Is Phenibut Legal? | What You MUST Know
Is Phenibut legal?
If that question has come to mind, then you’re in the perfect place.
Maybe you’ve been heard about the amazing effects of Phenibut on social anxiety, the great calming benefits, and positive sleep effects.
But you’re not sure if you can legally buy it, as it can be really difficult to sort through all the stuff out there and come to a clear answer.
Luckily, that’s what we’re here for. We’ve sifted through the abundance of online materials and we have created a one-stop-shop for you to make an informed decision about Phenibut.
Here, we are providing you with a clear, detailed guide for the legality of Phenibut and what you can expect from using it. This article will answer the following questions:
- What is Phenibut?
- What are Phenibut side effects?
- Is Phenibut dangerous? Is Phenibut safe?
- Is Phenibut legal in the USA?
- Is Phenibut legal elsewhere?
These questions and many more will be answered below. Everything you need to know about Phenibut legality, safety, and the insane benefits of this “social” nootropic.
Table of Contents
I’m not a doctor or lawyer and this is not medical or legal advice. This guide is strictly for entertainment purposes only. Always consult a medical professional before consuming any nootropic and always abide by the laws of your country. Please read my disclaimer page, too.
What is Phenibut?
So, you’ve heard all this great stuff about it… but what is Phenibut?
Phenibut was originally developed in 1963 in the Soviet Union . Initially, it started as an experimental drug tested in the mental health facilities in Russia. There are reports that, a few years later, Russian astronauts were given Phenibut as a way of battling anxiety and insomnia during their space missions.
Interestingly, at the time, the secondary effects such as increased cognitive functions and concentration were not expected, but they were a very welcome side-effect.
Biology of Phenibut
Phenibut (also referred to as B-phenyl-y-aminobutyric acid and phenyl-GABA in more scientific terms) is a synthetic (or chemically designed) form of GABA.
GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) is a naturally occurring amino acid that is produced in the brain and works throughout the nervous system. It is called an inhibitory neurotransmitter due to its ability to block brain signals and to decrease the nervous system’s activity. GABA works by attaching to GABA receptors, which leads to a reduction of feelings of stress and anxiety.
What does that mean? Well, if you think of neurons as a switch that sends electrical signals, GABA’s role is to “turn off” the switch. They basically stop the neurons from sending signals.
In other words, it acts as a central nervous system depressant. That doesn’t mean it causes you to feel depressed (quite the opposite). It means that it depresses or slows down how some neurons work.
Phenibut is chemically similar to GABA, and that allows it to attach to some of the same receptors that GABA does . That also means that it has some of the same effects: it works to decrease signals from neurons.
Because it reduces the signals from neurons, Phenibut has a relaxing effect on the nervous system, helping to calm you down. Its calming effects characterize it as a central nervous system depressant.
Because of these effects, Phenibut is used in several countries as an anxiolytic, which means as a medication to treat anxiety. Research suggests that it also can also be useful in treating a number of other conditions [1, 2].
Here is a shortlist of its amazing effects:
- Alleviate alcohol cravings and can help as a treatment for alcohol withdrawal
- Reduce fatigue
- Improve irregular heartbeat
- Enhance mood by increasing the levels of the hormone Dopamine
- Alleviate anxiety or feel more relaxed during challenging social situations
- Post-workout recovery booster
- Possible increase in human growth hormone and muscle responsiveness to vigorous exercise
- Insomnia management
- Reduced nervousness in social settings
- Experience greater control over one’s feelings and thoughts
- Reduced negativity
- Managing the symptoms of depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
The substance has even coined the name as a “smart drug” and is often sold as a nootropic  or as a sleep aid . What this means is that individuals may seek to use Phenibut for its memory, concentration, and learning-enhancing functions — which was a secondary effect that was reported by the Russian astronauts who were among the first to use it.
Now, many people use it recreationally . Users report that it can help with:
- Getting a full, deep sleep
- Reducing social anxiety
- Boosting mood
- Creating feelings of euphoria sometimes called a “high”
- Boosting sex drive and libido
Length of effects
Today, Phenibut is most commonly ingested in the form of pills or as crystals or powder.
It can also be used intravenously, although this is very rare. Once in the blood, its half-life is just over 5 hours. This means that it takes about 5 hours for your body to metabolize or eliminate half of the dose you take.
Its long half-life is one of the reasons that its effects last so long, as it can last up to 24 hours after consumption .
Is Phenibut Legal? | What You MUST Know
Phenibut is legal to buy and possess in virtually all countries in the world.
It is approved for medical use in many former USSR countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Latvia . In these countries, it is used as an anxiety medication, a sleep aid, or for a number of other uses, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and motion sickness as well as for stuttering and tics among other conditions.
The only countries where it is a controlled substance or prohibited are Hungary, Lithuania, and Australia.
If you are in Hungary, Lithuania, or Australia and you’re looking to purchase Phenibut, do a little extra research to find out under what conditions it can be purchased and used.
Phenibut and the FDA
The Food and Drug Administration reviews and approves drugs for particular uses in the United States.
The FDA has not approved Phenibut for any uses, including as a medical treatment. That means it is not licensed to be sold as a pharmaceutical drug .
However, it is also not on the list of controlled substances, which means that you can purchase it legally online .
There are zero legalities prohibiting the sale of Phenibut online in the United States.
Phenibut Legality in the USA
Is Phenibut legal in the USA? The short answer is, “yes” it is.
You can legally purchase, buy, and sell Phenibut in the United States.
The longer answer is that, while it is legal, it has not been approved for use as a drug or a prescription medication. That means that it cannot be sold as a prescription medication, so you won’t find it in the pharmacy or sold as a treatment. It also means that doctors cannot prescribe it to you as a medication.
Since Phenibut also does not meet the definition of a dietary ingredient, dietary supplements cannot list Phenibut as a dietary ingredient. To do so is considered misbranding by the FDA .
So, yes, it’s completely legal to purchase and use Phenibut. There’s no law against that.
It’s just that there are laws about what you can call it and what you can tell people that it does. You can’t call it medication or a dietary ingredient. And you can’t brand it to tell people that it’s a dietary ingredient in the US.
Phenibut Legality in Canada
Like in the US, Phenibut is legal to buy and use in Canada, but you have to be careful with how much you purchase.
Basically, while there are no laws preventing its use or possession, there are rules about its distribution. You’re not allowed to be a “commercial importer” without a license. In practice, that means you can’t order more than a 90-day supply. If you have more than a 90-day supply, the government starts to think you may be distributing it.
Even if you order more than a 90 day supply, it’s not like you go to jail. They just don’t let your order pass through customs and into the country. So you just don’t get the product.
Avoiding that problem is easy: as long as you keep your order under a 90 day supply, you should be good to go. That means, for 250 mg capsules, you want to buy less than 180 capsules at a time.
Phenibut Legality in Europe
Europe is a large region and each country has its own rules.
Generally, it continues to be legal in most European countries, although there has been some talk of them changing that because of the possibility that people can develop a dependence on Phenibut. However, at the moment it is legal in most countries.
Here are the rules for a couple of countries:
- Russia: It’s approved for medical use with a prescription.
- Belarus: It’s approved for medical use with a prescription.
- Latvia: It’s approved for medical use with a prescription.
- Kazakhstan: It’s approved for medical use with a prescription.
- Ukraine: It’s approved for medical use with a prescription.
- United Kingdom: It’s illegal to sell or supply it, but it’s legal for personal use as long as you buy it from a company that operates in a country where it can be legally sold (like the US).
- Lithuania: It has been on a list of banned psychoactive substances since November 2018.
- Hungary: It has been on a list of banned psychoactive substances since December 2019.
Basically, in virtually all countries outside of Latvia and Hungary, it’s legal to purchase and use Phenibut as a nutritional or “natural” supplement.
However, it’s generally not permitted to be sold as a prescription medication.
Buy Phenibut Online | 2020 Guide
As Phenibut is legal all around the world, you may be curious where to order this miracle nootropic from.
That’s easy! There’s a few places that offer USA and worldwide shipping.
My top recommendation for individuals buying Phenibut online is:
This is the premier Phenibut vendor in the world. These guys offer a wide range of Phenibut products, including HCL, FAA, and more.
The only other Phenibut vendor that ships all around the world is Absorb Your Health. These guys also create solid products, but LiftMode simply has more options.
Phenibut Side Effects and Safety
First off, Phenibut is widely considered safe to use, and it has been since the 1960s safely in several countries as medical treatments .
As long as you are using Phenibut as it was intended and is not taking too much of it at once, the vast majority of people will not experience any problems with Phenibut.
That said, there are a couple of things that you should be aware of .
- Some users experience Phenibut side effects and allergies
- Although no one has ever died from taking too much of it, users can experience negative effects from overdosing.
- There can be withdrawal effects if you take it too often.
Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
Side Effects and Allergies
All substances can have adverse effects from side effects or allergies.
Typically, Phenibut side effects occur when the levels of the neurotransmitter jump around in the bloodstream.
This is the reason why medical professionals provide clear instructions about the dosage and duration of medication usage to their patients. It’s also why all users should start with a relatively low dose.
Possible Phenibut side effects include:
It is also possible for users to be allergic to Phenibut. If you experience allergic reactions, like itching, swelling, or a rash, see a medical professional.
To use Phenibut safely, all “test subjects” should make sure that they start with a low dose and that they see a doctor if they experience any side effects.
Also, since Phenibut has similar nervous system depressant effects as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and anticonvulsant medications, it should not be used at the same time as these.
It is also possible to take too high a dose of Phenibut and this can have negative effects.
Overdose effects include :
- Severe drowsiness
- Lowered blood pressure
- Impairment of the kidneys
- And fatty liver degeneration
- Sensations of a hangover
Guidelines generally say that a person should not take more than 1 gram of Phenibut at a time and that Phenibut use over the day should not exceed 2 grams. If individuals stay below this, they should be safe.
Withdrawal is experienced when a person drastically reduces or eliminates a drug that has been previously used for an extended period of time. Basically, because you’re taking Phenibut which is activating GABA receptors, your brain stops producing as much of its own GABA to balance it out.
Then, when you stop taking Phenibut, your brain is still not producing GABA, so then you have way less of it than you should. The result is some withdrawal effects.
With Phenibut, withdrawal can be experienced at different levels of severity, with higher withdrawal symptoms among those who have used Phenibut the longest . Personal characteristics such as genetics, diet, and lifestyle also appear to create variations of withdrawal experiences among users. Some of the withdrawal symptoms involve :
- Heightened anxiety
- Heightened irritability and anger
- Fatigue and sedation
- Muscle tensions and muscle aches
- Sensitivity to light
- Heath arrhythmia or increased heart rate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Psychosis 
- Decreased mental clarity or “Brain fog”
It’s easy to avoid building a tolerance to Phenibut and avoiding withdrawal symptoms: simply don’t take too much of it over a long time.
Try to use it two times a week or less, don’t take more than 2 grams a day, and cycle off for a month every once in a while. If you do those things, you should avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Is Phenibut Dangerous? | What You MUST Know
No, Phenibut is not dangerous if it is used correctly.
Phenibut is widely considered safe to use provided that it is used correctly and with the correct dosage.
However, to ensure that individuals are using Phenibut safely, it’s important to understand the side effects listed above, consequences of overdose, and that it can be addictive if used regularly.
If you follow the following guidelines, you’ll be fine:
- Don’t take more than 1 gram in one dose
- Don’t take more than 2 grams a day
- Don’t use it more than 2 times a week
- Don’t use it with alcohol, benzodiazepines, or anticonvulsant medications
- Don’t use it if you’re allergic to it
- Don’t use it if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, a child under 2 years of age, or you have issues with your liver.
- If “test subjects” follow those guidelines, they’ll be safe
The main thing is to not use too much Phenibut, and to not take the nootropic more than a couple times per week. If you can follow these two guidelines, you’ll be able to safely and legally use Phenibut for years to come.
Phenibut Legalities | Verdict
So, after all that…
Is Phenibut legal?
Yes! Well, we need to remember that laws differ from country to country. But yes, it’s legal to buy and use Phenibut in all but three countries in the world: Lithuania, Hungary, and Australia. It’s not legally sold as a prescription medication in most countries, but it’s completely legal to get as just a dietary substance.
Keep in mind that in some countries you’re not allowed to distribute it without a license.
That means that, for example, if you’re ordering it in Canada, you have to be careful about how much you order at a time. If you order too much, you won’t go to jail or anything, they just may confiscate your order or not let it through. To avoid this, simply order less than 180 capsules of 250 grams.
Okay, but is Phenibut safe?
While you do have to be careful, like with any substance, that you’re not allergic to it, and that you don’t take way too much of it or too often, most people will not experience any issues with Phenibut. Indeed, in several countries, it’s widely seen as a useful medication.
- Lapin I. (2001). Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and nootropic drug. CNS drug reviews, 7(4), 471–481. doi:10.1111/j.1527-3458.2001.tb00211.x
- Ahuja, T., Mgbako, O., Katzman, C., & Grossman, A. (2018). Phenibut (β-Phenyl-γ-aminobutyric Acid) Dependence and Management of Withdrawal: Emerging Nootropics of Abuse. Case reports in psychiatry, 2018. doi:10.1155/2018/9864285
- Högberg, L., Szabó, I., & Ruusa, J. (2013). Psychotic symptoms during Phenibut (beta-phenyl-gamma-aminobutyric acid) withdrawal. Journal of Substance Use, 18(4), 335-338.
- Owen, D. R., Wood, D. M., Archer, J. R., & Dargan, P. I. (2016). Phenibut (4‐amino‐3‐phenyl‐butyric acid): Availability, prevalence of use, desired effects and acute toxicity. Drug and alcohol review, 35(5), 591-596.
- Samokhvalov, A., Paton-Gay, C. L., Balchand, K., & Rehm J. (2013). Phenibut dependence. BMJ case reports. DOI: 10.1136/bcr-2012-008381 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3604470/
- FDA (2019). FDA Acts on Dietary Supplements Containing DMHA and Phenibut. https://www.fda.gov/food/cfsan-constituent-updates/fda-acts-dietary-supplements-containing-dmha-and-Phenibut
- Ozon Pharm (n.d.), Fenibut (PDF). [In Russian]. https://web.archive.org/web/20170916094855/http://www.ozonpharm.ru/upload/iblock/608/nmntxzabdzjhlu%20-%20fbdoqpbtdj.ofzsxp%20tkbgeygfzj.pdf
- Propensities for Physical Dependance and Addiction. Current Psychiatry Reports. 21(4). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30852710/