852 people put weird chemicals in their bodies and tell me the results.
do you still want people to preregister with you if they try Zembrin after reading this?
Under sublingual modafinil, ". Of the ~25~ people who had, 13 said it was better, ~25~ said it was worse. " Assume that's 12 people who said it was worse? Or maybe everyone thought it was worse and 13 thought it was also better in someway, you tell me
Are any of these good as appetite suppressants? E.g. I've read that 5-htp works that way for a lot of people. Ideally, someone who's trying to control their appetite would have several substances that work, and they could rotate among them so they avoid tolerance issues.
Microdosing performed very well on this survey. There is a recently published self-blinding citizen science placebo-controlled trial to explore benefits of psychedelic microdosing. There was essentially little to no difference from placebo: https://elifesciences.org/articles/62878
*If* we were to accept that benefits of microdosing are best explained due to placebo (and I am not saying the case is settled by any means), what would that imply about the rest of the nootropics on this list?
This is funny because I just started taking Zembrin based on the older SSC post recommending it.
>The most-stuck-with nootropic was nicotinamide mononucleotide, a substance which is supposed to delay aging if you take it every day indefinitely.
Some of the same research that found it delays aging in mice also found that it accelerates tumor growth in mice... I'd very much like to believe in an anti-aging pill, but it seems too early to say NMN is both safe and effective.
I see phenylpiracetam is high on the list. I have personally never noticed anything taking it, but I stuck to ~100 mg doses.
I have heard many reports of it being quite a strong stimulant for which a tolerance builds up quickly, but some say that this is a side effect and it should be taken regularly for long-term effects (according to the Russian instructions?). What is your take on this?
Why didn't you include nicotine? As a former smoker and current vaper I know that nicotine helps focus and attention. Of course smoking (and maybe vaping) have some nasty side-effects along with difficult addiction, but so do some of the other substances you surveyed.
"Of those 22, 15 (73%) said it seemed to help, 3 (14%) said it didn't help, and another 3 (14%) couldn't tell because they had to stop taking it due to side effects (two headaches, one case of "psychedelic closed-eye visuals"). Only 13 of the 22 people were willing to give it a score from 1-10 (people hate giving 1-10 scores!), and those averaged 5.9 (6.3 if we don't count people who stopped it immediately due to side effects)."
13 people gave it an average of 5.9; of those, 3 people scored the thing but had to stop due to side effects. So (10 * 6.3 + 3 * x)/13 = 5.9, yields x = 4.57. In this case I wonder why people who have to stop due to headaches and psychedelic effects still give it a 4.6.
Or maybe 13 people gave it an average of 5.9; of those, 1 person scored the thing but had to stop due to side effects. So (12 * 6.3 + 1 * x)/13 = 5.9, yields x = 1.1 (probably doesn't work because it's not an integer but anyway), in which case this seems a bit risky.
Is adrafinil the same as modafinil?
I'm always impressed with how tedious and unhelpful the nootropics community is and being pretty enthusiastic about nootropics myself, I really wish this weren't the case. Nootropics Depot's u/misteryouaresodumb is probably the only thing the community actually has going for it. Otherwise the main voices in the nootropics seem to be your human infomercials like Dave Asprey.
Re: Zembrin/Kanna, the guy who waves the PDE4 inhibition flag most passionately seems to be the pseudonymous Abelard Lindsay who as far as I know has now started using Ibudilast instead. His product he sells uses artichoke leaf in this way but I believe quercetin was also on the table at one point... I'm pretty sure that cAMP is brought up in these discussions as well.
I've been "taking" caffeine for 30 years via different drinks and I guess my tolerance is through the roof because it basically does nothing to me. For example, I usually have a 1-2 cups of coffee or tea within a short period of time of going to bed. According to Fitbit I basically never have a bad nights sleep.
I wish this wasn't the case so I could actually use caffeine in constructive ways.
* I've tried the optimized caffeine pills and they're great but man I just love coffee. I take L - theanine with the coffee sometimes
* Phenibut also works for me at reducing anxiety but never took it more than 1-2x per week at low dose because some people get addicted? (I never felt anything resembling addiction).
* Would love to try Modafinil but really weary of ordering on these websites as it's supposed to be a prescription and just not sure what im getting
* going to try Zembrin because of this post!
** imo LSD and shroom macrodosing shouldn't be done over long periods of time and can be really risky for the mental health of some people who would try it
How are Americans legally obtaining modafinil, psilocybin, and LSD, or are they illegally obtaining it or are the users not American?
"second only to modafinil as the second most effective nootropic on the list"
Does it mean "the third most effective nootropic on the list"?
I think it's important to have a completely objective measurement of the effectiveness, like whether your chess rating goes up or down. (otherwise wireheading will probably end up #1)
If there were any low-hanging fruit for improving the brain, evolution would probably have already done it, EXCEPT vis a vis energy tradeoffs. Evolution wanted to conserve calories, but we don't care about wasting calories anymore. That's probably why stimulants like modafinil and caffeine score so high. They would reduce the brain's bias towards conserving energy. (it's also probably a part of the reason why there's a north-south cline in IQ, even within turkey or within italy or within japan. The colder it is, the higher your basal metabolic rate needs to be, the more calories the brain will evolve to burn. The opportunity cost of burning more calories in the brain is zero when you need to burn those calories anyway just to not freeze.)
Surprised rauwolscine has not made the list. Any thoughts on this or still too rare to include?
@Scott s/sceletium/Sceletium/ it's a genus. Also S. tortuosum doesn't sound much harder to grow than the average succulent houseplant.
Has anybody other than me tried Galantamine? Really helps to focus and improves my mood, but sometimes makes me strange, like a bit carefree or so.
I'm also posting this on the Monday predictions post, but seeing if I can get Scott's attention by posting to the newest on. Scott, what's your exercise routine?
>Of those 22, 15 (73%) said it seemed to help, 3 (14%) said it didn't help, and another 3 (14%) couldn't tell...
For all the other numbers to work out, it's probably 16 (73%).
Do you think you will release the dataset here? I'd probably not sort through it but I liked seeing Gwern/Jacobian's analysis last time around
Saffron? We are having Risotto Milanese for dinner. I used saffron to make it. I buy it in bottles that hold 1 gram net weight and cost about $15. Pretty pricey for a supplement.
Regarding getting people outside the blog, I don't know if you did this already, but mentioning past surveys and some sample of their results would probably help significantly. A couple of predictable high rating substances (to establish some validity on the survey) and a couple with unexpected ratings (for the "people are wrong on the Internet, I must go here and correct that" effect).
Also, to get them to read that far at all, it's probably better to not use the word Survey prominently in the title. That often triggers an almost subconscious "skip this time sink" response in reddit and other forums. Phrase it as a question, with "(Nootropics survey 2021)" at the end if at all.
I'm curious about exactly what the "ad-hoc Bayesian adjustment" was that you did. Could you post the formula? Maybe some experts (not me) can critique it.
It looks like Liftmode is listed under both 4 and 7 recs?
Zembrin sounds really interesting. However, I'm already on an SSRI. Would you recommend taking Zembrin instead of, in addition to, or not at all?
I took Zembrin three days back for the first time, and didn't take it the day after. I think I experienced strong withdrawal effects. Has anyone else had the same experience?
If Zembrin was a miracle drug, I'd expect it to be getting 5 stars on Amazon, but the Zembrin products I'm seeing are in the 4.0-4.2 star range.
One thing that's always made me hesitate to finish the SSC survey is it's length. Maybe a shorter survey specifically aimed at the nootropic community would work? Or frontloading the nootropics questions?
I think I might have a milder form of ADD. (ADHD without hyperactivity). Have any of you guys tried something on this ? Did it help you to get your chores in time, not forget where your car keys are etc ?
I didn't do the survey, I think. Finding vendors is annoying, so for modafinil specifically:
- Eufinil was legit, it's gone now. It didn't even exit scam so that's nice. I think it might've been the one which switched owners at one point; I had to testify to the police. That's when I learned it's non-optional, which seems to be against freedom of speech(?). Not recommended, use BTC if possible. F@#$ the whole concept of prescriptions.
- Dinosupplies was also legit, also gone now. There's some site using the same name, probably a scam.
- BuyModa, my last order was from there, it also seems to be legit - although it scared me by delayed tracking info - compared to what they claim. They shipped normally, so wtf it's a stupid policy to delay this.
Overall, _somehow_ I didn't ever get scammed yet.
Can you take Zembrin if you're also on an SSRI?
I got curious about Theacrine -- does anyone know if you can use Cupuaçu seeds to brew something like coffee? Or a related question: if one has Cupuaçu, how do you turn it into theacrine at high enough concentration to act something like coffee?
I like catnip from time to time when I can get it. When eaten, it is good for the digestion.
If Zembrin acts as an SSRI could it reduce the effects of classic psychedelics in the same way that other SSRIs are sometimes reported to do?
Bromantane isn't talked about much, but I think it's very interesting. It didn't perceptibly affect my mood or focus short term, but seems to greatly reverse amphetamine tolerance over the course of a week of taking.
Seeing some great results with L-Tryptophan and L-Tyrosine. Same as good as the best SSRIs and SNRIs available but much less side effects. A trick: taking it every other day can work completely different than taking it daily!
My Modafinil tragedy
This is probably the only place where people might care about this experience. I haven't written about it anywhere else. After four years taking boring Prozac with no noticeable improvement, I decided to self-medicate and take 100mg of Modafinil (eugeroic medication over the counter was one of the perks of living in a developing country). First time, I felt like a superhero. I wrote to my doctor back home: "I feel like I think normal people do!".
My life changed immediately. I changed. From shy, morose, monogamist nerd to risk-taking philanderer. I became reckless with heightened libido. I gambled and lost money in the stock market. I did a triathlon. I ran through a police checkpoint. I partied hard. I had affairs. I did cocaine, then rivotril to sleep. I made terrible investments and lost all my savings and my inheritance. I alienated friends and made "party friends" that disappeared into the ether. I drank.
Sounds fun - and it was, for the most part. Be the losses were awful. And the hurt, and the guilt, and the toll on my health.
My memory became spotty and I couldn't recall events from recent past, even ones from before my Modafinil phase. I lost trust in my memory forever.
That lasted five years. Drug resistance made all less fun. Eventually I weaned myself off of it.
Do I regret taking it? Yes, because I was ill informed of the power of it and the profound effect it would have on my personality. Maybe if I was aware, I could have modulated my behaviour, paid attention, asked friends to keep me in check. I was a runaway train.
I'm good now (on Wellbutrin+Exsira), happy. Memory is still screwed up - I have massive gaps and I'm afraid I won't be able to form new ones, which is terrifying.
Caveat emptor applies.
I was quite astonished to see caffeine so high up in the list, because I think it's not supposed to be up there (in fact I have a hunch that a lot of the compounds' effectiveness in that list are mostly overrated by their users), but then again I'm actually not that surprised why people report it to be working for them after all. I'll say why that is in the end of my post. It's gonna take a while til I get there, just so you be warned.
I've consumed coffee, tea or caffeinated soft drinks most of my teenage and adult life and in recent years I've come to be very aware of mechanisms of its tolerance built up and the daily cycle of milder withdrawal symptoms. I think most coffeine users lack awareness of the withdrawal symptons. There seems to be a missing link in their reasoning that prevents them from going from "without my two cups of coffee in the morning I can't get going" to "and I think the amount of sluggishness and bad mood I feel in the morning is directly correlated to my daily regular caffeine intake. maybe I should quit using this drug."
In my early 20s I got the occasional cluster headaches, and I thought that was a normal thing to have, my mom had it, and she took aspirin/paracetamol/caffeine combination painkillers against it, and so did I. Because it was what I knew, what I grew up with. My mother took unhealthy amounts of this painkiller, in hindsight I'm pretty sure why she had suffered from headaches. It was the coffeine in these painkillers, the withdrawal of coffeine gives me cluster headaches and since I probably share the same genes that are responsible for my issues with this drug with my mother, she might have had the same issue. She literally destroyed her stomach with the asparin that was in those painkillers.
Once I realized that there was this connection and got my confirmation from experts, scientific papers, health education websites and from the freaking package leaflet of coffeine tablets that you can buy in pharmacies here in Germany, where it clearly list all the withdrawal symptons of a caffeine addiction, I knew exactly what the right thing to do was. Quit caffeine and never use it again. Easier said than done, since approximately over 90% of the world's population ingest it more or less regularly in some for or another. It's just everywhere.
And also if it wasn't for the flavor of drinks like coffee and tea which you need to have acquired a taste for in your youth and that you either love or hate, and I do love their taste, I would have quit caffeine once a few years ago and never looked back. But the lack of alternatives that are don't contain sugar, are readily available in grovery stores and do require this acquired taste, makes it hard to stay away from them. I love stuff like Ginger Ale, Tonic Water etc. but they contain sugar, and I want to cut that out as well. Water, herbal infusions are too bland. Fruit juices are acidic and contain sugar, bad for my teeth as well. There's just not a lot of choice, I think coffee and tea if it wasn't for the coffeine are pretty beneficial drinks. But I digress. I just wanted to make clear, that I keep on relapsing, I've been addicted to caffeine many many many times, and every time it's a real hassle and pain to wean myself off of it. And it just sucks.
I think it must be my genetics but I always tend to consume more and more and more to the point where I could drink a cup of coffee right before going to bed and fall asleep without problems. In my later periods of addiction I actually did that to not have withdrawal symptons during my sleep and get a better sleep and be able to get out of bed the next morning. I knew this couldn't be right, this can't be healthy, not for my body and especially not for my mental health, and most of all it makes no sense. It just seems to stupid and ridiculous. Why take a "stimulant" that loses all its stimulating potency over a relatively short amount of time of maybe 1-2 weeks? I'm actually fine with coffeine not doing anything stimulating anymore, because I actually prefer a steady and calm state of mind throughout the day and I can kinda achieve that when I was a high rate consumer of coffeine, I just had to constantly drink coffee. Yet, being on it is not as enjoyable of a life than beint completely sober.
Let me tell you what the difference are for me: on coffeine my mornings are slow, it takes significantly longer for me to get ready for work, because -surprise!- I need to drink at least 1-2 cups of coffee to get going. When sober I often times wake up BEFORE my alarm clock even goes off, on the weekends I wake up naturally around the same time I get up during the work days. It takes me less time to get ready and leave the house when sober. My mood is more stable. I feel great. While being hooked on coffeine I only felt great with a cup of coffee in my hand. Oh and of course I tend to go to bed earlier when I'm sober, but that doesn't mean I can stay up late if I have to. I just don't do that very often because I don't feel like it. When I was on coffeine I stayed up way past midnight on a regular basis.
Currently I'm off coffeine, and I hope I can stay away from it. I will try to be 100% strict. Not even a coke or a pepsi, because last time it started with just a coke once and a while. But even one coke gives me a headache the next day, and if I drink another one and another one, the fear of the withdrawal sets in and I'm trapped again.
I tried to talk my mother out of taking the painkillers, but she wouldn't listen. I might sound like a crazy person to her. I have a colleague who comes in to work late a lot, and he consumes a lot of coffee. I made the suggestion to cut down on coffee, told him about adenosine receptors and my story. He wouldn't listen. I try not to push this onto people, but if I see that someone is struggling with symptons that look like coffeine withdrawal and I notice that they consume large quantities of caffeinated beverages, I tell them about what I know and about me. Since I follow your blog and I was interested in nootropics a while I ago, I thought sharing my thoughts and experience might be of interest.
My greater thoughts about these "enhancing" substances especially those that build up a tolerance is that they are pretty useless if taken regularly. The speficic mechanism of tolerance, their use cases, etc all vary, some might not even have an effect that is distinguishable from a placebo, but let's assume we are dealing with substances that DO have a measurable stimulating effect in the ballpark of caffeine. Even then I think they come with a toll, they might be useful on rare occasions as a last resort. But as a "life enhancer" they are crap.
Let me compare caffeine's tolerance mechanism to that of LSD as I have been experimenting with it recently. LSD comes on very strong and tolerance builds up really fast. It makes it so that you simply cannot experience it's psychedelic effects every day, you have to wait at least a week between trips, ideally two. If you have an abundance of LSD, you'll realize pretty quickly that you can't space out as much as you'd like to, it forces you take long breaks, because it just doesn't work anymore. And the severity of its effects doesn't even make you want to use it that often anyway. Caffeine on the other comes along as a much more milder drug, heck it's not even considered a drug by the general public. It comes off as one that is VERY compliant with a life in which you have a regular job, it's the grease that makes capitalism run smoothly. But I think it isn't, I think that's a lie. LSD gives you no withdrawal symptons, not even a hangover except the effects of dehydration the next day. It's nothing compared to the splitting cluster headaches and depression a portion of the population experiences without their coffeine fix. Steal all coffee machines in an office building and that company becomes dysfunctional withing a day. But if all the staff took a trip on Sunday, they show up on Monday ok. Just think about it. It's crazy.
This is great. May I know how to find your audience for your survey? 800 responses looks like a good sample.
I'm curious: Why isn't Ketamine considered a Nootropic?
A potent N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Antagonist, it's extremely useful as a general anaesthetic, however at low/micro-doses (over days/weeks) it's proven to be extremely impressive at treating Chronic Neuropathic Pain, Clinical Depression, Suicidal Ideation & some forms of PTSD.
How exactly it works is still ambiguous (a neuroactive drug that isn't fully understood, "Quelle Suprise!" ; )~ ), but it's a confirmed Thalamic/Hypothalamic stimulant (increasing Dopamine production in the Ventral Tegmental Area, within the Substancia Nigra) & a remarkable Neuroplasticiser (effectively turning back the clock to a more youthful brain). It stimulates Metacognition & narrows "on task" concentration, while also seeingly increasing sensory bandwith (much like LSD microdoses).
Unfortunately, the majority of studies (specifically) investigating it's neurostimulant effects seem to be statistical, small group (<60) &/or preliminary (with typically little funding for confirmation studies). Part of this is due to restrictive governmental regulation, which dates back to the 1960s & - like so many other dangerous if misused neuroactive drugs - urgently needs revision based on current data.
reading you has a similar effect as taking nootropics. even better.
There used to be a website called CureTogether that was like an ongoing survey in this style. For each condition, it asked:
* What symptoms does your condition have?
* What treatments have you tried?
* How well did they work?
* What side effects did you have?
Then you could view the most effective/popular treatments (such as MDMA for social anxiety, or exercise for depression). Anyway, it was sold to 23andMe, who killed it off, and I've missed it ever since.
I really wish this functionality could be resurrected on a new site (possibly in a nonprofit form that won't sell out?) but I don't have the web development skills to do it myself.
Kanna (mesembrine) is SSRE rather than SSRI, which makes it more similar to MDMA:) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874111005113?via%3Dihub