Nootropics, also known as smart drugs and cognitive enhancers, are drugs, supplements, and other substances that improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals.[
The use of cognition-enhancing drugs by healthy individuals in the absence of a medical indication is one of the most debated topics among neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and physicians which spans a number of issues, including the ethics and fairness of their use, concerns over adverse effects, and the diversion of prescription drugs for nonmedical uses, among others.
In this article, we will introduce you to the world of smart drugs and what they can potentially do. this article is not intended to be used as a medical assessment of these drugs nor is it endorsing the use of such drugs.
Nootropics – sometimes called smart drugs – are compounds that enhance brain function. They’re becoming a popular way to give your mind an extra boost. According to one Telegraph report, up to 25% of students at leading UK universities have taken the prescription smart drug modafinil , and California tech startup employees are trying everything from Adderall to LSD to push their brains into a higher gear .
How Do Nootropics “Smart Drugs” Work?
Nootropics are thought to work by modulating neuronal metabolism, cerebral oxygenation, neurotransmitter availability, increasing neurotrophic factors and by affecting other cellular processes. The exact mechanism of action will depend on the compound.
Although some of the Smart Drugs we are going to mention today are FDA approved, there isn’t much scientific evidence done on the topic, so be careful.
There are many different types of Smart Drugs, and most of them are very easy to get your hands on, some you can walk into your local pharmacist to get while other Smart Drugs you can easily order online.
The Nootropics “Smart Drugs” that we are going to discuss today are:
1- Arousal promoting non-stimulants: Most notably Modafinil, Armodafinil, and Adrafinil. All these drugs are usually dose early in the morning unless you want to sty all night without sleep. Although it is not a stimulant, it definitely helps you pay more attention to your surroundings and be more present, the most common description from people who uses this smart drug is “it makes you feel more like yourself”. All these drugs carry their own moderate risks, so, please do a lot of research before deciding on anything.
2- Racetams: Racetams are a group of synthetic nootropic “smart drugs” compounds. All racetams have a structure in common, called the pyrrolidone skeleton. There are a lot of drugs in this category but the most notable one is called piracetam, it significantly improves brain function and cognition in people recovering from a stroke. All the studies were done on people who have suffered from strokes, so this, for a healthy person like yourself, might not work. In a rather small study in healthy people, they have found that it improves verbal learning significantly.
3- Nicotine: yes, the age-old nicotine is considered one of the smart drugs. Nicotine has a direct effect on the mitochondrial energy in your body, and as we know, increasing the mitochondrial function will affect your brain. Now Nicotine from cigarettes and smoking, but that doesn’t make smoking a smart drug, smoking is the opposite of a smart drug, and it is very bad for your health overall. Nicotine, administered either as a spray or sublingual lozenge can act as a smart drug, although it might be addictive, it has positive effects on the brain, so be cautious.
4- L-theanine: it is a major component of black and green tea, which promotes relaxation, alertness, and arousal. This “Smart drug” works with caffeine, it widely available and cheap. When taken with coffee it increases reaction time, memory, and mental endurance.
5-Bacopa Monnieri: This is an Ayurvedic herb, an adaptogen, it helps your body adapt to the stress. Numerous studies have shown that it improves memory in healthy adults, and enhances attention and mood in people over 65.
Here are 5 of the most known smart drugs out there, there is a lot of pseudoscience around them so be careful with what and if you choose to try them.
These smart drugs will not give you any better results than having a healthy lifestyle, with clean eating and stress-free meditation sessions, so maybe work on that first.
These Smart drugs are considered the “big guns” and should be only used, if you opted to use them, in extreme and urgent cases.
I hope you found that helpful.