Nowadays, basically every research chemical is classified as a nootropic. Also known as “smart drugs”, they are psychoactive drugs that are sold to be used in medical and scientific research. While many of these chemicals show positive effects on the brain, a lot of them share components similar to illegal drugs.
Even so, these smart drugs are fairly used by many people in need of a cognitive boost. Here are the most popular ones that users could swear they represent heaven on earth. Mainly, it is the racetam family which seems to dominate this category.
I talked a bit about piracetam in the previous chapter; however, I didn’t go into many details. Piracetamis part of the fairlyextendedracetamfamily and it has been around since the 60s, being used as a treatment against motion sickness. It was barely in 1971 when researchers discovered piracetam had neuroprotective effects in mice. This was what eventually kickstarted the entire nootropic movement.
Though piracetam has been used for a while, the way it acts is pretty uncertain. All the researchers could come up with was a set of theories regarding how it works, and it all boils down to the neuronal and vascular level:
- It restores the membrane fluidity responsible for the compromised neuronal cells.
- It works by strengthening the memory storage.
- It interacts with the glutamate neurotransmission, binding the receptors which are not necessarily part of the synaptic transmission.
- It interacts with the acetylcholine transmission, thus increasing the density of the cortical muscarinic receptors.
They did, however, manage to work out the benefits of piracetam, which are the following:
- It enhances the individual’s performance by targeting the memory and learning area.
- It protects against hypoxia/shock-induced amnesia (in other words, it offers neuroprotection).
- It reduces neuronal loss caused by alcohol and alcohol withdrawal, but only if the neural circuitry is in a recoverable state.
- It can treat cognitive disorders, vertigo and dyslexia
The cognitive enhancement effects vary from individual to individual. For example, studies done on animals show that piracetam works better for older individuals than it does for young ones.
The dosage depends on the age of theperson. For a cognitive disorder, one should take about 2.4-4.8 grams per day, orally (or about 1600 mg thrice every day), while for cortical myoclonus diseases, one should take about 7.2-24.0 g every day. The treatment needs to be administered regularly – otherwise, piracetam will leave the body completely in about 30 hours. Scientists could also find no irreversible toxicity effects in animals with a dose up to 4.5 g/lbs. With the standard dosage mentioned above, there should be no signs of side effects. However, in rare cases, people might experience stomach pain and headaches.
The phenylpiracetam is less studied than the other racetams; however, it is widely known for its cognitive and physical stimulatory effects. It works by increasing the number of NMDA and nAChreceptors while decreasing the dopamine and serotonin receptors in the tissue of the brain. While other methods of action are unclear, it is believed that phenylpiracetam acts exactly like piracetam, by enhancing the cell membrane fluidity and also the glutamate modulation.
It has been banned from use in the Olympic Games, and it is said to be about 60 times more potent than piracetam. Compared to its forefather, phenylpiracetamseems to be more anti-amnesic, neuroprotective and stimulant. It is one of the ultimate mixtures between research chemicals and stimulants, making it perfect for those wanting a long-term rush. It also works great with cognitive impairment, lowering anxiety, depression and pain levels upon treatment.
A standard dose of phenylpiracetam goes at 100mg twice every day, although it shouldn’t be used onpregnant women or children – there’s not enough clinical data to attest that it is safe. There aren’t yet any documented side effects – although it was discovered in mice that an 800mg/kg dose offers lethal toxicity. Studies didn’t find records of carcinogenic, mutagenic or teratogenic effects caused by phenylpiracetam.
Another derivate of piracetam is Oxiracetam. Studies were first done on it in 1990, and it was discovered that it has positive effects on human cognition, reducing drug-induced amnesia and preventing overallmemory deficits. It was first tested to counter MK-801-caused amnesia. Adult mice were administered 15 mg/kg of MK-801 and tested using an elevated plus-maze. The mice that were also administered Oxiracetam showed no sign of memory impairment, and the mice that only had the MK-801 in their system kept losing their way.
No method of action has been officially accepted for Oxiracetam, although the theory is that it can affect the neurotransmitters going through the ion channels. The recommended dose for humans is 800mg twice every day, and there has not yet been recorded any toxicity levels or side effects in mice and rats. Studies still need to be done to see what level of dosage is dangerous for human consumption.
Pramiracetam has effects that are similar to piracetam. However, as opposed to piracetam, the pramiracetam is not water-soluble, but fat-soluble. Thus, the drug will have to be taken together with food so that it can work to its full potential. It is also not recommended to be taken sublingually or in powdered form because it may cause irritation and a burning sensation. Pramiracetam shows an ability to reverse cognitive deficits caused by scopolamine or to restore memories that were lost after a brain trauma. However, there have been no studies to show that pramiracetam can improve cognitive ability in an otherwise healthy individual. Here is, though, what the scientists discovered it could do:
- Increase the blood flow to the brain.
- Increase the cholinergic activity and function.
- Improve long term memory and learning ability.
- Offer protection against drug-induced amnesia.
The recommended dose of pramiracetam is 300mg taken every day. Generally, like all the other racetams, there are very few side effects that have been recorded. Studies done on patients with Alzheimer’s only showed a few mild side effects of pramiracetam: headaches, decreased appetite, drowsiness or dizziness for one or two days. The drug is generally eliminated through urine, which is why the effects will passrapidly.
Aniracetam has been used for a long time to treat strokes and general memory deficits. It works by contributing indirectly to the neurotransmission through the post-synaptic receptors. As a result, it contributes to the cholinergic system which is responsible for the memory side of the brain.
Here are a few benefits of aniracetam:
- It promotes the formation of new brain synapses
- It exhibits neuroprotective properties towards amnesia induced by drugs
- It enhances the synaptic plasticity
These could be the main factors that lead to its cognition enhancement effects, as well as the antidepressant ones. Later studies show that aniracetam is also efficient against PTSD, sleep disorders, anxiety, fear and impulsiveness.
The standard dose of aniracetam is 750mg twice every day, and it is generally administered orally. Typical side effects may arise now and then, and these may include insomnia, uneasiness, anxiety, and unrest. Other not-so-common side effects may also include rashes, diarrhea, nausea, vertigo, somnolence or headaches. It doesn’t seem to interact with other drugs, which is why many doctors combine it with various treatments.
There are several dangers to research chemicals, most of them weighing around the uncertainties. Since most of these drugs are experimental, both the buyer and the seller need to be fully transparent with each other. The thing that makes the term “research chemical” ironic is the fact that they are not actually much researched. Since you are dealing with an experiment, you may want to do your own “research” for a bit.