What are modafinil’s benefits?

Are you looking for a productivity boost? Do you wish you could just pop a pill and get shit done?

If you’re familiar with the movie or TV series “Limitless” then you’ve likely imagined what it would be like to take the limitless pill and essentially become superhuman…by cranking up the function of your brain, on a scale of 1 to 10, to 11.

Unfortunately, such a pill doesn’t really exist. However, one of the closest things to the limitless pill currently available might be modafinil. Here are the benefits based on research compiled by Examine.com:

  • Decrease fatigue
  • Boost cognition
  • Improve reaction time
  • Improve memory
  • Reduce symptoms of ADHD
  • Enhance mood
  • Lower alcohol dependence
  • Increase alertness
  • Decrease appetite
  • Improve attention
  • Lower impulsivity
  • Boost motivation
  • Increase brain processing
  • Decrease symptoms of MS

Sounds good, right? So…

What is modafinil?

From Wikipedia:

Modafinil is a wakefulness-promoting agent (or eugeroic) used for treatment of disorders such as narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder, and excessive daytime sleepiness associated with obstructive sleep apnea. It has also seen widespread off-label use as a purported cognition-enhancing agent. In English-speaking countries it is sold under the brand names Alertec, Modavigil, and Provigil. In the United States modafinil is classified as a schedule IV controlled substance and restricted in availability and usage, due to concerns about possible addiction potential. In most other countries it is a prescription drug but not otherwise legally restricted.

What’s the downside of modafinil?

There’s surprisingly scant evidence on the negative side effects of modafinil. From Examine.com:

Adverse effects usually reported in trials are predominantly headache, dizziness, increased diuresis, palpitations and tachycardia, restlessness, nervousness, gastrointestinal complains such as nausea, dry mouth and abdominal pain. Despite these isolated adverse events, they usually do not differ significantly from placebo and thus modafinil is seen as well tolerated.

What about tolerance for habitual use of modafinil?

From Wikipedia:

Large-scale clinical studies have found no evidence of tolerance with modafinil at therapeutic dosages even with prolonged use (for 40 weeks and as long as three years).

What’s my experience with modafinil?

I’m relatively new to modafinil. My first experience with modafinil was extremely positive. I had gone from a couple of days of very low productivity to popping a full 200 mg dose of modafinil in which I experienced many of the benefits listed above including: energy, focus, and decreased appetite.

In short, I kicked ass that day and got a lot of shit done.

So of course I was really excited to replicate that feeling. Unfortunately, since then I haven’t been able to fully replicate that initial experience. I have tried cutting the does in half (by cutting the pills in half) thinking that I would be good on just half a dose. However, I prefer the full effect of a full dose.

I am wary of the lack of evidence that there are virtually no adverse effects from taking modafinil. I think there must be something going on biochemically that would eventually throw things off – like my body’s production of hormones. Thus I’m planning to proceed with caution.

Have you tried modafinil – or any other smart drugs?

What’s been your experience?

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  1. I wrote this article in 2017. Some things have changed for me since then…

    I've found my optimal dose: just a quarter of an Armodafinil pill is enough to keep me productive…and I don't really notice the effects. Instead, I'll look back on a productive day of work.

    I also have found the downside of taking this for me:

    Taking modafinil (and stimulants in general) comes at a cost. I've taken modafinil and come down with a cold the following day. Thus I am very aware that my body will need to adequately rest to make up for the stimulation (and stress) from taking modafinil.

    I hope this helps!

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