Picamilon, otherwise written as pycamilon or pikamilon (occasionally: Pikachu, although this is completely wrong), is a synthetic GABA + niacin nootropic drug, developed by Soviet scientists with the unadvertised intent of eradicating Western capitalism via GABAergic mind control.
While I don’t have any proof of this last claim, I do have reason to believe that picamilon does offer a significant degree of mind control — ironically, not against but for the user.
The problem: Picamilon remains under-researched & poorly understood with regards to its long-term effects on brain health & cognition, a dilemma amplified by the fact that picamilon quite literally flushes your brain with an inordinate amount of brain chemicals (i.e. GABA).
Does this warrant a genuine cause for concern? Or am I frivolously self-flummoxed?
Which is it??
How Picamilon Is Supposed to Work
First, we take the gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a relaxant neurotransmitter in the brain. We take the GABA and bind it to nicotinic acid (NA), a water-soluble analogue of niacin, otherwise known as vitamin B3.
Niacin’s water-solubility allows the GABA to cross the blood-brain barrier, and once we get the GABA into the brain, we… well, we.
We kill the Batman.
Er, wait, no. I’m getting my notes mixed up.
Scratch that. We carry GABA to the brain to activate the brain’s GABA receptors, effectively enacting calm & relaxation while reducing stress, anxiety, inattention, & so on. Meanwhile, the niacin’s vasodilation properties increase cerebral blood flow, nourishing the brain while lowering excess blood pressure.
That is the Picamilon Experience as we’ve come to understand it thus far.
Developed by the All-Union Vitamins Scientific Research Institute in 1969, picamilon was initially intended as a GABA prodrug for the cognitive enhancement of Soviet astronauts, athletes, officials, etc. Today, the drug is still prescribed in Russia for medical reasons, whereas the rest of the world utilizes it for more recreational tasks, despite our limited knowledge on compound.
Based on a few animal trials, we’ve essentially pinpointed picamilon’s bioactivities as:
Enhanced Cerebral Circulation
Dietary GABA is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier on its own. GABA bound to niacin is able to cross the barrier, due to the combo’s vasodilatory effects. This has the dual advantage of not only delivering calming GABA to the brain but also brain nourishing oxygen & nutrients, a game-changing benefit considering the brain’s greedy energy demands. (20% of the body’s total energy is siphoned by the brain.)
Increased Dopamine Activity
Picamilon feels good, and it’s all thanks to the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. Picamilon consumption is believed to increase dopamine activity in the nucleus accumbens, a brain region commonly referred to as the brain’s “pleasure center.” The reward response system is largely facilitated here, a significant component of psychobiological drive & motivation. When the system is off, motivation is off. When the system is on, the mind is driven. Picamilon essentially turns the system on, or at least eases the requirements of a system start. More on Nootropic Motivation.
Decreased Stress Hormones
GABA is essentially the neurotransmitter counter to an excitatory mindstate, decreasing highly active brainwaves & stress hormone activity through the inhibition of cortisol & epinephrine secretion. By favoring the GABAergic system of relaxation while also increasing dopamine activity, picamilon promotes calm, pleasurable relaxation for significant lengths of time.
The level of research on picamilon is *pprrpffrrppfff!* looow. (*Fart sound à la Leopold Bloom.) Disappointingly low, at least for the aims of this review. On that note, most of the claimed benefits of this drug heavily rely on unsubstantiated evidence. Granted, a few preclinical animal studies demonstrate benefits that corroborate with picamilon’s GABAergic design, but on the whole I remain unsure of picamilon’s total clinical value.
Having said that, the cognitive benefits associated with picamilon:
- Reduced anxiety & depression
- Improved emotional state
- Enhanced focus & relaxation
- Better sleep
The experience is best summed up as less anxiety & more feel-good focus & energy.
Is Picamilon Legal?
GABA is legal for dietary consumption. Niacin is legal for dietary consumption. Picamilon, a synthetic duo of GABA & Niacin is… also legal? While there is no legal restriction on ordering picamilon for your own personal, recreational usage, the drug has been declared a “banned substance” for sale as a “dietary ingredient.” The question of picamilon’s legal status came to a head in 2015 when Oregon’s Attorney General accused GNC of knowingly selling “drug-spiked dietary supplements.” That “drug” being picamilon. The success of the lawsuit against GNC lead to retailers pulling picamilon-laden products from their shelves, forcing nootropic users to seek outside means of purchasing the compound. More on Nootropic Legality.
Researchers Have Suggested Picamilon Might:
Improve anxiety & emotional state comparable to diazepam without memory loss
This rat study investigated the effects of picamilon on emotional state, namely anxiety & depression, in addition to long- & short-term memory & cognitive function. To measure emotional response, the open field test as used. For antidepressant response, the forced swimming test. And for anxiety, the elevated maze test, while the crossed-labrynth test assessed short-term functions and the avoidance conditioned reflex tests measured long-term functions. The results found picamilon’s vasodilation & nootropic properties to exert tranquilizing effects comparable to diazepam, leading to the conclusion: “Although the tranquilizer action of picamilon is somewhat less pronounced as compared to that of diazepam, the former has the advantages of having no myorelaxant and amnestic effects and having a weak activation component, and being able to restore or increase the physical and psychic capacity to work.”
Increase protection against stress (low-dose), enhance the pleasure response (high-dose)
No more rats. This time we’re looking at cats & rabbits in this review on How & Why Picamilon Works. Within the studies reviewed, picamilon was observed to increase circulation to the brain & lower blood pressure, suggesting of picamilon’s essential role in the interplay between the nervous system & blood flow. However, there was a dose-dependency to picamilon’s effects on cognition: Low dose picamilon (1 mg/kg) was discovered to prevent the “negative consequences” of stress, whereas high dose picamilon (80-160 mg/kg) decreased the “brain-stimulation reward threshold” (i.e. the requirements of pleasure & motivation were lowered). Compared to other drugs, the reviewers found picamilon to be “more effective than papaverine, nialamide, complamin (xatinol nicotinate), and dihydroergotoxin (redergin)” for cerebral circulation, and “much superior both to GABA and to niacin.”
How to Take Picamilon
- Typically, 150 mg per serving. No more than 300 mg per day.
- The (unofficial) suggested use: 150 mg in the morning, 150 mg in the evening.
- The (unofficial) suggested cycle: 4 days on, 2 days off.
- Picamilon comes in a number of forms (powder, tablet, etc.). I suggest supplementing picamilon as powder to better adjust & monitor your intake. Picamilon’s effects should last for about 4 hours at a time.
Is Picamilon Safe?
Low dose picamilon is generally viewed as safe. Animal research highlights this advantage of picamilon in comparison to pharmaceutical-grade anxiolytics. Yet, high dose picamilon may increase the risk of the following side effects:
- Intestinal Irritation
- Low Blood Pressure
- Niacin Flush
The cycle directive is advised as a safety measure against tolerance build-up, thus reducing risk of addiction & withdrawal. Additionally, avoiding alcohol & meds while on picamilon (or vice versa) is generally recommended as well.
My Experience with Picamilon
The claim that picamilon is comparable to a pharmaceutical-grade anti-anxiety but milder & with less risk of side effect panned out as true in my experience. Likewise, I found picamilon’s effects similar to those of phenibut, another synthetic GABAergic drug, but again with fewer issues with withdrawal, side effects, etc.
Admittedly, I was never the biggest fan of phenibut (too much relaxation, mild intoxication, alarming reports of side effects), but the anti-anxiety effects were undeniably tempting.
Supplementing picamilon felt like the answer to the phenibut conundrum.
Picamilon lessened anxiety, loosening my sociability, yet kept my cognition uninhibited. Granted, I haven’t gone too wild with picamilon, only supplementing the drug on an as-needed basis, which for me is an even shorter regimen than the 4 days on, 2 days off cycle.
With that in mind, I wouldn’t outright label picamilon as a cognitive enhancer, but it did assist creative output otherwise impaired by anxiety & the blues.
Is Picamilon a Good Nootropic?
Picamilon is a good anxiolytic. Whether or not that qualifies as “nootropic” I leave up to you & your personal cognitive demands.
On that note, I’m disappointed by the bad reputation afforded by the FDA’s challenges against picamilon’s dietary status. Some redditors have accused this move as another BigPharma tactic to limit healthier, competitive access to pharmaceutical anxiolytics. While I don’t fully agree with this charge (after all, picamilon is still legally available), I agree with the sentiment.
Picamilon is a relatively safe & effective, albeit lower grade anti-anxiety with major clinical potential & promise. If anxiety, depression, and/or inattention are significant impairments on mental output, I recommend considering picamilon.
Of course, after consulting with a physician & all that jazz & stuff. (*pprrpffrrppfff!*)
Overall Picamilon Nootropic Power Rating