How Cosmonauts Stay Relaxed and Focused

Scientific studies and anecdotal reports reveal that a modified brain chemical known as phenibut can safely help treat anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other ailments.

Around six months ago, a friend sent me a bottle of a new sleep and relaxation formula to try. I found the formula to be unusually effective, although I wasn’t familiar with one of the ingredients, which was listed as “pheny-GABA.”

When I looked up pheny-GABA on the internet, I discovered that this was the chemical name for a drug that I was actually already familiar with, known as “phenibut,” which is a chemical analog of the neurotransmitter (brain chemical) known as “GABA,” which tends to have relaxing or sedating effects on the brain.

I was surprised by this, because I had tried phenibut a few years earlier, and didn’t experience this kind of efficacy from it. Maybe, when I tried it years ago, I didn’t do enough of it, or maybe the quality of the product was inferior, but, for whatever reason, I didn’t get nearly the kind of dramatic effects that I’ve got from the batch that my friend sent me.

Overall, I find that phenibut substantially reduces my social anxiety, has potent antidepressant properties, helps me to sleep much better, and it significantly improves my cognitive and sexual performance. 

It also appears to have revitalizing and rejuvenating effects, possibly by increasing growth hormone levels, and it seems to improve skin and muscle tone, as well as general health and overall well-being.

The only side-effects that I’ve experienced from phenibut have been some transient anxiety at times, and a bit of nausea on occasions where I took too much. If I do it too often, then the effects become less sedating and more stimulating.

It’s pretty hard to abuse phenibut, as it doesn’t get you high or make you feel terribly euphoric, and taking more of it doesn’t make you feel any better. 

While some people have compared it’s primary effects to that of a light dose of GHB or MDMA, it’s really just an effective anti-anxiety, antidepressant medication, with few side-effects and remarkable health benefits.

The effects of phenibut simultaneously combine mild-to-moderate sedation with mild-to-moderate stimulation, allowing one to feel physically relaxed and mentally focused at the same time.

Not long after I discovered the wonders of phenibut, and began using it regularly every day, I started to become a bit concerned about my frequent phenibut use when I  discovered a number of reports, on a variety of internet forums, about the dangers of phenibut addiction and the frightening withdrawals that can sometimes occur from using it too frequently, for too long.

Some people likened phenibut withdrawals to being similar to GHB or benzodiazepine withdrawals, which can be pretty severe, and carry the dangerous risk of seizures.

It’s true that phenibut is best used occasionally, and for most people, a good guideline is not to take more than 2 or 3 grams of phenibut per week.

Almost everyone who regularly uses phenibut agrees that it shouldn’t be used continuously for long periods of time, because tolerance builds quickly, and anxiety-like side-effects can increase. 

Some of the recommended schedules that regular phenibut users suggest are 3 days on, and three days off; or two weeks on, and two weeks off. Personally, I’ve found that two one gram servings per week are about right for me.

However, I also suspect that some of the horror stories about phenibut withdrawals might have been a bit exaggerated, or that they vary significantly from person to person.

To help get myself through an emotionally difficult period of my life, I personally used phenibut regularly, for significantly longer than is generally recommended, without any serious problems when I stopped.

The only “withdrawals” that I noticed, after almost 3 months of daily use, were pretty minor. I hesitate to even call them withdrawals, because, for the most part, I felt great, and everyone told me that I looked great.

After stopping my daily phenibut use without any problem, I experienced mildly stimulating effects, strong upbeat emotions, excessive horniness, abundant erections, and forceful orgasms, with a little anxiety and some difficulty sleeping, which lasted for around 5 days.

I’ve read several reports by other people who have had similar anti-climatic “withdrawals” after excessively using phenibut, and it seems to me that the severe “withdrawals” from phenibut that I initially read about may not have been representative of most people’s experience.

While I don’t doubt that some people may experience genuinely difficult, and possibly dangerous, episodes from using phenibut too often, the so-called “withdrawals” that I experienced seemed actually more like what I would describe as an “afterglow.”

Although most people aren’t aware of phenibut, it’s not new, and it has a long track record of safety and efficiency. Phenibut was discovered and put into clinical practice in Russia in the 1960s, and it is mandated standard equipment in every Russian cosmonaut’s medical kit. 

Phenibut was chosen for the cosmonauts because, unlike conventional tranquilizers for stress and anxiety (such as valium or ativan, which can make people drowsy), phenibut lowers stress levels without adversely affecting one’s performance.

In fact, many people describe phenibut’s effects as being like a mixture of a tranquilizer, such as diazepam (valium), and a nootropic (cognitive enhancer), like hydergine or piracetam.

Phenibut is a very slight chemical modification of the neurotransmitter GABA. Chemists add what’s called a “pheny” ring to the GABA molecule--which allows it to easy cross the blood-brain barrier (unlike plain, unaltered GABA supplements).

The drug binds to what are called the “GABA-B receptors” in the brain, and in high concentrations, possibly to the “GABA-A receptors” as well. This mimics the relaxing effects of GABA, and it also excites the dopamine receptors, which has a stimulating effect.

People seem to react differently to phenibut, and some people need to experiment with it for awhile, before they can figure out how it works best for them.

It’s often recommended that one doesn’t drink alcohol with phenibut, but it may be more advisable to simply drink less alcohol with it, as many people report that they enjoy synergistically blending the two. 

I never tried this, as I rarely drink alcohol, but I would suggest extreme caution if one does, as from what I’ve read phenibut can fully triple the strength of the alcohol that one drinks. In other words, one drink can be equal to three on phenibut.

Some body builders use phenibut because it is thought to increase growth hormone and testosterone levels, due to it’s chemical similarity to other drugs that are known to do this, as well as from the growing number of anecdotal reports that it helps people to build muscle mass and improve sexual performance.

After I started using phenibut regularly I noticed that my muscles were getting firmer and stronger, without any additional exercise, and this was a totally unexpected benefit. I could even see the muscles in my face become firmer.

Therapeutically, phenibut is widely used in Russia to relieve tension and anxiety, as well as to treat insomnia, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, stuttering, and other ailments.

Although phenibut is a prescription medication in Russia, it’s sold over the counter in the United States. Almost every health food store carries it, and it’s even stocked in my local supermarket.

However, hands down, the very best, purest, and least expensive source of quality phenibut that I know of comes from LiftMode. You can find their phenibut products here: 


To learn more about phenibut see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11830761

The information in this column is provided for informational and educational purposes only.

If you enjoy my column, and want to learn more about psychedelic and cannabis culture, “like” my Facebook page:


and follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/DavidJayBrown

Donald Shaw October 22, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Alpha Brain from Onnit Labs (onnit.com) is a nootropic forumula I've been using. It has helped increase my ability to concentrate and has elevated my mood in general. Best way to describe it is that it has a subtle yet remarkable effect in improving brain function overall. "10less" will get you a discount on any Alpha Brain order from their website (code should work on their other supplements too). Onnit offers a money-back guarantee so give it a try if you're curious. Cheers.
Aaron November 08, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Daily phenibut user here. I have to agree with most of this article. I was initially hesitant to order any, after hearing nightmare stories of addiction and withdrawal. Not long after starting phenibut, I went from a weekly user to daily. I simply found that the positives far outweigh the negatives. I am in a position now, where I feel greater access to all of my intellectual, spiritual, and creative power in a way that I didn't know was possible for me. The big question is, for how long? I know I can't use phenibut forever, and I'm currently tapering my dosage to bring it down to an acceptable level(right now I'm at about ten grams a day. watch out for tolerance!). Could phenibut be a long term solution, as an antidepressant? All of the things that were keeping me sick, keeping me depressed, and keeping me from living up to my true potential are gone now and I'm happy. Is this sustainable?
David Jay Brown November 08, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Thank you for your important question, Aaron. I emailed your question to someone who is more knowledgeable about phenibut than me. Here is his reply (in two parts): "Thanks for this email! This is a really good question. To be honest, my best advice is for Aaron to consult with his physician or trusted healthcare provider. In Russia, Phenibut is used on a long term basis under doctor supervision without serious problems. However, the typical dose is usually 1 gram or less per day. 10 grams of Phenibut daily is a serious amount for the liver to metabolize and I think Aaron is taking a wise choice to taper down to more modest levels. To my awareness, There are no English language published reports of physical Phenibut toxicity in the academic literature..."
David Jay Brown November 08, 2012 at 09:28 PM
"However there is one published letter that discusses anxiety and sleeplessness characteristic of Phenibut withdrawal after 2 weeks of daily use at 1 gram per day. A few options that might help Aaron in decreasing his Phenibut use are L-Theanine, Gotu Kola, Magnolia Bark Extract, Baicalin, 5-HTP, Kava, Pasionflower or Valerian. Afobazole, clonidine or propranolol might also help (again, with doctors guidance). Also I have seen this post regarding long term high dose use and liver health: ferinox 01-04-2011, 20:12 It's reported on a ton of Russian sites selling it. Russia actually uses it as a medication so they have more studies on it over there. http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&langpair=ru|en&u=http://www.e-apteka.ru/doc/Vidal_docs/drug_info_837000000.asp You can find similar warnings on many sites. That sites claims 7-14 g daily is a high dose."
David Jay Brown April 27, 2013 at 03:52 AM
Check out my new ebook about phenibut: Phenibut: A Scientific Guide to the Health Benefits and Precautions Available on Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Phenibut-Scientific-Benefits-Precautions-ebook/dp/B00CIZY542/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366956282&sr=1-2&keywords=phenibut


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