Some “smart drug” enthusiasts are always in a constant search for substances they can mix with modafinil to enjoy even better results. Over time, different substances have been tried: from caffeine found in coffee to phenylpiracetam, L-theanine, Noopept+choline precursor, and even grape seed extract.
Recently, there’s a craze about combining it with nicotine. The word going around is that it brings about a “high dopamine rush that fuels insane productivity.” But is this true? Is there something special about this mixture, and is it safe? Read on to find out!
The Basics About Modafinil and Nicotine
In order to fully understand the rationale behind mixing modafinil and nicotine (the benefits, side effects, and possible drug interactions), it is important to first know what the individual components are. Consequently, we’ll be discussing the basics of modafinil and nicotine. Let’s dive into it.
What Is Modafinil?
Modafinil is a prescription medication used to treat excessive daytime sleepiness caused by 3 major sleep disorders. It was developed in the 70s by Lafon Laboratories and a neurophysiologist professor called Michel Jouvet as an experimental treatment for narcolepsy.
After periods of trials proved that it was both safe and effective for this health condition, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for use in 1998. By 2003, the agency extended the approval to cover treatment for shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) . But this was only the beginning of modafinil’s use. As time went on, patients who were placed on treatment with it realized that it actually did more than promote wakefulness – it increased their productivity.
This little discovery ushered in a whole new dimension for the drug’s use. Healthy individuals started using it off-label to enhance cognition and ultimately improve productivity. Although the FDA is completely against its use for this purpose, users don’t seem to care, and the demand for modafinil remains on the rise.
Today, modafinil is more commonly used off-label to enhance cognitive ability than to treat sleep disorders. This is why you’ll find engineers, analysts, military personnel, top-level executives of big corporations, and college professors & students, among others, taking it.
After several years of clinical trials, observation, and studies, modafinil has been confirmed to be safe and effective for both short- and long-term use. It was also discovered to have the incredibly low potential for addiction and dependence. This prompted Oxford and Harvard researchers to deem it the “world’s first safe ‘smart drug’” .
But this does not mean that it has zero side effects; all drugs do. However, those associated with modafinil are typically mild and tend to disappear without treatment. Furthermore, although rare, there’s a possibility of experiencing more severe adverse effects after taking the drug. However, they’re mostly caused by overdosing or other forms of incorrect use. It is advisable to consult a doctor before starting treatment with this drug.
What Is Nicotine?
Most people know nicotine only as addictive and cancer-causing stuff that goes in cigarettes, but there’s more to it.
Nicotine is a chemical that naturally occurs in a family of plants called nightshade. It is used recreationally as a stimulant because of its ability to speed up messages traveling between the body and the brain. It does this by stimulating the release of dopamine in areas of the brain that support motivation and pleasure . Consequently, individuals who take it may experience improved memory and concentration.
However, while this sounds like good news for productivity lovers, there’s a catch. Nicotine, even in isolation, has a plethora of side effects, including elevated heart rate, seizures, and dizziness, among others . If these seem manageable, the substance’s highly addictive nature makes it extremely dangerous. Nicotine has been found to be as addictive as heroin and cocaine, meaning that even when suffering from severe adverse effects, users may find it incredibly difficult to stop using it.
There are gums and other nicotine-based products available on the market, but it is advisable to use them cautiously if you must. Do well to consult a doctor before taking any drug, nootropic, or substance you aren’t sure of.
What Does Science Say About Modafinil & Nicotine?
With so much information flying around in the air concerning mixing modafinil and nicotine, it’s important to look towards science for a reliable answer.
Let’s explore these nootropics as separate entities, compare their benefits and downsides, and find out what their combination could result in.
Benefits of Modafinil
Improves Working Memory
Several studies have shown that modafinil can boost working memory in certain individuals. One of the studies was a double-blind randomized clinical trial involving 60 patients with remitted depression. The results showed remarkable improvements, as the participants displayed significantly better performance in the tests that were given to them .
For clarity, working memory is the memory that holds small amounts of information short-term to help with decision-making and execution of tasks. By improving working memory, modafinil may help users increase performance and ultimately achieve better results.
Modafinil has been found to provide mood-elevating effects in healthy individuals. It is believed to do this by regulating dopamine levels – which have a correlation with mood – in the brain. Modafinil’s mood-elevating ability is not only based on hearsay but backed up by several studies. One such study indicates that it indeed increases general mood in healthy individuals .
Modafinil does a great job of promoting wakefulness and maintaining focus. It has proven to be effective even in situations in which the user is sleep-deprived. Although researchers aren’t exactly sure how the drug does things, they believe it works by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, among others.
Benefits of Nicotine
Shortens Reaction Time
Reaction time is the time it takes for an individual to respond to a given event or stimulus. Shorter reaction times could help individuals identify problems faster and make better decisions within short periods. This could translate to increased performance and productivity, ultimately. Several studies have indicated nicotine’s ability to shorten reaction times.
In one of the studies involving 20 participants, 10 were placed on 2 mg of nicotine gum, while the remaining 10 were given a placebo. Short-term memory tests revealed that the members of the group that were given nicotine performed much better. They responded to questions much faster compared to members of the second team who were given a placebo . This experiment demonstrates the chemical’s effects on reaction time.
Enhances Athletic Performance
Findings from a series of studies regarding the use of nicotine in sporting activities suggest that it could help athletes improve performance . But it’s not only based on science. Several athletes have reported attaining deeper levels of concentration that enable them to perform better after using nicotine. Some others have said that it helps them relax and fight off nervousness they usually experience just before getting into a competition. Based on the testimonials combined with scientific backing, there’s no doubt that nicotine is beneficial to athletes.
May Help Adolescents with ADHD Manage It Better
Reducing impulsive behaviors is one of the big steps required in helping adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) behave better, and nicotine has shown to be helpful in achieving that. A double-blind study involving teenagers between the ages of 13 to 17 conducted in 2004 showed that the substance helped them behave better. It’s worth noting that the participants were non-smokers and that the delivery form was oral gum .
So far, science has proven that modafinil is beneficial to sleep-deprived individuals and that it could promote wakefulness, increase concentration, and ultimately bring about increased productivity. Perhaps one of the most catchy things about this drug is its surprisingly low potential for addiction compared to other “smart drugs” . This earned it the title of the “world’s first safe ‘smart drug.’” The fact that it’s also considered safe for both short- and long-term use makes it worthwhile for individuals who seek a competitive edge in their workplace or school.
A similar conclusion has been reached in the case of nicotine, as it’s also been found to provide interesting benefits that could lead to better productivity. However, many of the studies put emphasis on its high potential for addiction, which could be a major problem, especially if used frequently. As stated earlier, it is found to pose a high risk of dependence, and this sparks concerns.
But notwithstanding, could a combination of these substances make any sense? Will it suppress their individual downsides, providing only unlimited benefits? You’re about to find out!
Benefits of Mixing Nicotine with Modafinil
Based on the benefits of modafinil and nicotine, it can be seen that combining them could provide unlimited benefits. But what could they be? Let’s take a look at some of them.
One of the major benefits people who mix these drugs speak of is a relatively faster onset of effects. While modafinil ordinarily takes 30 to 60 minutes to kick in, the effects of nicotine typically kick in within 5 minutes. Consequently, it is believed that when nicotine is taken alongside modafinil, it starts the cognitive-enhancing process faster and lets modafinil continue the run.
Another benefit that may result from combining both substances is a solution to the midday dilemma.
If you’ve been using modafinil, you may have noticed how you feel: you’re super-focused and motivated to take on any task for the first 8 hours or so after taking the pill early in the morning but then lose momentum as midday approaches. This is called the midday dilemma. It occurs because while the drug provides 8 to 10+ hours of cognitive-enhancing benefits, it lasts in the body for up to 22 hours . Hence the reason you often get the feeling that you aren’t firing on all cylinders for the rest of the 10 hours. People who mix these nootropics have said that taking nicotine about 1 hour before the effects of modafinil leaves the body provides around 90 extra minutes of focus without sacrificing sleep.
What’s more, just as modafinil is able to boost memory, several studies have pointed out that nicotine is also super-effective in boosting working memory. Consequently, there’s a high probability of users being able to recall information much better and faster. But the big question is, At what cost will one get these benefits?
Let’s take a look at the possible side effects that may result from taking modafinil and nicotine concomitantly.
Are There Any Negative Effects?
“Can I take these nootropics together without any side effects?” – this is the question many people looking to combine modafinil and nicotine ask, and the short answer is no. Both nootropics have their individual side effects, and combining them may lead to the user experiencing the adverse reactions of one or both substances simultaneously.
Here are possible side effects you should be aware of if you decide to combine these substances:
- stomach upset.
It is worth noting that more severe side effects such as anxiety, hallucinations, fast or irregular heartbeat, mood swings, and depression may occur. There’s also a very high potential for addiction, as nicotine is known to be very addictive.
Do well to consult a doctor before taking either of these substances or combining them.
How to Reduce Side Effects of Modafinil & Nicotine
The ultimate way to reduce the side effects of these drugs is by taking them correctly. We’ll start with modafinil.
As stated earlier, modafinil provides 10+ hours of cognitive effects. Consequently, it is important to take it early in the morning so it won’t interfere with your sleep. Only take it at night if you intend to pull an all-nighter. Do not split, crush, or dissolve modafinil tabs in water, as it could alter the dose you’re supposed to take. Never take more than a single dose per day, as it’s considered an overdose and could lead to serious negative after-effects.
In the case of nicotine, it’s important to understand that smoking it in tobacco isn’t the way. The safest way to take it is in its pure form; for instance, you could get Nicorette Gum or liquid nicotine. Be sure to source it from a reputable store – if you decide to take it.
What’s more, nicotine and modafinil produce diuretic effects. Generally, diuretics make you pee frequently, which in turn leads to dehydration . Note that dehydration causes the brain to shrink slightly and pull away from the skull that causes the pain we call headache. This is why it is important to drink lots of water after taking either modafinil, nicotine, or both of them concomitantly. Staying hydrated will reduce the risk of headache or entirely prevent it.
Remember to consult your doctor before taking these nootropics or any other drug.
Modafinil with Nicotine: Is It Worth the Risk?
Certainly, combining modafinil with nicotine presents some benefits, but at what cost? As we’ve stated several times throughout this article, nicotine is highly addictive. Thus, while you may already know to keep modafinil use to a minimum (1 to 3 times per week), nicotine could make you abuse it.
But what about people who mix these nootropics?
Well, most of them base their thinking on inconclusive studies. Some of them only read about the benefits and never read to the end where nicotine use, whether in isolation or in combination with other substances, is discouraged.
Note that even studies that speak positively about the benefits of nicotine always carry warnings about its dangerous side effects and how its use could lead to unexpected results.
Using modafinil off-label is already something doctors and the medical society as a whole grow on. Combining it with a substance like nicotine could be you taking a step off the ledge.
In a nutshell, mixing modafinil with nicotine is definitely not worth the risk!
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