Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lets Talk About Pills

I was first introduced to the subject of nootropics by Ian our first year of college. Nootropics are commonly referred to as Smart Drugs, and they are usually a prescription drug which has an off-label use for cognitive and memory enhancement. The first one I was introduced to was Piracetam, and it very much defined my college experience. Piracetam is an Alzheimer medication in Europe and other parts of the world, but is not FDA approved in the US. We originally ordered it from overseas, but by the end of our college years, the US started selling it as a nutritional supplement that you could find at any GNC. Does the stuff actually work? It helped me power through so many essays in college it wasn't even funny. It has almost no side effects, so I sorta preferred it to something like Adderall, which always made me feel like I wanted to die.

I noticed something though about Piracetam: Once they started selling it over the counter in the US it stopped working as well for me. I'm not sure if this was simply a diminishing returns on it for taking it off and on for so long, or if it just became weaker when it became readily available. Regardless, it didn't help me as much when studying for the GMAT as I would've liked and I was searching for a new alternative. Luckily, Reddit has a nootropics sub-forum and I was able to continue my research on smart drugs. Apparently, when taking Piracetam, it is preferable to take a Choline supplement to help make the Piracetam work better and to avoid sometimes feeling 'cloudy' when on the drug (Luke didn't like it because of this exact problem). It was then that I stumbled onto something else which looked very promising. I saw this article posted on Reddit and I reposted it on one of my news roundups a few months ago. I was so intrigued that I immediately began a hunt for Provigil.

Fast forward a month and a half and I finally obtain a month's worth of Provigil. The stuff is interesting... Its very much Adderall-lite. Imagine the wakefulness and concentration boosting of Adderall but without the jitteriness and crashing which goes along with taking Adderall. The stuff is powerful too. Taking a full 200mg in the morning can still make you have trouble sleeping that night. If you take a full 200mg in like the middle of the day, then your sleep will be ... sporadic at best. When I tried to sleep on it, it felt like I was lucid dreaming all night. Another side effect is that it makes your pee smell weird ... take that for what you will.

But does it work? Can you really do work and concentrate on it? Yes, you can, but there is a catch. Taking a full dose is overkill. You experience more euphoria while taking the 200mg, but it actually hurts your concentration somewhat. Taking either a half or quarter of that amount is amazing. You can get things done easily and concentrate for long periods of time. For Provigil, less is more.

I can't imagine taking this pill everyday like the original author of that article did. I can see how it would basically turn you into a robot if you do that. For now, I am impressed with the stuff, and will be using it for any heavy duty studying I have to do in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Great article on smart drugs. Cheers.