Fri, Jun 04, 21

Nootropics vs. Smart Drugs: What Are the Differences? 

* Verified by a US-based board-certified doctor.

You've probably heard people talking about nootropics and smart drugs like they're necessarily the same thing. They're close in application but not precisely the same in composition. We'll discuss the differences between the two and consider the pros and cons of each. 

Why the Drive for a Better Brain?

working out is good for the brain

 

As kids, most of us wanted the ability to fly. No more buses to school or long drives on vacation - we could just fly wherever we wanted to go. Now, as adults, we'd much rather have a super-brain. What is this drives we have for a better brain? Movies like Limitless demonstrate the hunger we have to be cognitively optimal. This isn't a vain pursuit. Some of our drive is due to the demands of the competitive world we occupy. Life is overwhelming, and we want any edge we can get. But a better brain won't just help us deal with stuff as it comes; it could get us ahead of the race and keep us there. 

So let superman leap tall buildings in a single bound - we want to learn, remember, and focus like we're wearing a cape and tights. 

But do nootropics and smart drugs give you a super-brain? What are these agents of cognitive enhancement, and what do they really do? 

Related: Nootropics: What Are They And Where Do They Come From?

What Are Nootropics?

Nootropics have shown effectiveness in various cognitive functions, including mental clarity, focus, learning, motivation, mood, attention, and mental processing. They have even been seen to improve cognitive decline in older adults.

Nootropics are naturally derived substances that improve brain activity and brain health. The word was first coined by Romanian psychologist and chemist, Prof. Dr. Corneliu Giurgea, from Greek words meaning 'mind' and 'turn/bend.' He boldly declared that humankind would not wait for millions of years for natural evolution to give us better brains. 

Giurgea determined six features of substances to be categorized as nootropics:

  • They support brain health.
  • They protect the brain.
  • They improve learning and memory.
  • They enhance focus and attention.
  • They boost mental processing
  • They are safe to use

Nootropics are extracted from herbs, vitamins, amino acids, and other natural substances. 

Pros and Cons of Nootropics

Here are some of the pros and cons of using nootropics: 

Pros

  • Targeted, short-term benefits to cognition.
  • Long-term benefits for brain health.
  • Potential for quick, noticeable results.
  • They can boost mental sharpness.
  • They can increase energy and motivation.
  • They can enhance productivity.
  • Aid in anxiety, stress, and depression.
  • No side effects.

Cons

  • Being classified as nutritional supplements means no clinical trials are necessary for their production or sale. 
  • They are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Potential for unsanitary manufacturing and poor quality products.
  • Possible interactions with medication.
  • Too many additives, synthetic compounds, fillers, and preservatives can trigger allergies, mood fluctuations, or stomach issues. 

Bottles of Magic Mind productivity drink

Related: Brain Boosting Supplements: How to Choose the Right One For You

What Are Smart Drugs?

Smart drugs are any cognitive enhancer that is pharmaceutical in nature, designed originally for people with neurological diseases or psychological disorders. Some of these drugs are prescribed to elderly patients with dementia, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. When these drugs are used by people who don't have the associated health issues, they can boost concentration and productivity. 

Some of the most popular smart drugs are those made for children and adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - Ritalin (methylphenidate), Modafinil (stimulant), and Adderall (amphetamine). People who take these drugs (or similar ones) but don't have ADHD find they have enhanced memory, clear thinking, and wakefulness. 

Smart drugs work on neurotransmitters to improve communication between neurons. 

Are you looking to be more productive? We’re the world’s first productivity drink designed to stimulate energy, creativity, focus, and motivation. Check out Magic Mind today! 

Pros and Cons of Smart Drugs

Here are some of the pros and cons of smart drugs:

Pros

  • They boost the activity of neurotransmitters, hormones, and enzymes for more efficient brain functioning. 
  • They stimulate neuron growth.
  • Can increase blood circulation, oxygen, and energy to the brain.
  • Can reduce age-related brain damage.
  • Lift mood and trigger neuroplasticity.
  • May trigger lucid dreams.

Cons

  • Limited research on long-term effects.
  • Side effects: nausea, jitters, heart palpitations, dizziness, headaches, vomiting, and insomnia
  • Even natural ingredients can be potent and dangerous.
  • Potentially addictive.

Which is Best For You?

Which one works best for you? Nootropics are available over the counter, but you need a prescription (and a condition) to access most smart drugs. So if you're looking for something to boost your productivity and help with focus, memory, learning, and creativity, you should research nootropics. After you define what benefits you want, you can purchase them in most health food stores or online.

What if We All Took Cognitive Enhancers?

 

cups of coffee

 

As more people turn to nootropics or smart drugs for the advantage they provide, the question arises - 'what if we all took cognitive enhancers?' Would our standards for productivity and accomplishment rise? Probably not. 

For one, most people are not convinced of the efficacy of brain-boosting, and many, even those in competitive environments) aren't significantly motivated to pursue a better brain. But cognitive enhancers have a rich history of helping some of the world's greatest producers to become just that. 

French writer, Honore de Balzac, believed in the power of caffeine (coffee). He would drink up to 50 cups of coffee a day and even resorted to chewing on coffee grinds. In his lifetime, he wrote nearly 100 books and plays. 

Prolific mathematician, Paul Erdos, used an older version of today's smart drugs to help him accomplish 19-hour math sessions. And writer Graham Greene used a type of smart drug to write two books at the same time.  

Related: Trying to Increase Your IQ? Here Are Some Tips

Final Thoughts

Whether you're a home-maker or a wall-street executive, we can all use a boost in energy, focus, and recall. More research is being carried out to prove what many of us have already experienced. Brain enhancers are effective. Although nootropics and smart drugs have similar intentions, they have differences in composition, availability, and side effects.  

Do you want to do more with less stress? We can help. Our 12 active ingredients are high-quality and organic, including matcha, nootropics, adaptogens, and honey. Learn more about Magic Mind today!  

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