Phenibut (beta-phenyl-gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a derivative of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) that, unlike GABA, can easily pass through the blood-brain barrier and bind to the GABA receptors in the brain. While Phenibut is sold over the counter as a dietary supplement in the U.S., in Russia it is sold only as a prescription drug to treat anxiety and depression and to improve sleep.
The benefits of Phenibut include stress relief, improved mental function, elevated mood, and improved sleep quality. Phenibut mimics GABA that is endogenously produced (produced within the body), binding to GABA-B receptors in the brain and to some extent GABA-A receptors. Phenibut brings on a sense of relaxation and improves cognitive ability. Many users have found that this relaxing effect of Phenibut makes it easier to fall asleep, and that their quality if sleep is improved as well. Phenibut also has the ability to stimulate dopamine receptors which may contribute to its mood boosting benefits.
Phenibut supposedly has a half-life of about 5 hours, but how long its effects last seem to be very dependent on the user. Some users find the effects of Phenibut to be short-lasting while others still experience the effects of Phenibut as long 24 hours after taking a dose. One downside of Phenibut is that tolerance is common and appears to develop fairly quickly. To maintain effectiveness, Phenibut should be used only on occasion or cycled. Most users that cycle Phenibut will use the drug for 2 weeks and then take at least two weeks off before resuming use.
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2. Zyablitseva EA, & Pavlova IV. (2010). Effects of the GABA receptor agonist phenibut on spike activity and interactions between neocortex and hippocampus neurons in emotionally negative situations. Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology. 40(9), 1003-11.
3. Zyablitseva EA, & Pavlova IV. (2008). Effects of the GABA receptor agonist phenibut on behavior and respiration in rabbits in emotionally negative situations. Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology. 38(6), 555-62.
4. Lapin I. (2001). Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and nootropic drug. CNS Drug Reviews. 7(4), 471-81.
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