Phenibut HCL vs. FAA | What’s the Difference?

You have heard about the amazing benefits of Phenibut, but you might be confused about:

Phenibut HCL vs. FAA

What’s the difference? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Phenibut has taken the world by storm. It was discovered in Russia decades ago when it was first given to astronauts to calm them down and deal with insomnia in space. But recently, it’s also made an entrance into the recreational party scene for its ability to reduce social anxiety and the feelings of euphoria.

The cognitive enhancements aren’t bad either!

But some people get confused by the two different types of Phenibut: HCL and FAA. They each are sold differently, are taken differently, have different dosing recommendations, and even are priced differently.

P.S: Click here to order Phenibut from the top vendor online!

Because there’s such a big difference between them, we wanted to provide a full guide explaining the differences between Phenibut FAA vs. HCL and give you a sense of which might be the best option.

Let’s get to it.

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?

To understand the difference between Phenibut HCL vs. FAA, we first have to know a bit about Phenibut itself.

Phenibut is a neuropsychotropic drug, which means it has an effect on your psychological state. Basically, it can improve how a person thinks and feels [1]. The way it does that is through its chemical structure. Since Phenibut is chemically very similar to GABA [2], a neurotransmitter that is common throughout the nervous system, Phenibut has some of the same effects that GABA does [3].

GABA is known to be the body’s inhibitory neurotransmitter. It’s basically the transmitter that turns neurons “off” when they aren’t needed anymore. It’s kind of like the guy that turns off the street lights when it’s day time again. Other neurotransmitters turn “on” the neuron when they are needed to send a signal, and then GABA turns them “off” when that signal is no longer needed.

Some of the signals that GABA turns “off” are the signals for stress. If you didn’t have GABA, your brain might be constantly thinking about everything that’s stressful in your life: what you have to do, whether you should tell that joke, etc. GABA helps turn off those signals so that they don’t become a burden. It’s also important for sleep because it tells your brain to relax and take a break.

Phenibut dosage binds to similar receptors as GABA and therefore has many of the same calming, inhibitory effects [1].

That’s why it’s sometimes likened to alcohol, which also has an inhibitory effect on the central nervous system.

Phenibut Effects

Great, so Phenibut dosage inhibits neurons and lowers some types of brain activity. But what do people experience when they buy Phenibut?

Well, users experience a range of effects. They report:

  • Reduced feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Less social anxiety and feeling more social
  • Better sleep [4]
  • cognitive enhancements and better focus
  • less “brain fog”
  • Boosted mood
  • feelings of euphoria

These effects have been found by a number of studies [5]. And actually, doctors in several countries, including Russia, Belarus, and Latvia, actually prescribe Phenibut for a number of conditions, including:

  • Alleviating alcohol cravings
  • As an aid for alcohol withdrawal and treating alcohol dependence
  • Reducing fatigue
  • Enhancing mood
  • As an anxiolytic to treat anxiety
  • To feel more relaxed in uncomfortable social situations;
  • As a way to recover after a workout
  • To manage insomnia
  • To experience greater control over feelings and thoughts
  • Managing the symptoms of depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Phenibut HCL powder

Phenibut Side Effects and Safety

Great, so it can have a ton of wonderful effects. But is it safe?

If you use it properly, yes. The majority of people tolerate Phenibut dosage really well [1].
But there are some risks if you use it improperly: if you take too much of it or take it too often. And like anything, there can be some side effects, although these are quite rare.

So let’s break it down.

Side Effects of Phenibut

Phenibut is prescribed as a drug in several countries, which means that we know quite a bit about its side effects and uses. The vast majority of Phenibut users do not report having any issues using Phenibut. And, those that do usually took too large of a dose.

What are the possible side effects of Phenibut? They include [2, 6]:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Sedation

Much more rarely, side effects can sometimes also include [6]:

  • Motor incoordination
  • Hangover-like symptoms
  • Loss of balance

Also, while it’s not technically a side effect, some individuals can experience allergic reactions, which is a response from their particular immune system reacting to the substance. Allergic reaction effects typically include a rash and itching [6]. Again, this is very rare but it can still occur.

How can an individual avoid side effects? Basically, they can just use their common sense. Ideally, get a prescription or choose a dose in combination with a physician or qualified healthcare provider. Remember to start with a small dose to see what the effects are and then build up from there. And don’t take it if you think you might be allergic.

Overdose Effects

Another issue is taking a dose that is too big. To be clear, no one has ever died from taking too much Phenibut; overdose of Phenibut is not associated with death [5]. There was even a case of a guy that took 20g in a day and he didn’t die [4].

Still, there can be some unpleasant effects from taking too much. The effects of taking too much Phenibut at one time can include [6]:

  • Severe drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Impairment of the kidneys
  • And fatty liver degeneration
  • and sometimes even psychosis [4]

How can you avoid overdosing? Simple, follow our dosage guide for Phenibut. The upper limits that most “test subjects” should consider are a maximum dose of 1g and a maximum daily intake of 2g. That should help you make sure you don’t take a dose that would lead to negative overdose effects.

Interaction Effects

Another thing to be aware of is how Phenibut could interact with other conditions or drugs.

For example, since Phenibut is a nervous system depressant (it slows your nervous system), it’s not a good idea to take it in combination with other substances that also depress the nervous system. So, for example, you shouldn’t take it with alcohol, benzodiazepines, anticonvulsant medications, and so on. Taking Phenibut with these substances could prolong or increase the effects of these drugs in a negative way.

It’s also not a great idea to take these if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding since some things can affect the fetus, and it’s not known if Phenibut has an effect. Similarly, children probably shouldn’t take it, and especially not young children.

And finally, give it a pass if you have trouble with your liver or if you have ulcers.

Phenibut Dependence

Because it has such a great effect and also makes people feel euphoric, there is the possibility that people use it too much and develop a dependence [3, 4].

Again, the vast majority of people aren’t going to get addicted to Phenibut. But you should be aware that, like many other substances (coffee, alcohol, etc), there is the possibility of addictive behaviors with Phenibut [7, 8].

Withdrawal effects can be very unpleasant, and can include:

  • Rebound anxiety
  • Anger
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations
  • Psychosis

Again, there are lots a person can do to make sure they don’t become dependent on Phenibut. Basically, don’t use too much, and certainly not every day. Twice or three times should be the maximum. And every once in a while, you should cycle off of it. And finally, the lower the doses, the less chance there is of developing a Phenibut dependence.

Phenibut Safety Guidelines

So, basically, to use Phenibut safely, one should just follow the following guidelines:

  • Start with a small dose so that you can see the effect and then scale up from there
  • Don’t take it if you think you might be allergic
  • Don’t take more than 1 g of Phenibut in a single dose
  • Don’t take more than 2 g of Phenibut in a day
  • Don’t use more than 2 to 3 times a week
  • Don’t use it with other depressants like alcohol, benzodiazepines, or anticonvulsants medications
  • Don’t use if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, a child, have issues with your liver or stomach, or have an addictive personality
  • Cycle off it once in a while

Do all of those things and you should only have the best experience.

Phenibut HCL | Beginner’s Guide

Okay, so maybe you know someone who wants to buy Phenibut. Which kind should they choose? Let’s get into the difference between Phenibut HCL and Phenibut FAA.

First, Phenibut HCL. It’s the most common of the two types.

-> What is it: Phenibut HCL is made up of Phenibut (which is made up of amino acids) and Hydrogen Chloride (HCl). Phenibut HCL has these molecules bound together and together they make an ionic salt.

The only reason being an “ionic salt” really matters to you is that it means it can be easily dissolved in liquids, like water. As you’ll see, dissolving Phenibut HCL in water is a popular way to take it. It also will look like crystals, so the “salt” kind of explains that. But don’t be confused; “salt” doesn’t mean the stuff you put on your french fries. In the chemistry sense, there are lots of different kinds of “salts”.

-> Price: You’ll also notice that Phenibut HCL is cheaper. It’s not exactly clear why that is; it seems to be that it’s because the concentration of Phenibut is a little less in its HCL form, so you have to buy a bit more of it. Still, users report that, even with the slightly higher dose needed from HCL for the same results (see below), the HCL does end up being a bit cheaper overall.

-> Dose: Because it has a bit lower concentration of Phenibut than the FAA does, the HCL doses need to be a little higher to feel the effect. Basically, whatever the HCL dose would be, you can use about ⅔ of that dose for the FAA type. Check out our dosage guide, but a typical starting dose for Phenibut HCL is:

  • 350mg to 500mg
  • split into 1 to 3 doses per day
  • 2-3 days a week, maximum
  • Take it at least an hour before food

Very beginners might prefer to start with a “microdose” of 50mg to start with.

Phenibut HCL

How to Take Phenibut HCL

There are a few main ways to take Phenibut HCL:

  1. Dissolve it in a drink. Water is common. Juice is also common because it takes away the bitter taste. Some people use an energy drink. Just measure out the dose and put it in the drink (the warmer, the better it dissolves). Then drink.
  2. Phenibut Capsules. These are very common. The capsules are usually pre-filled, so you would just swallow it.
    Phenibut HCL should not be dissolved under the tongue. It’s acidic, so it tastes really bad and is bad for your teeth.

Take at least an hour before eating. You want to have an empty stomach.

P.S: Learn more about how to take Phenibut.

Phenibut FAA | Beginner’s Guide

Phenibut HCL is far more popular than this form. The less common form is of Phenibut is FAA.

-> What is it: Phenibut FAA stands for “Phenibut free amino acid”. It means that It’s just straight amino acids, it’s not mixed with anything. This type usually comes as a Phenibut powder. It’s not acidic, like HCL, it’s neutral. That means it doesn’t dissolve as easily.

-> Price: You’ll also notice that Phenibut FAA is a bit more expensive.

-> Dose: You usually need less FAA than you would HCL because it’s more concentrated. Check out our dosage guide, but a typical starting dose for Phenibut FAA is:

  • 250mg to 350mg
  • split into 1 to 3 doses per day
  • 2-3 days a week, maximum
  • Take it at least an hour before food

Again, for very beginners, users report benefits starting with a “microdose” of 50mg.

How to Take Phenibut FAA

Nothing too complex here…

  1. Phenibut FAA is commonly taken sublingually. That means placing it under the tongue and letting it be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. This method may be faster acting, but the strong bitter taste turns a lot of people off of it.
  2. Ingested. Some people do try to dissolve it in a drink, but it’s very slow to dissolve, so this isn’t ideal. Other users report even putting it in dissolvable paper and swallowing it. You can also find Phenibut capsules that work the same way.

Again, one should take it at least an hour before eating. It’s best to have an empty stomach.

Phenibut HCL vs. FAA

What are the similarities and differences between them? We’ve made a list for easy reference.


Here are the similarities between Phenibut HCL and Phenibut FAA:

  • Have the same effect on the body
  • Both have Phenibut as the main active ingredient
  • The “Phenibut” is the same; it’s chemically identical
  • They should both be taken on an empty stomach
  • Both take a while before they start working on the body


Here’re some of the differences between Phenibut HCL vs. FAA:

  • Phenibut HCL is cheaper; Phenibut FAA is more expensive
  • Phenibut HCL requires a bit larger dose; Phenibut FAA requires a bit smaller dose
  • You can dissolve HCL; you can’t easily dissolve FAA
  • Phenibut HCL is best to take in a capsule or in a drink; Phenibut FAA can be taken in capsule, a drink, or sublingual.

Phenibut HCL

Which One is Better?

To be honest, neither is really “better”. It’s really up to the preference of the person taking it.

Overall, the best choice for most users is:

Phenibut HCL

HCL is better because it’s cheaper and we really like the capsule method. We’ve found it to be the most convenient of all methods since it already comes in 250g pill, and you don’t get the super strong and unpleasant taste.

Mixing the HCL crystals with water or juice is also exceptionally easy, too.

Sometimes we even combine it with an energy drink for an added boost. It feels like the effects of the Phenibut can happen faster this way. We’ve even heard of people taking it with coffee although we can’t vet that method ourselves.

If we’re not using the Phenibut capsules, we really like mixing it with juice, because, again, this helps cut the flavor. The Phenibut HCL option is the best for us for both those methods.

But that’s not to say that Phenibut FAA is worse, we just find that the taste begins to bother you after a while. And the extra cost makes it a bit less desirable.

Phenibut FAA vs. HCL | Verdict

Honestly, they’re both great at what they do, and the effects of both are mind-blowing.

You’ll feel incredibly social after taking Phenibut the first time! No anxiety, relaxed, and more.

We like to buy Phenibut HCL more on account of the fact that it’s easy to mix with a drink so the taste isn’t as bad and it’s a bit cheaper. But someone considering which is better should probably just try both and see which they like more.

Overall, both Phenibut FAA and HCL can be effective. Both can be an effective way to beat back insomnia, fight social anxiety, and feel great boosts in mood.

Click here to order from our top vendor!


  1. 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
  2. Cheung, J. & Penn, J. (2018). Weekly dose: Phenibut. The Conversation.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Ozon Pharm (n.d.), Fenibut (PDF). [In Russian].
  7. Samokhvalov, A. V., Paton-Gay, C. L., Balchand, K., & Rehm, J. (2013). Phenibut dependence. Case Reports, 2013, bcr2012008381.
  8. Hardman, M. I., Sprung, J., & Weingarten, T. N. (2019). Acute phenibut withdrawal: A comprehensive literature review and illustrative case report. Bosnian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, 19(2), 125.


After utilizing nootropics for the better part of a decade, I realized the potent results these products produce -- with regards to productivity and cognitive enhancement. Soon thereafter, I became obsessed with finding the premier smart drugs on the market. Then using them to improve my life. When I'm not devouring everything I can about nootropics and the science behind why they work, you'll find me traveling around the world or in the gym.

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