Long used for its anxiety relief and “smart drug” properties, Phenibut has taken the nootropic market by storm. First synthesized in the 1960s, Phenibut has been successfully used to treat a variety of conditions from alcohol withdrawal syndrome and stuttering, to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Although not sanctioned for clinical use in much of the global west, Phenibut use has a long history around the world as a supplement and wonder drug. It is no wonder that Russian cosmonauts have been using Phenibut for generations to help gain an edge during stressful situations in space.
Phenibut is a nutritional supplement and nootropic whose primary function depresses the central nervous system and, simultaneously, provides stimulant effects. This combination is rarely achieved with traditional medicine and provides relief for a variety of health conditions and illnesses that traditional medicine cannot.
Recent scientific studies have found that Phenibut is structurally similar to the neurotransmitter y-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which elicits mild boosts of dopamine in the human brain. Therefore, Phenibut, when taken as a supplement, provides stimulation in the form of motivation and mood elevation while also providing anti-anxiety relief.
There have been several reports on Phenibut that indicate that the substance is well-tolerated by patients and do not cause severe side effects when used responsibly. However, if abused, there is potential for physical withdrawal symptoms such as agitation, decreased appetite, fatigue, and dizziness to arise.
There are several available forms of Phenibut, but it mostly comes down to Phenibut HCL vs. FAA for those looking to use the substance for its nootropic benefits. Within the supplement and nootropic industry, there is significant ongoing debate as to whether Phenibut FAA can match the proven benefits of HCL. To help get to the bottom of this, we decided to do a little research.
There are two common forms of Phenibut on the market, with Phenibut HCL being the more common of the two. Phenibut HCL is the hydrochloride salt form of the substance, which is generated by taking the free amino acid form of Phenibut and letting it react against hydrochloric acid.
Since Phenibut first arrived on the market in the 1960s and 1970s, Phenibut HCL has dominated sales because it is by far the most convenient form of the substance and it is more cost-effective for the average consumer.
Interestingly, Phenibut HCL is a zwitterionic HCL salt which implies that it contains a “dipolar ion” composition. In other words, the HCL version of Phenibut has both a positive and negative ionic electrical charge, which partially explains why it holds such unique nootropic properties. Other forms of Phenibut, such as the FAA form, do not have a dipolar ion charge.
Unfortunately, there is not much publicly available information extolling the virtues of Phenibut HCL, which is a shame because throughout its history the most commonly used version of Phenibut is, in fact, its hydrochloric acid form. From its origins in the Russian space program to widespread medicinal prescriptions in the global east, Phenibut HCL is the most common form.
As a zwitterionic substance, Phenibut HCL exists as salt in a very stable and easily dissolvable state. To take Phenibut HCL, users must dissolve the crystalline salt in a glass of water. However, some more convenient versions of the substance allow for users to take it in capsule form due to its higher pH level.
Although Phenibut has a distinct taste when taken with water, most Phenibut HCL loyalists find that the taste is only mildly bitter and not difficult to take. When washed down with another acidic beverage, such as a citrus juice, the taste of Phenibut HCL is neutralized entirely.
Phenibut is also available in its free amino acid (FAA) form. In recent years, the FAA variety of Phenibut has been made accessible on the market and has become something of a rival to the classic Phenibut HCL due to its suitability for sublingual administration.
Unlike Phenibut HCL, the FAA version can be taken under the tongue where it dissolves and enters the bloodstream directly.
Although its sublingual property may seem convenient to some, it is generally not recommended to take Phenibut FAA in capsule form because Phenibut FAA is a powdery substance that is not highly soluble and thus, more likely to break apart or not fully dissolve in water.
If you’re wondering which substance form is more convenient between Phenibut HCL vs. FAA, then you will have to ask yourself whether you want to take Phenibut in water, capsule, or sublingual form. Although users can administer FAA under the tongue, Phenibut HCL can be quickly consumed with a swish of water or in a capsule form.
Phenibut FAA is the same molecular substance as Phenibut HCL. However, the latter is significantly more affordable and user-friendly than the latter. Available mostly in time-consuming sublingual form, Phenibut FAA takes several minutes to be absorbed into the blood and leaves an unpleasant taste lingering under the tongue for hours.
When it comes to Phenibut HCL vs. FAA, the clear victor is HCL due to its excellent water solubility properties and its ability to crystallize easily. Thanks to Phenibut HCL’s dipolar ionic properties, HCL can provide all the cognitive enhancement properties that the substance is known for, while at a more affordable price point and in more convenient form factors.
Although some acolytes of Phenibut FAA will tout its molecular density by weight (claiming that it is roughly 15% more efficient than HCL), a skeptical mind will realize that FAA is only denser due to its lack of hydrochloric salts. In any event, the density of FAA says nothing of its ability to administer an effective dose at a reasonable price—something which HCL has been proven to do with ease.
Ultimately, Phenibut HCL is the more affordable and convenient administration of the nootropic. If you want to take Phenibut in gel-cap form, want to be able to take it without worrying about consuming acidic or basic foods or drinks, or if you want to store it for longer than a year, then Phenibut HCL is the safer choice than FAA.