The Smart Drug Phenomenon And The Logic Behind It


The use of nootropics, or better known as “smart drugs,” is at an all-time high right now. It is most common among college students who need to cope up with tons of assignments, projects, exams, and meet all the due dates. Also, employees who need to work 9-5 every day for six days a week and be efficient use these drugs for performance enhancement. So, what is the reason for this increasing popularity, especially among the youth? Well, let us find it out!

What Are Smart Drugs?

Nootropics are those substances which can help boost the cognitive performance of the consumer. These smart drugs enhance cognitive functioning, and in some cases, even improve memory! Some of the most popular smart drugs include Modafinil, Adderall, Ritalin, Armodafinil, among others. These were initially introduced to help people suffering from sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy, ADHD, and/or Alzheimer’s disease. Popular vendors such as sell Modafinil and Armodafinil, the only smart drugs that are confirmed by doctors to be safe. The public identifies Modalert as the best brand of Modafinil and Waklert as the best brand of Armodafinil.

These drugs were successful in showing improvements in many clinical trials on patients. So, due to the positive impact on the human brain, these smart drugs became highly popular among the general public as well. People started consuming it to give them a boost. Some of the effects of consuming smart drugs include better decision making, better complex problem solving, enhanced memory, improved focus, and staying awake for longer hours.

How Common Are They?

Now that you have an idea about how effective these smart drugs are to enhance cognitive functioning in some cases, it would not be a surprise seeing how many people use it all around the world. Let us get more in-depth with some statistics now.

Back in 2015, only about 5% of people in a survey of tens of thousands responded positively to the consumption of nootropics in the past year. However, by 2017, this percentage had increased to 14%! Moreover, a survey published in the International Journal of Drug Policy showed that the US respondents had the highest rate of use. In 2017, 30% of them admitted using smart drugs for pharmacological cognitive enhancement in the last one year. This percentage was up from 20% in 2015!

In Europe, the use of nootropics rose from just a mere 3% in 2015 to a whopping 16% in 2017! As far as the United Kingdom is concerned, the percentage rose from 5% in 2015 to 24% in 2017!

In the United Kingdom, Larissa Maier, who is a research associate at the University of Zurich, estimated that around 10%-15% of the total student population in the UK had used cognitive enhancement drugs at least once. That makes roughly about 250,000 students!

As of 2020, Modafinil and Armodafinil have become immensely popular among those having to go through the front-line in the fight with COVID-19 (doctors, truckers, etc.), as well as people who are forced into quarantine.

What Are The Side Effects Of Consuming Smart Drugs?

Just like all the other drugs out there, smart drugs come with some serious side effects as well. Although the side effects vary from person to person, there are some things that are common among them. Here are some of the side effects of consuming nootropics.

  • First of all, headaches are a common side effect of consuming smart drugs. For some people, it can be a severe headache, whereas, for some, it might be mild.

  • Next up, you can have anxiety and possibly depression with regular use of nootropics. It might also lead to higher blood pressure and a faster heart rate.

  • Consumers of nootropics have also reported insomnia. As these drugs were initially introduced to tackle narcolepsy, people who don’t suffer from it can have trouble sleeping at night.

  • You can possibly have attention issues. As you focus on just one thing entirely, you get cut-off from the rest of the world for that time being. You would only focus on the task you are doing and not what is happening around you.

  • There is some evidence that suggests that people might be at a higher risk of impulsive behavior with the consumption of nootropics.

  • Lastly, addiction is another side effect of using nootropics. The cognitive enhancement and improvement in memory, focus, and concentration can be highly addictive, which can be harmful in the long term.

All these are short-term side effects of smart drugs. There is still a lot of research needed for the long-term side effects of consuming nootropics.


Summarily, smart drugs are undoubtedly growing in popularity with the passage of time. There are no signs of this popularity decreasing in the near future. So, what do you think about this smart drug trend?