2.9.4 L-Theanine

L-Theanine #

Common Nomenclature 5-N-Ethyl-Glutamine
Street & Reference Names Theanine
Reference Dosage Common 100mg-200mg [TripSit]
Threshold 50mg+;Light 75mg+; Common 175mg+; Strong 300mg+ [Psychonautwiki]
Maximum Dose Experienced 300mg + 300mg
From Powder
RoA Oral
Source / Jurisdiction UK


Discovered as a component of green tea in 1949, theanine is usually presented as a neutralizer for mood or anxiety, and sometimes, as an enhancer of cognitive performance. It is also frequently claimed to be synergistic with caffeine. For this reason I will initially take it with my morning tea.

I never have high expectations of materials which are sold as supplements, nor in fact of nootropics in general, so this isn’t an exercise that I am particularly looking forward to. Having stated this, it has plenty of positive reviews, including on a number of drug related websites.

From the research, I anticipate an onset of about 30 minutes, and a duration of perhaps 3 hours or so.

I open the packet, freshly (and legally) purchased from Amazon, to reveal a very fluffy white powder. So light is its constitution that some of it puffs out of the bag, making a bit of a mess of my desk.

T+0:00 I weigh 300mg on the scales and pour it into my now half-empty cup of green tea. I slowly drink this over the next 5 minutes. [09.15am]

T+0:10 The mild caffeine jump is emerging and it does seem to have a slightly different character to usual. This isn’t the easiest to assess, as it is somewhat on the margins, but it does align with claims that it takes some of the edge from caffeine stimulation.

In addition, I was tired this morning, and although I still am, I am less inclined to want to sleep (although simultaneously I am not buzzing, jittery or fuzzy). Is there a sense of increased clarity? It is subtle, but perhaps there is.

T+0:30 I have seen theanine described as relaxing but not sedating and I wouldn’t disagree with this assessment. What I can also state confidently at this point is that it has had an impact on the effects of the caffeine, making it smoother and noticeably mellower.

T+1:00 There have been no major developments since the last note, with the calmative effect on the caffeine-high still in play, and a perception of greater clarity of mind still present.

I should stress that this is all in the shallow end in terms of impact, but there is definitely something to it, and it is pleasant.

These effects gently faded during the course of the morning, delivering a very soft landing and enabling my early afternoon nap to proceed as usual.

At 5:30pm I decided to take another 300mg, but this time without the caffeine. Would this have any effect at a time I was feeling a little stressed? Surprisingly, it did. It removed anxiety and induced a relaxed disposition for some hours. I was a little worn and tired at times, but I cannot deny the existence of psychoactivity.

The following morning I awoke normally and I felt fine. I did experience a little stomach upset overnight but this could be attributed to the substantial meal I ate during the previous evening, rather than the large (possibly excessive) doses I experimented with. With respect to this I would use significantly less on any future theanine expeditions.

Finally, I subsequently discovered both historical and contemporary accounts of monks drinking green tea because it aids meditation. Bearing in mind that green tea is higher in theanine content than other teas, from my experiences above I can certainly see why it would lend itself to this. Mindfulness, calmness and alertness are indeed words that align well with what was a gentle and pleasing sojourn.