I write this post not because I think you will need to use it, but in the hopes that you won’t need to use it. And in case you do, it’ll be here.
In my firsthand experience, phenibut is one of the best (read: strongest) non-controlled anxiety reducers that you can get. I haven’t used any of the prescription pharmaceutical varieties. In my opinion, it can also be relatively safe to use, provided that it is used correctly. Therefore, phenibut is not for everyone.
Lastly: When in doubt, always consult a medical professional. tl;dr of our disclaimer — This article is the author’s non-professional opinion provided solely for information and entertainment purposes and is not a substitute for any professional advice, nor is it a suggestion for you to act on.
- 1 Responsible Use To Prevent Phenibut withdrawal
- 2 WARNING: Why you shouldn’t stop Phenibut cold turkey
- 3 How does phenibut withdrawal occur?
- 4 What if I have Phenibut withdrawal or Dependence?
- 5 How to avoid phenibut withdrawal
- 6 Conclusion
Responsible Use To Prevent Phenibut withdrawal
The strength of phenibut requires some responsibility and diligence in its use. Phenibut is not a drug to be abused — no drug is. If you cannot use it responsibly or correctly, do not use it at all.
- Try l-theanine instead, it’s nowhere near as powerful, but it’s a lot harder to harm yourself with it.
- Ashwagandha confers some anxiolytic effects too.
Phenibut’s actions on the GABA receptors as an agonist in the brain will eventually and necessarily cause the receptors to downregulate 1 , that is, become less responsive to GABA, the natural inhibitory neurotransmitter.
This is because your brain wants to maintain homeostasis, a natural balance of receptors and neurotransmitters. The implications of upsetting this balance in the case of phenibut are negative withdrawal effects: an underlying sense of anxiety and dread, and reduced quality of sleep. 2
In my experience, anything considered close to a withdrawal has been a mild “afterglow” effect for me. Based on others’ reports, the withdrawal effects above of anxiety, dread and reduced sleep quality can be avoided if you dose and cycle with care.
Many of the issues with phenibut come from people who started taking way more than they should have and more often than they should have. For this, I must say that phenibut isn’t for everyone.
WARNING: Why you shouldn’t stop Phenibut cold turkey
This is one of the worst withdrawal reports I’ve seen from anyone who has taken phenibut:
7 days on 4 grams/day later I quickly realised I’d become dependant and decided to go cold turkey. 3 days into withdrawal with literally no sleep, not being able to eat anything, severe depression/serious contemplation of suicide, loud tinnitus, pissing/****ting(barely anything) every 30 minutes and overall mild body pain I decided I’d have to taper off. Tapering was still difficult but it prevented the serious suicidal thoughts which I really needed. I eventually snapped out of it yesterday, which was about 10 days after the initial cessation.
It came from reddit, and I see it pasted in other forums as an example of phenibut misuse, but I can’t seem to find the original source.
Notice a few things:
- They took a very high total dosage (4 grams)
- They quit cold turkey instead of tapering off
In any case, this was preventable.
How does phenibut withdrawal occur?
If someone does not cycle and dose their phenibut use judiciously, the following may occur:
- You will not respond to phenibut as much as when you first started taking it, requiring more phenibut to feel the same effect the next time you dose
- Taking more phenibut downregulates GABA receptors even more
- Receptor downregulation means you will need to take more to feel “normal,” becoming dependent
Thus, if receptor downregulation occurs with phenibut, withdrawal can occur if usage is halted cold turkey. So what should you do if you find yourself in this precarious position?
What if I have Phenibut withdrawal or Dependence?
I must state that I have never really suffered phenibut withdrawal or dependence, and that if you are in this position that you should read up as much as you can. I can only tell my side and point you in the right direction.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and to illustrate that, I’ll explain how I use phenibut.
I do enjoy phenibut for social outings, but I do not take it every day. In fact, I have gone months in between brief stints of taking it, with the longest streaks of me taking it being only 4 days at most, less than 1 gram total in the span of a day because I am sensitive to most substances.
If you do not take phenibut daily, you may not find the need to taper off. With the way I use it, I find any “withdrawal” or side effects to be minimal or nonexistent at best.
Others who have more experience than me in taking phenibut and dealing with its withdrawals have come up with some ingenious ways to deal with it without quitting cold turkey and facing withdrawal.
How to taper off of phenibut to avoid withdrawals
Tapering off a substance is standard protocol with many drugs in order to avoid the nasty rebound effects of suddenly stopping the use of a substance. This is because it allows your brain receptors to gradually upregulate to normal function.
The following is one taper-off protocol that comes from Reddit’s /r/phenibut by user “bodybuilderfx,” who created this protocol for his own usage.
Of course in order to taper, you must have enough phenibut (the hair of the dog) on hand. Figure out how many grams of bulk phenibut you might need. You don’t want to run out and involuntarily cold-turkey yourself.
Example: Let’s say you’re stuck taking 2 grams of phenibut divided into multiple doses through the day in order to feel “normal,” but you want to taper off. Yes, you should probably not be taking 2 grams of phenibut; this is for the sake of the example.
bodybuilderfx’s protocol (see the original thread here) suggests consolidating the dose into a single one then taking the dose at the exact same time every day:
- Monday: 2000 mg
- Tuesday: 2000 mg
- Wednesday: 1900 mg
- Thursday: 1900 mg
- Friday: 1800 mg
- Saturday 1800 mg
Repeat, subtracting 100 mg every two days.
This continues until you get down to around 250mg. From there I would reduce by 50mg per day. Once you get to 50mg try get it down to around 25 and 10 and then just discontinue use.
bodybuilderfx also noted that if you are taking more than 2 grams, you should reduce your dosage to 2 grams before beginning to taper off.
In theory, this tapering protocol should make the potential for any withdrawal effects more manageable, if not practically unnoticed.
Other means of mitigating withdrawal effects
In addition to tapering off, I have seen suggestions to use the following to help ease the transition off of phenibut:
- L-theanine (great idea in my opinion)
- Alcohol (possible as a GABAergic; be careful)
- Cannabis (provided that it’s legal in your jurisdiction)
How to avoid phenibut withdrawal
If you are going to take phenibut because you feel that it will help you in some way, please read as much as you can on the subject. Consult with Reddit’s /r/nootropics community to start with as they are very knowledgeable.
First and foremost, pay attention to how much you are dosing, not just how you “feel.”
- Just because you don’t “feel” it doesn’t mean it isn’t doing its thing.
- According to SuppVersity, the “nootropic” effects of phenibut can begin at a dose as low as 75 milligrams. 3
- According to the same piece, single doses between 125 and 500 mg can help with relaxation and sleep.
- The duration of phenibut seems to be 4 to 10 hours according to Erowid 4 , and this can last longer with redosing.
If you don’t “feel” your phenibut at a small dosage, take it on an empty stomach with a glass of water.
If you start feeling the need to take over a gram or two in a day because you didn’t cycle and started building a tolerance, consider tapering off while you are ahead.
Second, consider how much you feel you need to use phenibut.
- Take only the smallest effective dose for you.
- Take it sparingly.
- Do not use it for more than 3 or 4 days in a row
- Ideally you would use phenibut as infrequently as possible
Phenibut, like all drugs, should be used responsibly.
Just because it is not regulated and can be bought as easily as any supplement does not mean it shouldn’t be respected like any other drug. Respect it, learn about it, and it will respect you in kind.
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