Smart Drugs: a pill to become intelligent

The term drug derives from the Greek pharmakon, which means “remedy, medicine, poison”. In English the word “drugs” is usedAre you used to think of drugs as a substance to get rid of, a drug as a principle to be taken to treat certain diseases, if instead you use this drug to become more intelligent, focused and to better carry out their work?

The consumption of so-called smart drugs among students is increasing fastly, according to a research by the Global Drug Survey published in Nature. In the US more than 30% of university students have admitted to having taken at least once smart drugs. In Europe the trend is clearly increasing, especially in France (from 3% to 16%) and in Great Britain (from 5% to 23%). Consumption is not just for students, but also for workers and sportsmen.

These drugs are legal, because they are normally used to treat certain ailments, and they can be bought safely at the pharmacy on medical prescription. Only 4% of those interviewed said they did it using this method, the rest were purchased from sellers on the internet or obtained through a friend.

Smart drugs


It is a drug whose active ingredient is the combination of four amphetamine salts. It is used to treat ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder) and narcolepsy.

Its main mechanism of action is to increase the activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, plus it triggers the release of the synthesis of serotonin and some neuropeptides.

Some studies show how the adderall used in low doses produces an increase in long and short-term memory. Other effects are the increase in concentration, increase in the saliency task and the alert state.

Normally the Adderall is used by students (mainly Americans) to study long hours and complete tasks that are long and not very motivating. It is also used by athletes to increase the mental qualities, including physical ones, in which we increase muscle strength, acceleration, resistance and enhancement of athletic performance under anaerobic conditions.

Methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin)

It has a pharmacological mechanics very similar to the add-on, even in its effects, both positive and negativeThe main difference is the duration of the pharmacological effect, Ritalin reaches the peak of its effect before the adderall, but the latter has a more long-term effect (4-6 hours, compared to 2-3 hours of ritalin) . Also ritalin is mainly used in the USA.

Modafinil (Provigil)

It is a drug used to treat narcolepsy mainly, it can also be used in OSAS (obstructive sleep apnea) and in shift work sleep disorder.

The mechanism of action of modafinil is still little known, from recent research would seem implicated in a small part of the metabolism of dopamine, acting on the carriers of it. Mainly the action against narcolepsy, however, seems to be associated with its increase in levels of histamine and norepinephrine in the brain, this mechanism would postpone the feeling of need for rest and increase the concentration in carrying out a certain task.

Various studies have been carried out regarding the positive effects of modalert. The benefits are an increase in concentration, working memory and reaction timeDuring the study of the substance, experiments were conducted in which individuals were given a very complex task from a cognitive point of view: those who had taken the drug showed a higher concentration, and a more rapid development of the problems, with an increase in learning.

A very interesting study showed how chess players under the effect of modafinil were able to compete better against the computer.

The Modafinil unlike Ritalin and Adderall not addictive even for very long periods (> 40 weeks) and addictionWe do not see changes in mood and all the other side effects that the other smart drugs already listed have. You can buy it from

It has been found, however, that in the long run there may be changes in the normal sleep architecture, even in some cases of young patients a problem related to cerebral plasticity and memory formation has been observed. Obviously, since this is a relatively new molecule, further studies are needed to deepen the long-term problems.

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