Phenibut first came to light in the 1960s in St. Petersburg, when at first it has been tested on young psychiatric patients. The initial purpose of this anxiolytic drug was to help support the healthy mind of Russian cosmonauts during their journey through space. However, it turned out that this psychoactive substance has diverse effects on human beings.

Scientists describe Phenibut as a GABA analogue, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that blocks particular brain signals such as anxiety or stress. Even though this substance is widely known as Phenibut, we may also call it by other names, such as its primary name Phenigamma (obvious link to GABA - Gamma-aminobutyric acid), Fenigram or Fenibut.

Today this nootropic is one of the most wanted supplements among mental health advocates. The search results indicate dramatically increased interest in this "smart drug". Despite attractiveness, Phenibut supplement has some questionable features that may need a profound explanation. In this article, we will take you into a more detailed analysis of Phenibut benefits and side effects. So, let's dive in.

What is Phenibut?

We have already superficially mentioned the link between Phenibut and GABA, but to be more specific, Phenibut is a GABA agonist. This term stands for a substance that initiates response when interacting with another receptor. In the case of Phenibut, that receptor would be GABA, and the response - anxiety-reducing.

Although GABA and Phenibut are alike, according to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), GABA is a food and naturally occurring substance. This feature is the main dividing element that demonstrates the difference between them. Because of the possible risks, most countries forbidden Phenibut and already removed it from the shelves of drug stores. Nevertheless, Phenibut can be sold and advertised online as powder or capsules.

When chemical trials began in the 1960s, scientists decided to complement the substance by incorporating the phenyl ring. The results seemed significant, due to the ring, Phenibut slightly crossed the brain barrier. In that way, this chemical compound became more potent and at the same time, more hazardous.

What are the benefits of Phenibut?


Phenibut is often called a cognitive enhancer that improves memory, focus and motivation. Several studies support this statement by its results. For instance, the research made in 2014 claims that 1g of Phenibut per day improved the condition of patients with cognitive and emotional impairments. Phenibut enhanced memory, emotional stability and concentration in more than 70% of all participants.

Unfortunately, Phenibut lacks detailed research with human participants, several studies show brilliant results on mice regarding memory or learning, and yet more have to be done in a field of individuals health studies.


Majority of users confirm the anxiolytic benefits of Phenibut. Scientists have made several types of research to test such a feature, and the results showed the same. More than 70% of participants experienced tranquillity and emotional stabilization after taking Phenibut. Even for people with severe anxiety disorders that lasted for more than a year, the effect seemed potent.

Other studies with animals have shown impressive results. For instance, in mice, Phenibut alleviated the pain after experiencing electrical stimulation. Scientists have made another trial with cats, for aggressive ones, Phenibut had no effect, but for non-aggressive cats, Phenibut improved emotional condition. And most fascinating part is that for the anxious cats, Phenibut alleviated the feeling of fear.


Although Russian scientists have used Phenibut for Insomnia treatment, we could not find detailed research regarding sleep improvement. However, Phenibut consumers claim that their sleep quality improves indeed. For example, even though this research is a bit outdated, the results demonstrate the partially positive effects on patients facing alcoholic abstinence syndrome.


The purpose of the study made in 2017 was to find out if Phenibut has a positive effect on people suffering from headaches. The trial included children and adolescents, who noticed some changes after a month of usage. Results showed that Phenibut indeed reduced the duration and frequency of pain and alleviated the tension.

A study made in 2016 demonstrates another benefit - patients dealing with high blood pressure were taking a daily dosage of 500 mg. After a month, participants noticed reduced head dizziness and fatigue.

Maybe you have found more benefits regarding Phenibut elsewhere, but the truth is, this substance lacks profound research. Most of them cover animal cases, even those made with humans cannot be relied on because of too small groups tested.

What are the side effects of Phenibut?

If you already had some time to run your eyes over our blog, maybe you have noticed the article about the safest nootropics. There we have represented some points on how to be sure of the nootropics safety. Among those points, we have mentioned the importance of EFSA and FDA position regarding a particular nootropic. How is it related to Phenibut? Well, the FDA refuses to consider Phenibut as a medication because of its side effects and other risks.

The most common side effects are gastrointestinal and related to the nervous system: nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, hallucinations, dizziness, paranoia, hangover effect, anxiety, fatigue, lack of balance, sleepiness, euphoria or confusion. If you overdose, you may provoke trouble breathing, tremors or unconsciousness. In some cases, people experience decreased blood pressure, increased sweating, a lower blood temperature or even convulsions.

It is necessary to emphasize that the side effects depend on the person, the dosage and various interactions with other active substances (for example, alcohol or drugs).

What are the withdrawal symptoms of Phenibut?

It is necessary to mention that there are no clinically prepared treatments or explanations about the Phenibut withdrawal symptoms. However, users mostly report these symptoms: hallucinations, sleeping disorders, muscle aches, sweating, nausea, panic attacks, depression, decreased appetite, mood changes, dizziness, lowered body temperature, lack of motivation or other previously mentioned side effects but more frequently and intensely. Those who already have Phenibut addiction also relieve such symptoms as denying or hiding their dependence. According to research made in 2013, withdrawal symptoms begin about 3 or 4 hours after taking Phenibut and lasts up to 2 weeks.

People experiencing withdrawal symptoms often try to raise their dosage due to alleviation of side effects. However, the relief will not continue not for a long time, and after that, the side effects get worse.

What can help to prevent side effects and reduce withdrawal symptoms?

Firstly, to prevent side effects it is undoubtedly important to follow the rules of dosage. Start from the smallest dosages (for instance, 250 mg twice a day) to find out what suits you. We also highly recommend taking breaks from using (avoid raising your dosage more than 4g a week). If you have decided to end with Phenibut, do not try suddenly stopping - that may provoke other negative symptoms. Self-control has to be the main participant.

But if you are already facing withdrawal symptoms, be patient. Apply yourself, try to slowly decrease your dosage and start taking longer breaks. Small steps are better than surrender. Another lifebuoy could be other medication, such as magnesium, melatonin and others. And lastly, avoid stress, because stressful situations worsens withdrawal symptoms. Here you may find some useful advice that could help you fight withdrawal. If you have not done it yet, become a part of the r/quittingphenibut community, where you will be able to discuss and share your feelings with associates.