Let me just get this fact out early – Modafinil is a Nootropic. Simply put, it’s a cognitive enhancer drug. Now that it’s out, a few thoughts may be running wild in your head already that if left unanswered, will unanimously make you drop the thought of ever using this for yourself.

I read somewhere that people stay with an article for roughly 15 seconds or an average length of 250 words. So allow me to give a brief answer to the most crucial questions first.

Is it legal? Yes.

Does it work better than coffee? That’s another big yes.

Can it make you smarter? I feel like it’s a no but at the same time a yes.

Does it fall in the same category as Methamphetamine or Cocaine? Definitely not.

These answers are all based on factual data gathered about Nootropics – specifically on Modafinil. If you’re interested to know why I answered these very important questions the way I did, you might want to stick around a while longer. I’ll discuss each question in detail later on this article.

But first, let me give you the accurate definition for Nootropics.

What Are Nootropics?

Surely, the phrase “cognitive enhancer” leaves most people with a bad taste in the mouth. This is because mainstream media as well as ignorant health preachers tend to misrepresent this specific phrase in many resources. The frequent association of this phrase to illegal drugs and addiction have created a pretty solid stigma that generalizes all cognitive enhancer drugs as unhealthy and socially improper (see study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2690227/).

With the news reporting every other drug overuse incident on television and social media, it’s no wonder why many people have become wary and afraid of almost any drug that sound a little too scientific. I’m not saying being careful is bad, just that you might not want to judge everything based on what the masses say. At least not before you’ve done your own, personal digging.

Nootropics are typically harmless, hardly addictive, and they are clinically tested (and proven) to have minor or no side-effects. This is the very factor that separates Nootropics from your health hazardous drugs. The term itself was coined to serve as a collective word to represent all chemicals, natural and man-made, that have significant effects on cognitive or brain activity.

What Is Modafinil?

Modafinil is a Nootropic that promotes wakefulness. Think of its effect as something similar to that of caffeine, only faster and stronger. Its initial purpose was to help people afflicted by Narcolepsy and other sleep-wake disorders but later on was made available to the general public.

You know how sometimes you can drink a dozen cups of coffee and still feel a little bit out of it. This lack of reaction is probably due to your body building a tolerance to caffeine. Although coffee remains a delectable beverage, for non-morning persons like me, it defeats its primary purpose - to keep me awake. Then one day, I happened to stumble upon Modafinil on a website that I believe was called BestNootropicsNow.com – and the game changed.

A bit of an exaggeration, yes. But I think this Nootropic deserves it.

How Does Modafinil Work?

Upon intake, Modafinil will start pestering your amygdala and hypothalamus (see this study of Modafinil in animal models) into producing more of the hormones it likes. These hormones include Norepinephrine, Dopamine, and Hypocretin.

Norepinephrine as you may have studied in your biology class (if you were listening), is the hormone responsible for your responsiveness. The increase of which makes your brain more alert and increases your sense of focus. Hypocretin, on the other hand, helps you stay awake. Unlike caffeine which encourages the production of cortisol (stress hormone), Hypocretin has lesser repercussions for the body. Lastly, we have Dopamine – our happy hormone. Instead of making our Dopamine levels ridiculously high, Modafinil only inhibits it from leaving our body too soon.

Why only inhibit?

In layman’s terms, an abrupt and large increase in dopamine levels make people go cuckoo in the head. They begin departing for Neverland. It overwhelms you with a feeling of euphoria, making you feel invincible and on top of the world. Love drugs like ecstasy is a common example of dopamine accelerators. Such extreme feelings of joy will leave you more helpless than a loaf of bread lying on the floor the moment reality kicks back in though.

Is it legal?

Yes. I don’t know about certain countries (you should probably check its legality status in yours, but here’s a rough list: https://nootriment.com/is-modafinil-legal/) but it is definitely legal to use in the United States. It’s even prescribed by doctors to battle certain physiological and psychological irregularities. I am very certain that you won’t get jail time just by asking for it in a local pharmacy.

Does it work better than coffee?

I’ve been an avid coffee drinker for years. After all, coffee is somewhat the adult version of milk. People just chug it down hoping it’ll help them get past another horrid day at work without giving up on life completely. Modafinil works in a similar way minus the quick build-up of tolerance.

Caffeine tolerance develop really fast – especially when you take a similar dose each and every day. For example, if you drink 1 cup of coffee for 30 (maybe even just 20) consecutive days, you’ll find out sooner or later that it just doesn’t give you the same energy boost as it did a couple weeks back. So you start to increase your dosage until it hits that ceiling where your stomach starts to hurt because of hyperacidity and you still drowsy.

Modafinil improves your brain activity as well as enhances your capacity for a variety of memory functions – such as retention, processing, and retrieval. It also keeps you more focused and alert throughout the day without building up a tolerance fast.

Can it make you smarter?

By strict definition, I would say no. When you say “make you smarter,” it would refer to increasing your IQ which is the measurement of intelligence. Sad to say, Modafinil is a cognitive enhancer, not a miracle worker. Actually, I think a better name for it would be a “cognitive maximizer.” That feeling you get when you’ve taken Modafinil is actually not you getting smarter, but your brain maximizing its potential.

Does it fall in the same category as Methamphetamine or Cocaine?

Nootropics are generally harmless – this is the one important factor that separates from illegal drugs. Methamphetamine and Cocaine are both physically and mentally destructive. It would be inaccurate to categorize Modafinil with this bunch. The very fact that it is legal and medically-prescribed in most parts of the world should be an obvious that it is a safer and non-addictive substance.

Author's Bio: 

Marina Pal is a renowned author and social media enthusiast.