Phenibut (brand name Noofen) is an anxiety-relieving drug that feels sort of like GHB or alcohol, and has been gaining attention recently because it’s 100% legal and has chillaxative properties. It’s a derivative of the GABA neurotransmitter that mediates the effects of drugs like alcohol, GHB, and benzos. Widely sold on the internet as a “dietary supplement,” it’s also a “space drug” used by Soviet — now Russian — cosmonauts to handle the stress of being thrust into space. The Soviet space program determined that other sedatives or anxiolytics made people too drowsy and nauseated –unlike a huge dose of Valium or Xanax, which leaves you wobbly and useless. On phenibut, your social anxiety will be gone, so you can go out.

Like alcohol, the mild depressant can be addicting. There are no recorded fatal deaths caused by phenibut, but people have gone to rehab clinics for phenibut addiction. There are withdrawal symptoms similar to alcohol or benzo withdrawal, that include fun symptoms, like psychosis, maybe go out and eat a few faces while shouting about Satan. Mixing with other depressants, while it may be exciting at first, will hospitalize or kill you.

People have accused me of having a Russian fetish. I have to admit, Russians have their charms — there’s a nihilistic penchant for self-destruction that is reflected in their drugs. There’s phenazepam, the Soviet mistake that I love to hate and hate to love, and krokodil, the stomach churning dissolver of flesh that has that post-Soviet derelict-chic, so naturally they have a sedative drug that lets you keep being awesome.

Phenibut feels good, but not as euphoric as GHB. As a cosmonaut you’re the best of the best, ready to face the ultimate adventure — and there’s nothing more adventurous than strapping your butt onto a massive Soyuz rocket, turgid with liquid oxygen and hydrogen, and burning millions of dollars to defeat Mother Earth’s gravity. While it may help cosmonauts punch through clouds and impregnate the sky, the sedative effects mean that you probably won’t stay out until last call.

The anxiety-reducing effects will make you want to drink, but DO NOT do more than nurse a beer or two. You have enough leeway to take a shot, but do not push your luck. Cosmonauts do dangerous things, but they aren’t reckless. Ignore the peer pressure, go home, and get back at 2 AM. You’ll be able to stomach food and keep it down. Even better, the next morning, there’s no hangover. At most, there’s a residual drowsiness as your body slowly removes the phenibut.

Phenibut can be mild, but you can still overdo it. A pint of Coors Light won’t fuck you up, but knocking back an $8 pint of Chinese 110 proof baijiu liquor is a different story. Typical recreational doses are in the 1-3 gram range, but are highly variable. Take a very small amount at first — just a matchhead’s worth — before climbing to 100mg, then 250mg, to see if you’re allergic or sensitive. We were all young and wild once, but if you want to grow old enough to look back at your youth, you’ll take my goddamn advice.

Phenibut is commonly sold as a white to off-white powder in tubs, with a sour and bitter flavor. It can also come in capsules of varying weight. It’s not very palatable. If you do not fancy the taste — and that’s quite ok — there are other ways to take it besides a scoop of powder on your tongue.

However, DO NOT attempt snorting it. It’s highly acidic, so think of it like snorting sulphuric acid — DON’T. You can parachute it. That means putting some on a piece of toilet paper or facial tissue and then swallowing the impromptu bag. If you want to go portable, I suggest “capping,” or putting the phenibut into capsules.

For this, you’ll need a centigram scale capable of at least 0.1g accuracy, a pile of 000-sized gel capsules — and if you want to be fast — a 000-sized “capping machine” with a “tamper.” It’s not so much a machine as a are plastic tray to help you cap. Gel capsule sizes indicate how much internal volume they have, 000 being the largest, holding around a gram based on powder density.

Take the amount of capsules you need, and separate them into two parts, the lid, and the longer bottom base. Put the lids in a bowl. Lay each base into its slot on the capping machine. If your machine holds 50 caps, and you’re making 1 gram caps, weigh out 50 grams of phenibut. Pour the powder onto the tray, and using a credit card, spread it evenly into the capsules. It likely won’t go in neatly. Use the tamper to gently pack the powder into the capsules. Continue spreading until the capsules are uniformly filled. Put the remaining powder back into the tub. Release the tray and put each lid on so they “snap” shut. The whole thing should take no more than 10 minutes.

Large doses are usually tempered by the acidity giving bad heartburn. But addicts have taken so much they’ve begun vomiting up blood and their partially dissolved stomach linings. Extremely high doses probably will cause fatal respiratory depression. If the doctor doesn’t know what phenibut is, them it’s like GHB. All they can do is supportive care, trying to give your body a fighting chance to flush it out yourself. Cosmonauts do things in moderation, and don’t chug 10 grams of acidic Russian relaxing powder.

Have fun; try not to die.

Backdoor Pharmacist was on quaaludes“molly,” mephedronekratombenzos, niche hallucinogens, smart drugssleeping pillsmore sleeping pills and “bath salts.” Backdoor Pharmacist does not want you to rot or OD. Backdoor Pharmacist makes “liver magic” and does NOT drink coffee.