Phenibut is a chemical that acts similar to the neurotransmitter, gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). It has been used since the 1960s in Russia for the treatment of a variety of disorders, but it has yet to be approved for medical use in the United States. More research is needed to gain a better understanding of the effects and side effects of phenibut.
When taken as a supplement, phenibut is believed to help treat:
- Sleep problems
- Stress and tension
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Irregular heartbeat
Phenibut is also believed to promote memory, learning, and cognitive abilities. In general, however, there is insufficient evidence to scientifically support the use of phenibut for effectively treating the above conditions.
Likewise, no research has been done on phenibut use in humans to gain an understanding of the safety of the substance. Studies of phenibut consumed by animals indicate that it can have a calming effect on people who struggle with anxiety, but its medicinal use in humans has yet to be proven.
Mixing Phenibut With Other Drugs
In addition to being consumed for medicinal purposes, phenibut is used recreationally. People report taking phenibut for the sense of euphoria it can produce when taken in high enough dosages. Phenibut may enhance the effects felt from other substances, such as alcohol.
People taking phenibut for recreational purposes often take it for the positive feelings it can induce. The feelings of happiness and euphoria many people experience after taking phenibut have earned it the nickname of the “happy drug.”
It doesn’t come without risks, however, as negative side effects, tolerance, and dependence are still possible. Many people report experiencing stomach cramps, nausea, and fatigue after taking phenibut, and these effects are exacerbated when it is mixed with other drugs.
The Combination of Phenibut and Kratom
Kratom, a tropical tree that originated in Southeast Asia, has leaves that can produce psychotropic effects. It is sometimes used as an herbal remedy in place of medical treatments for controlling opiate withdrawal symptoms. Similar to phenibut, however, little scientific research exists to support the efficacy or safety of using kratom.
Kratom is known to generate effects that are similar to those produced by opioids and stimulants. Feelings of sedation, pleasure, and reduced pain can be experienced when people consume large enough quantities of the plant. When smaller amounts of the plant are taken, however, people are more likely to experience an increase in energy, alertness, and feelings of being social.
People may combine phenibut and kratom to alleviate pain and opiate withdrawal syndrome. Recreationally, the combination of the two drugs can cause a very strong high. The mixture is thought to produce a more natural state of euphoria.
The side effects of kratom are similar to those of phenibut and should be taken into consideration if phenibut and kratom are mixed together. Kratom’s side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 44 deaths were associated with kratom use in 2017. Most of these deaths were related to kratom mixed with other drugs, such as opioids, benzodiazepines, alcohol, and over-the-counter medications.
Because relatively little is known about kratom, extra caution should be taken when mixing kratom and phenibut. Kratom and phenibut can both cause tolerance and dependence, followed by withdrawal symptoms. Specific treatment options have not been developed for either substance yet, though behavioral therapy has proven to be helpful.
Is There a Safe Amount of Phenibut?
Despite its lack of scientific backing, people around the world purchase phenibut online without a prescription. They often purchase it in hopes of calming anxiety and stress-related disorders, but without a doctor’s supervision, safe dosages cannot be guaranteed. Like any drug, the impact of phenibut will be experienced differently by each individual depending on various factors, such as age, weight, body composition, metabolism, and use of any other drugs and medications.
One of the greatest risks of consuming phenibut is that tolerance develops quickly. Dosages must be increased to achieve the same effects of cognitive calm and clarity over time.
Many people are unaware, however, of the potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms they could face when they decide to stop taking phenibut. These include:
- Insomnia and poor sleep
- Rapid and/or irregular heartbeat
- Agitation and irritability
- Reduced appetite
- Cognitive deficits
- Depersonalization (feeling unlike your normal self)
- Muscle tension
- Nausea and vomiting
In general, the longer you have been taking phenibut, the greater your chances are of experiencing a combination of the above withdrawal symptoms. Likewise, the amount of phenibut you have been consuming will also affect your risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms.
As phenibut leaves your system, your brain must neurologically adjust to that GABA-like chemical no longer being present. In general, tapering off phenibut is recommended over quitting cold turkey. Tapering off the drug over a few weeks or months, depending on your level of use, gives your brain time to gradually adjust to the chemical leaving your system, and you will be less likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to phenibut, too little is known about the drug to label it safe for consumption on its own or when mixed with other drugs. It has grown widely in popularity due to its affordability, easy access, and promises of producing a good mood. Substance abuse professionals warn, however, against the tendency to self-medicate symptoms of anxiety and depression with phenibut rather than seeking proper mental health care. More research needs to be conducted on the lasting impacts of phenibut when taken medicinally and when mixed with other drugs.