cheating - I consciously chose to up to every other day from every third day because of my music schedule - but you may not be able to. It takes discipline which is something I've learned to some degree over the years, after much hardship with it.
Combining With Other Drugs
Phenibut combines really well with stimulants and psychedelics. With stimulants, it reduces the overstimulation and negative side-effects in general, while increasing the amount of euphoria and mania you're experiencing. It can make the stimulant more comfortable but it's not nearly as good at reducing side effects as benzos are, and it can lead to excessive excitement too in some cases since both are producing hypomania. With empathogens it seems really great. I've combined it with MDMA and methylone (separately) and it was wonderful with both, it made me feel even more opened up and loving and communicative. With psychedelics, it does not seem to dull the trip at all, unlike benzos, but it does carry that confidence and euphoria forward into the trip which can be great and useful. I've had wonderful results when already being on phenibut for the day, and then taking a psychedelic. It tends to steer the trip in a positive direction, but it doesn't sacrifice any of the clarity of the trip. Nothing about this has ever felt dangerous to me, they feel like they blend very well together.
It has varied effects with dissociatives. I regularly combine it with 3-MeO-PCP (which I use in low doses for the hypomanic effects) and it produces a pretty intense level of hypomania, which is what I'm going for with the combo. But you have to watch yourself, I had one day where I think I just about entered an excessively manic mode. It was an amazing day but looking back, uh, wow, that was me, huh? That guy never shuts up, and he's so loud, and strange. In general I really like the combo. When combined with MXE, it increased the euphoria but I didn't seem to get as many psychological and hole-style effects. It didn't seem dangerous but I would tread cautiously with dissociatives. I have only tried combining it with those two.
You need to be careful combining phenibut with downers, though it doesn't seem particularly dangerous if you keep in mind the phenibut will potentiate the other downers (but the phenibut does not seem potentiated in return). I regularly combine alcohol with it, and I will even get drunk, but I drink a couple less beers over the night. If I get a hangover, the hangover is more intense. A benzo will feel stronger than it normally would. But the phenibut feels the same, it doesn't make that effect stronger.
Keep in mind, these are how combinations with phenibut affect me
, so it might be different for you. I've read reports where people were saying, don't drink at all on phenibut, it will make the alcohol way too strong, I blacked out and threw up with just a couple of beers. You might react differently than me so approach any combinations with caution and work up slowly.
In summary, phenibut has become one of my favorite substances of all time. It fills this little role of making me feel like I'm operating at 100% capacity, taking my natural qualities and making them better while I'm on it. It's extremely useful for the thing I spend the most of my energy on, making music. I've been using it for the past 10 years and have a lot of experience with using it different ways, so I wanted to write this up as a comprehensive guide to what it does and how to use it, since I have seen a lot of different opinions on it and confusion and misinformation regarding it, and a virtual lack of any description of the finer points of the drug. It's something I use regularly that costs very little money and is fully legally available. I hope it stays that way, I hesitated to write this so as not to draw too much attention to it, but I figured people might find it useful so the good could outweigh the potentially greater amount of attention to it, and inevitably, those who will abuse it to the extent that it will call further attention. Be smart and stay safe; despite continued and nonsensical prohibition on using drugs, we still have a lot of valuable tools at our disposal for better living through chemistry, and if we're intelligent about it, hopefully we can keep some of those tools around.
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